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Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

  • 1.  Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-26-2021 10:09 AM

    Dear All, 

    On behalf of the Asian Interest Forum, (AIF), I would like to share a social story that I created to teach young children how to deal with racism attack. Even though we have already passed the Asian American Pacific Heritage Month (May), the spirit of against anti-Asian hate must continue. The story focused on Asian-American children, but it can be used for children of different ethnicities. The intended age is for children ages 4-10.

    The story happened to my friend's daughters, ages 9 and 5, on a grocery trip. When my friend was in the restroom, a grown-up approached them and called them "stupid Asians; you should go back to where you come from." Even though we saw a lot of violent attacks on the elder Asians, it is hard to believe a racism attack would happen to young children.

    Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by nearly 150% in 2020 in the USA. Many Asian-American children, unfortunately, witness or experience Anti-Asian hate at an early age. The "Cycle of Silence" is a common problem in Asian-American families. A scary thing happens, parents do not talk about it, so the children think they shouldn't ask any questions; parents believe the child is fine because they have no questions. The Cycle of Silence hurts Asian-American children's socioemotional development and must be addressed, especially during the unprecedented time of a twin-virus attack of the COVID-19 and anti-Asian hate on the Asian-American community. It is important for the ECE educators to help break the Cycle of Silence and help children understand and learn how to deal with racism attack. 


    You can find the social story and a lesson plan on the site below and please disseminate the information. Please feel free to email us should you have any questions. Thank you for standing with us!!! 

    NAEYC AIF Resource Center: https://hello.naeyc.org/communities/community-home?CommunityKey=119e132f-46d2-4f10-9aaf-2cd5cdd93ff7





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    Shu-Chen Jenny Yen
    Professor, Child and Adolescent Studies
    California State University, Fullerton
    Fullerton, CA
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  • 2.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-27-2021 09:43 AM
    I was unable to get to the social story through the link provided.  Thank you for creating it and I am disgusted that people expressed this to children, seemingly waiting until they saw that they were without an adult to do so. The number of stories and books for young children about racism and anti-racism is increasing.  That's good news for all of us.

    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
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  • 3.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-27-2021 10:01 AM
    Dear Aren,
    Thanks for reading the book and notified me about the website, which is not working as of now. My apologies. I will work with IT and fix it. Attached please find the book and lesson plan here.

    Points taken. Can't agree with you more! Yes, so happy to see the book about racism is increasing. I did a lot of beta testing on parent-child dyad of different ethnicities, and it is interesting that adults are the one feeling uneasy to discuss the idea of racism, bystanders, etc. All the children were receptive and thought the characters were treated unfairly! What did that tell us? Perhaps we should learn from children instead of teaching them?

    I am thankful and delighted to see programs like PBS, NPR, and Sesame street started to produce programs/stories related to racism for young children. I remain hopeful! Thank your reading!

    Jenny


    ------------------------------
    Shu-Chen Jenny Yen
    Professor, Child and Adolescent Studies
    California State University, Fullerton
    Fullerton, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-27-2021 10:52 AM
    Thank you Shu Chen for doing the research and providing resources for diversity and equity within the classroom. I too have not been able to open it. But will keep trying.
    It is sad that adult biases are forced on children because ( in my opinion) they don't see differences in individuals. The other day, a little girl in my class took the Hispanic and Asian looking dolls and told us they were twins. When I queried her more she said they both have black hair. This made me wonder if I should even do the skin color crayon portraits of them anymore because I am only making them more aware of their differences. So what if they color themselves blue? I wonder what others think.

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    Shariya Dhammapala
    Olympia WA
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  • 5.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-27-2021 02:07 PM
    Dear Shariya,
    Thank you for reading and responding to my post. So sorry about the websites. For some unknown reasons, both sites are not working properly. I also put the book on NAEYC's AIF Resources page, https://hello.naeyc.org/viewdocument/a-scary-trip-to-a-grocery-store?CommunityKey=119e132f-46d2-4f10-9aaf-2cd5cdd93ff7, and it works. You can find the book there. I also attached both the book and lesson plan here.

    I concurred with your points and LOVE the example you shared. I know a lot of practitioners would have good idea to share! I found a very helpful video from PBS, in which Amanda Gorman hosted and facilitated the conversation about race and racism, focusing on the differences and sameness. You can find the link at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fbQBKwdWPg.

    I would love to hear people's thoughts re Shariya's question!

    ------------------------------
    Shu-Chen Jenny Yen
    Professor, Child and Adolescent Studies
    California State University, Fullerton
    Fullerton, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-27-2021 03:08 PM

    Thank you for this timely post:

    While I don't deny the existence of Anti-Asian hate crimes, I think it's important that we understand what constitutes the "crime." The 150% statistic you refer to I believe comes form a study I read about a month ago; but naturally, right now I'm unable to find exactly what I read (as I'm searching for it to aid in my reply). I'll have to rely on what I remember and please correct me if I'm wrong!

    I know that when I hear "hate crime" the image of Matthew Shepard comes to mind and it's horrible; but, in reality, the vast majority of crimes labeled "hate crimes" are verbal: e.g., shouting slurs, online harassment, spreading dis(mis)information, and graffiti with slurs, etc. I believe that over 75% of reported Asian hate crimes through the two-year period 2019-2020 (perhaps just 2020) were verbal. That doesn't excuse anything, and I, too, believe that children need to be equipped with the tools to combat racism, but I also think it's important to understand what crimes the Asian-American community has suffered from as of late.  

    As for the photos you've provided, I don't mean to be picky, but I'm uncomfortable with the White child hanging outside of the bowl, watching all of the other children smile and enjoy each other's company. As a parent, childcare provider, and early education teacher of American Indian children and White children, I resent the photo. If it were a random picture attached to anything except teaching materials on racism and hate crimes, I wouldn't blink, but since it is, I do. Why? Well, one written piece on Asian hate crimes that I have pulled up on my computer right now (not the piece that I earlier referred to) claims in the text that the perpetrators of these crimes are predominantly White. However, if you click the link and pull up the study this piece relies on, in the space where it's to present the data citing the perpetrators' race(s), the study claims that it relies on news and articles to identify the race, and then admits the perpetrator's race isn't always reported. Always is the key word: if one comes across a crime article, the assailant is typically identified by race only when it's a White person. Please, prove me wrong if I'm wrong, but if I'm not, I believe that this article I'm referring to is one of hundreds of examples where we have an irresponsible press reporting, and it doesn't help anyone. My point is, with the picture of the kids and the cup, it further highlights the biased presentation of crimes with bias.

    One addition: when Asian-Americans have been the victims of more violent crimes that we see on the news, we don't always know if the group was targeted because of their race or not. For example: the man who murdered the women at the spa in Georgia – that was devastating and disgusting – but the man clearly had mental issues as he admitted he was a sex addict, which he claimed motivated his actions, but the media chose to portray the shooting as a hate crime when the crime may not have had anything to do with race but mental health. I think that's important to remember. Another important note to take is that where Asian hate crimes are documented, the blatant history of Asian discrimination at our Ivy League institutions isn't mentioned. If they are discussed together, please share that with me. I've not been able to find such a source and its troubling (I've posted some University-related links below – I already had them one hand…my life is so exciting).   

    So, I don't post this to minimize the existence and devastation of race-motivated hate in our society, not at all, but I do think it's responsible to notice the frequency with which a person or people are negatively identified by their political leaning, race, or sex and associated with hate and racism because of those identifiers. Simply put, the word "racist" has never been thrown around so frequently as it is now, and it sometimes seems without second thought; the word "racist" is powerful but this past year, I believe it's lost its ability in some capacity to identify a truly racist person or people.

    On the other side, as for our kids who are victims of senseless hate and crimes with bias, we can take comfort with the fact that there's a world-wide movement to stop racism and race-related crimes in their tracks. Additionally, our kids are so strong and resilient. They need to know how to spot and combat hate, yes, and we all need to talk about it, but it's vitally important that each child believe he or she is more than skin color today; they are people, and all people deserve to be treated as such.

    I appreciate your post and your effort to introduce this discussion. I'm unable to read beyond the picture but I will try back.

    Asian Discrimination at Ivy League University links

    Harvard discrimination (12/2016)

    https://www.city-journal.org/html/fewer-asians-need-apply-14180.html

    Harvard discrimination (8/2017)

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harvards-discrimination-against-asian-americans-must-end/2017/08/08/446ebd6a-7bb1-11e7-a669-b400c5c7e1cc_story.html

    Trump supports lawsuit/affirmative action (8/2018):

    https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-harvard-race-admissions-20180830-story.html

    Harvard lawsuit far from over (11/2018):

    https://www.npr.org/2018/11/02/660734399/harvard-discrimination-trial-is-ending-but-lawsuit-is-far-from-over

    DOJ finds Harvard guilty of discrimination:

    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-files-statement-interest-harvard-discrimination-case-defending-claim-0

    Yale discrimination (8/2020):

    https://apnews.com/article/ct-state-wire-race-and-ethnicity-ap-top-news-discrimination-politics-e97f08eb935989840bda430bb7a32e15

    DOJ drops Yale lawsuit (2/2021):

    https://www.npr.org/2021/02/03/963666724/justice-department-drops-race-discrimination-lawsuit-against-yale-university

    Colleges discrimination (2/2021): https://asianamericanforeducation.org/en/cosign_amicus_brief_scotus_2021/

    Senate proposals on anti-Asian hate crimes and university discrimination (4/2021):

    https://www.insightintodiversity.com/u-s-senators-vote-down-college-admissions-discrimination-amendment-to-asian-hate-crimes-bill/

    Harvard discrimination (5/2021)

    https://pacificlegal.org/harvards-inconsistent-position-on-discrimination-ignores-the-full-meaning-of-equality-before-the-law/

    Colleges discrimination (5/2021):

    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-commentary/view-us-colleges-are-discriminating-against-asian-americans-this-bias-must-be-fixed/articleshow/82748848.cms





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    Lindsay
    Billings, MT
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  • 7.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-27-2021 07:17 PM

    Dear Lindsay, 

    Thank you for responding to my post. The data I used came from the Center of Hate & Extremism CSUSB instead of the media; data was drawn from police agencies. You can see the whole report here, https://www.csusb.edu/sites/default/files/FACT%20SHEET-%20Anti-Asian%20Hate%202020%203.2.21.pdf

    I don't know where you get the 75% verbal assault rate. Can you cite your resource? Also, an attack is an attack regardless if it is verbal or physical. See below for the Anti-Asian hate victimization reporting chart.

    Pasted Graphic.png

    I also do not agree with you on the claim for the Georgia gunman. The gunman has mental health issue, true. However, it is not an accident that he chose three Asian massage parlors, killed 9 people, and six of them were Asians.

    In this book, which you have not seen, I focused on a verbal racism attack on two young children, which is a real story. I hope you can read the book and then we can discuss more. Appreciate your feedback on the picture. The artist and I didn't mean to exclude any child. If you look carefully, the child was happy and smiling! I have done a lot of beta testing on parent-child dyads and preschool teachers/children, including different ethnicities, and no one against the picture. Please read the book and then share your thoughts with me again. Without the context, it is hard to know the whole story.

    Race and racism are such a difficult concept to discuss. I appreciate your sharing! I like your last sentiment "but it's vitally important that each child believe he or she is more than skin color today; they are people, and all people deserve to be treated as such." 

    Racism is learned and can be unlearned. Education is the key! 

    Sorry about the internet problem. It is finally got fixed now. 

     

     



    ------------------------------
    Shu-Chen Jenny Yen
    Professor, Child and Adolescent Studies
    California State University, Fullerton
    Fullerton, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-28-2021 02:03 PM
    Another resource related to Anti-Asian hate crimes many of you may have seen already is the New York Times piece titled, "Swelling Anti-Asian Violence: Who is Being Attached Where", April 3, 2021
    The article can be accessed here:
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/04/03/us/anti-asian-attacks.html



    ------------------------------
    Best regards,

    Sandy Baba, Ph.D
    NAEYC Asian Interest Forum Co-Facilitator
    Education Researcher, Community Advocate,
    California AEYC Diversity Committee Member
    *Hello is a great platform for us to exchange our ideas and have conversations, lets keep sharing our ideas!
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-27-2021 05:13 PM
    Thank you for creating the social story.  I am very interested in using it.  But, I keep getting an error message.  Am I doing something the wrong way?

    ------------------------------
    Judith Ripke
    Teacher
    Faith Lutheran
    Seward NE
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  • 10.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-27-2021 06:09 PM
    Dear Judith,
    So sorry we are having technical difficulties with the websites. I have put the book on the AIF Resource Center: https://hello.naeyc.org/communities/community-home?CommunityKey=119e132f-46d2-4f10-9aaf-2cd5cdd93ff7, so people can retrieve the book. I also attach the book and lesson plan here for easy access. My apologies for the inconvenience. Thank you!

    ------------------------------
    Shu-Chen Jenny Yen
    Professor, Child and Adolescent Studies
    California State University, Fullerton
    Fullerton, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-28-2021 09:16 AM
    Hi Jenny, thank you for creating this resource. I am so sorry this happened to your friend's children and I'm appreciative that you're helping to spread awareness.
    Jamie

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    Jamie Young
    Nashville TN
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  • 12.  RE: Using a Social Story to Teach Young Children About Racism

    Posted 06-28-2021 01:20 PM
    Dear Jamie,
    Thank you for you support! Unfortunately, young children are experiencing racism early. Asian-American parents may not feel comfortable to discuss sensitive topics such as racism, so I think a social story can be a conversation starter.

    It takes a village to raise children, and I hope parents and teachers can work together to help young children dealing with a challenging concept/act.

    ------------------------------
    Shu-Chen Jenny Yen
    Professor, Child and Adolescent Studies
    California State University, Fullerton
    Fullerton, CA
    ------------------------------