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A For Average, B For Bad: Behind The Model Minority Myth | NBC Asian America

2020 7/24
A For Average, B For Bad: Behind The Model Minority Myth | NBC Asian America

What happens when academic success is tied to identity? Harvard alum Shannen Kim shares her story about the pressures associated with the “model minority” label in academia.
Learn More: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/behind-model-minority-myth-why-studious-asian-stereotype-hurts-n792926
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A For Average, B For Bad: Behind The Model Minority Myth | NBC Asian America

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  • Colin Snider says:

    I’m from a white middle class family and my parents had the same expectations. B+ was unacceptable. I’m kind of grateful my parents pushed me because it got me a full scholarship for undergrad and into an elite law school. I would not have done that on my own, so it’s not all bad!

    • Asmobia says:

      You are smart, disciplined and hard-working so you survived.

      Assuming you were half smart as you are, couldn’t study hard due to health condition (constant headache, maybe), but your parents still forced you to do what you have achieved today, what would happen?

      I can tell you what would happen, my classmate ended his life at 17; he would be top 1% if he went to a high school in US, unfortunately he was born in east Asia, where he had other 50+ classmates to compete with and each of them is slightly better than him.

      He played piano very well and could speak three foreign languages, however his parents expected him to be good at math (please understand the definition of “good at math” in east Asia). He constantly fails his parents, his teachers and himself; he was good at something else but nobody cared, eventually he found there was nothing to live so he jumped at 17.

      You may wonder why a talented kid like him was rejected? Well, the fact is there are billions people in my country competing with very limited resource so somebody MUST FAIL. Under this circumstance, our education system is not to encourage you but to discourage you. The exam questions are as hard/meaningless as possible. I remember they asked me how many people died in a specific war… how can I remember the numbers of casualties in a stupid war? Well, somebody can, so they go to good colleges, I don’t.

  • ming miric says:

    it’s confucianism. especially, korean, japanese,chinese~

  • SPG says:

    and thats why asian girls have the highest suicide rate

  • Max Powder says:

    Asians made education over rated!

  • stan frymann says:

    Ha, ha. You can be anything you want to be. A doctor with any specialty. A lawyer in any field. An engineer of any kind. Anything you want to be!

  • Pun Lam says:

    It would be nice to hear from Asian drifters about how wonderful and meaningful their lives have been.

  • Never lose sleep over the small stuff says:

    My mom was happy if I got a 70 and gave me ice cream if I got a 80. If I got a 60 my parents told me to try again. I enjoyed school. Met good friends, parties, lots of smashing, lots of travel, and worked as a clerk as a pt time. I never cried over a bad grade nor have I ever been escorted out of the library screaming like a few students. I am happy making 15K living abroad bouncing around from country to country. Been doing it for 10 years and will do it for another 10 years. I enjoy life and live it. I think highest grade I ever got was a 88 which my parents tossed me a G party

  • Electro_Yellow says:

    It’s not a myth it’s the true the truth for many Asians and also many other families from different races.

  • V Llly says:

    Its sad how the parents who are supose to support and love you no matter what can easliy mess up your childhood and create unbalanced adults…

  • Michigan USA/Singapore S.E.Asia says:

    A must watch video from an Asia https://youtu.be/a5uqNhfNHL8

  • Eric says:

    Yet Asians still get discriminated at Ivys

  • Michael Gray says:

    Asians without A:s = Sins

  • perfectsplit says:

    While co-teaching 6th grade math class in a Hispanic-majority school, I saw that the lone Oriental boy in the class was always the first to solve the primary teacher’s class problems. All the other kids kept saying, “What???!!! How does he keep doing that?” I was loving every minute of it.

  • perfectsplit says:

    Orientals get the best grades, earn the most money, and have a lower rate of divorce in their families. Orientals are an asset to society. The irony is that Orientals get subjected to the most racial harassment and bullying in adolescent society. Black kids, white kids, and Hispanic kids all gang up on Oriental kids and bully them in school.

  • Bob Saget says:

    Not only does she have to help herself, but she also has to explain the way she feels to her parents. Who also have to be willing to change. Otherwise she will have this constant pressure from them in her life to be perfect at everything in life. And that is not a healthy way to live.

  • hejiranyc says:

    This piece is utterly pointless. This is not an Asian American story. This is an every kid story. A girl goes to high school and becomes a big fish in a little pond. Then she goes to college and is just another nondescript little fish. The girl graduates and doesn’t know what to do with her life. Then she goes to medical school. Zzzzzz….

  • Gray- says:

    This is one of the reasons why there are “too many” asians in top colleges and why affirmative action should be gone

  • Christian Rodier says:

    It only talked about one person. Not great

  • Lee says:

    Still not happy? In the end you ain’t even the top, you should thank your parents for their effort. You are just selfish.

  • Ella Chapman says:

    The issue is is that people are subconsciously taught to tie their self worth to their grades.

  • Lord Baelish says:

    Remember kids, College one of Americans greatest Scam.

  • do rae mon says:

    I felt that

  • Jaybriel Akoi says:

    Wow, I’m a complete failure compared to this chick. And here she is talking about how hard life is for her. Lol.

  • Jaybriel Akoi says:

    Bwuahh ha ha, I prayed to have this girls problems growing up. It must be hard being so accomplished.

  • Meng Jiang says:

    Asian parents express love through expressing expectations that as a family, the kids will do better than the last generation. It is NOT one sided. My mom put me through a private high school by cleaning houses and the expectation was that they would sell the house to get me to college. I couldn’t comprehend some of my high school friends who were solidly middle class who’s parents wouldn’t do the same when they got into Harvard. Different values. Also this girl is super privileged, she is choosing between medicine or something else that makes her happy. If she ended up as an underachiever, i doubt she would have such choice, nor is she guaranteed to be more happy if she didn’t go to Harvard.

  • vela890713 says:

    I love the honesty.. she is Harvard educated and still has anxiety about her decisions 🌹

  • 조일현 says:

    Because of systematic racism in the states asians have to get better grades than other people to get to the same universities so even if a B can be acceptable to other people, for asians it is bad.

  • Eric x says:

    That A “B” is an asian “F” is why we are so successful. Grades are not arbitrary. These are just Asians who are poisoned by lo faan millennial nonsense.

  • Kevin Huang says:

    Heh heh heh. When I hear the words “model
    minority”, I just hear the “model” part and not the “minority” part. I am an Asian American hard driving grades and study nerd, and I have spent my career teaching mainly nonAsians how to get their best grades and performances. Obviously not all my students (myself included) can get an A every time, but my commitment and effort to doing a good job is always there. When I have taught students, they’ve always been motivated to work hard but their main impediment is that they usually don’t BELIEVE they are capable of being the best they can be. It’s my job as an educator to instill that a person should try to be the best he can be and not sell himself short – but also not be unrealistic about one’s abilities either.

  • CarbOnl y says:

    Immigrant parents could honestly be reported for abuse sometimes but either their children brag about it or they say nothing about it

  • Popuko says:

    If I dont get the A. I dont get to eat the dog.

  • Frank Martinez says:

    1920 Chinese were used to lay railroads in California and killed or deported to Mexico or South America and Japanese Americans served in World War Two and still treated as trump treats immigrants. Reality sucks.

  • Frank Chan says:

    And yet, we don’t see them in upper management in any companies, hedge funds, successful investors, nor great start ups…strange!?!?

  • dvdgalutube says:

    I hate the term “model minority”. It’s such a discriminatory term that seems to have a hidden meaning to dividing up all minorities to compete each other. It’s a disgrace.

  • Long Le says:

    To be honest there’s a sense of truth in this interview, I would say there’s truth that Asian parents really push their children toward academic success. Although the one thing that really put their children’s down are that they show very little caring for their feelings. I say because I’m an Asian myself, both my parents and I are legal imma grant to the U.S from Vietnam. Hence by going to the U.S they left alot of things back, including status, wealth and even family, because both of my parents wanted me and my baby sister to have the best opportunities for our future as possible. They are often very busy working and are often too tire to speak with me about other thing that I like, most of the time I would come and give them hugs and asking how was their day going, but the question that frequently come first is how are with school, how was you grade, how are you doing in classes. I know that they’re just concern with how my schooling goes, but I would get nervous telling them that I’m not doing that well, so the response had been like so so, or I’m doing well, but I know that they know that I’m not doing well. Rarely they would ask me what I wanted to do later in life, this question would often gave me many doubts because they never thought or haven’t really thought that I am interested in joining the arm forces, even more so that I was leaning very much towards the Marine Corps. Why? Because it’s some thing that really tug a string in me that this something I really am interested in. Learning about the many things Marines did in the history of the U.S and on news, gave me a sense of how much honnors they have. It’s very inspiring for a teenager who really has not much going for him. I’m 19 at this point and getting both my parents to accept my decision was a very nerve racking, but they both had suspect that I wanted to become a Marine in the past. Yes there were some opposition but they finally thing is time for me to choose what I want to do for my future, they trusted me in God’s hands and my decision for myself, and I can’t say how glad I am to hear that from them. Honestly I don’t think my parents are any different from other parents they just want the best for their children because the love’s for your child soooo wonderful. I know this is a wonderful thing GOD had put onto every parents.

  • Coco Black says:

    NBC attacks Asian culture (which focus on Self-Reliance and education) for their own ideology. SHAME ON YOU.

  • ジャレッドクシュナー says:

    Her effort and hard work is what drives this country forward.

  • Hyun says:

    What a great story msybe try being. President

  • Rko Singh says:

    Andrew Yang Andrew Yang Andrew Yang

  • Michigan USA/Singapore S.E.Asia says:

    She is from Harvard College not Harvard University

    • J N says:

      They are the same!!!

    • Michigan USA/Singapore S.E.Asia says:

      No they are not silly. Harvard College offers a four-year undergraduate, liberal arts program for students seeking their first degree. Slightly different in academics and degree level

  • Vote for Andrew Yang 2020 says:

    Problems faced by or will be faced by America are also faced by other countries. If America elects Andrew Yang as president and transforms USA it will serve as an example for the rest of the world and have world wide percussions . I m not an American I literally count on you guys to help me to have a UBI equivalent here.

  • steve beineke says:

    It isn’t where you go to school or even how well you did in school. It is what you afterwards that counts. My cousin’s son taught stats at Stanford and he commented that a person could go right down the road to San Jose State University and get just as good of a education as one could get Stanford.

  • Dan L says:

    Oh pleeeeaaasse cry me a river fellow asian Americans. You know that’s not a REAL struggle. That the equivalent first world problems. Oh boohoo I went to Harvard and I got a D what will I ever do? Is she really struggling? Can you honestly tell me she’s really struggling? You know what struggle is? Growing up under broken, drug ridden, alcoholic dad, extreme poverty, I mean I can go on and on. I feel like a lot of my fellow Asian bros and sisters are whining a little too hard. I’m not trying to downplay the tiger parent struggles but c’mon there are some REAL struggles out there. A lot of children would love to live under tiger parents instead of drug addicts, alcoholics, physically abusive parents. I know plenty of fellow asians who grew up under tiger parents and as adults now they are doing just fine. Great careers, a family, wealth and a strong discipline in life overall. The most damage you can do to children is neglect.

  • IndigoBellyDance says:

    This is the mindset of the medical community. ‘Seriously the Dr or nurse or therapist u see has this mindset. It is also the mindset of professional dancers Only way to be a professional dancer is to b in first place. ‘If you ain’t First you’re last’ Ricky Bobby

  • Brian Moon says:

    It’s not necessarily Immigrant mindset cuz I rarely see Hispanics excel in school and STEM majors. It’s more cultural where Asian especially East Asian countries like Korea, Chin, Taiwan, HK, etc where education is highly valued. In contrast, White parents will be happy their child got a B or even ‘passed’ a class. African Americans, unless you’re a rare unicorn like the Obamas, you’re more likely ending up in prison before u enter college or getting pregnant with baby daddies out of wedlock cuz apparently that’s what’s cool in ThUg culture

  • cheffo says:

    I was already expecting long comments before clicking on this video

  • Khatib HI says:

    Yeah i felt it, so hard to be asian

  • Rou says:

    Most Asian parent aren’t as extreme as they’re described as. Many are extreme, but most are pretty cool. Almost all of them are tough on grades, but most aren’t hardcore A+ only parents.

  • TribecaSam says:

    Good luck Dr. Kim!

  • Hung Vu says:

    Asian never die

  • Pmoose Travern says:

    This speaks to me. If I get an A my parent would say, “why did you not get A+?”

    And yes, both my parents are European immigrants.

    • sx3todd says:

      PMoose Traven asian here and this reminds me of when i was growing up. whenever i got an A, my mom would go, “good. i expected you to.” but if i got a B, it’s “you’re slacking and i’m disappointed.”

      a C would mean “you’re on your way to living on the streets by the time you graduate from high school” 🤪🤪🤪

  • My Opinion says:

    I’m a tiger parent but once I threw myself in college, the stress and blood pressure… I laughed and turned to my children and say, “LOOK. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO TO COLLEGE. JUST TRY TO MAKE IT IN LIVE YOUR LIFE AND BE HAPPY!” HAHAHA.

  • Manuel Moraleda says:

    I’m very glad that you expressed interest in Psychiatry. There are lots of challenges there to keep you busy and hopefully fulfilled.
    You’re just smarter than most and you got to accept that.

  • Ashutosh Sharma says:

    The problem is…. Asian parents tend to live vicariously through the accomplishments of their children. When Asians come as immigrants to America, the struggle of starting a new life and a general Asian bias combined, they feel unable to rise commiserate with their caliber in their careers…. Which they feel, that their kids should have and take advantage of from the beginning to not land up where their parents are. There is so much more to the world than just achievements in work.

  • You Need Jesus says:

    Just do the best you can.

  • Kelvynn Lee says:

    D? Didn’t study hard enough. Unless that class was base on curve, there was no reason for the D. She probably smart but maybe she just wasn’t Harvard material.

  • Translator says:

    I’m (east) Asian and…….I didn’t have tiger parents…..I did have decentish grades but not impressive though.

  • John Kenneth says:

    This is mainly do to Asian culture. In Korea, everyone is smart like this because of culture expectations. Their parents push their kids harder and harder and the average keeps going up and up, and some students can’t even keep up with school. Even if you have A in the class, you might not be average. Because of that finding a job is extremely competitive, and the suicide rates are the highest in the world.

  • freepointsgals says:

    What myth? This is the most stereotypical version of Asian. At least the got some good stereotypes.

  • Sweaty Coups says:

    It’s more of an immigrant mindset because as minorities we don’t have opportunities in, ironically, the land of opportunity. We have to work hard to get to where we are. We can’t slack off because we know we will instantly be judged for it even if we are smarter than most people. Our immigrant parents have suffered and sacrificed so much for us. We have to work hard and get an excellent education for our life to be worthwhile. I guess we are kind of used to it now.

  • Men, Toys, and Outdoors says:

    Going to med school is still within that model minority scene…

  • Alice in Payne says:

    SAD LIFE… 😭😭😭

  • Nakishaa John Williams says:

    Jennifer Pan

  • Smart_ Duckie_ says:

    dad: Are you a doctor?

    kid: no im 12

    dad: talk to me in 20 years

  • Master Daniel M. GODLIKE says:

    C is for?

    • 럼레이즌 says:

      C is Completely ruined

  • PRS World says:

    Applaud for editing of video and she just talk about wht real socializing is …
    Just think real

  • Kingseeker BACKUP says:

    A+: Awesome
    A-: Average
    B+: BEATING
    B-: BEATING WITH INTENSITY
    F-: FIND NEW A PARENT!

  • Dusty says:

    My parents would always force A’s on me, they’re always comparing me with my sisters/brothers.
    But i still cant do it.. it sucks
    Makes me feel like bother.

  • Kittycat M says:

    What’s c? Lol?

  • Braca Ganon says:

    I’m sorry your parents were that way 😢😢 I’m glad you understand that a good job does not equal “happiness” … That’s one of the things I LOVE about America is creativity and individuality is appreciated and rewarded in society

  • Blong Vang says:

    #HumanityFirst #Yang2020 Andrew Yang is the One.

  • FraxiousJoker says:

    Wow “F is for finding a new family” you guys are lucky, I have D for dead.

  • Sian Sian says:

    Me: mom I got the second place in class
    Mom: you got what? not the first?
    Now I got third in class. I- I am afraid to tell my parents. I am so afraid to see their disappointed expression. So, I need to work very hard for next time. I even got anxious when I get 9 out of 10 when I took the quiz…

  • Our Fear is Their Power says:

    school doesn’t give you success

  • woof says:

    haha total virgin

  • Moyin Adegbie says:

    As a black guy I personally feel east asians in general are good at science and maths due to tradition. Their language is the hardest language to learn and write (Mandarin). The great walls of China architecture is so fascinating to know it was biult without advanced machines. It takes a group of Smart brains to do that.✌👍

  • Andy says:

    Money is what the Asians’ teachings are after.

  • Andy says:

    Why Asians cannot get to leaderships and get big in America and other western society.

  • Kakyoin the Dolphin says:

    I’m Filipino and I live in the Philippines and somehow I already have a in-built mindset of being pressured on my grades, even though my parents are not strict and do have any high expectations about my academics, if I get a 60% passing grade (which is hella low) they seem chill and usually reply positively.

  • Robert Evans says:

    Having not enough middle-ground or gray area is a very large part of the Asian Community. But, it isn’t just the people who aren’t Asian that Stereotype, the Asians do this to themselves too. Asians are either put in stereotypes where they are seen as workers/owners in the food industry, dry cleaning, or laundromat services. Or, they are seen as the straight A, valedictorian, model minority student as shown here. I am half Asian so I have experienced some of this. Not so much by own family, but by other Non-Asians or Asians outside of my family. My grades in high school were B to B+ usually; about a Second Honor Roll Student graduating in the top 10 to 15%. When telling people that I was applying to schools like Lehigh, Nyu, Boston University, or Uconn; they were surprised. They expected more. The Asians themselves could be just as bad with stereotypes. One Asian family made comments on how Lehigh or Nyu were backup schools for Asians who failed in life, and how you still lost if you didn’t get straight A’s or go to an Ivy League Level Ranking school. In their mind their was only one winner. Being in second place or being close to number 1 is not enough for them. In fact, that Asian family made a comment that if you can’t be in an Ivy League Level school, you might as well stay on the other spectrum and not go to college. According to them, you wouldn’t make that much more money or you would only be a mediocre engineer or accountant. Crazy huh.

  • Nguyễn Hữu Chiến says:

    im asian,im vietnamese,i study in canada in Ottawa

  • Atharva Avhad says:

    This is why cultural assimilation of immigrants in America is so important because not only do first generation Americans and immigrant children suffer from this and several other barbaric impositions, but it also harms the free sprit and culture of this nation which is founded on the principle of individual choice and freedom for all. It is individual choice that leads life to its best and the success of the United States across history is a proof of that.

  • Wendy Dong says:

    troy kids wya

  • alchemy8787 says:

    They are good at following order but no innovation. They can’t create anything.

  • J J says:

    As asian, I grew up to feel I’m never good enough. Now I’m a university professor in the US and everyday I feel ashamed of myself about how stupid I am. No kidding.

  • chug. says:

    A+: Acceptable
    A: Average
    B: Below average
    C: can’t have dinner
    D: don’t come home
    F: find a new family

  • The Zapness says:

    I’m Asian but I’m anti asian

  • greethika reddy says:

    I’m an Asian (Indian actually) and this is so true
    For me it’s either get a seat in IIT or find a new family

  • Robert Masina says:

    If other Americans approached their studies like Asians do, they would be on par with them.

  • Cabbage Memes 2 says:

    The worst part about all of this is Parents comparing you to kids
    My friends had higher grades
    I had decent grades like B- and A
    But it’s still not enough for my parents to accept it
    They want me to get All Straight A’s

  • Anonymous Fashion says:

    Sad😟

  • NerdHamster says:

    I personally feel my mental health directly correlates with my grades. As an Asian myself, my parents expect too much from me. I feel like I had the obligations to honor my family even if the expectations were high. Studying and testing causes stress. Especially studying something you’re not interested in, it drains the life energy out of you. Imagine studying your whole teen life without finding what you truly want. What are you passions and callings for life? Imagine not finding that out and just followed your parent’s plan of being a lawyer. Realizing you never had control in your life and what you wanted to do or be will drive a person into insanity.

  • braindamage says:

    A perfectionist child is a big indicator for a dysfunctional and or narcissistic family dynamic.

  • ShadowLynx V says:

    0:59. This is MY mindset. I actually cried getting a B on a minor quiz. I’m not from an immigrant family. I don’t mean to brag about that. My parents are white and just want me to do my best. am I overreacting.

  • Joshua Kim says:

    As an Asian in college I’ve Died multiple times!

  • joesr31 says:

    I think what she describe is applicable to many people who goes to good colleges. You realised you were just a big fish in a small pond and now you are swimming with other big fishes as well. Imposter syndrome would set in, especially for people who worked really hard(imo) as you’ll start doubting your intelligence. The thought “I’m only here because I work crazily hard while others are here because they are actually smart.” always crossed my mine.

  • Luv2grind says:

    Kim, Nice speech about finding yourself but you doctor yet?

  • Dat_1kid says:

    Title not very accurate it depends on parent’s

  • Nayan Mipun says:

    Women from all races are beautiful

  • rk h says:

    2 things asians parents want
    1. kids to become doctors and lawyers
    2. never, ever marry a black person

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