In Robert Lee’s “Cold War Construction of the Model Minority Myth,” he writes that Asian Americans were more likely to fit in a white-dominant society because Asian Americans were not Blacks. He writes “Asian Americans were ‘not black’ in 2 significant ways: they were politically silent and ethnically assimilable” (145). I never thought about the Model Minority Myth as a product of the Cold War and the ideologies that “Whites” tries to counter. I had always assumed that Asians were the model minority based strictly on their academic performance but Lee makes an interesting and pithy argument. The story of the model minority,” he argues, was to counter the “red menace of communism,” “the black menace of race mixing,” and the “white menace of homosexuality” (146). I looked up some articles to go with these arguments and I found this article: http://diverseeducation.com/article/52979/#.

This article is titled “The Model Minority Myth: What 50 Years of Research Does and Does Not Tell Us” by Dr. Nicholas D. Hartlep. He critiques the idea that Asian Americans were recognized solely by their academic achievements such as stereotypically high SAT’s, subservience, and high GPA’s. Because Asian Americans possessed these quintessential qualities, Hartlep argues that Asian Americans were branded as the model minority because the United States were “trying to shift” negative attention away from itself. In other words, Asian Americans were the intentional brand of model minority and constructed during the Cold War because they did not see African Americans as assimilable. This aligns with Lee’s argument who wrote Asian Americans were the intentional brand of a model minority and constructed during the Cold War because they did not see African Americans as assimilable. As Hartlep puts it “it was not their (African Americans) fate.” Lee also mentioned certain ideologies such as “communism” and other social stigmas such as “race mixing” and “homosexuality.” Therefore, I think this article is a good resource to help us understand Lee’s “Cold War Construction of the Model Minority Myth.”

In David Palumbo-Liu’s “War, the Homeland, and the Traces of Memory,” he writes “America’s interest in the Sino-Japanese War, it’s war in the Pacific (and it’s postwar relations in that area), it’s concern with China’s and Taiwan’s position in the Cold War, its wars in Korea and Indochina, have all affected Asian Americans profoundly, both in terms of Asians already in America and Asians who migrated to the United States” (218). He links war to how Asian Americans may have remembered their feelings tied to either their homeland, their identity, or the question of citizenship. In all these instances, Liu writes that perhaps Asian Americans had to remember differently as a result of the wars the United States wages. Because of how the United States acted in either their mother country or “ethnic” country, perhaps some Asians had to purposefully forget what they once had close and perhaps that sentiment really was important to the Asian Americans who may have felt displaced from their identity, their homes, and their idea of belonging or “citizenship” – something that had always been contested by United States’ legislation.

These videos/trailers highlight some of the sentiment Asian Americans want to remember or had to forget: http://caamfest.com/2013/films/memories-to-light/ and http://caamfest.com/2013/films/memory-of-forgotten-war/. These videos talk about keeping the memories alive in a racially torn decision to remember being American or remember their home or “ethnic” country. I think it’s interesting to see the compilations.

Discussion Questions:

1. What other forms of media can we use to keep the memory alive?