Asian Americans are the highest wage earners. They still face racial discrimination.

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    Asian Americans are the highest wage earners. They still face racial discrimination.

    Higher wages don’t necessarily shatter glass ceilings.

    A new report shows that men’s and women’s wages are closer to parity than they’ve ever been, but white men and women aren’t necessarily the highest wage earners.

    The Pew Research Center found that Asian men’s median hourly earnings were higher than white men’s — $24 to $21, respectively. Asian women also earned more than white women ($18 per hour versus $17 per hour) and black and Hispanic wage earners regardless of gender, whose median hourly earnings were between $12 and $15.


    Pew Research Center
    Asian men earned higher hourly wages than white men in 2015

    Higher wages don’t shatter glass ceilings

    According to the Pew study, Asian men are making 117 percent of white men’s wages, and Asian women are closer to closing the wage gap with white men than white women. But one of the dangers of taking the wage increase at face value for Asian Americans is that it perpetuates the “model minority” myth — that Asians, unlike other people of color, are uniquely primed to climb up the socioeconomic ladder.

    The tech industry is just one example. A 2015 study by the Ascend Foundation, a nonprofit pan-Asian organization, showed that even though there were roughly the same number of white and Asian professionals employed at companies like Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo, HP and Intel, white men and women were nearly 154 percent more likely to become executives compared with their Asian peers.


    Ascend Foundation
    A 2015 study showed Asian women are least represented among executives compared with their representation in the workforce.

    Asian women were most underrepresented relative to their representation in the workforce: Asian women comprised 13.5 percent of professionals surveyed but only accounted for 3.1 percent of executives across these five major tech companies.

    The tech industry, in general, has a diversity problem. For instance, Asian Americans make up 6 percent of the workforce and 17 percent of tech and engineering workers. And while parity across racial demographics is necessary, it does not change the fact that Asian Americans stand as a group of color that is denied access to greater opportunities.

    There are also income gaps among Asian Americans, including a growing poverty crisis depending upon their ethnicity, that the model minority myth erases.

    A 2014 report by Karthick Ramakrishnan and Farah Z. Ahmad at the Center for American Progress showed that while Asians have higher median household incomes ($71,709) than the national average ($53,046), there is considerable variation within the group.

    The median household income for Indian Americans, Filipino Americans, and Japanese Americans was $95,000, $80,000, and $78,000, respectively — far surpassing Cambodian ($53,700) and Bangladeshi ($46,950) households.

    In part, this is a symptom of the complex history of Asian immigrants in the US since the 1970s and ’80s. The CAP report found that Indian and Filipino Americans are more likely to have higher household incomes as a consequence of migrating to the US for better employment opportunities, “characterized by a relatively high level of employer-based, high-skilled visas.”

    By contrast, immigrants from Southeast Asia who arrived as refugees from countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos are more likely to be impoverished, with lower levels of household income.

  • administrators

    @natalie_ng It’s very likely. That was the whole purpose behind the Model Minority myth. They brain drained the best and the brightest out of Asia and used them as coolies 2.0 and then told Blacks

    “Look, just pull yourself up the da bootstraps. America is great. Anyone can succeed. It’s your fault.”

    Speaking of bootstraps…


  • I have a feeling this is being used to pit minorities against one another. In other words, the white publishers are wanting to say, “Hey blacks and hispanics! Stop hating on us! We’re not highest on the social ladder anymore!” Idk if I’m being overly suspicious but I just have that feeling in my gut. Not that I care whether or not blacks/hispanics like me, but to see an article like this being published, I have to question why.

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