Living in Two Worlds: The Model Minority Paradox
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CitationEitland, Aatreyee. 2021. Living in Two Worlds: The Model Minority Paradox. Master's thesis, Harvard University Division of Continuing Education.
AbstractCultural attitudes towards Indians has changed dramatically over the past fifteen years. The technology landscape has changed and the US economy relies on the Indian work force. Once called the “brain drain”, they are now a common ingredient to many tech companies (Rangaswamy, 2000). Indians have historically been a source of labor for the US since the 1920’s. Coming from the world’s largest democracy, versed in English, because of their British colonial heritage they transitioned from blue-collar labor class to a white-collar, highly specialized professional work force in fifty years.
In one generation the labeling of East Indians has gone from a myriad of racist degradations to being called the ‘model minority’, suggesting that other minority groups should emulate them. Model minority is viewed by some anthropologists as a phenomenon that will fade, while other see it as a veiled racism. This ethnographic study seeks to answer the following question: how does social stratification, moving into economic prosperity and white professional positions impact the ideas of model minority? Indians have shared group values based on heritage and education, what mythologies are resurrected so that these STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) industry workers may maintain or reject this social labeling?
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367986
- DCE Theses and Dissertations 
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