Asian Americans

Model Minoritizing Digital Labor in a Post-Racial Age

Authored by: Vincent N. Pham , Kent A. Ono

The Routledge Companion to Media and Race

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138020726
eBook ISBN: 9781315778228
Adobe ISBN: 9781317695837


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Perhaps there is no more powerful stereotype of Asian Americans than that of the “model minority.” Harkening back to a 1966 New York Times article by William Petersen titled “Success Story: Japanese-American Style” and a U.S. News and World Report story on Chinese Americans titled “Success Story of One Minority in the US,” the mainstream media has often characterized and depicted Asian Americans as the minority that fulfilled the American dream against all odds and without government assistance. According to Osajima’s germinal article, “Asian Americans as the Model Minority: An Analysis of the Popular Press image in the 1960s and 1980s,” the “overt racial comparisons between the success of Asians and the failures of other minorities are tempered and replaced… by a non-racial discourse that focuses primarily on differences between Asian American families and ‘American’ families” (1998: 169–70). This comparison of racial groups and its promotion of non-racial discourses, currently considered post-racial or “colorblind” (Bonilla-Silva) discourses, continues to be a vital part of how Asian Americans are configured and represented within media.

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