Asian-American Orgs Launch California Survey to Dismantle Model Minority Myth

In an effort to show the differences in experiences and challenges among Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth, a non-profit organization has launched a survey to collect disagreggated data from the community in California.

The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) and members of Asian American and Pacific Islander Boys and Men of Color Coalition Helping Achieve Racial and Gender Equality (AAPI BMoC CHARGE), announced the survey, called the California AAPI Youth Assessment, last week.

“We know for a lot of communities, especially for the Southeast Asian community, they still experience a stigma that comes with the model minority myth that is far too prevalent,” Gabriel Garcia, a coordinator at SEARAC, told NBC News. “But it’s especially harmful for them because a lot of institutions like education and criminal just have the impression that AAPI students and youth don’t need help. Our goal with this survey and subsequent research is to be able to show the model minority myth doesn’t apply and needs to be dismantled.”

The survey contains 36 questions touching on education, the criminal justice system, immigration, language and English proficiency, and mental health.

It is geared specifically toward California youth in part because of the state’s large AAPI population, Garcia said. Data from the survey will be used for advocacy purposes and presented to California policy makers — ideally during a hearing at the state capitol — to help develop solutions to problems facing the community.

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders between the ages of 12 and 30 are encouraged to participate in survey, which will remain open until Nov. 10.

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“For a large portion of the AAPI community, especially in the BMoC narrative, their voices aren’t represented," Garcia said. "One way to use that voice is to put their experiences in the survey. The largest goal we have is to uplift the narrative of our community and our youth. By doing a survey, we have a chance to represent some of their experiences and pass it on to policy makers, especially at the state level."

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