November 30, 2021

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Lesson of the Day: A Rise in Attacks on Asian-Americans

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4. What evidence is there that discrimination against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders has grown during the pandemic? Why is it difficult to quantify incidences of harassment many Asian-Americans have experienced?

5. Some of people arrested in attacks against Asian-Americans are Black, bringing complicated racial dynamics to the forefront. According to Lai Wa Wu, the policy and alliance director for the San Francisco-based Chinese Progressive Association, what perpetuates tensions among communities of color? In what ways have these communities also supported one another amid the pandemic and a national reckoning on race?

6. This article includes many ways in which people have tried to address anti-Asian discrimination. Identify at least two ways in which:

  • People have responded on an individual level.

  • People have responded on a community level (for example, in a specific neighborhood, city or state).

  • People have responded on a national level.

Which of these responses do you think might be the most effective in stopping violence, harassment and racism against Asian-Americans? Which, if any, might be the least effective in your opinion? Why?

7. In the video you watched in the warm up, Katherine Oung says, “It seems like since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, schools have been a petri dish for racism. It’s dangerous to normalize behavior like this for people my age.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What connections can you make between the racially charged comments you might hear at school and the harassment and violence against Asian-Americans that you read about in the article?

There are many ways you can take action to address anti-Asian racism in your community. Choose one of the options below, depending on how you identify:

If you are Asian or Asian-American, you might first think about your own well-being. Create a tool kit that you can turn to if you experience harassment, discrimination or a hate incident. Here are some ideas for resources you might include in your tool kit:

  • “Whether you’ve been subjected to discrimination or not, simply hearing about the widespread xenophobia can affect your mental health,” writes Brittany Wong in “Self-Care Tips For Asian Americans Dealing With Racism Amid Coronavirus” for HuffPost. How are you caring for your mental health during these stressful times? Read the article and add the self-care strategies you find most helpful, plus some of your own, to your tool kit.

  • Make a list of trusted teachers, administrators, coaches or family members to whom you feel comfortable reporting stereotyping, racially charged language, threats, violence or any other type of discrimination.

  • Include links to organizations that are tracking hate incidents. Reporting helps these groups call for policies and resources that can help address anti-Asian discrimination. Stop AAPI Hate and Asian Americans Advancing Justice are just two where you can share your story.

Then, you might consider the ways you can help your community. The article mentions that some are handing out pamphlets on how to report a hate crime, creating protest art, spreading awareness on social media, fund-raising and organizing volunteer initiatives. Which, if any, of these efforts might benefit your community? What other ideas can you come up with?

If you are not Asian or Asian-American, learn how to be an effective ally. Here are several sources that provide strategies for standing up for the Asian community:

Choose at least one of the strategies mentioned in any of these resources that you can commit to, such as educating yourself on the history of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia, intervening if you witness harassment, amplifying Asian and Asian-American voices on social media or supporting Asian-American businesses. Then, in a short paragraph, make a specific plan for how you will take action and explain why you think this strategy is effective and important.

Additional Teaching and Learning Opportunities

  • Analyze protest art. Look at the images in this article about a new public art series in New York City. What messages do you think the art is trying to communicate? How effective do you think this campaign is? Do you think art can be a form of activism? Why or why not?

  • Read two editorials written by student winners of our editorial contest: “Not American Yet” by Alexander J. Lee, 16, and “This Land Was Made for You and Me” by Nicole Tian, 15. What argument is each of these essays making? How do these articles relate to and build upon what you watched in the warm-up video and read in the featured article? How is it different reading about anti-Asian discrimination from a first-person perspective versus from the third-person perspective you read in the featured article?

  • Make connections to history. Learn more about anti-Asian discrimination in the PBS NewsHour article “The Long History of Racism Against Asian Americans in the U.S.” What connections can you make between history and what is happening today? What lessons can we learn?

About Lesson of the Day

Find all our Lessons of the Day in this column.
Teachers, watch our on-demand webinar to learn how to use this feature in your classroom.

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