SAALT Takes Issue With Pew Study on Asian-Americans

It’s another case of good news / bad news. First the good news: the Pew Research Center, a leading Washington think tank, recently published some very positive findings in a study entitled, The Rise of AsianAmericans.

“Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated, and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances, and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work, and career success…”

The study points to several key “milestones of economic success and social assimilation that have come to a group that is still majority immigrant.” So what’s not to like?

According to the advocacy organization South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), the Pew study feeds a stereotype of AsianAmericans as “model minorities,” a view that obscures real problems that face many AsianAmericans today. According to SAALT:

  • People of Asian origin – especially from Philippines, Thailand, and India – are still among the most common victims of human trafficking in the United States.
  • Among undocumented immigrants in the United States, Indians are now the 7th largest group.
  • 1 in 5 South Asians in the United States lacks health insurance.
  • 1 in 3 Bangladeshis lives in poverty in New York City.
  • South Asians still face discrimination, immigration barriers, and problems accessing vital services.

Overall, the news for AsianAmericans is good, and that is well worth celebrating. On the other hand, however, much more needs to be done to help those who still are struggling here – and ignoring that hand is ignoring half of the story.

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