top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Michael "Soon" Lee

Another Example of Yellow Privilege?

In his upcoming book, “Beyond the Bamboo Curtain” Michael Lee explains why Asians in the U.S. enjoy more privileges than other minorities.

For example, Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill requiring Florida to join other states that require Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history to be taught as part of school curricula. At the same, Florida and 23 other states have banned the teaching of Black history. In fact, in early 2023, DeSantis rejected a new AP African American history class, claiming it “lacks educational value.”

So why is AAPI history now being promoted while Black history is being banned? Dr. Lee explains how Asians in America have been granted something called “Yellow Privilege” which is almost as good as “White Privilege”, but not quite.

Lee says that when many Chinese started arriving in America in the late 1840s, they were described as “heathen Chinaman” and by 1853, a California newspaper said about the Chinese, “They are not of our people and never will be...” In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act became the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States.

Yet, by the 1960s, the media was calling Asians in the U.S. the “Model Minority” who were quiet and hard-working and whom other minorities should emulate rather than protesting for civil rights in the streets. At the time, Asians were less than one percent of the American population, so it was easy to give them a public relations makeover. As a result, between 1940 and 1970, Asians went from segregated neighborhoods and schools to surpassing African Americans in average household earnings and closed the wage gap with Whites. This transformation has been so complete that today, many believe that discrimination no longer exists against Asian Americans.

In Michael’s book, he explains many of the facts surrounding Yellow Privilege including:

  • The public relations campaign that created Yellow Privilege.

  • Specific ways that Asians are granted more privileges than other minorities.

  • How Yellow Privilege is used to take the spotlight off inequalities that Blacks and other groups in America have suffered.

  • Why many AAPIs are embarrassed by Yellow Privilege but won’t talk about it.

  • How Yellow Privilege has led to increased violence against AAPIs.

  • Discrimination that continues to negatively affect Asians in America.

  • How Yellow privilege is still being used to oppress other minorities today.

Take a quiz to see how much you know about Asian Americans at:

14 views0 comments





Michael Soon Lee, Ph.D., is a professional speaker and trainer on diversity, equity, and inclusion. He has spoken over 1,000 times around the world to companies. He is also the author of the upcoming book, "Beyond the Bamboo Curtain: Understanding America's Invisible Minority". He can be reached by calling (925) 864-8848 or by emailing:


As a public speaking professional, he has been listed as one of the Top 5 Diversity Speakers in America by the Speakers Platform Speakers Bureau. Michael has spoken about selling to thousands of multicultural customers around the world for over 14 years.


Media Contact

Company Name: EthnoConnect Contact Person: Michael Soon Lee Email: 

bottom of page