This chapter concludes the book by examining some critical issues that are broader than one or another geographical area. The model-minorities issue is the first of these. During the latter part of the 1960s, a population expert, William Petersen, wrote of Japanese Americans as a model minority. The press, however, extended the concept to all Asian-Americans, thus further diluting an already flimsy concept. Advocates contended that Asian-Americans were the most successful American minority, a standard for all other minorities. Advanced beyond the majority even, Asian-Americans were hailed by many as leaders in education, in community cohesion, family relations, occupational attainment, family income, citizenship, self-dependence, and more. 1 Claims like these were almost never made by Asian-Americans themselves. As Kashima observed, the model-minority image "for the most part . . . is a perspective from the outside looking in." 2 Frequently, its adherents urged African-Americans to be heedful of the Asians' modelled behavior rather than depend so exclusively on political action and demonstrative tactics. Many conservative White political figures, publishers, and journalists, unsympathetic to the African-American-led civil rights movement, promoted the model-minority image. Although few African-Americans were convinced by the argument, many Whites seemed to accept it. Indeed, the entire model-minority thesis appeared to be prepared more for the benefit of Whites than of anyone else.
Among Whites, its greatest appeal was the feature of self-congratulation. Embedded in the concept of model minority was that of the model majority. By this was meant a large group who held power in the society but whose members
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Asian-American Education:Historical Background and Current Realities. Contributors: Meyer Weinberg - Author. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 313.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.