Jared Kushida and Kaitlin Smith

Jared Kushida is a Program Associate at Facing History and Ourselves.

Kaitlin Smith is a Marketing and Communications Writer at Facing History and Ourselves.

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Complicating "Asian Americans"

Posted by Jared Kushida and Kaitlin Smith on May 31, 2021

As violence targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) peoples has grown more visible over the last year, there has been an uptick in awareness and discussion beyond AAPI communities about AAPI history and the many manifestations of racism in the lives of AAPI people. But as these conversations proliferate, reductive conceptions of who “Asian Americans” are and what the community’s history encompasses have become even more prominent. Conversations often fail to address the complicated nature of “Asian Americans” as a concept, how it emerged, and what the “American” part of the phrase may obscure. In this term, we find traces of deep, and often hidden, colonial violence as well as the coordinated resistance, ingenuity, and hope of AAPI people themselves. The complex story surrounding this term provides fertile ground for educators interested in broadening their understanding of and ability to teach about AAPI and API histories and contemporary life.

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Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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