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The Danger of a Single Story': Stereotypes About Asian Americans

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Before starting the topic, the aim for “The Danger of a Single Story” essay is to give an example of how this phenomenon appears in lives of Asian Americans. As we know the U.S. is one of the most ethnic diverse countries in the world owing to its special historical background and immigration waves towards the country. Amongst all ethnic minorities, Asian Americans constitute a considerable proportion of the population. Statistics shown that Asian Americans account for more than 5% of the entire population and that its population has grown more than 70% since 2000. In spite of their undeniable existence, this group of minority is often overlooked and marginalized as compared to other ethnic minorities like Hispanic and African Americans. When people talk about racism and racial stereotype, the latter two groups are given much more importance as compared to Asian Americans. It is very probably owing to the fact that Asian Americans have long been regarded as model minority or the most successful minority group in the U.S. They are labelled as intelligent, economically successful but socially awkward and isolated. This single sided story is portrayed in countless movies, TV programs and anecdotes. Nonetheless, this is just a single-sided story that has misled so many people to believe that Asian Americans do not have to confront problems of racism and poverty, and thus their marginalization.

It cannot be denied that generally speaking, Asian Americans’ income and education level are higher than other minority groups like Hispanic American. However, this does not mean that all Asians are successful, nor does it denote that economic power has prevented them from racism and stereotypes. Statistics show that the average household income of Asian Americans as a monolithic group in 2015 was around $75,000 USD, which was way higher than the $59,000 national average figure. However, one should not overlook the fact that there are some underprivileged Asian groups like those coming from Southeast Asia who earn way less than the national figure. For example, the average income of Burmese was just $36,000 USD and that of Nepalese was around $43,000 USD, which was comparable with the figure other typically mentioned minorities like Hispanic and African Americans. Thus, generalizing all Asian Americans as successful and depriving them of attention and support are grossly unfair for the outliers and underdogs who are struggling for life.

Such a single side story also portrays Asians as more intelligent and resourceful in addition to labelling them as a wealthy group, creating even more prejudicial and discriminatory effects. Since long, some universities have adopted a quota policy against Asian Americans by requiring a much higher qualifications and grades than other ethnic groups like African and Hispanic Americans. “At Harvard University, 12 percent of Asian-American applicants are admitted contrasted with an overall admissions rate of 15.2 percent, despite the fact that Asian-Americans average higher grades and SAT scores than other students’. As mentioned above, “Asian” is a monolithic group comprising of people of different races, culture and intelligence. It is thus unfair to treat all individuals within this group as possessing the same intellectual capacity. Even though some sub-divided ethnic groups within Asians like the Chinese students do show better academic performance from a statistical point of view, it is still inappropriate to discriminate them just because some students among them have outstanding performance. In fact, many Asians have to confront the problem that they are usually being stereotype as geniuses who only know how to study but not how to socialize or integrate, which lead to other forms of discrimination in life.

The fact that Hispanic Americans and African Americans faced more imminent and serious problems like homicide and immigration crisis does not mean that we should ignore the problems faced by Asian Americans. This is a typical either-or fallacy in philosophical terms. Racism is a problem faced by all ethnic minorities, and we should not give preferential treatment just to a few groups. Since the era of California Gold Rush, several laws and restraints were introduced against Asian Americans preventing them from getting citizenship and being treated like other Americans. During the Second World War, Japanese Americans had to undergo the ordeals of being interned just because their country was involved in the Axis Power. Lamentably, many people have chosen to ignore these historical facts that led to the discrimination and marginalization of Asian Americans and impose their version of single sided story on this monolithic group.

In conclusion, it is hope that Americans can eradicate the single sided story about Asians from their mind and start taking the problems faced by this monolithic ethnic minority group seriously lest they should be further marginalized.

Works Cited

  • Dana. ‘College Admission Quotas Against Asian-Americans: Why Is the Civil Rights Community Silent?’. The Heritage Foundaton. 3 Oct 1989.
  • Fosco, Molly. “Why The ‘Model Minority’ Ends With Second-Generation Asian-Americans”.  Ozy. 02 Nov 2018. Web
  • Lopez, Gustavo. “Key facts about Asian Americans, a diverse and growing population”. Pew Research Center. 8 Sept 2017. Web.

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The Danger of a Single Story’: Stereotypes About Asian Americans. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
“The Danger of a Single Story’: Stereotypes About Asian Americans.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
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