The Model Minority: Asian American Immigrant Families and Intimate Harm


  • erin Khuê Ninh



The heart of the issue is not whether Asian immigrant families currently meet the measures of the model minority; the issue is whether they aspire to, whether they apply those metrics. And they do. The racial ideologies, the economic infrastructures, the educational paradigms of Asianness do not circle the immigrant home like vampires, held at bay by bulbs of garlic; they are invited in to dine, made part of the nuclear family. Which is to say that the immigrant nuclear family is not only busy grappling with, fending off, and challenging certain structural racisms; it is also busily reinforcing, perpetuating, and living up to certain other aspects of racist structures. Despite Asian American social-movement investments in seeing the immigrant family as a resistant space, this has not so much enabled the practice of intimate justice as it has required the disregard of intimate harm.