We know that our campers of all racial identities are hearing the racist anti-Asian narratives tied to COVID-19. Many parents whose children are Asian adoptees have expressed concern about the impacts on their kids. Other parents with non-Asian adoptees have asked us how they can help their children identify and interrupt racism.
Teaching Tolerance, an incredible resource on anti-bias for teachers, explains, “It’s important to get ahead of harmful discourse because we know students are watching or listening to this rhetoric online and on social media. Many children spend hours a day on devices, so information—and misinformation—is likely in the hands of most of your students.”
At our adult adoptee Q&A panels at camp, parents are frequently reminded how important it is to just listen to your kids when they share painful experiences, whether it’s related to racism or loss. We may be inclined to try to fix things, but adult adoptees have urged parents to resist that temptation, and respond with a simple statement like, “That sounds really painful. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing that.”
Just a few days ago, a parent who attends Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camp said that her teen noticed her efforts to challenge anti-Asian racism. Our own efforts that are seemingly independent of our child’s experience, are a meaningful way to show support.
Here’s a helpful article by Brittany Wong, sent to us by Jennie, one of our longtime Chinese community volunteers, who has been thinking about our campers. It’s a list of supportive steps for Asian-Americans of all ages, as they are confronted by racism related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How are you talking about anti-Asian racism with your family or in your community? Are there ways that you’re taking action as an ally?