Kid uses hashtag to call out bigotry against Asian-Americans and wins the Internet.

Jason Fong, a high school student in California, has been an American citizen all his life. His grandfather emigrated from China to Cuba and then to New York City in the 1940s. His mother is from Korea.


That's his Asian-American story. And it's the kind of not-so-easy to summarize story that's often erased from political discussions. That's especially the case when politicians like Donald Trump and Jeb Bush use the pejorative term “anchor babies" — usually implying that non-citizens come to the U.S. to give birth in order to take advantage of public benefits in the country.

That's why 15-year-old Fong, after hearing Jeb Bush's comments about the "problems" stemming from "Asian people coming into our country" (back when Bush was a presidential candidate), decided to help illuminate what "our country" really looks like for Asian-Americans.

He started the viral hashtag #MyAsianAmericanStory as a way for Asian-Americans to contribute the stories and histories that mainstream politicians too often ignore.

GIF from the TV show "Fresh Off the Boat."

“I hope that people can look at this tag and know that Asians and Asian Americans are part of the American narrative," Fong told the Los Angeles Times.

Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. The U.S. has a long history of anti-Asian immigration policies, and despite the fact that our families and communities are a part of the American fabric, misconceptions about Asian-Americans still persist.

Bush's comments — and the troubling mindset they represent — make elevating stories of Asian-American immigrants and their descendants all the more important.

Here are some of the most thought-provoking tweets that tell #MyAsianAmericanStory:

Asian-Americans have been in the U.S. for a looong time...

...and so has discrimination.

Did you know that the first immigration restriction in America targeted Asian immigrants? The Page Law of 1875 attempted to stop Asian immigration based on the idea that Asians were "undesirable" and that Asian women were prostitutes. Other anti-immigration laws were targeted at Asians, too, including the Chinese Exclusion Act that followed in later years.


In 1942, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were rounded up and placed in camps. Japanese internment was a horrifying and humiliating experience for the families who were forcibly removed from their communities. It also created long-lasting economic consequences for the people who lost their jobs, businesses, and livelihoods while in the camps.

Even though our families and communities have been a part of this country for forever, the stereotypes just don't seem to quit.


No matter how well we speak English, Asian-Americans often face the challenge of being seen as Other — never completely part of American culture.

Lucy Liu has had enough. GIF via "Elementary."

But understanding our stories give us strength...

Our personal histories are deeply tied to our political histories. And our political histories demonstrate how resilient our communities can be.

...and sharing them makes us grow stronger.


It's not every day that we see our real stories reflected in the media. Thank you, Jason Fong, for the opportunity to share our unique histories with each other and with the world.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less