The more appropriate term for what Chen and Lew faced is targeted bullying — and it's something that's hardly limited to the military.What are you doing to protect your children from and prepare them for race-based bullying?
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.
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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."
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: