Bullying Bias: Educators Offer Practical Solutions Against Rising Bullying of South Asian Youth
Educators Dr. Monisha Bajaj, Dr. Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, and Karishma Desai, in collaboration with the national organization South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), have developed and launched a 90-page resource pack on addressing bias-based bullying targeted at South Asian American youth [available here].
The curricular pack seeks to provide communities, individuals, and educators with resources for addressing bullying, harassment and xenophobic racism directed at youth of South Asian descent in U.S. schools. The unit includes six lessons, numerous suggestions for further course topics, and additional resources to counter ignorance, misunderstanding, and prejudice.
Bullying has been noted as an acute problem within U.S. schools. It manifests as a power imbalance in schools and society, and includes physical, social, and psychological intimidation. Since the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, students and families who have no connection to terrorism have been singled out, harassed, and attacked. Studies by community organizations, independent scholars, and the Department of Justice and Department of Education have demonstrated the inordinately high rates of bullying and targeting of youth of South Asian descent across the United States. These young people are often targeted because they are thought to be Muslim and their harassment exemplifies pervasive Islamophobia and xenophobia.
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This curriculum primarily focuses on South Asian Americans—whose families (perhaps many generations ago) originally hail from the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Examples in the lessons demonstrate how national, ethnic or religious groups are often confused and conflated. The curricular pack notes that many of the dynamics of bullying, intimidation, and harassment target individuals who simply look ‘foreign,’ regardless of their diverse ethnic origins.
The goals of the curricular pack are to:
* Provide resources to educators seeking to interrupt bullying and harassment in their schools and community.
* Build awareness of the issues faced by children and youth who are targeted by bias-based bullying.
* Foster empathy and action to intervene in situations of injustice that occur in schools and communities.
The Curricular Pack can be downloaded for free from SAALT’s resource page: saalt.org/resources/reports-and-publications/
or directly at: saalt.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/In-the-Face-of-Xenophobia.pdf
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