Stunning Photos Show a Side of Asian Culture in America That Few Ever See

Although many Asians in America struggle to make a living, that doesn’t stop people from stereotyping them as being part of the “model minority.”

Cynthia Trinh, a 31-year-old activist and former intellectual property lawyer in Brooklyn, New York, is challenging Asian-American stereotypes with her first-ever photo series: “The Model Minority Reality.” Trinh told Mic:

“I wanted to do something that really hit home for me, and that I related to.

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“We struggle, too, as an immigrant group in this country. Asian-Americans are regarded as ‘the model minority.’ … But it’s really damaging for those of us who don’t fit the stereotypes. It also hides that there’s still plenty of racism and prejudice against us.”

As a first-generation Vietnamese-American, Trinh revealed what influenced her to start the project:

“I started this after the big New York Times nail salon investigation. I think that was one of those things we all kind of knew was happening, but it took that piece to really hammer it home.”

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In her series, Trinh captured the struggles of street vendors, cooks, nail salon employees and textile workers to show a side of the Asian community that is lost in the shadow of mainstream stereotypes of Asian culture.

“I hope my photo series can show what Asian-Americans are really doing in this country. I want to combat the myths. We are hard-working. Many of us are immigrants. There’s racism and prejudice against us. And still, we deserve to be here.”

Check out Trinh’s work below.

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