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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.
“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.”
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.