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Model Minority: Uniquely American

Model Minority: Uniquely American

By Nidhi Shastri

A podcast that breaks down the model minority myth and showcases stories from the Asian, Middle Eastern, and African immigrants and first generation American communities.
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Zamzam Dini | Somalia - Immigrant Tales #5

Model Minority: Uniquely AmericanMay 05, 2023

Zamzam Dini | Somalia - Immigrant Tales #5
May 05, 202308:46
Sameer Gadhia of Young the Giant

Sameer Gadhia of Young the Giant

Welcome to Season 2 of Model Minority: Uniquely American!

As the launch of Season 2, we sit down with Sameer Gadhia, lead singer of Young the Giant, to discuss his heritage, thoughts on the American Dream, and the meaning behind the album American Bollywood.

When Sameer Gadhia and his bandmates started the band Young the Giant, few people in the alternative rock music industry knew of the influence of South Asian culture and rhythms on the genre. Since then, Young the Giant has released major hits such as Cough Syrup, Silvertounge, and Mind Over Matter, played shows at festivals like Summerfest & Lollapalooza, and performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

As the child of Indian immigrants, Sameer Gadhia grew up like many of us - caught between his two identities. He left Stanford University in order to forge his own path in music, one that stems from a long history of musicians in his family. With the band's latest album, American Bollywood, Sameer has shed a direct light on his culture and background, and in the process, gave so many third-culture kids a home within his music.

Check out ⁠⁠⁠Sameer's Op-Ed in The Rolling Stones Magazine⁠⁠⁠ that we referenced in the episode.


Give Sameer and YTG a follow: IG - @SameerGadhia & @YoungtheGiant | Spotify | YouTube

Follow Model Minority: Uniquely American: IG - @minority_model | Facebook | Spotify | Apple Podcasts

Apr 15, 202332:42
A Request

A Request

I'm back!

Excited to announce Season 2 of Model Minority, and am so grateful for all the people who have grown to love this show. 

A quick request: I'm working on an upcoming episode about language, and I want to hear from YOU! Email me a 30 second - 1 min clip about what your native language means to you.

Email your clip to: 

Anyone is welcome to submit (including if you can't speak your native language or struggle with it) - your voice could end up in a future episode! Some themes you can talk about are:

fears about being unable to speak or pass on your native language thoughts about the effectiveness of communicating in your mother tongue (i.e. expressing some ideas or themes more strongly in another language than in English) how English plays a role in our lives and identity in the U.S. as people of color your colonial history with English or another Western language

If you don't have anything to share, pass this episode on to a friend who might! Some easy ways to record a voice note are through the voice recorder app on your phone, or through Facebook messenger to my page Model Minority: Uniquely American.

So excited to be back, and even more so to hear from you! Cheers! 

- Nidhi S

Jan 28, 202304:24
Documenting Our Histories

Documenting Our Histories

Stories. Histories. What differentiates one from the other? And, why are they so important to document?

With so much going on right now - India’s coronavirus surge, the free Palestine movement, BLM, Stop Asian Hate, and so much more - sharing and saving our stories are more important to presenting history fairly, than ever before. In this episode, Nidhi speaks with the people who are documenting Asian, African and Middle Eastern stories in real-time. Join us as we meet the storytellers, the change-makers and the documenters of the world.

Catch the people featured in this episode and their work using the links below:

Malek and Anwar are documenting Arab American stories on their podcast,
CommuniTea in Arabic, and just kicked off Season 2!  Hana Baba is sharing stories from the Black diaspora and celebrating Black joy and diversity on her podcast, The Stoop. Jaki Yi’s studies have been published (woohoo!) , check them out here and here.  Sangay Mishra’s book Desi’s Divided is on Amazon and also available at the University of Minnesota bookstore. Lakshmi Sridaran and the team at South Asians Leading Together (SAALT) have published new work here Randy Kim’s podcast, the Bahn Mi Chronicles, also just kicked off a brand new season centered on SE Asian LGBTQ+ stories. 

Thank you, shukriya, for listening. Please share this podcast episode with a friend if you enjoyed it, and give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter !

Credit to Corky Lee’s full interview goes to BRIC TV (check it out here) :

Image credits: "Community" by niallkennedy is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

May 25, 202159:19
Shiwei Zhang | China - Immigrant Tales #3
Apr 05, 202114:49
Namah Vyakarnam | India - Immigrant Tales #2
Jan 25, 202106:28
In Conversation w/ Karan Mahajan

In Conversation w/ Karan Mahajan

In the first episode of our new mini-series "In Conversation," Nidhi sits down with novelist, essayist, and critic writer Karan Mahajan. They discuss how Karan pursued writing as someone from a conservative Indian background, terrorism as a theme in his novels, the broader Desi diaspora, South African apartheid, and more. Then, he reads a bit of his piece "The Two Asian Americas."

Karan's writing has been featured in The Believer, The Daily Beast, the San Francisco Chronicle, Granta, and The New Yorker.
The Two Asian Americas was in the Top 15 most-read pieces of the New Yorker in 2015, and his novel, the Association of Small Bombs, was named one of the New York Times Book Review's "10 Best Books of 2016." Check out his website for more info. 

Jan 11, 202131:53
Chu May Paing | Burma - Immigrant Tales #1
Dec 29, 202010:58
Introducing: The Immigrant Tales

Introducing: The Immigrant Tales

This clip opens with an excerpt from the author and essayist Karan Mahajan's piece in the New Yorker titled, The Two Asian Americas. Followed by that, we hear a bit more of the piece read by the author himself, who Nidhi interviewed earlier this year. 

I am so excited to announce a sub-series of Model Minority: Uniquely American called Immigrant Tales. This series will consist of "mini" episodes that recount stories of success, struggle, and the journey to call this country "home," for immigrants in our model minority community. Stay tuned for these stories, along with some interviews from impactful voices in our community, such as that Karan Mahajan. 

As always, shukriya for listening, and I'm glad to have you here.  

Dec 22, 202004:34
One Jump Ahead of the Punchline
Dec 14, 202041:25
In Sickness and in Wealth
Nov 09, 202051:38
Reframing the Rāga w/ The Indian Jam Project

Reframing the Rāga w/ The Indian Jam Project

In 2014, Tushar Lall banded with two friends and released a cover of the "Game of Thrones" theme song on YouTube. He did so with a twist; he arranged the piece using his knowledge of Indian classical instruments, featuring tablas (South Asia hand drums) and a bansuri (a South Asian wooden flute) to supplement his keyboard part. 

353K YouTube subscribers and over 20 musical covers later, Tushar has been named one of the "Forbes Top 100 Celebrities" of India. He joins us today on Model Minority U.A. to tell us his story, how it all started at The Indian Jam Project, and the value of Indian Classical Instruments. 

Check out Tushar's work here.
If you liked this episode, be sure to follow both Model Minority and Tushar Lall on Instagram!
My Patreon: 

Oct 27, 202016:58
Enigma: The Political Lives of Asian Americans
Oct 12, 202023:02
The Racial Wedge
Sep 29, 202038:55
Crazy (Not So) Rich Asians Part 2
Sep 14, 202032:36
Crazy (Not So) Rich Asians Part 1
Sep 14, 202030:11
The Invisibles
Aug 31, 202032:35
Busting the Model Minority Myth
Aug 17, 202014:40
Introducing Model Minority: Uniquely American (Trailer)

Introducing Model Minority: Uniquely American (Trailer)

My name is Nidhi Shastri, and I’ve created a podcast to discuss what being a Model Minority in America really looks like, the good, the bad, and the invisible.  In an effort to break down these biases and shake up our views, I'm discussing poverty, race, education, sexuality, and more in the Asian, African, and Middle Eastern diasporas. Hiding who we are and displaying who we are supposed to be, has often been a survival tactic for model minorities in America. And it's not just about our actions. Many of us feel the need to conform and stand on this painfully constricting pedestal. I’m excited to bring my work to you all. The discussion does not end when my episodes do, so feel free to ask questions and share comments right here through our page.  As always, shukria, and thank you for being here. I’m glad to have you. And welcome to Model Minority… Uniquely American.

May 13, 202001:53