Episode 7

Episode 7: The Origins of the Model Minority Myth


This week, we talked with Ellen Wu, an associate professor of history and director of the Asian-American Studies program at Indiana University, Bloomington, about her book The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority. Ellen traces the history of the model minority stereotype from the 1920s onward, its implications in terms of domestic and foreign policy, and its effect on race-making in America. We analyze the contradiction of the model minority myth being rooted in both inclusion and exclusion, dissect the geopolitical dimensions of Asian American identity, and discuss the effect of the model minority on other groups such as Blacks, Latinx, South Asian and Southeast Asians. Ellen also unpacks the role that Asian American communities played in the formation of their own stereotypes.

You can find Ellen on Twitter, check out her book from your local library, or buy her book from Princeton University Press or Amazon!