Asian Identity

The term "Asian" embodies a large number of communities, ethnicities, nationalities, and lived experiences.

Asian Identity

According to the 2010 US Census, Asian-Americans were among the fastest-growing ethnic minority groups in the United States. Attending a predominantly White institution, (PWI) can lead to encounters that cause you to reflect on this aspect of your identity. Be they positive or negative stereotypes about "the Asian community" can feel restrictive, confusing and uncomfortable to navigate.

At the Counseling Center clinicians are aware of the complexities of negotiating cultural experiences in an educational setting. The diversity of cultural values, beliefs, and languages among these ethnic groups may intersect with mainstream and/or college cultures in ways that are challenging and stressful to many.

Common Stressors for Asian / Asian Americans

Model Minority Stereotype


What is the Model Minority Stereotype?

The Model Minority Stereotype is the cultural expectation placed on Asian and Asian Americans as a group that each individual will be:

  • smart (i.e., "naturally good at math, science, and technology")
  • wealthy
  • hard-working, self-reliant, living "the American dream"
  • docile and submissive, obedient and uncomplaining
  • spiritually enlightened and never in need of assistance

Sure, who wouldn't like to be considered "the model" of anything? Smart, self-reliant... all of these qualities seem like a good thing to live up to.

Not so much! No one lives up to a stereotype 100% of the time. You might have some, but not all of the traits expected of you as an Asian or Asian American. And what happens if you do not fulfill the stereotypical expectations placed on you?

The facts are that Asian / Asian Americans are a diverse group of individuals, with diverse experiences.

What can you do to counteract the effects of this pervasive stereotype?

  • Pay attention to what brings you satisfaction and fulfillment, as they may be different from what others expect of you.
  • Explore career options that truly fulfill your ability and aspirations.
  • If you feel like you are struggling to meet others' expectations, it may be helpful to examine whether these standards are realistic.
  • Consider having a talk with family about the gap between their expectations of you and your own (if a gap does exist). You can talk with a counselor about ways that you can start to bridge these expectation gaps.
  • Recognize the potentially harmful effect of requiring yourself to live up to the "model minority stereotype." Insist on your personal excellence!

Get Involved

Student Organizations and Groups

On-Campus Opportunities