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Thu Sep 10, 2020, 08:23 PM

The real reasons the U.S. became less racist toward Asian Americans

There is a video called The Myth of the 'Model Minority' at the WaPo link that I can't figure out how to post. But the one below is also a good precursor of the article. It's a long read but worth it, in my opinion.



Between 1940 and 1970, something remarkable happened to Asian Americans. Not only did they surpass African Americans in average household earnings, but they also closed the wage gap with whites.

Many people credit this upward mobility to investments in education. But according to a recent study by Brown University economist Nathaniel Hilger, schooling rates among Asian Americans didn’t change all that significantly during those three decades. Instead, Hilger’s research suggests that Asian Americans started to earn more because their fellow Americans became less racist toward them.

As historian Ellen Wu explains in her book, “The Color of Success,” the model minority stereotype has a fascinating origin story, one that’s tangled up in geopolitics, the Cold War and the civil rights movement.

To combat racism, minorities in the United States have often attempted to portray themselves as upstanding citizens capable of assimilating into mainstream culture. Asian Americans were no different, Wu writes. Some, like the Chinese, sought respectability by promoting stories about their obedient children and their traditional family values. The Japanese pointed to their wartime service as proof of their shared Americanness.

African Americans in the 1940s made very similar appeals. But in the postwar moment, Wu argues, it was only convenient for political leaders to hear the Asian voices.

These stereotypes about Asian Americans being patriotic, having an orderly family, not having delinquency or crime — they became seen as the opposite of what “blackness” represented to many Americans at the time.

Daniel Moynihan, the author of that report, was a liberal trying to figure out how to solve this huge problem — the status of African Americans in American life.

If you look in the report, there’s not really any mention of Asian Americans. But just a few months before the Moynihan Report came out in the summer of 1965, Moynihan was at a gathering with all these intellectuals and policymakers. They're talking about how Japanese and Chinese Americans were “rather astonishing” because they had thrown off this racial stigma. Moynihan points out that 25 years ago, Asians had been “colored.” Then Moynihan says, “Am I wrong that they have ceased to be colored?”

I would say it also costs the majority less to allow Asian Americans, who were still a very small part of the population, to let them play out this saga of upward mobility, rather than recognizing the rights and claims of African Americans during that same time.

I’m not saying somebody sat down and did a cost-benefit analysis. But in some ways, there seemed to be a big payoff for little risk. Even with the overturning of the exclusion laws, it’s not like large numbers of Asians were coming into the United States at the time. Asian Americans at that time were still a pretty marginal part of the population.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply The real reasons the U.S. became less racist toward Asian Americans (Original post)
Kind of Blue Sep 10 OP
brer cat Sep 10 #1
Kind of Blue Sep 10 #2
brer cat Sep 10 #7
irisblue Sep 10 #3
Kind of Blue Sep 10 #6
FBaggins Sep 10 #4
Kind of Blue Sep 10 #5
FBaggins Sep 10 #8
Kind of Blue Sep 10 #9
missy Sep 26 #10
Kind of Blue Sep 28 #11

Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 08:30 PM

1. Very interesting read.

K&R

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Response to brer cat (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 08:35 PM

2. Yeah, brer cat. For me, it's easy to forget how institutionalized racism plays

us against each other using effective but false narratives that maintain the status quo.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 09:13 PM

7. It's quite effective, unfortunately,

so it continues.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 08:40 PM

3. Interesting, thanks for the post

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Response to irisblue (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 08:49 PM

6. ...

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 08:40 PM

4. That's a tough sell

Some significant number of Americans who were formerly racist toward Asian Americans just suddenly became much less so... all during the very period we were fighting wars in Korea, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia (all additionally involving China on the other side)?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 08:49 PM

5. Well, I think you'll probably need to contact Prof. Wu at Indiana Univ., Bloomington

wue@indiana.edu (812) 855-6344 https://twitter.com/ellendwu?lang=en

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Response to Kind of Blue (Reply #5)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 10:01 PM

8. Why?

Her thesis strikes me as implausible and doesn't inspire me to read more. Conversely, I doubt that I have anything to offer that would impact her position. I feel no such "need"

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 10, 2020, 10:54 PM

9. Sorry, my failure to realize it was a rhetorical question that conversely really means

nothing to you.

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Response to Kind of Blue (Original post)

Sat Sep 26, 2020, 12:19 AM

10. How Asian Americans Are Reckoning With Anti-Blackness In Their Families

 

[link:http:// https://www.huffpost.com/entry/anti-blackness-asian-americans_n_5ed87ca8c5b6ea15610b5774|

“Anti-Black racism in Asian communities is tied to the “model minority” myth, which white political leaders, particularly in response to the civil rights movement in the 1960s, wielded in order to drive a wedge between Asian Americans and other people of color. Many Asian immigrants internalized that mentality, operating under the false impression that being a “good” immigrant could help them assimilate into whiteness and align themselves with white people.“

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Response to missy (Reply #10)

Mon Sep 28, 2020, 03:16 PM

11. Whoa, Missy, Thank You! for this follow-up article that is a cross-section of

the Asian-American community's internal anti-Black reckoning as well as the ways the community is fighting against anti-Blackness in general. The article being so recent, it's empowering to know that the "model minority" myth is not just an artifact of the past. I had to re-read it, view the photos and listen to the video again and again.

BTW, seeing that this was your first post, I was so ready to welcome you to DU and then saw you've been a member since its inception. What?!? What an honor and thanks again.

Dismantling anti-Blackness in Asian communities also involves trying to dismantle other deep-seated prejudices, such as colorism. Skin-whitening treatments are popular in many Asian cultures. As Gajjar noted, lighter-skinned South Asians are considered to be more valuable and tend to be in a higher social class than darker-skinned South Asians.

“Just the fact that South Asians are willing to go against their own people … that just kind of shows you that inherent sort of anti-Blackness that we have built into our culture and our communities,” she said. “The problem starts there.”








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