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Bullying Prevention Month 2021: Protecting AAPI Youth from Hate

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Data convos banner of Act To Change


Bullying Prevention Month 2021: Protecting AAPI Youth from Hate

Act To Change, in partnership with Stop AAPI Hate, hosted Data Convos: 2021 AAPI Youth Experience with Bullying and Hate to highlight some findings from our research on how the pandemic and the ensuing xenophobia affected AAPI youth.

To mark Bullying Prevention Month 2021, we’re recapping this crucial discussion and sharing our recommendations for building a world with bullying.

Join our other Bullying Prevention Month initiatives: the Changemakers Summit on 10/23 and the Youth Ambassador Program for youth in NYC, Oakland and Chicago.

Act to Change 2021 Asian American Bullying Survey Report

The 2021 Asian American Bullying Survey Report is a product of a partnership between Act To Change, ADMERASIA, and NextShark in order to better understand how Asian American students are experiencing bullying, especially in light of the rise in AAPI hate crimes due to COVID-19. We had respondents from a wide range of ethnicities including Chinese, Asian Indian, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese participate, with the majority of our respondents identifying as female and almost half of our respondents being in the 14 to 18 age range.

We know that bullying is rampant among the survey respondents – over 80% of Asian American respondents had experienced bullying – due to various factors from physical appearance, accent, cultural habits, financial status, and origin. Furthermore, cyberbullying surged in 2020. This is bullying that takes place digitally or through the phone, where many youth spend their time – 70% of respondents experienced or witnessed more cyberbullying last year.

Unfortunately, Asian Americans are less likely to report bullying to adults than non-Asian Americans – Non-Asians are about 1.5x more likely to tell an adult about bullying compared to Asian Americans.

And not only that, adults (such as caregivers, parents, educators) lack the skills, knowledge, and conviction to take action – about one-third of adults did not take action when a youth told them about a bullying incident.

Stop AAPI Hate Youth Campaign Report

In the summer of 2020, the Stop AAPI Hate Youth Campaign (“the Youth Campaign”) interviewed 990 AAPI young adults across the United States about their experiences and feelings related to racism during the COVID–19 pandemic. Findings included:

  • About 8 out of 10 AAPI youth (77%) express anger over the current anti–Asian hate in this nation, and 6 out of 10 (60%) also express disappointment over racism.
  • AAPI youth who experienced racism first hand were more likely to be concerned about their family (30%) and saddened (30%) than their peers who didn’t.
  • Harassment focused on blaming China and Chinese people as the source of the virus and on mocking Chinese dietary habits.
  • AAPI youth care deeply about anti–Asian hate because they believe any form of racism is wrong (34%) and that blaming one group for COVID–19 is incorrect (30%).
Findings and Steps Toward Change

Based on the findings from our reports, the data suggests that bullying and racism directed at Asian American youth are normalized in our society. This normalization imposes a vicious impact on the development of self-confidence and mental health for Asian American youth by weakening their willingness to report the case or seek help from adults and educators.

It’s also important to implement Ethnic Studies throughout secondary school curricula so that secondary school students learn about histories of different U.S. communities, the roots and impacts of racism, and movements that have sought racial justice. Furthermore, providing anti–bullying training for teachers and administrators that would include practices of social–emotional learning along with training students and adults in restorative justice practices can begin to replace zero–tolerance approaches that have proven ineffective. For victims of online harassment, provide accessible and anonymous reporting sites (similar to that of Stop AAPI Hate) on social media platforms. We should also strive to support AAPI student affinity groups and their school safety and anti–racism campaigns.

Meanwhile, many parents of Asian American youth and school educators are not necessarily equipped with the knowledge needed to address the bullying cases or provide improvement solutions. It is time to address the issue through collective efforts from different entities in society. We call for help from corporate brands, policymakers and community organizations that have the right resources. Through awareness, resources, programs, data collection and disaggregation, we can help put an end to bullying and racism.