All posts by jessicahhui

Blog Post 4: RBA Planning

My research question inquires into the origins of the “model minority” thesis and its effects on Asian Americans.

The model minority phenomenon asserts that Asian Americans are the most successful minority group in terms of academic and financial achievement. Their success is greatly due to their supposed cultural values of obedience, respect of authority, industry, and emphasis on education. However, research shows that Asian Americans as a whole are perhaps not as successful as depicted. I hypothesize that the goal of this misinformation is to manipulate the image of Asian Americans and further a white agenda. Asian Americans act as pawns in the objective of denigrating other minority groups, while also bastardizing Asian culture. In this way, society’s subtle racism towards Asian Americans can be linked to the overt racism of other minority groups, such as blacks and Hispanics.

Road map: In my RBA, I plan to further examine how my hypothesis plays into higher education and affirmative action, as well as career choices and salaries. Additionally, I plan to analyze the origins of the model minority myth in order to better understand the purpose of this perpetuated myth. Civil rights movements of blacks and Hispanics will also be mentioned to explain context and provide contrast to Asian Americans.




Link to infographic:

I received feedback mostly mostly about clarifying certain concepts. In order to fully delve into the arguments of my topic, I had to set a better foundation that defined “affirmative action” and gave some historical context. In order to make a successful argument, I have to define the explicit goals of affirmative action. I also had to explain to a greater extent what the evident I presented meant. Once I gave more context to the original problem, I was better able to support my argument and refute counterarguments.

My main research question is understanding how Asian Americans are discriminated in the college admissions process. I’m asking whether this is true and by which mechanisms discrimination occurs, especially in terms of the role of affirmative action. My tentative mechanism is that Asian Americans are led to believe affirmative action is culpable for their discrimination, but in fact, the preservation of high numbers of white students in universities actually has a larger effect.

Intriguing Activism Movements


Coalition of Immokalee Workers: I would research the methodology used to create change in improving wages and working conditions for growers of large retail food chains and supermarkets


Pebble Mine: There are valid arguments for those for and against the building of the gold-rich mine in Alaska. I would analyze the rhetoric of both sides.


AIDS Activism: I would focus on how activists helped change the perception of AIDS and how they created greater focus on AIDS treatment and healthcare.


Activism against Sexual Assault on Universities: I would argue that activism has only been low to moderately effective in reshaping the perception/gravity of sexual assault and punishing the assailants


Activism against Affirmative Action in Universities:

Many white and Asian Americans feel that affirmative action favors underqualified minority groups in university admission and purposefully discriminates against Asian Americans and whites. These claims have even led to lawsuits against universities like Harvard and UNC at Chapel Hill. I think first it is necessary to examine whether there is validity to these claims.

Some arguments point out that Asian Americans are not just one monolithic community whose members all hold the stereotype of being financially well-off and high-achievers. After delving into the history of affirmative action, I would examine whether affirmative action actually produces its intended results and whether the negative repercussions outweigh its successes. Without having done much research, at this point I hypothesize that more transparency in the process of university admission can help reduce the adverse effects of affirmative action. I think this topic can also extend itself to the debate whether minority groups such as blacks and Latinos are still under subjugation in today’s America. In other words, it is controversial whether minority groups are subjected the same disadvantages as they were in the past.

Activism: The New Branding?

In Chapter 5 of “Activism!: Direct Action, Hacktivism and the Future of Society”, the author Tim Jordan inadvertently brings to attention the brilliance of large corporations’ marketing scheme. After years of protest against Nike’s use of sweatshops to manufacture its products, Nike, facing heavy critique especially from cultural jammers, began to post provocative messages and “jam their own billboards” (Jordan, 112). Slogans like “The most offensive boots we’ve ever made” were plastered for the public, and Nike began to copy cultural jammer’s own techniques of pasting their own messages over distasteful advertisements. But Nike did not stop there. It was claimed that Nike even commissioned writers to post criticisms of the company. The whole issue became so complex that it became difficult to discern genuine activism from calculated publicity stunts.

It truly is clever for these large corporations to take public condemnation and make it work for them. How much more attention did Nike get as a result of this campaign? More importantly, how many more satisfying clinks to Nike’s coffers were heard as a result? At the end of the day, this is what matters most. But it is a terrifying thought that corporations can now counterfeit activism or provoke activism from the public in order to be more noticed. This makes me wonder if we need to be more mindful before we snatch up our pitchforks and protest signs and head to the rally we heard about through Facebook, before we share articles on social media about the injustices of companies as a show of solidarity. Maybe this is exactly what the company wants. Has activism become a vehicle for marketing?