I was surprised to come across an article on a study conducted by the US Justice Department and Education Department which found that Asian American teens are the most bullied at American schools compared to members of other ethnic groups. Of the 6,500 students surveyed who were between the ages of 12 to 18, 54 percent of Asian Americans said they were bullied in the classroom, compared to 38 percent for African Americans, 34 percent for Hispanics and 31 percent for whites.
Even more interesting was the discovery that Asian Americans were more likely to be bullied online. Sixty-two percent of Asian Americans said that they were harassed online one or two times per month, compared to just 18 percent of whites. While researchers expressed that the reasons behind these findings are inconclusive, policymakers pointed out that one potential cause could be language barriers faced by some Asian American students.
I was lucky enough to grow up in Hawaii, a place that is very tolerant of multiple backgrounds, including various Asian cultures, and have fortunately never been a victim of bullying. However, I distinctly remember a time during my childhood where I was traveling in Europe on a cruise with my family, and a young boy teased my brother for being Chinese. I recall feeling confused, since I had no idea why he would tease my brother for that reason.
I’d like to think that we live in a world today where people are colorblind, and we are definitely heading down the right path. However, studies like these serve as a good reminder that we can always make a positive difference, such as when we intervene if we see a friend being bullied in person or online, or by refusing to take part in something that we know in our gut feels wrong.