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With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Asian Americans are once again facing hostility during a global public health emergency.

German illustration showing the archangel Michael urging the nations of Europe to challenge China (the “yellow peril”), circa 1870.

The model minority stereotype assumes Asian Americans are a monolith, instead of a group characterized by tremendous diversity representing more than 50 different ethnicities and 100 different languages.

Recognizing and understanding the simultaneous impact of both “yellow peril” and “model minority” stereotypes, as well as the true diversity of Asian Americans, is essential.

We are neither your model minority nor an outside threat, and falling into either trap will only make containing this crisis harder — for Asian Americans and for everyone.

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