The Asian American Dream?: perspectives from the "model minority" in Flushing, Queens

Christa Tandana, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Pace University

Document Type Thesis

Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.


This research paper explores the idea of “the American Dream” and what it means to Asian Americans, specifically in Flushing, Queens in New York City. First, it argues that there is a gap between the dream and the reality for Asian immigrants that come to NYC; and secondly, that there is a gap between the dreams of the first and second generation of Asian Americans in Flushing.

This study uses Jim Cullen’s The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation as a basis for discussion on the definition of ‘the American Dream’ and its many variations. The second portion takes these ideas further by presenting the idea of ‘the Asian American Dream’ and explores the factors that shape it. It also discusses the ‘model minority myth’ and it implications on Asian Americans and the role it plays in ‘the Asian American Dream’.

In the primary research, interviews were conducted with 20 Asian Americans, with a core group of nine respondents from Flushing, Queens. These respondents ranged in ethnic background and included both first and second generations. The findings connect the theoretical background to the personal experiences of the respondents. The results ranged widely and confirmed that ‘the American Dream’ is a broadly defined idea that still affects immigrants today.