Following the massacres in Atlanta, where several people were murdered, notably six Asian-American women, several parents around the nation are having tough discussions with their children regarding the latest anti-Asian incidents in the United States, which are on the increase.
According to the most recent statistics from the charity Stop AAPI Hatred, the group collected almost 3,800 accounts of anti-Asian hate crimes between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021, spanning from verbal and cyber threats to physical violence, from 47 states and the District of Columbia. In comparison, women were more than two times more likely to record an event.
Mu-En Steeg, a mother of three from San Mateo, California, describes the Atlanta shootings as horrific. I’m extremely sorry for the casualties and their relatives, she said. I’m absolutely devastated for the kids who have been left behind as a result of these needless tragedies. “
Though Steeg did not talk about what transpired in Atlanta with her 10-year-old daughter, she did discuss it with her 15-and 17-year-old children. “Regrettably, these heinous crimes are becoming more common, and news spreads fast on the internet, so even a shooting in Atlanta sounds close over here in California,” says Steeg. “In the past, we’ve spoken about there being and will still be individuals from all walks of life that have biases against other races or classes of citizens, still, in the end, the overwhelming majority of people are decent and compassionate.”
Angela Lu, a mother of three from Palo Alto, California, was shocked by the shootings but didn’t bring it up with her small ones. “I have to confess that we do want to hold our kids safe from age-inappropriate material like school shootings,” Lu said. Lu and her husband, on the other hand, used the disaster to speak to their children about “how to accept cultural distinctions and values, how to address bigotry that they would almost inevitably face in the future, and how to stand up to prejudice whenever they see it.”
When they struggle to make sense of violent events like the incident in Atlanta, children will have a lot of questions. According to Tiffany Yip, PhD, a professor of psychology at Fordham University, for certain children, “the unexpected rise in crimes and then just the pure brutality of it” may be “confusing.” She states that children will have the following questions: “‘How does anyone do anything like that?’ ‘Am I secure?’ is the next query that pops up. ‘Does my family seem to be in good health?’ These types of investigations are disturbing. It’s all a really perplexing time right now. “
Steeg claims her adolescent children are grappling with the news “as best they can.” “My children have assured my 83-year-old Taiwanese grandmother that they would join her on her regular walks across the neighborhood and will not leave her behind,” she says. “My children make me happy and they look after their aging parents. But, ah-ma, I’m sorry that our society has come to this — where an elderly lady can not go for a stroll alone. “
Although Steeg has spoken to her children regarding prejudice in the Black community, she says she hasn’t directly spoken to them about bigotry toward Asian-Americans before now. “Of course, as a first-generation Taiwanese refugee, I have directly witnessed bigotry,” says Steeg.
“Be accessible and ready if your child comes to you to speak about it,” Yip advises. When you’re driving or at home with your kid and they catch the news on the radio or television, for example, you might bring it up by suggesting, “‘Have you seen this event?'” says Yip. “‘How do you feel about it?’ ‘Would you want to talk about it?'”
Yip also urges parents to initiate the discussion if it does not come up. “Even though they aren’t sure of it yet, they can learn about it at school or via their social networking feeds,” says Yip. She recommends saying something along the lines of, “‘Recently, in our world, certain horrible things have occurred. Is there something you’d like to discuss? ” I saw this in today’s newspaper, ‘or’ I read this in today’s newspaper. ‘”
Although it is important for Asian parents and communities to have these age-appropriate discussions with their children regarding anti-Asian hate crimes, Yip claims it is “equally critical for all parents to have these discussions.” For non-Asian parents, Yip suggests focusing the dialogue on friendship, discussing what it entails to be an ally and how it manifests itself at college, in the cafeteria, and on the bus. When it comes to abuse, most kids are familiar with “bystander interference,” so Yip advises utilizing that as a focal point for talking about speaking up for others. “”They understand that bullying is unfair and that it connects to racial problems,” says Yip, “and are willing to build on other bullying experiences they’ve experienced.” They are also familiar with the term. Request that they connect the dots for you. “
Sesame Workshop’s “The ABC’s in Multicultural Literacy,” which offers tools to help parents provide age-appropriate discussions with their children regarding ethnicity and speaking up for others, was only introduced on March 23 for younger children by Sesame Street’s Sesame Workshop.
But, as Yip points out, “it’s not one chat” when it comes to discussions with kids about bigotry and relationships. “As the child matures, it’s a changing conversation,” she says, adding, “Think about how all of this provides ways to draw on these discussions as they age.”
Steeg hopes that recent anti-Asian events “allow people to stop to reflect about how we are not so isolated from each other, but more that we all have more in common than we think,” as she puts it. She expresses herself thus: “What I want for my children is the same as what my friends want for their children, whether they are White, Colored, Indian, Latina, Latino, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, or Islamic — we all want to have a healthy environment for them to grow up in, the best educational facilities, good friends, and a happy childhood. I’m doing my hardest to raise my children, just like the women who died in the Atlantic shooting attempted to do with theirs. My dream is that instead of vilifying people who hold opposing viewpoints, our fractured nation will come closer and have more productive debates. “