First Advisor

Michael Chiang


Lauren Hirshberg


Regis College

Degree Name


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

65 pages


The first known Asians arrived in the United States in the 16th century. By the mid-19th century, major waves of Asian immigrants traveled to the United States. During this time, early Asian immigrants faced racist stereotypes, discrimination, and exclusionary legislations. Inspired by the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, early Asian activists created political coalitions, redefined their identity, and gained political power. Gaining political power ensures they are incorporated into society, their needs are addressed, resources are shared equally, and meaningful influence over government policies were obtained. Through this, early Asians created their self-determined label and political coalition: ‘Asian American’. Yet this label today creates issues with aggregation and the model minority myth. From this, my thesis aims to analyze how early Asian activism worked in solidarity with African American activist, how early Asian activists used similar tactics from the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements to achieve political power, analyze the unique struggles early Asians faced in pursuit for political power, and analyze the issues of the ‘Asian American’ label and model minority myth today. With this, this thesis will argue that despite the achievements gained early Asian activists, Asians today still face issues with integration due to lack of visibility, the model minority myth, and the evolving issues with the label ‘Asian American’. This thesis will argue how the population of ‘Asian American’ has increased and diversified so much today that the ‘Asian American’ label no longer suffice and thus must evolve to reflect what that population is today.

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.