Book Review: Christianity, Social Justice, & Japanese American Incarceration During World War 2

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Comments (2)
  1. Scotty Williams says:

    The “model minority” concept is the belief that certain minority ethnic groups (e.g., Asian and Jewish Americans) or certain milieus of these groups (e.g., Freejacks in the Black American community) are deemed as being more successful than the general population. Though many of these groups may truly be more successful, the problem with this concept is that their success makes it so that they are seen as not needing any outside help when facing problems. For example, the reason so few White American Christian communities intervened on behalf of their interned brothers and sisters during WWII was that Japanese Americans were seen as totally self-sufficient and self-reliant. After all, they were a successful minority who were proven to be capable of “standing on their own” and “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps”; so why help them, when they could help themselves?

    In addition to making a group’s perceived success as an excuse for not helping them, the model minority concept also acts as a excuse for not dealing with the negative effects of institutionalized racism. For example, many White American brothers and sisters will encourage disenfranchised communities of color to follow the example of the Asian community instead of “complaining” about racism. They will literally make Asians a “model” for people of color to follow, and ignore the fact that, despite their success, they too have suffered from institutionalized racism.

    In the end, the model minority concept is a myth because it makes certain groups into something that they are not. Though they might be more successful they others, this does not mean that they are super-minorities who are impervious to pain and need no help from others.

  2. Tim James says:

    “The plight of Japanese American Christians reminds us again that the model minority myth is simply that—a myth.”
    I’m a bit confused by what this sentence is getting at, but maybe I’m not understanding all that’s meant by “model minority” here.

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