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ERIC Number: ED421564
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
(Op)posing Representations: Disentangling the Model Minority and the Foreigner.
Lei, Joy L.
This paper examines how the representations of Asian Americans as the model minority and as perpetual foreigners play off one another to shape the positioning and experiences of Asian American students in U.S. schools and maintain the dominant racial order in the United States. Although the representation of Asian Americans as a high-achieving and assimilated racial group (i.e., the model minority) may appear to be a positive stereotype, it serves hegemonic functions (in the way it maintains White supremacy), homogenizes the diversity among Asian Americans, and perpetuates the notion that Asian Americans do not face racism or have any social needs. Co-existing with the model minority stereotype is the foreigner representation. Asian Americans constantly and continually face assumptions of them as foreigners and as "unAmerican," regardless of the generation in the United States they represent. This representation denies Asian Americans their "American" status and maintains their position outside the mainstream culture. The model minority representation functions as defining the "good" Asian while the foreigner representation functions as defining the "bad" Asian. Both representations demand that Asian Americans meet model minority standards and deny, relinquish, and reject any part of them that is perceived by the dominant culture as being "foreign." Yet, Asian Americans can never shake the foreigner label and are resented for their position as model minorities. The two seemingly opposing representations place Asian American students in a peculiar and vulnerable position in the racial order that affects not only how they are treated and perceived by nonAsians but also how they perceive themselves and the people around them (nonAsians). Other ways in which these influences affect the schooling experience of Asian Americans are explored. Analyzing the hegemonic process may help Asian Americans break free so that they can make choices that are based more on themselves than on others. (Contains 22 references.) (Author/SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A