Although the Pew Research Center’s study on Asian Americans was released almost three weeks ago, its ripple effect is stronger than ever. Luxury brand managers have been licking their chops since they skimmed the opening line: “Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” And Asian American activists are clenching their buttocks, as the findings of “The Rise of Asian Americans” appear to reinforce the Model Minority Myth and gloss over the struggles faced by Asians in America.

Who’s right? Reality is somewhere in the middle, and that’s actually in agreement with the folks at Pew. Anyone who actually prints out, sits down, and reads the report on social and demographic trends will realize that it is full of disclaimers and caveats, and does not purport to be bulletproof. It’s imperfect but informative.

The fact is that all Asians in America are not educated, employed, rich, and married. However, more recent immigrants from Asia are indeed well educated and skilled and affecting our makeup. In the big picture Asians are doing well enough and are influential enough for the New York Times to introduce a Chinese-language edition with original content.

More worthy of debate is what it takes for us Asians to address that we’re evolving. Does it require an “official” study by a research group for us to examine ourselves? Or can we look in the mirror, accept change, and grasp the opportunities?


Julia Huang is the founder and president of interTrend, an award-winning advertising agency that specializes in connecting Fortune 500 clients with Asians around the world.

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