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Escaping the Pressures of the “Model Minority Myth”

Students share their stories about the pressures of being Asian Americans

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Escaping the Pressures of the “Model Minority Myth”

Students sharing personal stories about the pressure and  conflicting 
expectations of being an Asian/Pacific Islander American

Students sharing personal stories about the pressure and conflicting expectations of being an Asian/Pacific Islander American

Joshua Mejia

Students sharing personal stories about the pressure and conflicting expectations of being an Asian/Pacific Islander American

Joshua Mejia

Joshua Mejia

Students sharing personal stories about the pressure and conflicting expectations of being an Asian/Pacific Islander American

Marcela Valdivia, Staff Reporter

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On Tuesday, Aug. 9th, the Asian Pacific Islander Student Resource Center held “Sharing Our Stories: Navigating Conflicting Pressures” at the Cross Cultural Centers. The event allowed a group of students to share experiences regarding their conflicting expectations. To help accomplish the event’s goals, the Asian Pacific Islander Center partnered with the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Stephanie Van, Coordinator for the center, reached out to have conversations with students from different family backgrounds and cultures, as well as to describe the concept of the “model minority myth”. She contacted Jennifer Reyes, counselor at the Student Health Center and licensed clinical social worker.

“The model minority myth is the idea that there is an expectation that Asian Americans are to be successful and are supposed to act a certain way when they are in college or a work setting,” said Reyes.

The discussion opened with stereotypes of how Asian Americans are expected to be more intelligent, as well as more tech savvy compared to other ethnic groups. Students then shared their experiences, explaining that their peers tend to believe that they must obtain straight A’s or face disgracing their family. The discussion’s goal was to analyze and discuss the common pressures Asian Americans encounter as a result of expectations that are placed upon them.

“I remember when I was in middle school, if I got lower than an A, I would forge my mom’s signature,” said Jennifer Reyes. “It was the idea that it was not safe telling my mom I was struggling in math.”

“The event gave me more perspective and understanding of how people are also affected by being model minorities and the pressure that everyone else is facing,” said Jessica Pinlac, a Cal State LA biology major.

For students who require counseling and psychological services, the center holds workshops of up to ten students, Monday through Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

The Asian Pacific Islander Student Resource Center’s next event is “Not Your Model Minority! Mental Health” on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. in the Alhambra room.

“I think this is a great event because it helps create a dialog that we have always been wanted to have. [Specifically], it helps communicate how the minority model myth affects [Asian Americans], but we never really had that space to really talk about it,” said Andrea Wasawas, nutritional science major.

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