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Asian/Pacific Islander Communities: An Agenda for Positive Action

NCJ Number
Eric Tang; Khatharya Um; Karen Umemoto
Date Published
November 2001
28 pages
This report presents themes from the 2001 National Council on Crime and Delinquency's (NCCD's) symposium on the needs of and services for Asian and Pacific islanders (API) in the United States.
The report notes that the API population is increasingly a prominent demographic presence in the United Sates, having its own unique interests, needs, and contributions in the American social scene. At the symposium, scholars, activists, community-based and nonprofit organizations, educators, law and policy experts, and foundations were represented in discussing the development of a framework from which to better address the specific needs of and services for API populations. Key areas identified as requiring planning and action on behalf of API populations were combating "model minority" myths, developing culturally competent models of intervention, documentation and research issues, youth at risk, policy and legislation that affects API's, language and education, employment, health, community capacity, and funding. The "model minority" myth perceives that API's constitute a minority group that has achieved success in a relatively short period of time through exemplary commitment to family values, thrift, educational achievement, and a strong work ethic. This view of exemplary API success, however, was noted in the symposium to be a basis for ignoring the social and historical forces that have shaped the unique experiences of the various racial groups that compose API populations. The "model minority" myth loses much of its explanatory value when the API population is viewed from the perspective of its diversity and significant differences in socioeconomic status, type and degree of workforce participation, educational attainment, nature and period of immigration, literacy and language skills, etc. The symposium also concluded that API youth are an emerging at-risk population for delinquency; however, their increasing numbers in the criminal justice system have not been addressed by identifying and targeting their distinctive needs. This report also discusses relevant Federal policies and legislation, education, labor and employment, and health and well-being for the API population. A section of the report on the empowerment of API communities addresses funding, programs, and evaluation for an agenda for action. 3 tables, 1 figure, 4 notes, and 22 references