Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Asian Americans as Targets of Bullying

Given this incident and this incident and this incident and this incident, it didn't surprise me that Zoe included in her "I have a dream" speech on MLK Day the dream "that children will not be bullied because of their race." At CNN's inAMERICA blog, Jeff Yang writes about the bullying-related deaths of  Private Danny Chen and Lance Corporal Harry Lew, and more generally about Asian Americans as a growing target for bullies:
The more appropriate term for what Chen and Lew faced is targeted bullying — and it's something that's hardly limited to the military.

In fact, recent research suggests that young Asian Americans are facing a bullying epidemic. Last year, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released a joint study showing that over half of Asian American teens said they'd been the subject of targeted abuse at school, versus around a third of blacks, Hispanics and whites.

* * *

Why are Asian Americans disproportionately targeted for abuse?

A harmonic convergence of factors. There's the perception — and in some cases, the reality — of the "nerd" stereotype. The trinity of social awkwardness, physical frailty and academic overachievement has always served as a magnet for bullies.

There's the rising tide of animosity toward immigrants, particularly those from predominantly countries that are seen as emerging rivals of the United States, like China and India.

There's the plain old fact that those who are "different" in obvious ways — appearance, name, faith, accent — are often the focus of unwanted attention in environments where fitting in is prized, like high school. Or the military.

And especially among immigrants and the children of immigrants, there's the reality that cultural and familial expectations push them to submit to bullying rather than being "disruptive" or succumbing to "distraction."
What are you doing to protect your children from and prepare them for race-based bullying?


Carol Anne said...

I've talked to my kids about all kinds of bullying since they were little. They both know that they need to report the bullying, whether it is directed towards them or someone else.
My kids haven't been targets until this year, when my oldest hit middle school. Right now, there's a group of boys that are bullying on race and gender identity. My oldest made a report to the asst. principal yesterday. She also knows that if she doesn't report it, I will because while it may not directly bother her, there are others who may be greatly bothered. It's our responsibility for stick up for each other when bullying is taking place.

Anonymous said...

Put my children in a school where there is not a dominant race. It will not remove race bullying, but lessens the likelihood it. In other group situations (ie sports) my children are the dominant race (they play in an Asian league).

Anonymous said...

Plus you have to worry about sexual bullying. Go look at 8asians to see what I mean. (The situation where the white man is making rude remarks to the Asian woman.)