The umbrella term AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) is a broad one that catches many under the model minority stereotype that comes with it, even while some, like many Pacific Islanders, are struggling for success. Pacific Islanders (PI), those people from Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, and Guam, according to this article, are half as likely to hold bachelors’ degrees, and five times less likely than Asians to hold advanced degrees. Says Joey Quenga, a Chamorro from Guam and host of The BBQ, a monthly radio show for the PI community,
As communities of color, we’re faced with a lot of the same issues. You’re talking about impoverished communities and you’re talking about gangs.
PI such as Pelenise Faataui definitely live in desperate situations.
Dan Hatori, Project Director of UCLA’s Pacific Islander Education and Retention Program, says that being in the AAPI category makes people thing that PI don’t have problems.
People who are not very knowledgeable on the issues the Pacific Island community face will look at API numbers and think Pacific Islanders are not struggling at all.
I have noticed that some market surveys conducted by companies separate out the Pacific Islander from Asians. To me, this makes a lot of sense, as aggregation of many different ethnic groups under the AAPI umbrella covers up the fact that many under that umbrella may be struggling.