Standing Up To Racism


Photo: Juei-Chuan Hung

Chinese teacher Juei-Chuan Hung heads to school wearing a hoodie he made in response to hate crimes against Asian Americans. “I am wearing this hoodie because I was a little frustrated at how slow our school responded to the Asian hate crimes that [have] happened [in the past year] while the pandemic hit,” Hung said.

Students and faculty at University Prep came together on March 25 to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community during a year where NBC reported hate crimes against Asian Americans are up 149 percent. This fishbowl-formatted discussion, hosted by the “Asian and Pacific Islander Student Union”, came a week after Robert Aaron Long a white man, murdered six Asian American women in Atlanta. He claimed that it was his “sexual addiction” that drove him to kill them.
Members of the UPrep community have felt the over-sexualization that Asian women throughout the United States have faced for centuries.
“I am an Asian female. I have been told such things as ‘can you belly dance? I find that so hot,’ and ‘wow, I love your dress it’s so exotic.’ It is disappointing how, to this day, women of my ethnicity are hypersexualized…like we don’t have personalities outside our appearance,” an Anonymous student shared during the discussion.
UPrep has hosted fishbowls in the past. For example, the Black Student Union discussed topics of racial justice after George Floyd died. The school gathered for an assembly discussing anti-Semitism after a community member placed hate notes in Jewish teacher’s mailbox.
“We are only starting to talk about it at UPrep after six people have been shot, and I think it is very unacceptable to not mention it or address the fact that because people look a certain way they are targeted,” senior and APISU leader Nicholas Lee said.
In learning from the experiences and understanding the prevalence of anti-Asian sentiment in the community, students and faculty believe UPrep can begin standing up to racism in the community.
“Read about this history, learn about the complexities of the Asian American experience and the model minority myth, and listen to Asian American activists who are advocating for justice and building coalitions for change,” Director of Upper School Joel Sohn said in a school-wide email.