“Asian-Americans” — a term that many Asian-Americans themselves do not use — are, of course, more a demographic category than a community arising from shared language, religion, history or culture. Yet for all our diversity, we share an experience of otherness.
… a Pew Research Center study, “The Rise of Asian-Americans,” reported that Asians overtook Hispanics in 2009 as the country’s fastest-growing ethnic group and now represent 5.8 percent of the population. It reported that Asian-Americans, on the whole, have higher incomes and better educations than whites, blacks or Latinos.
Though the study noted that discrimination, poverty and language barriers still confront refugees, undocumented immigrants and other vulnerable groups, Asian-American advocates for social justice winced. Despite decades of debunking by social scientists and historians, the model minority myth — Asian-Americans as overachieving nerds — persists. The study was based on a rigorous survey, though relying on self-reported attitudes and behaviors is not a fireproof methodology.
But the more important criticism is this: When it comes to race, nuance matters.