Malady of the "model minority": White racism's assault on the Asian American psyche
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My research is a qualitative study about the Asian American experience. Studies have shown that Asian Americans obtain high levels of educational attainment and household income, but these figures are misleading. Asian Americans are getting a lower financial return on their education compared to their white counterparts. They suffer higher rates of suicide and depression than all other racial groups. Little quantitative and no qualitative research exists addressing these issues. My research explores Asian American life experiences with a focus on what role systemic racism plays in their lives and how this connects to the health disparities. This analysis utilizes thirty-six in-depth interviews to discuss the types and frequency of racist events. Respondents revealed a plethora of discriminatory incidents and shared various coping strategies that they use to deal with the stress of discrimination and to combat future racism. The analysis concludes that the great efforts that Asian Americans go to in order to protect themselves from white racism are costly. Respondents have to combat feelings of isolation, inadequacy, and inferiority. The analysis also utilizes interview data to discuss the ways in which respondents attempt to conform to the white racial frame in hopes to find relief from discrimination. By conforming, some adopt negative racial stereotypes about themselves and other people of color. Even after going to great lengths to conform, interviewees still struggled with feeling excluded by whites. Eventually, some respondents became hopeless that they would ever be accepted. This work also explores alternative methods some Asian Americans are using to combat systemic racism. Some respondents revealed an alternate mindset to those who have chosen to conform to the white racial frame. This group of respondents challenged white racist ideologies, and some even discussed methods in which they actively resist in hopes to improve the racial situation for all Asian Americans. This work is an attempt to fill the large gaps in research about the unique Asian American experience. There has been no other similar analysis in the past. My data reveal the complexities of the Asian American experience and the need for further research.
Chou, Rosalind Sue (2007). Malady of the "model minority": White racism's assault on the Asian American psyche. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from