“Not Your Model Minority” Screening and Panel Discussion

The term “model minority” was first introduced in the 1960s by publications such as The New York Times Magazine and U.S. News & World Report. Since then, it has been applied to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to portray AAPI communities as “model Americans” who achieve success through hard work, perseverance, and determination. But the “model minority” stereotype is a myth, based on an incomplete view of AAPI communities. This myth, benevolent though it may seem, has a harmful impact on AAPI communities, as well as other minority communities.

By award-winning independent filmmaker Jon Osaki,

Not Your Model Minority explores the [model minority] myth and the intersections with past and present anti-Asian violence. The film reveals the ways the model minority myth has been used to create a wedge between communities of color, while also examining opportunities to build power towards addressing systemic racism in America. (“Not Your Model Minority” on New Day Films, https://www.newday.com/films/not-your-model-minority)

Watch the Not Your Model Minority official trailer:

On Tuesday, May 2, 2023, the AAPI Cultural Center hosted a screening of this award-winning documentary, followed by a panel discussion with our students, faculty, staff, and community. We explored how the “model minority” myth had been perpetuated over time, as well as how it continued to affect individuals and communities today.

Panelists: Caroline Koo, Dr. Rennison Lalgee, Christina Michura, Dr. Giao Phan, Christopher Singh (student).
Moderator: Lynn Lau

Our Panelists

A photo of Caroline Koo

Caroline Koo

Caroline K. Koo, originally from New York City, has multiple roles in Austin, Texas, her hometown. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Student Development Department at Austin Community College. She also assists the Deans as a registration liaison during each session. Moreover, she is a doctoral student in Deaf Studies Deaf Education at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

Ms. Koo is currently a graduate research assistant in the healthcare field for National Deaf Center at the University of Texas, Austin. Her research interests include mental health, language deprivation, and intersectionality. Furthermore, she has a lifelong passion for educating, presenting, and training on post-secondary opportunities. She advises on navigation with accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and equity. Lastly, she enjoys giving back to her community through volunteer work with different projects. She also loves spending quality time with family and good friends, reading, and pursuing creative arts.

A photo of Rennison Lalgee

Dr. Rennison Lalgee

Dr. Rennison Lalgee, a member of the Indian diaspora, was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands to parents from Trinidad and Tobago. He later moved to Texas with his parents where he eventually attended The University of Texas at Austin to pursue a career in medicine but quickly discovered his love of Sociology. After graduating, he returned to the University to complete a Ph.D. in Sociology and fortuitously stumbled across Asian American Studies late in his graduate career.

Upon completion of his PhD, Dr. Lalgee joined Austin Community College full-time where he has served as the President of the Full-time Faculty Senate and also on many College-wide committees including the Asian American Steering committee which helped lay the groundwork for a College center dedicated to serving Asian American students.

Dr. Lalgee currently serves as Chair for the Department of Sociology and Social Work where he works hard to support his colleagues as they expose students to the power of Sociology and Social Work!

A photo of Christina Michura

Christina Michura

Born in Seoul, Korea, Christina Michura has lived in Texas since she was two. Her mother is from Korea and her father is from Hungary, and they met in a language class. Since her family was multi-ethnic, they spent a lot of time learning English together and adapting to the American culture, while still enjoying both respective cultures and traditions.

Beginning her career at ACC in 1998 as an Adjunct Professor in the Communication Studies department, Christina Michura has served in a variety of positions including Professional Development Coordinator, Interim Director of Professional Development and Evaluations, and Manager of Faculty Development. Currently, She is the Dean of Student Affairs at the ACC Eastview Campus and oversees the EVC Academic Guidance team which includes Advisors, Success Coaches, and Intake Staff. She also oversees the Testing Center. 

Ms. Michura earned Bachelor of Arts degrees from Texas State University in both English and Speech Communication along with Secondary Teaching Certificates. She also holds a Master of Arts in Speech Communication from Texas State University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration.

A photo of Giao Phan

Dr. Giao Phan

Dr. Giao Phan is Dean of the Public and Social Services Division at Austin Community College where she manages ten instructional programs representing workforce and academic transfer. 

Dr. Phan co-chaired the Asian American Steering Committee tasked with exploring the viability of creating an Asian American Cultural Center at Austin Community College. The thoroughly researched and comprehensive summary report dispelled the prevailing model minority myth and further highlighted the need to support an underserved student population.

Born in Quang Tri, Vietnam, Dr. Phan immigrated to the United States with her family when she was three years old. After completing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa, she joined the Peace Corps where she was assigned to the Philippines as an English Teacher Trainer. She developed a successful literacy program that was recognized as “satellite training center” for provincial teachers.

Dr. Phan obtained her doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin in Educational Policy and Planning.

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To support AAPI students in their academic journey at ACC and create opportunities for the community throughout the district to learn about and engage with the AAPI heritage and cultures.