Real Talk on Race is CBC Montreal's special series exploring conversations and experiences concerning race in the city.


"You're Asian, you must be good at music, you should be good at martial arts, you should be good at school."

Those are some of the stereotypes dentist Glenn Hoa heard when he was growing up as a young Montrealer of Vietnamese descent. 

Hoa's experience exemplifies the stereotypes of the model minority — the idea that Asian communities are academically and economically more successful than other minority groups.

But what some call positive stereotyping, other people call harmful.

For Hera Chan, an artist, organizer and McGill student of Chinese descent, the idea of the model minority dehumanizes Asians.

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"It comes with this idea that we have in the West from media that somehow Asians are machines, they're perfect at doing things, and that everything they do is so mechanic — that's why Asians are good at math, they're good at music," said Chan. 

As part of the "Real Talk on Race" series, Daybreak host Mike Finnerty sat down with Hoa and Chan to discuss the expectations for the model minority from outside and within their communities; the lack of discussion on solidarity between Asian and Black communities; and, in light of Chris Rock's recent bit at this year's Oscars, the idea that Asian stereotypes are fair game for jokes.