Breaking News: We’re not homogenous!

Well, maybe it’s not breaking news for regular readers of this and other Asian-American centric sites, but the AA community is finally getting some real research to back up our assertion that we’re an extrodinarily diverse and complicated community.  The just released report, “Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight”  by New York University and the College Board, attempts to dismantle the stereotype that Asian-Americans are all a bunch of math & science geeks focused on nothing but academic acheivement and without legitimate needs.  Basically…we ain’t the model minoritiy.

From the New York Times article:

“It pokes holes in stereotypes about Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, including the perception that they cluster in science, technology, engineering and math. And it points out that the term “Asian-American” is extraordinarily broad, embracing members of many ethnic groups.

“Certainly there’s a lot of Asians doing well, at the top of the curve, and that’s a point of pride, but there are just as many struggling at the bottom of the curve, and we wanted to draw attention to that,” said Robert T. Teranishi, the N.Y.U. education professor who wrote the report, “Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight.”

“Our goal,” Professor Teranishi added, “is to have people understand that the population is very diverse.”

The report goes on to highlight how the mass lumping of Asian-Americans into a singular monolith of achievement severly underscores the struggles of some subgroups within the community such as the Hmong. 

And even more impressive…the report actually calls out universities and suggests that Asian-Americans may be held to higher admissions standards at more selective colleges AND also suggests that the “model minority” stereotype unfairly pit Asian-American students against African-American and Latino students.  Damn!  Honesty.  At last!

You can download the full report for yourself.

Wow, I’m really impressed by the level of depth in this report.  Reading the report summary really feels like validation.  Nearly ever Asian-American I’ve known has had to deal with the unfair implications of being perceived as “the model-minority” at some point in their life.  Maybe this report will lead to actual change in academic policies and perceptions.  One can hope.  

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About Bo

A 30something, 1.5 generation Korean-American/New Yorker who spends her day as an HR exec. specializing in corporate diversity & inclusion. I get to think about ways to make "The Man" less male, white, and straight. It's the best job in the world! When I'm not trying to change corporate America, I teach yoga and dabble in holistic health counseling. I have an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and my undergraduate from the University of Michigan. Lesser known facts about me: I enjoy b&w film photography, training for endurance races, and making homemade jam. Other mindless observations can be found at
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