An investigative comedian exploring the weirdest and wildest reaches of human knowledge. Creator and host of Adam Ruins Everything, now streaming on HBO Max!

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The Model Minority Myth
January 16, 2019

Here’s a segment from our newest episode, Adam Ruins A Sitcom, in which we discuss the real history behind the “model minority” myth that is so often placed on Asian-Americans:

Here are my responses to two common questions about this video that I’ve received on Twitter. First, in response to the question of whether or not Germans were interned in camps during World War II:

Secondly, in response to our decision to call the camps that Japanese-Americans were held in “concentration camps” rather than internment camps:

Here’s a good piece from NPR which summarizes the reasons many scholars choose to use the term “concentration camp” rather than the more sanitized “internment camp:”

Roger Daniels, a historian and author, wrote an analysis for the University of Washington Press called “Words Do Matter: A Note on Inappropriate Terminology and the Incarceration of the Japanese Americans.” He concludes that, although it’s unlikely society will completely cease to use the phrase “Japanese internment,” scholars should abandon the term and use “concentration camp.” He considers internment a euphemism that minimizes a tragic time in American history.
President Franklin Roosevelt himself called the relocation sites concentration camps

While it’s certainly possible to have a good-faith disagreement on which term is more apropos, it is clear that “concentration camp” is an acceptable choice, and we chose to side with scholars that believe that its use is the most accurate way to highlight the deep human rights abuse that the camps represented.