[June 16, 2022]. Korean Americans, and Asian Americans more broadly, are subject to an unusual, contradictory form of discrimination. On the one hand, Korean Americans are a quintessential part of the model minority myth, praised for their putative successes in assimilation and their educational achievements. Yet on the other hand, Asian Americans are also characterized as perpetual foreigners – almost American but not quite.
This sentiment came into stark relief with the recent outbreak of anti-Asian American violence in the midst of the pandemic, in which Korean Americans were targeted as “outsiders” who brought disease from “there” to “here.” What might explain this paradox, where Korean Americans are touted as the best example of American assimilation and yet never fully American?
This talk incorporates recent research by scholars like Ellen Wu to delve into the history of this issue, tracing how the Model Minority Myth was shaped by the Cold War and transnational black civil rights activism.
About the Speaker
Danny Kim is Assistant Professor of Asian History at California State University, Fresno where he teaches courses on Korean and Japanese History, histories of diaspora, gender and feminism, and popular culture. He is currently working on a manuscript on the Rose of Sharon Alliance (Kŭnuhoe), a revolutionary feminist organization during Japan’s colonization of Korea.