cnn.com

Jeff Yang discusses anti-Asian bullying.  Among his observations:

In a Philadelphia high school, assaults on Asian American students on one day in 2009 included 26 victims, and 13 went to the ER.  Quoting, "racial taunts, anti-immigrant slurs and mockery of accents...one student finally organized a strike, with 80 Asian students refusing to attend classes until their physical safety could be guaranteed."

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Yang cites the "Asian nerd stereotype" as contributory.

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Yang notes that at Cornell, 2/3 of suicides were Asian students, far more than their proportion of the student body.

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Some of the comments on the article are enlightening and worth reading.

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Here is an editorial on "The deAmericanization of Asian Americans:  Ching Chong Chinaman..."

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Interestingly, in this wikipedia article, Asian American workers report experiencing  much less bullying, and much less awareness of bullying, in the workplace compared to black or white workers.  Rates for those who are, or have been bullied:

  1. Blacks (46%)
  2. Whites (33.5%)
  3. Asian (30.6%)

The reported rates of witnessing bullying were:

  1. Blacks (21.1%)
  2. Whites (10.8%)
  3. Asian (8.5%)

The percentages of those reporting that they have neither experienced nor witnessed mistreatment were

  1. Asian (57.3%)
  2. Whites (49.7%)
  3. Blacks(23.4%)

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Anecdotally, I would like to add some related observations.  These are not intended to shift blame or excuse bullying, in any way, and are nonscientific.

-I recently had a conversation with an advanced-placement math teacher.  He told me that 100% of his students were asian.  That's in a community that is about 5% Asian.

-Success in the Asian community outstrips that of other groups.  This success tends to feed resentment, similar to that of perceived success leading to antisemitism.  I know this is an oversimplification, but does add fuel to the fire.

-The term  "Asian" isn't all that useful.  I think people usually mean "Chinese".  Other groups, such as Philipino, Indian, Cambodian, are less often lumped into the same stereotype.  People who are Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese might be included however.  So, is a Russian "Asian"?  Russia is in Asia.  How about someone from Kazakhstan?  Turkey? Pakistan?

-The "Tiger Mom" stereotype, especially promoted by a self-described "Tiger mom", has been debated.  Are the suicides above more due to bullying, or to overbearing parents, both, neither?  The statistics, or lack thereof, over simplify.

-I've seen cut-throat workplace competition and bullying by people,  whose ethnicity is included in the "Asian" category.  And by some who are caucasian.  It's interesting to me, I typed this and when I went back to look at comments in the article, someone stated the same thing.  Again, that does not excuse exclusion or bullying.  (True story:  When I described some of this behavior to my partner, who is North Chinese (Manchurian), he said "They must be from Hong Kong".   One was, another from Shanghai.  He said "even worse".  Now what do I say?)

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I'm not sure where I fall on this discussion.  I strongly disapprove of any bullying, by anyone, against anyone.  Racial or ethnic cliques, exclusion, and scape-goating violate humanist principles and ethics.  They are also a common part of human behavior.  I think it's useful to identify social phenomena and behavior, and examine what contributes to those behaviors.  This is especially true for bad behavior, but sometimes I would like to see what contributes to good behavior as well.

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Us/Them dichotomy usually leads to problems.  This is another example of how that dichotomy complicates life.  We only get one life.  I think we have better things to worry about than who is "us" and who is "them", but a lot of people do worry about exactly that.

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