Testing the 'Model Minority Myth': A Case of Weak Empiricism

8 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2007 Last revised: 22 Mar 2012

See all articles by Robert S. Chang

Robert S. Chang

Seattle University School of Law

Rose Cuison Villazor

Rutgers Law School


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.

Suggested Citation

Chang, Robert S. and Villazor, Rose Cuison, Testing the 'Model Minority Myth': A Case of Weak Empiricism. 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, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=979587

Robert S. Chang (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Rose Cuison Villazor

Rutgers Law School ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics