Colorlines is on a roll today, highlighting issues in the Asian American community.
It’s not every day that deep and rigorous research about Asian Americans is released to the public. So when the well-respected Pew Research Center released “The Rise of Asian Americans,”a comprehensive report on the community on Tuesday, it should have been reason enough to celebrate. Instead, the report, which hailed Asians as the fastest-growing and highest-achieving racial group in the country, drew widespread criticism from Asian American scholars, advocates and lawmakers who raised alarm about the report, and warned against taking it seriously at all. Poor research of an oft-overlooked community, it turns out, might do more damage than no research at all.
The narrative fits in neatly with a very American “bootstraps” ethos, where people rise and fall on their own skills and merits. It’s a convenient narrative for silencing other groups who try to make claims of institutional racism and racial discrimination. “There’s this aspect of the media coverage where races are being played against each other,” said Yeung. “The not so implicit message is Asians are the better people of color whereas blacks and Latinos are seen as having all these kinds of problems, so why can’t all people of color be like us.”