The two articles assigned for this week discuss in great detail the Asian American as a dichotomy of the Asian American model minority and the Asian American unassimilable immigrant. The model minority is a representation of a good immigrant living in a first world nation. For example, Palumbo-Liu and Lee both reference how this identity was given because the North Eastern Asian population living in the U.S. had these traits: Self reliance, family cohesion, good work ethic and emphasis on higher education, politically silent and emotionally calm. They also demonstrate the opposite side of the coin with the image of the unassimilable Asian as unwanted refugees and political scapegoats which varied depending on the years. We have this dynamic where the authors describe the Asian populations as both beloved and hated.
Many times, Lee describes the Asian in America “as the model of successful “ethnic assimilation” [that] was created in the crisis of racial policy that had surfaced at the highest levels of the federal government” (150) while Palumbo-Liu says “America’s “super minority”: They are smarter and better educated and make more money than everyone else. Now they are vaulting the last obstacles that stand between them and this country’s corner offices” (236). Then we have Lee describing their identity historical as “imperative to place all Asian migration, forced or not, under the same processes of assimilation and social subjectivity, despite tremendous historical differences” (235) or face racial discrimination and possible deportation, and Palumbo-Liu similarly “the historical reality of race in America as compelling logic for limiting civil rights into the economic sphere” (150) that developed the perspective with which Asian were often times viewed based on past events.
The two texts equally used various examples to support their works. Everything from news correspondences and political campaigning to movies and television was utilized. Both Palumbo and Lee referenced films and broke them down in summary with commentary on what scenes and character interactions represented the ‘Asian American’ as well as delving into the topics of American perspectives of Asians and Asian Americans during relevant time periods. We had, particularly in Lee’s writings, the association of not only the Asian American and its duality, but also the mentions of many other fears that his movies examples highlighted. There were correlations the films had with anti-communist believes as well as the prevalence of homophobia and its developing social context. These two pieces were both linked with the ideas of discussing the Asian American image and the integration within the U.S. in the context of socially relevant circumstances.