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For Asians in Portland, Ore. the model minority label is misleading

Children sing at a Chinese language school in Portland, Ore. Photo courtesy of the Portland Tribune.

There is a myth that Asian Americans are the model minority, enjoying higher educational levels and income than other ethnic groups.

However, Asian Americans living in and around Portland, Oregon’s largest city, say this myth is false. And according to this Portland Tribune article they now have evidence to back them up.

Portland State University social work professor Ann Curry-Stevens, PhD, MSW, did a 205-page study that found that Asians living in Multnomah County, which includes the Portland metropolitan area, were faring less well than Asians in other parts of the nation.

Ann Curry-Stevens

Asians in the area had a higher child poverty rate, less access to managerial jobs, and lower median incomes and college graduation rates, Curry-Stevens found.

More Asians in Multnomah County were refugees from other countries, which might explain the disparities. However, Curry-Stevens is convinced institutional racism hampers the ability for Asians in the country to move up the economic ladder.

“My default position is there’s a lot of racism that goes on,” she said.

Organizations are forming to address issues in the Portland Asian community and they are using Curry-Stevens’ report as a rallying point, the article said. They are demanding more government resources be devoted to social issues affecting the Asian community.

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