Summary of the Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority

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In The Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority, Ronald Takaki questions whether or not Asian Americans can really be called a model minority. He states that throughout history the media has described Asians Americans as a race that excels in educational institutions and in the business world. As a result of this wrong assumption, African Americans look inferior or lazy in comparison to Asian Americans. This is because many people see African Americans as another minority that is born equally well off or in some cases, better off. Naturally, African Americans then hold a grudge against Asian Americans for this.

Since most Asian Americans live in locations where the income for all races is higher, statistical reports "obscure reality" much like the media has. Statistical reports which state that Asian American men have higher incomes are incorrect as well, because the men work more hours and receive higher education. Asian American families generally have more members, and therefore have a higher statistical income since they have more workers. These reports can be deceiving because there are many Asian Americans living in slums who appear to not be reported. Takaki follows this statement up with a few statistics of his own, each proving that the Asian American race has its own fair share of people who live in poverty.

A major portion of these Asian Americans who do actually live in poverty are confined to low-paying jobs because they cannot speak English. Takaki states that Hmong and Mien refugees who have this "language barrier" hold unemployment rates as high as eighty percent, and many are on welfare.

In defense of Asian Americans, Takaki also states that even college-educated Asian Americans cannot make it to high-ranking positions in the business world for the same reason that women cannot in American society. Takiki talks about many Korean immigrants who have come to America only to downgrade to lower-paying positions, such as shopkeepers, from...
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