The Asian American Bullying Crisis

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For all the news that bullying has gotten recently, you might be surprised to hear that student victimization has actually been on a steady downward trend for the past decade or so, says the National Center for Educational Statistics. In 1995, 9.5 percent of students reported being victimized at school (with “victimization” including violent or sexual assault, theft, etc.); by the 2008-9 school year, that had dropped to 3.9 percent.

But kids are resourceful, and a drop in in-school crimes seems to have just led to an increase in online bullying. One of the study’s most alarming results was the finding that Asian American students suffered bullying in schools much more than members of any other ethnic group. And that holds true for cyber-bullying as well — 62 percent of Asian American students were bullied online a few times a month; compared with 18.1 percent of white students.

How did bullying become an Asian American problem, and what should we do about it? Some bloggers are encouraging tactical retaliation (“We study hard. We work hard. Let’s apply that same ethic to being bullies. We’ll boss everyone around the playground before they can boss us around. We’ll harass everyone on Facebook before they can harass us. We’ll be so cunning in playing these mental games on all the other kids that they won’t even know that they’re being bullied,” was one tongue-in-cheek reaction.) We’d love to hear if you have any other ideas.



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  1. Well, having grown up being teased and bullied, partly for being Asian American and partly for being smaller and skinnier than the bullies, I have made sure my own Asian American boys learn martial arts. Unfortunately, both of them have already had to use those skills on the playground and in school. Conflict is an unfortunate reality in this world, avoidance of conflict does not solve the problem, but learning how to resolve it in a manner where you can learn and grow from it is best.

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