BOSTON, Mass. (May 20, 2013) – WGBH celebrated Boston’s dynamic Asian Pacific American community on Monday, May 20 with a special, public screening of Model Minority: Do the Math, a short documentary film that examines the complex and contradictory stereotype of Asian Americans as academic overachievers.  Immediately following the screening, Liz Cheng, General Manager of WGBH Television and the national multicast WORLD Channel, moderated a lively discussion with the film’s producer and a panel of leaders from Boston’s Asian American community on the depictions of Asian Americans in society and pop culture.

“The topic of negative and positive stereotyping as it relates to bullying couldn’t be more relevant given recent news events,” said Cheng. “When I was growing up, there were few successful Asian role models in any media, with Asians typically portrayed in a negative light. Today, at WORLD and at WGBH, I am proud to say we are dedicated to reflecting diversity in all its glorious variety with programming that is of interest to all.”

Created and directed by Producer Teja Arboleda, Model Minority: Do the Math reveals the impact of the model minority myth – a complex and contradictory stereotype of Asian Americans as academic overachievers – on the experiences and perspectives of Asian American college students. Through powerful, personal comparisons, the film aims to divert attention from systematic structural racism by emphasizing individualism, and to overcome misconceptions surrounding Asian American students. Model Minority will air on the WORLD Channel, Sunday, May 26 at 7:30pm.

“Being from Japan, and having two daughters of East Asian mix, the model minority myth has always been a personal concern,” said Arboleda. “As a professor and documentary producer, I felt it was time to expose this particular stereotype as being harmful on many levels. WGBH and my fellow panelists can bring the affected community together to heal, and tell the true stories about the Asian American experience. Model Minority: Do the Math is a film which tells some of these stories, with valuable insight from educators and experts on these issues.”

In addition to his role as creator and producer of Model Minority, Teja Arboleda, M.Ed. serves as President and Creative Director of Entertaining Diversity, Inc., and is currently an Assistant Professor of Race and Ethnic Relations the New England Institute of Art. Joining him on the event panel was a diverse group of experts and opinion leaders including:

  • Andrew Leong, JD, Associate Professor of Legal Education, Immigration Law, Asian Studies, College of Public and Community Service at UMass Boston;
  • Chi Chi Wu, Member of the WGBH Community Advisory Board and Co-Founder of the Brookline Asian American Family Network.


Liz Cheng, Teja Arboleda, Bill Howe. Andrew Leong and Chi Chi Wu


About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web. Television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston Public Radio; Classical New England; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. Find more information at wgbh.org

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