White Americans often use Asian Americans as examples of the “model minority,” a reference to the perception that they are high achievers relative to other American ethnic groups.
Anil Dash, an Indian American and co-founder of social media analytics company ThinkUp, put out a series of tweets challenging the thinking behind that trope. Asian Americans aren’t just model minorities, he argues. Data show that they have surpassed white Americans in so many ways that Asian Americans could talk about white Americans as disparagingly as white Americans talk about the country’s black population.
Asian American men and women both earn more than their white counterparts:
Young Asian Americans, those between ages 25-29, are better educated than white Americans (these data also include Hispanics who also identify as white or black in those categories).
A 2009 report (pdf, pg. 3) from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) found that a smaller share of Asian Americans were incarcerated compared to the share of white Americans. In this case, the Asian American category includes people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. By more recent estimates, white Americans, including Hispanics who identify as white, made up 78% of the US population in 2013 and 59% of the US federal inmate population in 2015, while Asian Americans made up 5.3% of the US population in 2013 and 1.5% of the federal inmate population. (The sentencing rate within an ethnic community does not necessarily reflect the level of violence within that group.)
Asian Americans don’t blame “white culture” for individual crimes among white people, Dash points out. So why do white Americans blame crime among black people on “black culture”?