The Remodel Minority Series: The Fear of Failing the Stereotype

The model minority stereotype, although a seemingly benevolent compliment, aims to backhandedly promote the belittling of other minorities and enforce an expectation upon Asian Americans to conform and achieve academic success. This expectation placed upon the shoulders of Asian Americans throughout the United States acts as a chokehold, leading to declining mental health and extreme fear of failure within the minority. 

Throughout history, Asian American successes, such as Japanese-Americans’ ability to reconstruct their lives post-internment, have led to the development of higher and increasing expectations of the “model minority.” According to “Model Minority” Pressures Take Mental Health Toll by Susan Seligson, a writer and journalist for Boston University’s Today, “[Asian Americans have the]…distinction and the occasional burden of immigrant success…,[and they] have the second highest suicide rate.” The history of Asian American success within the United States, specifically after World War II, has led to the development of a generalization and expectations that constantly create pressures and tensions for Asian Americans, taking a toll on mental health. Essentially, the successes of Asian Americans over time aligning with the model minority stereotype have developed into more of a burden than a compliment, as more and more fear whether they could meet the expectations so strictly set by the stereotype.

Often, strict expectations set by the model minority stereotype lead Asian Americans to take drastic measures to maintain their honor and image. In the cases of Azia Kim and Jennifer Pan, who could not meet the overly high standards by attending prestigious universities on their merit, they became college imposters to help maintain their image and honor as a “model Asian student.”

With expectations of the Asian American community continuously increasing due to the model minority stereotype and its generalizations, many “individuals in the U.S. have internalized the stereotypes it promotes. Therefore, they have to be indomitably hardworking, academically gifted, and ultimately successful in their careers and economic goals” (Medical News Today). With this internalization of the model minority stereotype within the Asian American community, Asian Americans are intrinsically motivated to uphold the image and concepts depicted by the stereotype and fear not doing so.

It is important to understand how the model minority stereotype has negatively impacted Asian Americans, as shown by correlations to increasing rates of suicide within the community caused by declining mental health. Additionally, it is imperative that we spread awareness regarding the harsh nature of the model minority stereotype and ultimately depict why one must not conform and give in to the stereotype as it leads to increased cultural pressures due to expectations. Thank you for reading this article, and stay tuned for further articles regarding the model minority stereotype <3

Works Cited

DiNoto, Anne. “‘Model Minority’ Pressures Take Mental Health Toll: Bu Today.” Boston University, Boston University Today, 9 Feb. 2015, 

Ganapathineedi, Siri. “The Remodel Minority Series: College Imposters & the Model Minority Myth – Voice of Frisco.” Voice of Frisco, Voice of Frisco, 10 Jan. 2023, 

“How the ‘Model Minority’ Myth Affects Well-Being and Mental Health.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International,