“[T]he amount of anti-Asian racism we’re experiencing is a result of erasure of the Asian American community from conversations about race, as well as general ignorance about Asian American history and individuals.

“Conversations and lessons about race are too often presented along the Black-white binary, and add on the bias held against East Asian Americans as a result of the “model minority” myth and assumption of proximity to whiteness.”
-Liz Kleinrock

Responding to Atlanta: Resources for Talking with Kids About Anti-Asian Hate

by Katie Peckham & Allison Dover

You are probably at least somewhat aware that between 1942 and 1945, the US imprisoned over 110,000 of its own citizens, solely on the basis of their Japanese ancestry.

But did you know that in 1871 there was an outbreak of lynchings of Chinese neighborhoods in Los Angeles, which took out ten percent of the Chinese population? And that eight rioters were convicted of manslaughter but then the sentences were overturned and never retried nor even mentioned by newspapers?

Did you realize that in 1854 the California Supreme Court upheld a law that said no Chinese person could testify in a CA court against a white defendant? 

Were you aware that US President Chester Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, outlawing Chinese immigration, and that it was not even partially repealed until 1943?

Did you know that in 1907, San Francisco banned Japanese students from its public schools?

It is important to realize that anti-Asian racism is nothing new in this country, even if it is only recently coming to the attention of some of us. There is a history there, as with so many painful issues like this.

Here are some resources you might consider in talking about the recent shootings in Atlanta with your children:

After Atlanta: Teaching About Asian American Identity and History – a 6th grade teacher shares how she began a conversation with her students about Asian American awareness, and recommends several helpful resources for teaching about Asian American history and identity

Responding to Anti-Asian Violence and Georgia Shootings – an article discussing the importance of making space for grief and self-care

The Growing Power of Asian-Americans in Georgia Now Comes With Fear – a lesson plan for teaching older students about the recent Atlanta shootings and the history of Asian American racism, with questions for writing and discussion in response to student-created photographic art, a short video, and a podcast episode


Further Resources:

“The History of Yellow Face”  – Teen Vogue video on YouTube

“Recent Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Doesn’t Mean Anti-Asian Racism Is New” – article in Teen Vogue

“Coronavirus Racism Infected My High School”  – New York Times article, with 4-min video, discussion questions, and action steps

“Not American Yet” – personal essay by Alexander J. Lee, 16, in New York Times

“This Land Was Made For You and Me”  – personal essay by Nicole Tian, 15, in New York Times

“The Growing Power of Asian-Americans in Georgia Now Comes With Fear” – New York Times article, with 3-min video, discussion questions and action steps

“The Long History of Racism Against Asian Americans in the US”  – PBS article