Friday, March 3, 2017

Asian American day laborers dispel model minority myth

Day laborers gather in Flushing, Queens, NYC.


ASIAN AMERICANS have the highest rate of poverty than any other group in the Big Apple, according to New York City.

Perhaps there’s no more a visible sign of the economic difficulties facing that population than Asian/American day laborers, reports WABC.

Each day, this otherwise invisible underclass stands at street corners, in shopping center parking lots and elsewhere in Downtown Flushing, waiting for someone to hire them as landscapers, plumbers and painters.

“It’s kind of sad to see in this day and age, there’s a lot of job insecurity and people still have to line up on the streets and not know if they’re going to get a job on a daily basis, and in times when they get injured they’re not sure where they’re going to get the next paycheck,” said Mike Cheng, of Epos Development and a member of the Community Board.

Poverty is not usually associated with Asian/Americans because of the prevalence of the "model minority myth" that weighs heavily on all segments of that population group.

Twenty-seven percent of New York City’s Asian/American population lives in poverty, according to the report. Yet only 1 percent of the state funding goes to combat that poverty. Adult literacy programs are desperately needed, but only a minuscule percentage of the population gets it.

"Right now there's a crisis in New York State," said state Assemblyman Ron Kim. "There are roughly 3.5 million immigrants that need adult literacy programs and only 7,500 immigrants are getting them." (Views From the Edge contributed to this report.)