A call for solidarity by Sara Carminati

Join the
Model Minority Mutiny

Stand Against Racism in All Forms

Resistance Auntie drawing by shing yin khor

Content warning:
anti-Asian racism and hate crimes, anti-Black racism

I’ve seen the model minority myth deployed to diminish the severity of recent violent hate crimes against elders in our community. While I’m Asian American and white, people tend to think I’m anything but—and because I have access to certain spaces due to how I look, what’s affected me most as this wave of hate crimes proceeds is that I’ve heard this kind of rhetoric coming from both white people and other BIPOC. It hurts to see our communities fail to stand together. So let’s be clear.

The model minority myth is propaganda that was created to forward both anti-Blackness and anti-Asian racism.

The idea of the model minority has its roots in anti-Blackness. It was created during the Civil Rights Era in order to undermine Black Americans’ efforts to expose the systemic racism they’ve endured and survived for 400 years.

In 1965 the Immigration and Nationality Act replaced the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924 (and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882), which had first banned and then strictly limited Asian immigration to preserve American homogeneity (read: whiteness). With this change, US immigration policy suddenly shifted from severely prohibiting Asian immigration to giving preference to well-educated and skilled workers. The point was to favor professionalized immigrants who would perform economically. Thus Asian Americans suddenly began to look more economically successful.

The model minority myth is propaganda that was created to forward both anti-Blackness and anti-Asian racism.

Our response to this moment cannot be to call for further policing, which we know harms the Black community.

The legendary Resistance Auntie drawing is by the artist shing yin khor. The term “Model Minority Mutiny” was coined by Soya Jung, and I am grateful to the activists Michelle Kim, Amanda Ngyuen, Liz Kleinrock, Kim Saira, and David Yi, whose recent work has contributed to my thinking above. I welcome comments and corrections on this post from BIPOC.

sara mmm social 3
sara mmm social 1
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I believe that storytelling is one of our greatest tools to advance justice, belonging, and joy. In Kochiyama’s words, “Consciousness is power.” I’ve included here a reading list of 1) the articles that have most helped me understand this current wave of anti-Asian racism and 2) my all-time favorite books about the Asian American experience. This selection is in no way comprehensive, but rather what has spoken to me.