Among Asian Pacific American (APA) children in New York, Filipinos rank lowest in the poverty level, according to a report released on February 22.
Poverty, according to the report “We’re Not Even Allowed to Ask for Help: Debunking the Myth of the Model Minority,” released by the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), is one of the factors that are putting Asian Americans at a disadvantage — along with overcrowding in schools and unequal distribution of resources — and contributes to the unmaking of the Asian youth as a “model minority.”
Poverty estimates put Filipino children at 3.3 percent, the lowest, while Bangladeshi children rank highest at 42.4 percent. In fact, Filipinos are a step below Japanese children at 4.5 percent.
The rest of the ranking puts Pakistani children with a poverty estimate of 28.1 percent; all NYC children at 27.8 percent; Chinese children at 23.1 percent; Indian children at 20.9 percent; Korean children at 12.0 percent followed by the Japanese and Filipinos.
APA students make up 14 percent of the city’s public school population, and not all of them are successful or go to Ivy League schools, said Wayne Ho, executive director of CACF. “A large percentage of them are struggling,” he said.
The “model minority” narrative came to prominence in the 1960s during the flowering of the civil rights movement, said Vivian Tseng, a former faculty member in psychology and Asian American studies at California State University, Northridge. While African Americans took to the streets demanding social change, Asian Americans excelled in life as if to say “we don’t need structural changes.”
A half century later, the idea of Asians as a “model minority” is now undergoing a reevaluation. The latest study examines how factors like poverty, overcrowding in schools, and unequal distribution of resources put Asian Pacific American students at a disadvantage.