Model,Victim, or Problem Minority? Examining the Socially Constructed Identities of Asian-Origin Ethnic Groups in California's Media

Rim, Kathy H.
January 2007
Asian American Policy Review;2007, Vol. 16, p37
Academic Journal
Social constructions are values and meanings attached to groups, and within the sphere of public policy, they are often ascribed to racial groups as a method of categorizing certain groups as ‘deserving’ of policy benefits and others as ‘undeserving.’ Much of the rhetoric within debates over affirmative action policy evoke the image of Asian Americans as ‘model minorities’ and emphasize the negative impact the policy has on Asian Americans, one of several racial minority groups it was designed to protect. This study documents and evaluates how the media's construction of Asian Americans as a model minority has evolved throughout the development of affirmative action policy. In addition to tracking the evolution of the model minority construction, this study examines alternate constructions of Asian Americans such as the ‘victim minority’ image (victims of discrimination, social problems, and hate crimes) and the ‘problem minority’ image (participants in crime and resistors of assimilation). Through a content analysis of articles covering Asian Americans in two major California newspapers (Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle), this study systematically examines how the construction of Asian Americans as a model, victim, or problem minority has either changed or remained stable throughout the last half-century and concludes with a discussion on potential implications for public policy, multiracial coalition building, and the future of the Asian American community.


Related Articles

  • FROM BAKKE TO GRUTTER AND BEYOND: ASIAN AMERICANS AND DIVERSITY IN AMERICA. Gee, Harvey // Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights;Spring2004, Vol. 9 Issue 2, preceding p129 

    The role of Asian Americans in the affirmative action debate and racial stereotypes of them as foreign has demonstrated that a meaningful dialogue about race relations in the United States is much more complex and nuanced. The Asian American experience, and in fact, the unique cultural...

  • The Affirmative Backlash.  // Chinese American Forum;Apr1995, Vol. 10 Issue 4, p21 

    The article presents the author's view on affirmative action being given to Asians. Being an Asian woman and included in the minority, the author has been considered as intelligent and talented young woman and was accepted to prestigious universities with scholarships. She had not discovered...

  • Sins of admission. Leo, John // U.S. News & World Report;1/27/2003, Vol. 134 Issue 3, p16 

    Race can legally be a "plus" or a "tipping" factor in close calls on college admissions. That was Justice Lewis Powell's opinion in the Supreme Court's famous 1978 Bakke decision. The University of Michigan set up a preference system so clearly illegal that it was jettisoned soon after one...

  • ASNE edits minority goals. Fitzgerald // Editor & Publisher;10/09/99, Vol. 132 Issue 41, p35 

    Asserts that one of five newspaper newsroom employees should be a minority by 2010, according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Failure to meet the year 2000 parity goal; United States newspaper industry's hiring history; Increase in the number of minority supervisors.

  • Asian Americans defy "model minority" myth. Kato, Nancy Reiko // Voices of Color;1999, p150 

    The article comments on how Asian Americans are typecasted as the model minority, hard workers who open the door to success in the U.S. The typecasting is designed to keep workers of all colors fighting among themselves for the approval of the bosses. Asian Americans are held up as examples of...

  • A Debate Over Affirmative Action. Ling, Huping // Chinese American Forum;Oct1999, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p33 

    The article presents a debate over affirmative action as an educational policy. Its establishment is traced from John F. Kennedy's Executive Order 10925 intended to end discrimination in employment. Opposition of many Asian Americans over the policy is reflected by a 1993 poll by the California...

  • Council calls on corporations for affirmative action.  // Westchester County Business Journal;4/17/95, Vol. 34 Issue 16, p9 

    Reports that the National Minority Business Council has formed a watchdog group to survey, track and rate American corporations that support affirmative action programs and those that do not. Congress' plan to eliminate affirmative action programs for women- and minority-owned businesses.

  • LOSERS. Ramos, Dante // New Republic;10/17/94, Vol. 211 Issue 16, p24 

    Examines the criteria being used by the U.S. Bureau of the Census in selecting ethnic groups for inclusion to the list of minorities who can make a claim for affirmative action benefits as of October 1994. Alternatives to the criteria used by the Bureau of Census; Discussion on the income...

  • The British armed services and the participation of minority ethnic communities: from equal opportunities to diversity? Dandeker, Christopher; Mason, David // Sociological Review;May2001, Vol. 49 Issue 2, p219 

    This paper examines the commitments enshrined in the Strategic Defence Review White Paper to make the armed forces more genuinely representative of the British population, notably with respect to ethnicity. It identifies some conceptual problems associated with the way in which those commitments...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics