The "Model Minority", COVID19, & Racism
Image used with permission: Winnie Gu 2020 @thirdculturechinese
Discussions about The Model Minority Myth- the belief that ALL Asian-Americans are smart, hard-working, and problem-free, have resurfaced during the COVID19 pandemic. However, Asians are not a monolith. There is a wide diversity of languages, customs, and lived experiences among ethnicities. Also, research about Asians is often aggregated with Pacific Islanders, further increasing the group's diversity.
While the Model Minority stereotype is often perceived as positive, it can also result in many Asian Americans not being seen as needing support.
While the Model Minority stereotype is often perceived as positive, it can also result in many Asian Americans not being seen as needing support. Asian Americans have had the lowest overall death toll from COVID19; this data varies by state. Still, the pandemic's impact on social determinants of health, such as economic instability due to unemployment or business loss and exposure to COVID19 as essential workers, has had a significant negative impact on the Asian American community, particularly women, with wide variation among ethnicity.
Racism is a social determinant of health.
Racism is a social determinant of health. The simultaneous pandemics of COVID19 and racism are taking a toll on the mental and emotional health of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Although there is a long history of Anti-Asian violence and a history of linking disease with race and ethnicity in the United States, reports of Anti-Asian hate crimes have increased over the past year. Asian Americans, many for the first time, are having to process the fear of being random targets of physical violence simply because of the way they look. The Model Minority stereotype may create a barrier for some Asian Americans seeking mental health support. All of us must engage in self-reflection.
If you identify as Asian American, how have you internalized the Model Minority stereotype and how has it impacted your lived experience?
If you are a healthcare provider, how has the Model Minority stereotype informed your biases about Asian Americans and how have those biases impacted the care you provide?
The Health Equity NP