with Asian youth
In 2021, we conducted focus groups with 36 Asian youth, age 12 to 25, about their experience of anti-Asian racism, thoughts and impact.
Our findings reveal that anti-Asian racism has a “sneaky” but ubiquitous presence in the daily lives of youth. Many youth recalled experiences with AAR as early as in elementary school, such as peers mocking their facial features, languages and food. Youth also reported experiences of racism related to COVID-19, such as being shouted at on the street or hearing racist remarks in schools or other public settings.
Most youth remarked feeling helpless and unequipped to respond to racism. Many resorted to internalizing and invalidating personal experiences in the past, which culminated in a sense of confusion, self-doubt and voicelessness. They also felt that AAR is challenging to discuss, both within the community and at home.
Findings from the group involve a call for more educational and community resources catering to the Asian community, as well as strategies for Asian parents to speak about racism at home.