Adam Ruins Everything – How America Created the “Model Minority” Myth | truTV
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Adam Ruins Everything – How America Created the “Model Minority” Myth | truTV


Boy, I’m sure glad we left
the pool party, Trey. Math homework
is way more fun! Computer,
that’s the first thing you’ve ever said
that doesn’t add up. (canned laughter) You’re so studious, Computer. Trey, you could learn
a thing or two from his people. They’re very wise. (canned laughter) Whoa, time out! (whistle blowing) Here we go again! TV and movies are rampant
with Asian stereotypes. Especially the idea
that Asian people are some kind
of “model minority.” Smart, successful, polite,
obedient, and of course, inherently good at math. What’s the big deal?
Those are all compliments. Well, these “compliments”
actually originated in a government
propaganda campaign. And not too long ago,
white Americans actually thought
the exact opposite. Time in! (whistle blowing) In the mid-1800s, Americans were so hostile
to Chinese people, the country passed laws
banning Chinese immigration and denying their freedoms. They were stereotyped
as a lazy, opium-addicted, menacing horde dubbed
the “yellow peril.” (guitar riff) But you’re old Uncle Sammy
didn’t stop there. Uncle Sammy!
Uncle Sammy! (canned applause) (Adam)
Yeah, Uncle Sammy hasn’t been
such a cool uncle. Because of anti-Asian racism
during World War II, the United States interned
Japanese Americans in concentration camps. Hey, it’s our Japanese friend
Kenji from up the street! Oh, that’s not
your friend. That’s a spy who wants
to kill Americans. (canned laughter) Uncle Sammy,
why didn’t you do that to German Americans
in World War II? Yeah, I wonder. Because they’re white. Because they’re white. But all that changed
when the US needed to suck up to its Asian allies
during the Cold War. See, as the Soviet Union
rose to power, the US worried
that Soviet propaganda was making communism
sound “dyno-mite.” (Russian accent)
America is so racist,
am I right? It’s like, hey, USA,
cut it out! Woof.
Guess I better “have mercy”
on these Asians. So America embarked
on a propaganda campaign to tout Asian-American
success stories. The State Department
highlighted Asian-American artists,
politicians, and even sent
an all Chinese-American basketball team
on tour overseas. Forget all that
nastiness earlier. America loves
our Asian sports heroes. And in 1965,
Congress approved a landmark
immigration law that ditched
racist restrictions. But it gave preference
to immigrants who had training,
talent, or skill sets that would benefit
the US economy. (speaker feedback) Sammy and The Rippers
are changing their tune. Border’s now open
for smart, successful Asian immigrants. (guitar riff) Wow! Now that I’ve let
all these educated, successful Asians
into America, I’ve gotta say, Asian Americans sure are
successful and educated. (wild guitar riff) (canned laughter) So America went from a country
that despised Asians to one that held them up as a shining example
of assimilation. And this self-fulfilling
prophecy resulted in the “model minority” myth. And the most sinister part
of this myth is it was used to put
other minorities down. And it’s still holding
people back today. Oh, it’s our very special
guest star, professor of history
at Indiana University Ellen Wu. (canned applause) Why did I need to use
the ladder, Adam? Aren’t we on
the ground floor? It’s a sitcom thing. In the 1960s,
government officials looked at socio-economic data from African-American
communities and contrasted it
to the so-called “family values and stability”
of Asian Americans. Now, this fueled
racist claims that black people had
no one to blame but themselves if they experienced poverty and other social
disadvantages. Conservatives went on
to use these claims to justify making cuts
to many essential social programs
for African Americans and other disadvantaged
minority groups. They were even used to argue
against civil rights. Come on, you don’t see
Computer complaining about “fair and equal
protection.” Asians earned their place
in this country. Why can’t you?
Wh– what? No! Uncle Sammy,
you helped Asian people. Why can’t you see that? And the model minority myth
hurts Asian people too. If an Asian-American student
is struggling in school, many teachers assume that they
don’t really need extra help. And it’s not true
that all Asians are crazy rich
and successful. The poverty rate
for Asian Americans is actually higher than
the national average. And frankly,
it’s kinda ridiculous that we lump people
from so many different backgrounds together
as “Asian.” Yeah, Asian people
are not a monolith. Trey, you and your
multi-ethnic adopted parents keep referring to me as your
“smart Asian neighbor.” Specifically,
I am Korean American and, sure, I’m smart, but I also love
Ultimate Frisbee. Why doesn’t anybody
talk about that? (canned applause) You know what?
This is messed up. Computer’s a person who contains multitudes, and probably
has a real name. You know what, Uncle Sammy? This is all your fault. Get out of my room. Whoa, watch the hair! (canned laughter
and applause)
145
00:05:19,986 –>00:05:19,019
Aww, wipe your tears,
you sissy.

100 Comments

  • Quinton Blake

    I really only think they didn't do anything about German Americans is because there main target in world war 2 was Japan.

  • An Owl

    Yeah the Japanese were treated badly in World War 2 but in the First World War, German Americans were harassed and discriminated against as well. Mobs of Angry Americans would storm schools and burn books containing German language within them, as well as accusing fellow German Americans of being spies for the Central Powers

  • Tickle Dad

    So then why did Red Scare happen?
    Why was immigration from Europe limited?

    The reason Germans weren't put in internment camps is because they didn't invade Ameria. Japan did.

  • Tom Bennett

    So you think Asians are generalized too much?! Don’t patronize white people, Adam! We have white countries on every continent yet we only get identified as white people!

  • kurt danielson

    I like how he conveniently (they all do) left out the fact that it was the racist Democrats that interned the American Japanese, along with some German and Italians with close ties to Germany and Italy. When Democrats did bad things, then it becomes "America" did bad things.

  • Forever Prime

    I like at the end that Adam knows that the comment section is gonna to have some butthurt people who are going to try and defend our country's past misdeeds. Trust me, as an American. I am big enough to admit that we did(and still) some shitty things. (Probably no where near as much as British history) but yes. Shitty.

  • Joshua Blackman

    Wow, thanks for telling me what to think! I was confused before, but now I know exactly how to think and feel! Saves me lots of energy, I would have had to think for myself otherwise. That would have been hard.

  • Sam

    It’s probably not down to only one factor. Yes the Model Minority myth might have contributed to the stereotype but also a lot of immigrants will have high expectations for their children to do well because they want the second generation to have a better life than their own and they don’t want them to take anything for granted. Honor and obedience is also highly valued amongst East Asian cultures. That’s why a lot of students will strive for a higher education. I mean South Korea has one of the highest educated labour forces in the OCED. So it’s a range of factors that contributes to the stereotypes

  • deadlyundead

    "And frankly it's kinda ridiculous that we lump people from so many different backgrounds together as Asians" you mean like you continually do with the term "white people".

  • K!NG

    the time you're describing isn't that when japan also bombed us at Pearl harbor I think they have a right to be a little bit scared since they killed thousands of people and were relentless on attacking Americans,

  • Jason Cheung

    the fact that this stereotype exists in many english/European speaking countries makes this myth more concerning and rather a understatement at this point

  • SEGA_SATURN4LIFE

    Adam you cannot exist without creating victim hood and racism. All the lies you put out in the world will come back and bite you one day. I didn’t wanna believe you were this evil but now I know.

  • ExplodingWolf Gaming

    "It's sad we lump people from many different backgrounds as 'Asian'". What? The term is used to describe someone from Asia! I guess we can't use the term European either. Heck, we can't use the term British because people have very different backgrounds and it's sad to call them British.

  • celticwolf Wheeler

    Im actually conservative. And i just. Got to say what they said about conservatives is a stereotype. Also must presidents that did this were democrats.

  • AmethystEyes

    Why isn’t this taught in the classrooms? Some but not the part where the government directly did shady tactics.

  • TheCarMan

    1:17
    They were not "Concentration Camps", they were Internment Camps, and I make this distinction knowing full well that the term was used even back in the day of their use. Why? Because we all know that the term Concentration Camp when heard will always invoke images of Nazi death camps in Europe, and will unfairly conflate conditions there to the conditions we had here in the US.  And there WERE Germans and Italians interned as well, just not is as large numbers. And financial reparations were made to those still living decades later, unlike to survivors in Europe.

  • Midnight music Production

    What’s the problem about calling an asian who was born in the US as asian American? Black people are called African American but you don’t see them coming out and complaining that they’re Nigerian American or something like that. Me myself as an asian do not have any problem with someone calling me an asian.

  • daveinpublic

    Adam really does ruin everything, cause he never does enough research and spreads even more misinformation than all the people he mocks combined.

  • RatedPending - Please Don't Sue Me

    "why didn't they do that to German Americans in WWII?"
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_German_Americans

  • huiledansleuf

    Political correctness and autobashing is a huge threat for US, advice coming from a Frenchman whose country's lost in this kind of sillyness

  • Andrew Gan

    Chinese American, and the stereotypes hit way too hard at home. There’s also the point of us having to “live up to the stereotype”. During high school, if you were Asian and not part of the top 15% of the class, you’re one of the dumb Asians. I landed top 20% and was one of those.

    And if your an Asian that doesn’t go into math, medicine, or music, society almost pressures you into those fields.

    That’s why I’ve seen at least 30 of my closest friends on the edge of suicide or depression. They have to keep living the stereotype or else their value is lost to them. Held way too high of a standard and they plummeted as soon as that first C set in. Junior Year, top person in my class was a Chinese female. Top of the grades, hardest classes, Honor roll, best violinist, and like 5 Honor Societies. Dropped to Top 10 after first semester, and I caught her crying to herself after someone jokingly told her “you can catch up”. There’s no way she was getting 2 hours of sleep a night, and she also had an active social life because of her clubs. I had to talk to her circle of friends (wasn’t exactly close to her) to get her back on her feet.

    Please, it’s flattering, but for those of us that can’t be the best, it’s pandering or down-putting.

  • Phinehas Priest

    On this episode of "Adam fact checks nothing"
    Model minority myth?

    Let's do the fact checking Adam failed to do.
    Checking the results of average IQ for people in countries, only 6 countries have an average IQ above 102:

    Hong Kong: 108
    Singapore: 108
    South Korea: 106
    Japan: 105
    China: 105
    Taiwan: 104

    So, how is something which is measurably verifiably true called a "myth" by Adam? Easy, Adam doesn't fact check.

    IQ information source: https://brainstats.com/average-iq-by-country.html

  • Jon W

    Isn't this what you guys want to do with women? highlighting them in the movies, and sports? aren't you going to make another "Model Gender Minority"? Oh wait

    That's just one more thing to make a video about.

  • Felipe Murillo

    People have eyes and notice statistics and patterns such as : Asians commit few crimes and do well academically compared to blacks.

    Thats not in dispute, regardless of this video trying to portray that as nothing more than propaganda.

  • Frosty

    Lets be honest here, most asian people you know are smart af. My best m8 in primary school grew up poor and is now working at google. Asian boy smart boy :v

  • Crazy Chuck

    Yeah… Lets just throw out statistics out the window. Not like graphs that show avg IQ per country exist. Oh wait, If they exist and show the stereotypes to be true then that is racist.

  • DaggersLegend 54

    You are absolutely right! The reason we hated the Japanese was bc they weren't white… It had nothing to do with Pearl harbor where many Americans died in a deliberate attack BY THE JAPANESE, while America was discussing a peace treaty with the Japanese. Nothing in USA history has quite united the people of America like pearl harbor. I am proud of this Country bc it gave my great grandpa a place to build a home when his own country couldn't supply him in early 1900s, I am living in an abundance today bc of the sacrifices people have made for this country. I am grateful.

  • DaggersLegend 54

    Ummm… Aren't Asians white, last I checked most had white skin, some are tan but even tan is considered white, so when you use the term white you yourself are using stereotype in a video made to debunk stereotypes?!?!?

  • Joe st. george

    Actually my great grandfather was put into an internment camp for simply being German so that's not true. When he got to America he was suspected of being a Nazi sympathizer so they sent him to a camp and my family was separated for years

  • With Great Tech Comes Great Responsibility

    Lol all the downvoters all belong to /r/fragilewhiteredditor aka white male virgins angry and triggered a minority can speak up.

  • Jason Hu

    Bruh you act like Asian Americans migrated here because they had money. My parents and most of my Chinese friends parents came here with no money working manual labor jobs while trying to get an education. They worked hard and became successful in a short period of time. Adam is essentially down playing their hard work.

  • Scott Griffith

    Again Adam lying to amplify the political story he wants to tell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_German_Americans

  • PurelyAfrican

    This was also done to bp In the 80's during the height of the cold war.
    America started to promote black Americans heavy overseas; particular in sport and entertainment.
    Never before had we seen so many sucessful black Americans, and blacks and whites living in "harmony" films like lethal weapon, see no evil, Beverly Hills cop and miami vice to name but a few & stars like:

    Micheal & Janet Jackson
    Prince
    Whitney Houston
    Mr T from the A team
    Tyson
    Carl Lewis
    Flo jo
    The cosby show
    Oprah
    Eddie Murphy
    Denzel Washington
    Luther vandross etc…

    Once the cold war subsided at the end of the 80s, you saw a DRAMATIC shift in the level of blk americans being exported abroad very few were sucessful in the 90's, and even less on the 00's; this was by design.
    They were only ever pushed, invested in, and promoted to win the ideological war (capitalism) and prove to the communists and Russians that bp had the same opportunity, and we're treated the same as whites in u.s-which was a bold face lie!

  • Kalek Nelson

    Actually the worst part of this myth is that now it's being used as justification to hat Asians again, but at this point, it's being done by other minorities.

  • nicholas mauteri

    I think you’d get more clicks if you used shorter titles or rather write the video topic before adam ruins everything. It’s hard to make out what your videos are about as you scroll down through other YouTube videos. Other than that I love the content

  • Popo Lin

    Asia is a continent not a country. A lot of people tend to forget that there are many countries in Asia and that each of these countries have completely different cultures, languages, history and so on.

  • Vaperius

    I'd like to point out that German Americans were also interned

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_German_Americans

    On a significantly smaller scale; but it nevertheless *did happen*.

  • Bryan Manichanh

    If you're going to take away a "positive" stereotype about Asians (i.e. we're smarter than everyone else), could you also take away any of the multitude of negative stereotypes we have to suffer through?

  • Warsie

    the descendants of the first chinese migrants in the US were pretty well off in the US though, even before the model minority thing/1965 reforms. And in a lot of Latin speaking American countries the asians there had a high social status (ie Japanese in Peru)

  • Rubee

    And then you go to China, deal with their massive racist mentality and animal like behavior, and you understand why they should have remained banned.

  • Darth Zombie

    yeah stop being a racist america…let asian people stay where ever they wanna stay and hey even if they wanna become president let them be…so asian can rule the world…oh oppsss i can't mention about asian cause this people will say all human are the same

  • raventhorX

    I think the idea of referring to a minority as Asian American or African American is also flawed. It could be accurate in the sense that those minorities may be first generation immigrants but their children were possibly still born on american soil. In my mind that makes them american regardless and even if they arent considered american at that stage yet their children most certainly would be. It seems the idea of using terms such as african american or Asian American is referencing where they originally came from and with that being the case why arent most white people considered London american or something similar? After all most white men come from Europe and even though I dont know specifically from where I'm under the impression that white people came mostly from areas like London and Great Britain. Even if that's inaccurate however my main point still applies no matter where white people originated from.

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