The myth dictates that due to the overall 'economic success' of the Asian American community in the United States, there are no more institutional barriers preventing people from prospering; if the Asians can succeed then why not the rest of the 'minorities'?
It breaks down both the historical relationship between South Asia and the U.S., including legislation, migration, and political action, and it also explores how race, particularly anti-Black racism, is constructed and promoted in the South Asian American community in the U.S. It is a critique of the model minority myth and asks the reader to reconsider his/her assumptions regarding the political and legislative processes that control immigration.
Very strong analysis of the social and political aspects of being South Asian in America and what that means for current and next generations. Prashad presents the way aspects of cultural appropriation and political oppression intertwine and how communities of color must work together in solidarity to progress the freedoms and equality of all. These people cannot have the space in their lives for what Deepak shares and they require more than self-help to lift them up from what has oppressed them for generations in the U.S. In that sense, I see that Deepak is pandering to only a certain audience who has the affluence and means already to appreciate/appropriate what they have. To do that one must go in search of other traditions, such as the histories of struggle that allow us to tend to our current contradictions rather than those histories of 'culture' that force us to slither into inappropriate molds.
This book lays a revolutionary groundwork for Asian activists working to tackle anti-Black racism and in solidarity with other people of color. How does it feel to be a solution?" "To be both visible (as a threat) and invisible (as a person) is a strain disproportionately borne by black America." "And whatever good social change emerged from the social struggles of the 1960s came as a result not of benevolence but of the unyielding passion of the oppressed, who fought to keep this racist polity even an iota honest." "The poor cease to be human with the capacity to struggle and to aspire, they appear as contended people willing to sacrifice their material well-being for the spiritual happiness the bourgeois tourist wants them to enjoy. Only if desis appear in the New York Times or on CNN do we consider them admirable...To take pride in these figures is a hallmark of the desire to say to someone, 'I am worthy, I am worthy, respect me.' Those who are successes in other value frameworks but are not so recognized rarely find themselves felicitated or held up as role models for the children." "The state may want to be impartial and may indeed see itself as impartial, but it cannot be impartial if the social relations that found it are partial.
The first part of the book examines the image of South Asians through American history from Thoreau to New Age Orientalism. The book celebrates the possibilities for resistance in the South Asian community in the US as well as the potential for cross-racial solidarity in struggles for justice: "Solidarity is a desire, a promise, an aspiration.
A contemporary classic in Asian American Studies.