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Beneath the Bamboo Ceiling:
Understanding the “Model Minority”
Tamima Farooqui, M.F.A, Asian Diversity Club Advisor
Eliza ...
“When people rely on surface appearances and false
racial stereotypes, rather than in-depth knowledge of
others at the lev...
Ice Breaker : Your Identity
How would you rank your “identities”?
Arrange Post-It Notes
1. Age – Orange
2. Gender - Yellow...
Objectives
• Discuss the many varied backgrounds and cultures that
encompass the term “Asian”
• Deconstruct the “Model Min...
Moraine Valley Community College
• Located in Palos Hills, IL.
• 130 Degrees/Certificates
• More than 36,000 credit & non-...
Asian-Americans
The Pew Research Center says Asian-
Americans are now the fastest-growing
ethnic and immigrant group in th...
National Statistics
• According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Asian-Americans
account for 25% of the immigrants in this count...
Asians as International Students
International Students (F1 visa holders):
o According to the Institute of International
E...
Asians as International Students
Asians as International Students at
MVCC
MVCC International Student Population
S. Korea 26%
Hong Kong 12%
Japan 10%
Vietna...
Regions of Asia
E. Asia:
Mongolia
Japan
North Korea
South Korea
China
Tibet
S. Asia:
India
Pakistan
Nepal
Bangladesh
Bhuta...
A·sian
adjective
of or relating to Asia or its people, customs, or languages.
noun:
Asian; plural noun: Asians
a native of...
Differences between “Asian” and
“Asian-American”
• “Asian” implies born/raised OUTSIDE of the
U.S.
– Examples: non-immigra...
Video
What Kind of Asian Are You?
What kind of Asian are you-.mov
Asian Stereotypes vs. Shared
cultural themes
When you think of Asian Stereotypes, which
words come to mind?
Asian Stereotypes vs. Shared
cultural themes
Hardworking
Studious
Ambitious
Quiet
Over-achieving
“Nerdy”
Obedient
Non-conf...
From their voices…
Share a quote
From their voices…
“Sometimes teachers and Americans
assume that I am shy or I can’t be a
leader. I am just being respectf...
Issues Students Face
• Culture Shock/Acculturative Stress
• “Perpetual Foreigners”
• Cultural Concepts
• Communication Sty...
Informal survey conducted with 28 Asian and Asian-American Students participating in Asian Diversity Club (2013)
70% of As...
Informal survey conducted with 28 Asian and Asian-American Students participating in Asian
Diversity Club (2013)
85% of As...
Top Issues Below the Surface
• Familial Pressure
• Financial Stress
• Expectations from American peers, instructors to liv...
“Perpetual Foreigner”
Historical perceptions in “Orientalism”
permeate pop culture as well as professional
spaces.
Regardl...
Asian Stereotypes vs. Shared
cultural themes
What does “Model Minority” mean?
Model minority refers to a minority group
(w...
From their voices…
“College people and students
would initially get disappointed
with me because I couldn’t go to
after-ho...
“Model Minority” Myth
The term was coined in 1966 in the New York Times to
describe Asian Americans, “who despite
marginal...
“Model Minority” Myth
“I am fed-up with being stereotyped as subhuman or
superhuman creature. It. Some are superachievers,...
“Model Minority” Myth
Negative Consequences
• Alienation/Struggle
• At-risk students hidden by assumptions of
heterogeneit...
“Model Minority” Myth
Negative Consequences
With one of the lowest rates of seeking professional help, these
all become ma...
“Bamboo Ceiling”
• Hidden unemployment and discrimination
• Students face stereotypes, assumptions and
pressures about car...
Body Language
Traditional Themes
Changing Archetypes
• Collectivism vs. Individualism
• Hierarchy
• Respect
• Deference to...
Individualism/Collectivism
• Collectivism: Group goals and needs ahead of
own personal desires.
• Awareness of social orde...
Individualism/Collectivism
• Concept ʺto save face.ʺ In Japan, this concept is called kao; in Korea,
it is kibun. In Pakis...
“Culture Shock” for
Asian Students
Communication Issues:
• Student says “I understand” even if they don’t: cultural
expect...
Communication Issues
• Many Asian speakers
prefer indirect
communication, which
is often simply a form
of politeness
• Sil...
Body Language
• Handshake
• Proximity/Privacy
• Eye Contact
• Adapting cultural norms
• Pointing feet considered
rude
Comm...
“Culture Shock”
• Acculturative Stress is known as “culture
shock”
• It is a learning process of cross-cultural
adaptation...
“Culture Shock” for Asian Students
Food-Related Issues:
• American foods often heavier than Asian foods
• In many areas, n...
“Culture Shock” for Asian Students
In Asian Cities…
•Public transit plentiful
•Motorbikes common
•Rarely a lack of
transpo...
“Culture Shock” for Asian
Students
• Pronunciation challenges differ greatly by language
background
– Some common examples...
“Culture Shock” for Asian Students
• Common Issues:
– Unrealistic expectations of how much coursework is feasible:
• What ...
Stereotypes and Cultural themes
Chua contrasts them with the view
she labels “Western” – that a child’s
self-esteem is par...
Stereotypes vs. Cultural Themes
Engagement Strategies
Encourage organizations
Conversation partners
Mentors
Cultural Events
Campus Asian Organizations
Asian and Asian-American students
indicated that ethnic student
organizations constituted criti...
Engagement Strategies & Success
Asian Diversity Club 2012-2014
Moraine Valley Community College
Members and Recent Graduat...
• Panel Discussions
• Parent/Student Day
• Conversation Partners
• Career Mentors
• Career Coach speaker
• Field Trips
• P...
Engagement Activities
Student Thoughts on Engagement
“I feel I really developed
important leadership and
communication skills that
gave me the c...
Student Thoughts on Engagement
“Having the opportunity to
work on campus really
taught me about
professionalism in the
Ame...
Student Thoughts on Engagement
“As President of ADC and as a
pretty outgoing person, I
learned a lot about leadership
in A...
Engagement Strategies
How can we ALL better engage with our
Asian and Asian-American students?
Student Success
“Asian Diversity Club
“I joined Asian Diversity Club because I was
looking for a space to be myself and me...
Student Success
• Provide training for instructors/staff about Asian cultural and
communication styles to foster more engagement
• Instruc...
Other Strategies for Educators
• Develop broad and individual understanding of students
• Learn how ESL students process l...
•Seek to understand
•Use active listening skills
•Try to find the common
connection
•It takes work! Do your
homework
•Get ...
Questions?
Eliza Plous
plouse@morainevalley.edu
708-974-5540
Tamima Farooqui
farooquit@morainevalley.edu
708-974-5313
Suggested Readings
• Rosalind Chou, The Myth of the Model Minority
• Mia Tuan, Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites?
• Sa...
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5tf Diversity Conference Presentation - Understanding the Model Minority

  1. 1. Beneath the Bamboo Ceiling: Understanding the “Model Minority” Tamima Farooqui, M.F.A, Asian Diversity Club Advisor Eliza Plous, M.A., International Student Affairs Moraine Valley Community College
  2. 2. “When people rely on surface appearances and false racial stereotypes, rather than in-depth knowledge of others at the level of the heart, mind and spirit, their ability to assess and understand people accurately is compromised” James A. Forbes
  3. 3. Ice Breaker : Your Identity How would you rank your “identities”? Arrange Post-It Notes 1. Age – Orange 2. Gender - Yellow 3. Race/Ethnicity – Blue 4. Sexual Orientation - Pink 5. Other (Write in your choice*) – Green (*Other Examples: Religion, Socio-Economic Status, Ability etc.)
  4. 4. Objectives • Discuss the many varied backgrounds and cultures that encompass the term “Asian” • Deconstruct the “Model Minority” stereotype: fine line between actual shared cultural themes and stereotyping • Identify common sources of miscommunication between Asians/Asian-Americans and non-Asians • Determine strategies to improve how we serve and engage these populations
  5. 5. Moraine Valley Community College • Located in Palos Hills, IL. • 130 Degrees/Certificates • More than 36,000 credit & non-credit students annually • Over 250 international students • 51% women, 49% men identified themselves as: – 63% White/Caucasian – 13% Hispanic/Latino – 10 % Black or African American – 2% Asian – 0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native – 0.4% Two or more races, non-Hispanic/Latino – 8% Race/ethnicity unknown
  6. 6. Asian-Americans The Pew Research Center says Asian- Americans are now the fastest-growing ethnic and immigrant group in the United States: 18 million Asian-Americans, almost 6 percent of the population.
  7. 7. National Statistics • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Asian-Americans account for 25% of the immigrants in this country today and the projected increase is 530% within this century. Other statistics • More than 40% of Asian-Americans hold a college degree • 21.2% have less than a high school education • 23.4% are not fluent in English • 4% are living in poverty
  8. 8. Asians as International Students International Students (F1 visa holders): o According to the Institute of International Education’s 2013 Open Doors Report, 819,644 international students studied in the U.S. in 2012/2013 o Roughly 50 percent were from China, India, and South Korea o States with most F1 students: California, Texas, and New York (32% of all F1 students) o Illinois is in the Top Ten
  9. 9. Asians as International Students
  10. 10. Asians as International Students at MVCC MVCC International Student Population S. Korea 26% Hong Kong 12% Japan 10% Vietnam 10% Yemen 10% Jordan 10% China 2% All others 20%
  11. 11. Regions of Asia E. Asia: Mongolia Japan North Korea South Korea China Tibet S. Asia: India Pakistan Nepal Bangladesh Bhutan Sri Lanka S.E. Asia: Myanmar Thailand Laos Cambodia Vietnam Philippines Malaysia Indonesia Singapore East Timor Pacific Islands C. Asia: Kazakhstan Uzbekistan Kyrgystan Tajikistan Turkmenistan Afghanistan
  12. 12. A·sian adjective of or relating to Asia or its people, customs, or languages. noun: Asian; plural noun: Asians a native of Asia or a person of Asian descent. Defining “Asian”
  13. 13. Differences between “Asian” and “Asian-American” • “Asian” implies born/raised OUTSIDE of the U.S. – Examples: non-immigrant visa holders, especially F1 students and J1 scholars – Possibly recent immigrants • “Asian-American” implies born WITHIN the U.S. or immigrated early in life – May be bi-cultural, or not! – “…But where are you FROM-from?” – “How did you learn English?”
  14. 14. Video What Kind of Asian Are You? What kind of Asian are you-.mov
  15. 15. Asian Stereotypes vs. Shared cultural themes When you think of Asian Stereotypes, which words come to mind?
  16. 16. Asian Stereotypes vs. Shared cultural themes Hardworking Studious Ambitious Quiet Over-achieving “Nerdy” Obedient Non-confrontational Non-athletic English Language Learner Submissive
  17. 17. From their voices… Share a quote
  18. 18. From their voices… “Sometimes teachers and Americans assume that I am shy or I can’t be a leader. I am just being respectful and carefully choosing my words. Once people got to know me, I became a leader in Student Government and other campus activities. I am far from being passive.” - Grace, International Student (majoring in Business, winner of President’s Leadership Award)
  19. 19. Issues Students Face • Culture Shock/Acculturative Stress • “Perpetual Foreigners” • Cultural Concepts • Communication Styles • Unique ESL issues • Intergroup dynamics and pan-Asian conflicts • Pressures/Conflicts (financial, family, gender, religion, career paths, assimilation, subjects) • Leadership (careers opportunities and barriers) • Discrimination: “Racial Microaggression”
  20. 20. Informal survey conducted with 28 Asian and Asian-American Students participating in Asian Diversity Club (2013) 70% of Asian (international) students stated they were not comfortable talking to instructors 60% of Asian-American students responding felt they are treated differently by instructors/staff due to their race or ethnicity 65% of Asian-American and Asian respondents said they felt that their “accent” or English Fluency adversely affected their college experience 90% of Asian-American and Asian students were less than confident with speaking aloud and participating in group discussions 45% of Asian students stated they were not comfortable talking to Asian- American Students ADC FOCUS GROUP
  21. 21. Informal survey conducted with 28 Asian and Asian-American Students participating in Asian Diversity Club (2013) 85% of Asian and Asian-American students responding stated that parental pressure is the largest source of stress. This was followed by: financial pressure, academic pressures and culture shock 92% of Asian-Americans said they felt they are often portrayed as a “foreigner” ADC FOCUS GROUP
  22. 22. Top Issues Below the Surface • Familial Pressure • Financial Stress • Expectations from American peers, instructors to live up to the “Model Minority” profile • Culture Shock/Acculturative Stress
  23. 23. “Perpetual Foreigner” Historical perceptions in “Orientalism” permeate pop culture as well as professional spaces. Regardless of how long or how assimilated, Asians and Asian-Americans are perceived as the “other” or “exotic” more than any other group (Li-Chi Wang, 1991)
  24. 24. Asian Stereotypes vs. Shared cultural themes What does “Model Minority” mean? Model minority refers to a minority group (whether ethnic, racial, or religious) in certain countries whose members are most often perceived to achieve a higher degree of success than the population average. This success is typically measured in income, education, and related factors such as low crime rate and high family stability.” (wikipedia.org, 2014)
  25. 25. From their voices… “College people and students would initially get disappointed with me because I couldn’t go to after-hour events and parties. My parents would not allow that and I chose to respect that. I am a proud American, but ‘Asian’ too” - Reena, 1st Generation Asian American Student (majoring in Biology, Recipient of Cyclone Pride Award)
  26. 26. “Model Minority” Myth The term was coined in 1966 in the New York Times to describe Asian Americans, “who despite marginalization, have achieved success”. Only a small number of Japanese immigrants were studied. Racially divisive: Many credit the creation of this myth by the establishment during the civil rights movement as a way to affirm that “anyone can make it” and maintain status quo (Chou, The Myth of the Model Minority: Asian Americans Facing Racism) Assimilated as a “favorable” stereotype by some
  27. 27. “Model Minority” Myth “I am fed-up with being stereotyped as subhuman or superhuman creature. It. Some are superachievers, most are average citizens and a few are criminals. They are only human– no more and no less” - Phillip Chie, Asian-American Writer
  28. 28. “Model Minority” Myth Negative Consequences • Alienation/Struggle • At-risk students hidden by assumptions of heterogeneity in ethnic groups • Assumed as passive, not leadership material • Unreasonable expectations and higher standards • Racism that occurs to Asians is perceived as “less important” • Harassment and bullying • Organizations miss out on diverse talent/contributions • Higher rates of stress, depression and suicide attempts*
  29. 29. “Model Minority” Myth Negative Consequences With one of the lowest rates of seeking professional help, these all become major contributors to what makes suicide the third leading cause of death among Asian American young adults (Centers for Disease Control, 2007)
  30. 30. “Bamboo Ceiling” • Hidden unemployment and discrimination • Students face stereotypes, assumptions and pressures about career paths (internally and externally) • Advancement into higher level managerial positions requires more education and more hours from Asian-Americans • Job Seekers must learn to promote themselves in unique ways, set boundaries, and adopt “American” style communication techniques (Jayne Hyun, Breaking Bamboo Ceiling, 2006)
  31. 31. Body Language Traditional Themes Changing Archetypes • Collectivism vs. Individualism • Hierarchy • Respect • Deference to Authority • Face/Shame Issues • Careful deliberation (Jayne Hyun, Breaking Bamboo Ceiling, 2007)
  32. 32. Individualism/Collectivism • Collectivism: Group goals and needs ahead of own personal desires. • Awareness of social order and hierarchy. • A tradition of deference to authority Collectivism/Hierarchy Traditions
  33. 33. Individualism/Collectivism • Concept ʺto save face.ʺ In Japan, this concept is called kao; in Korea, it is kibun. In Pakistan, “sharam” is a similar concept. • For one person to have their face challenged by another can cause embarrassment and anger. • Asians may carefully consider all possible implications of a decision. They are also unlikely to chastise someone in front of another person. • Praise may cause embarrassment if it is going to seem to separate that person from the group. • Difficulty in accepting help Themes of “Saving Face”
  34. 34. “Culture Shock” for Asian Students Communication Issues: • Student says “I understand” even if they don’t: cultural expectation to please the instructor/elder • Discomfort speaking up (it takes practice) • Worries that accent will not be understand • Fear or making mistakes in English
  35. 35. Communication Issues • Many Asian speakers prefer indirect communication, which is often simply a form of politeness • Silence and Interruptions • Expressing feelings vs. mindful expression • Non-verbal expressions • Tone
  36. 36. Body Language • Handshake • Proximity/Privacy • Eye Contact • Adapting cultural norms • Pointing feet considered rude Communication/Body Language
  37. 37. “Culture Shock” • Acculturative Stress is known as “culture shock” • It is a learning process of cross-cultural adaptation • Temporary (generally) • Can be maladaptive or positive (Miranda van Tilburg, Psychological Aspects of Geographical Moves: Homesickness, 2007)
  38. 38. “Culture Shock” for Asian Students Food-Related Issues: • American foods often heavier than Asian foods • In many areas, no Asian supermarkets • Young students in the U.S. may rely on fast foods • Rapid change in diet can lead to weight gain, health problems, psychological issues
  39. 39. “Culture Shock” for Asian Students In Asian Cities… •Public transit plentiful •Motorbikes common •Rarely a lack of transportation at any income level (taxi, bicycle, walking) In the US… •Public transit limited •Cars too expensive for many students •Motorbikes stigmatized as “dangerous” •Distances between home, school, shopping can be greater than expected Transportation Issues:
  40. 40. “Culture Shock” for Asian Students • Pronunciation challenges differ greatly by language background – Some common examples: “L” and “R” reversal; Difficulty enunciating all syllables of a word; “S” sound • Tips for Instructors: – Educate yourself to the basics of your students’ language to better understand reasons for common mistakes – Learn your students’ names! They are learning English; you can make the effort to pronounce their names correctly. English as a Second Language Issues
  41. 41. “Culture Shock” for Asian Students • Common Issues: – Unrealistic expectations of how much coursework is feasible: • What is a normal course load in the student’s home country? • What is your college’s policy on taking a heavy course load? – Teaching Asian students the value of extracurricular activities: • In the U.S., extracurriculars contribute to future success • Importance of relationship-building through activities Adjusting to the U.S. Education System
  42. 42. Stereotypes and Cultural themes Chua contrasts them with the view she labels “Western” – that a child’s self-esteem is paramount.
  43. 43. Stereotypes vs. Cultural Themes
  44. 44. Engagement Strategies Encourage organizations Conversation partners Mentors Cultural Events
  45. 45. Campus Asian Organizations Asian and Asian-American students indicated that ethnic student organizations constituted critical venues for: • Cultural familiarity/validation • Vehicles for cultural expression and advocacy • Opportunities to socialize and find meaningful resources for personal and professional development Engagement Strategies Asian Diversity Club, Moraine Valley Community College Reestablished in 2011
  46. 46. Engagement Strategies & Success Asian Diversity Club 2012-2014 Moraine Valley Community College Members and Recent Graduates Best New Club Award 2011 Outstanding Club and Leadership Awards 2012
  47. 47. • Panel Discussions • Parent/Student Day • Conversation Partners • Career Mentors • Career Coach speaker • Field Trips • Partnership with other campus departments and colleges • Body Language workshops • “American Style Resumes/Interviewing” workshops • Asian Heritage Day • Food/Culture Events • Community Volunteerism • Leadership Activities • Class Presentations Ambassadors • Private & Public Facebook Group Engagement Strategies Asian Diversity Club
  48. 48. Engagement Activities
  49. 49. Student Thoughts on Engagement “I feel I really developed important leadership and communication skills that gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. Volunteering really opened my eyes. The club gave me a safe place to talk about these issues” -Maggie Ye, Student Employee Business Major from China
  50. 50. Student Thoughts on Engagement “Having the opportunity to work on campus really taught me about professionalism in the American workplace, but I also felt like I was apart of something bigger. I think working on campus, being part of a club and learning to celebrate my culture made me a better student and a person” Shilpa Verma, Medical Coding Major from India
  51. 51. Student Thoughts on Engagement “As President of ADC and as a pretty outgoing person, I learned a lot about leadership in America and how to work with international students. ADC and ISA was like a family to me. I also found the Job Resource Center’s connections to be valuable as I pursue my degree in Engineering” Nikhit Busi, Engineer Major from India/Canada
  52. 52. Engagement Strategies How can we ALL better engage with our Asian and Asian-American students?
  53. 53. Student Success “Asian Diversity Club “I joined Asian Diversity Club because I was looking for a space to be myself and meet diverse people…. Through the club and my classes, I overcame my shyness and spoke in front of hundreds of people during commencement. Going forward, I feel much more confident and hopeful!” - Eliza Ikiz, ADC Secretary, Commencement Student Speaker, 2014 (Turkish-American)
  54. 54. Student Success
  55. 55. • Provide training for instructors/staff about Asian cultural and communication styles to foster more engagement • Instructors should provide more presentations/lectures available on Blackboard or Youtube. • Instructors should not put a lot of emphasis on assertive speaking style. • Advertising should include more Asian people. • Involve parents and families in social events to educate them • Hold more social events on a regular basis within Asian groups but also with other groups. • Talk about stress effects and resources. ADC Student Suggestions
  56. 56. Other Strategies for Educators • Develop broad and individual understanding of students • Learn how ESL students process language and learn • Reduce stress of group work by holding more ice breakers • Do not assume students do not need support • Advocate for scholarships and minority benefits • Help students integrate community and institutional messages • Assist students in identifying allies in the community/institution • Highlight ways students can challenge racism and stereotypes (Wayne Au, Strategies for Teaching: Rethinking Multicultural Education, 2009)
  57. 57. •Seek to understand •Use active listening skills •Try to find the common connection •It takes work! Do your homework •Get to know the individual •Assess needs/areas of improvement Cultural Competence
  58. 58. Questions?
  59. 59. Eliza Plous plouse@morainevalley.edu 708-974-5540 Tamima Farooqui farooquit@morainevalley.edu 708-974-5313
  60. 60. Suggested Readings • Rosalind Chou, The Myth of the Model Minority • Mia Tuan, Forever Foreigners or Honorary Whites? • Samuel D. Museus, Asian American Students in Higher Education • Jayne Hyun, Breaking Bamboo Ceiling

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