Testing the 'Model Minority Myth': A Case of Weak Empiricism
Robert S. Chang
Seattle University School of Law
Rose Cuison Villazor
Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law
Northwestern University Law Review COLLOQUY, Vol. 101, p. 101, 2007
University Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-23
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2007-23
In this short piece, Professors Chang and Villazor respond to a recent article by Professors McGowan and Lindgren, which presents empirical data that they claim tends to disprove the model minority hypothesis with regard to Asian Americans. McGowan and Lindgren's article is timely in light of the debate over school admissions and affirmative action and the role that Asian Americans play but we argue that their conclusions are not warranted because of the limited nature of their inquiry. They limit the scope of their analysis to the results of surveys of non-Hispanic whites produced from face-to-face about their racial attitudes. From this, they make claims about the real world. They support their claim with graphs and statistical analyses, consistent with the recent empirical turn in legal scholarship. Their data and conclusions are likely to be used by those who seek to end affirmative action and who seek to use school admissions and affirmative action as wedge issues to create divisions among Asian Americans and to divide Asian Americans from other racial minorities. Closer scrutiny of their analysis reveals, however, the questionability of their findings. We argue that the real world is a place where people lie, where people are unaware of their biases, and where conscious and unconscious biases may not be clear or manifest themselves outside of particular contexts or situations. The result is that the work of Asian [sic] critical scholars on the model minority myth says much more about the real world than do McGowan and Lindgren and raises doubts about their empirical methodology.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 8Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 12, 2007 ; Last revised: March 22, 2012
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