The Forgotten: Those Left Behind by Our Myths

Hmong American teenager Dylan Yang appears in court to hear the verdict in his reckless homicide trial in March 2016. (Photo credit: WSAW7)

By Guest Contributor: Yung Wing

We often hear about the success of Asian Americans who are emblematic of the “model minority” stereotype. But we rarely hear the voices of those who fall through the cracks. The term AAPI, or Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, was popularized by the Obama Administration from among several terms which already existed. It encompasses not only East Asian and Indian American immigrants who on average possess more degrees and levels of education when they immigrated to the US, but also the Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders who are not as well off. And when the public only has one “model minority” conception of AAPIs, comparably marginal peoples are too often forgotten.

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16-year-old Dylan Yang Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison after Homicide Conviction

Dylan Yang listens to a victim impact statement at his sentencing hearing. (Photo credit: WFJW)
Dylan Yang listens to a victim impact statement at his sentencing hearing. (Photo credit: WFJW)

In a trial that has deeply shaken the Black and Asian communities of Wisconsin, 16-year-old Dylan Yang, who is Hmong American, was sentenced earlier this week to 13 years in prison and an additional 17 years of extended supervision in the stabbing death of 13-year-old Isaiah Powell early last year.

The incident began when in February of 2015, two groups of students began insulting one another on Facebook. Eventually, Powell and his group of friends drove to Yang’s family home to confront Yang and his friends. That confrontation escalated into physical violence, and Powell reportedly fired a BB gun he had brought with him. Yang then emerged from his house with a knife and confronted Powell, resulting in Powell’s fatal injury. Yang was arrested after the altercation and tried as an adult for homicide; Yang was 15 years old at the time.

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