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.

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture