Asians are in an interesting place, ugly-stereotype-wise. The most common thing for people of color to be stereotyped as is as impulsive, emotional, violent—this is the ugly stereotype that clings to black and Latino communities. And being stereotyped as a “thug” not only puts limits on one’s socioeconomic mobility, it also has more immediate results like getting shot dead and your murderer being acquitted. By comparison, being stereotyped as intellectual, stoic, and boring might seem like a nice problem to have. Certainly there are some Asians who have gleefully embraced the image of being the diligent worker bee.
But stereotypes like this reflect what I like to call (appropriately enough) “Goldilocks racism”; it’s not that African Americans get a “negative” stereotype and Asian Americans a “positive” one, it’s that both stereotypes represent unhealthy extremes on a spectrum with white Americans presumed to occupy the “normal,” desirable middle.