Written by Dr. Christina M. Macalino, April 2021

Missed Opportunity

As mentioned in our second podcast episode, for my master thesis, I focused on the lack of Filipino-American curriculum (literature and social science), specifically within the secondary level. One particular section of my thesis, I honed in on The Model Minority Myth. I wrote about how Filipinos, as well as SouthEast Asians and Pacific Islanders, do not fit the model minority image. To support my claim, I listed data on high school graduation rates, four-year college statistics, and even health data such as AIDS/HIV in comparison to other Asian groups – the groups who “typically fit” into this myth. 

Disappointedly, I shake my head as I read my master’s thesis. I missed one important, significant opportunity during my research – dissecting the Model Minority itself! Maybe one day I will write an addendum to my 2010 masters thesis, but until then, here is my blog…

The Model Minority Image Is A Myth

It is a social construct developed by the U.S. government used to separate ethnic groups, specifically using Asians, specifically Chinese and Japanese immigrant success, as a scapegoat for social injustices and systemic practices that hinder Indigenous, African American, and the Latino populations. And here we are in 2021, the Anti-Asian attacks rose significantly in our nation. These attacks are not a new phenomenon, but are highlighted mainly due to social media outlets. I must say, I do cringe and am saddened as I read comments on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and news outlet posts because I have seen different ethnic groups – a variety of people of color – lacking empathy, care, solidarity to stand up for the Anti-Asian hate crimes. And based on the comments that I have read, the perception is that they feel that “Asians don’t stand up for them (their ethnic group) so why should we stand up for them?”

As tempting as it is to list examples and historical references of how Asian ethnic groups stood in solidarity and fought (and continue to stand and fight) alongside other people of color, that reaction is only a band-aid, a quick fix. Instead, we must have conversations; we must educate ourselves; we must uncover our history; we must unpack; we must abolish white supremacy and systemic practices that divide people of color. 

Isang Bagsak

There is a saying in Filipino – isang bagsak – which literally translates to one fall or one down, but figuratively speaking to fall and rise together (Pasion, Abby 2020). So, we as people can continue to fall as we point fingers, blame, and fight separately, or we can rise together in solidarity. 

As for Elin and I moving forward…

Do you have any questions, thoughts, reactions to this post? Hit us up at empoweredconsultingllc@gmail.com or on Instagram @empoweredconversationspod. We would love to hear from you and have a collaborative conversation. -Elin and Christina

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