Busting the “model minority” myth: Academic performance and substance use varies widely across Asian American youth ethnicity and sexual orientation

Date
2023
Authors
Russell, Stephen T.
McCurdy, Amy L.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center
Abstract
Description
Asian Americans are often characterized as a “model minority,” uniformly high‐performing and hardworking people who have achieved success despite systemic racism and disenfranchisement. This model minority stereotype influences the way people think about Asian American youth, who are seen as “problem free,” and therefore assumed to be high-achieving and less likely to use substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana. This stereotype obscures diversity within Asian American groups. In this brief, PRC faculty scholar Stephen Russell and former PRC postdoctoral fellow Amy McCurdy explore how the multiple identities and experiences of Asian American youth intersect to impact their academic performance and substance use. They found that academic performance and substance use outcomes for Asian American youth varied widely across their ethnicity, sexual orientation, and experiences of bias-based bullying. Thus, Asian American youth are often treated as a single high-achieving group, yet that view overlooks diversity among Asian American youth, many of whom need support for academic success and health behaviors that they do not currently receive. The authors argue that to minimize the negative impact of bias-based bullying, schools should implement or strengthen school practices and policies that promote school safety and the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and all students.
Citation
Russell, S.T., & McCurdy, A.L. (2023). Busting the “model minority” myth: Academic performance and substance use varies widely across Asian American youth ethnicity and sexual orientation. PRC Research Brief 8(7).