Teachers and learning advocates in Texas have long called for greater representation of Asian Americans in classrooms. Now, the conversation is being reopened after the recent rise in Anti-Asian attacks and hate crimes.
Educators across the country say bottom line: there’s not enough Asian American history covered in classrooms.
So, we spoke to teachers about what Texas students are missing out on when it comes to Asian American history. Here’s what they had to say:
Dr. Madeline Hsu, a history professor at the University of Texas, said different kinds of Asian Americans often get grouped together. People of Chinese, Korean and Japanese descent tend to be discussed the most. Meanwhile, people from countries like India, Nepal, or Laos are often overlooked.
Hsu said it’s about asking people “to be willing to consider the complexity that is included in the census category [Asian American].”
She said very little is taught about regions like South and Southeast Asia. However, Texas has large populations of Vietnamese, Indian and Filipino residents who have descendants from those regions.
2. Humanity And Complexity
Dr. Hsu said the way Asian Americans are talked about is often dehumanizing, focusing more on their contributions than who they are as people.
“We feel a need to portray them as being deserving, that they sort of work hard and add to the United States, which many immigrants certainly do,” she said. “But also just to see them as human beings, and to see sort of the richness of experiences and cultures.”