Health Care and the "Model Minority" Myth.

I don't have much to add to this, but it's worth noting:

In their paper, "Barriers to Health Care Among Asian Americans," UB School of Social Work professors Wooksoo Kim and Robert H. Keefe write that Asian Americans cannot be carelessly lumped together with such easy stereotypes as "well adjusted" or "successful." In addition to the many Asian Americans who have assimilated well and become accomplished professionals, able to enjoy all the accompanying benefits, millions of Asian Americans still face daunting obstacles that stand in the way of quality health care, the UB researchers say. [...] 

Kim and Keefe find that Asian Americans "face crucial disadvantages preventing them from receiving quality health care taken for granted by other, more culturally assimilated Americans." That we don't notice those disadvantages owes itself to the prevalence of the "model minority" myth.

You can see this in other areas as well. While Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Americans tend to do well when compared to their white counterparts, the same can't be said of Vietnamese, Pacific Islanders, and Cambodians, as well as Hmong and Laotians. Among Vietnamese, for example, per capita income is $23,080 -- compared with just over $30,000 for whites -- with an overall poverty rate of 13.3 percent, compared to 10.5 percent for whites. Likewise, only 13.3 percent of Cambodians and a scant 9.3 percent of Laotians have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to nearly 30 percent of whites.

Simply put, the "model minority" myth obscures the diversity of the Asian American community, as well as the problems faced by many of its members. The sooner we move away from it, the sooner we identify and talk about the many disparities that exist within the community.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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