“I’m different than the Asian stereotype of my school because I do study, but I don’t really focus on that as much as I should… Everyone at our school thinks that all Asians are smart and that they don’t go out and they just listen to their parents and they’re kinda like geeks. But I’m different than that”- Patty Song in “Academic Profiling” by Gilda Ochoa
Do you ever hear in schools that Asian people are smarter at math and other STEM subjects? Or that they’re the “cream of the crop” in high school and are bound to go to college? Although initially they sound like positive perceptions, oftentimes they can lead to the generalization of Asian Americans and reinforcing false stereotypes on this community. These stereotypes about the Asian American community are attributed by a concept known as the “Model Minority Myth”. The Model Minority Myth is the belief that Asian Americans have a socioeconomic advantage as a way that further leads them to academic, economic and overall success. However, as high school student Patty Song expressed, these perceptions are not always true and only generalize the Asian American community as a whole. The dominant narrative, especially when it comes to academics, is that Asian Americans are the top scholars in high school and that they are tracked into higher learning institutions because of their familial background and wealth. However, this dominant narrative can be debunked by looking at the educational struggles that certain communities within the Asian American have endured through.
In Jamie Lew’s article “A Structural Analysis of Success and Failure of Asian Americans in Urban Schools” the author looks at the impacts that socioeconomic status has on Korean Americans in urban schools. The article looks at the different external factors such as family income and parents college level of education are factors in determining the student’s academic success (Lew, 3). The study specifically focused on the academic achievement between students that attended a competitive magnet high school and those that were enrolled in a GED program. The differences in academic achievement varied based on the students familial and economic background. This article provides an oftentimes ignored perspective about Asian Americans in schools that debunks that narrative that these communities are inherently at an advantage in society. It’s important to acknowledge the damage that the Model Minority Myth can have on the community as it generalizes and implies that Asian Americans are at an equal level playing field, as Lew illustrates that these issues are much more complex. All in all, we should remind ourselves that everyone comes from different backgrounds and lived experiences and buying into these stereotypes shouldn’t define anyone’s individual struggles in the education system.
Lew, Jamie. A Structural Analysis of Success and Failure of Asian Americans in Urban Schools. Teachers College, Colombia University , February, 2007. Web. 17 March 2017.
Ochoa, Gilda L.. Academic Profiling : Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap. Minneapolis, US: Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2013. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 17 March 2017.