“Too Asian?” or the Invisible Citizen on the Other Side of the Nation?

  • Dan CuiEmail author
  • Jennifer Kelly
Original Paper


In November 2010, Maclean’s magazine published a provocative article “Too Asian?” which aroused hot debate and critique from various social groups. However, its racist nature and the role of media in reinforcing racial stereotypes, manufacturing consent, and naturalizing unequal power relations has not been examined in a systematic way. Using critical discourse analysis, this paper aims to reveal its ideological and hegemonic function in constructing unequal social identities and social relations which consequently prevents racialized minorities from accessing post-secondary educational opportunities. Four themes are identified and discussed here. First, the “Too Asian?” article reinforces an Us/Them division and a “forever foreigner” identity of racialized minorities. Second, it essentializes ethnic culture and identifies culture rather than structural constraints as an explanation for individual social behaviors. Third, it represents “Asian” students as self-segregationists who should be blamed for their own exclusion. Last, but most important, it aims to justify white privilege in the field of post-secondary education by questioning the idea of meritocracy as university admission criteria and suggests maintaining “WASP Credentials.”


Too Asian Anti-racism Chinese immigrant/Chinese Canadian Media representation Racialized minorities Critical discourse analysis Post-secondary education 



We are grateful for the Fariborz Birjandian Graduate Student Award from Prairie Metropolis Centre and Research Grant from China Institute, University of Alberta for this research project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Policy StudiesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Educational Policy StudiesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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