During one cold December day in a poor urban Philadelphia high school, Asian American adolescents were targeted and bullied with physical violence by roving gangs of fellow students, while they were on school property and as they were walking home from school. Dozens of Asian students were punched and kicked in the cafeteria as crowds watched and cheered. An Asian girl was dragged down the stairwell by several students. A group of 10 Vietnamese students, most of whom were girls, were chased down, punched and beaten by up to 100 students when they were supposed to be escorted by the school principal herself, who has since left the school. At the end of the day, 26 Asian American students were sent to the emergency room for injuries ranging from a broken nose to head trauma. As a result, nearly 60 students boycotted the school for eight day, demanding the Philadelphia School District provide a safe environment for them. Community organizations assisted the teenagers and the Justice Department intervened. Asian-American students say the school environment is better today but why did it happen?
Studies have found that Asian Americans are the bullied ethnic group. What are some cultural and ethnic issues that find Asian Americans as supposed easy targets? What are some strategies for putting a stop to bullying? What are some of the short-term and long-term psychological effects of bullying that are compounded by ethnic factors?
Helen I. Hwang is a freelance journalist and author based in Scotland. Her works have appeared in People Magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia City Paper, Next American City Magazine, aMagazine: Inside Asian America, Huffington Post and other publications. She was a former researcher for the Peabody Award-winning radio program, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, on National Public Radio, and wrote a book for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. Her writing has covered a wide range of topics from human trafficking to the bath butler menu at the Ritz-Carlton.
I will produce an article on Asian-American bullying.