Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Opinion: the challenge I face because the skin I’m in

Each year, many Asian families immigrate to the United States to seek new opportunities in the workforce and in the educational field, resulting in a booming population of first-generation Asian-Americans.

Although this may come as a privilege for younger generation oriental students, according to the American Psychological Association, on average, 62% of Asian American high school students are vulnerable to bullying through segregation. This doesn’t just apply to a single ethnic group. It applies to Koreans, Filipinos, Indians, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysians, etc.

Anyone can assume that an Asian American is the prime example of a “model minority”. However, most Asian Americans are polar opposites of the “stereotypical” Asian.  They (or we) are people who have had to struggle to integrate our identity, in hopes of feeling culturally accepted. Although many people assume Asian-Americans are successful both academically and economically, this image of a “perfect being” has stripped Asian-Americans of the support they really need.

Unfortunately, many Asian-Americans are victims of racist discrimination. According to the American Civil Liberties Union’s “School-to-Prison Pipeline” policies, Asian American teenagers are 20% more likely to face classroom segregation and verbal abuse than many of their classmates– this pertaining to the U.S. alone. Daily, victimized targets walk through the “gates of hell,” waiting to see what kind of creative jokes their peers have invented. New America Media states that “among Asian American high school students, 29 percent have reported [that they were] unable to reach out for help” because the discrimination they faced of always portraying the “model minority.”

There are many opportunities for victims of discrimination to speak up for what is happening to them, either by contacting hotlines, or reporting the incident to people of authority. But how could anyone find the exact words to define this cruelty among the students their age? Although high school is supposed to prepare adolescents for the real world, Asian American students are hindered from this opportunity, simply because of the continuous discrimination they face.

According to Professor Le, a senior lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, many people still believe that “Asian Americans no longer need public services such as bilingual education, government documents in multiple languages, and welfare” because they are expected to present success. This image of the “perfect being” forces and targets Asian American students, preventing them from receiving the full help they really need.

Discrimination occurs all around the world, every minute of every day. Despite the fact that this form of bullying may never end, there is always something one person can do, in order to reduce the amount of segregation among young adolescents in high school.