Category Archives: Asian American History

Episode #21 Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority with Ellen Wu

ellen-photoI had so much fun talking with Ellen about this really fascinating topic. She fills me in on all kinds of things – the details of how Asians went from being reviled in the United States to emerging as the “model minority” post-WWII. Chinese exclusion? Japanese internment? Yup, we talk about all these things…so how is it, then, after decades of existing on the margins, did Asian Americans carve out their so-called “model” status? Welp, I guess you will have to listen to find out (hint: it’s a Cold War story).

We discuss:

  • Documentary evidence when studying Asian Americans in both the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Common experiences of Asian immigrants from different countries
  • The distinctions between Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries
  • Post WWII immigration of Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotians
  • The “Melting Pot of the Pacific”
  • Chinatown(s) as a curiosity

Ellen also has some great recommendations, advice for students, and we discuss an excellent book, most certainly worthy of your attention: To Save the Children of Korea: The Cold War Story of International Adoption by Arissa H. Oh. You can find Ellen on Twitter…so give her a follow and say hi 🙂

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Music by Advent Chamber Orchestra is licensed under Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/