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Debunking the ‘model minority’ myth: How positive attitudes toward Asian Americans influence perceptions of racial microaggressions
Journal of Vocational Behavior  (IF6.065),  Pub Date : 2021-10-22, DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2021.103648
Jennifer Y. Kim, Caryn Block, Hong Yu

The study examined how positive attitudes toward Asian Americans impact perceptions of the harmful effects of workplace racial microaggressions enacted against Asian Americans. Positive stereotypes based on the model minority myth portray Asian Americans as hard-working, industrious, and technically competent. Such positive stereotypes can influence individuals' attitudes toward Asian Americans, and as a result, also affect their ability to perceive the harmful effects of subtle types of racial microaggressions, which can be just as harmful, if not more so, than blatant microaggressions. To examine this, we asked participants to read a series of vignettes depicting blatant (microassault) and various types of subtle (microinsult, microinvalidation, and overvalidation) racial microaggressions. As expected, individuals with more positive attitudes toward Asian Americans viewed the blatant microaggressions against Asians as more harmful compared to those who held less positive attitudes. Results also revealed that positive attitudes toward Asian Americans did not influence perceptions of the harmful effects of the subtler microaggressions (overvalidation and microinvalidation). We discuss the implications of these findings.