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Teaching the Invisible Race

Embodying a Pro-Asian American Lens in Schools
Tony DelaRosa(Autor*in)
Wiley (Verlag)
1. Auflage
Erschienen am 18. September 2023
256 Seiten
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978-1-119-93024-2 (ISBN)
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Transform How You Teach Asian American Narratives in your Schools!

In Teaching the Invisible Race, anti-bias and anti-racist educator and researcher Tony DelaRosa (he, siya) delivers an insightful and hands-on treatment of how to embody a pro-Asian American lens in your classroom while combating anti-Asian hate in your school. The author offers stories, case studies, research, and frameworks that will help you build the knowledge, mindset, and skills you need to teach Asian-American history and stories in your curriculum.

You'll learn to embrace Asian American joy and a pro-Asian American lens--as opposed to a deficit lens--that is inclusive of Brown and Southeast Asian American perspectives and disability narratives. You'll also find:
* Self-interrogation exercises regarding major Asian American concepts and social movements
* Ways to center Asian Americans in your classroom and your school
* Information about how white supremacy and anti-Blackness manifest in relation to Asian America, both internally and externally

An essential resource for educators, school administrators, and K-12 school leaders, Teaching the Invisible Race will also earn a place in the hands of parents, families, and community members with an interest in advancing social justice in the Asian American context.
TONY DELAROSA is a son of Cavite and Pampangan immigrants. He is a Filipino American anti-bias and anti-racist educator, spoken word poet, and a researcher focused on ethnic studies policy and cross-racial solidarity. He co-founded NYC Men Teach Asian American initiative aimed at supporting and retaining Asian American teachers in the NYC Department of Education. Tony won the 2021 Inspire Award??sponsored by the National Association of Asian American Professionals and the 2023 Community Trailblazer Heritage Hero award sponsored by The Asian American Foundation. His work has been featured in NPR, CBS News, Harvard Education Magazine, Hulu, and elsewhere.
Foreword xiii

How Will They Hold Us? xv

About the Author xvii

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction xxiii

Part 1 Teach Us Visible by Remembering Us 1

Chapter 1 What Do You Know About Asian America? Self-Assessment and Framework 3

The Personal Is Political 3

The Self-Assessment 8

The Praxis: Action and Reflection 10

A Movement, Not a Moment 11

Chapter 2 Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors Framework 13

The Personal Is Political 13

The Praxis: Action and Reflection 16

A Movement, Not a Moment 20

Chapter 3 Timeline of Anti-Asian American Racism and Violence 23

The Personal Is Political 23

Praxis: Action and Reflection 26

A Movement, Not a Moment 28

Chapter 4 Timeline of Pro-Asian American Milestones and Permissions 29

The Personal Is Political 29

Praxis: Action and Reflection 33

A Movement, Not a Moment 35

Part 2 Teach Us Visible by Centering Us 37

Chapter 5 Intersectionality, Plurality, and Asian Americans 39

The Personal Is Political 39

Praxis: Action and Reflection 42

A Movement, Not a Moment 55

Chapter 6 Isang Bagsak as an Educational Framework 57

The Personal Is Political 57

The Praxis: Action and Reflection 59

A Movement, Not a Moment 66

Chapter 7 Colonization, War, Colonial Mentality, and Settler Colonialism 69

The Personal Is Political 69

Praxis: Action and Reflection 70

A Movement, Not a Moment 81

Chapter 8 Asian American Queer and Trans Perspectives 83

The Personal Is Political 83

Praxis: Action and Reflection 87

A Movement, Not a Moment 95

Chapter 9 Immigration and Undocu-Asian American 97

The Personal Is Political 97

Praxis: Action and Reflection 99

A Movement, Not a Moment 106

Chapter 10 Asian Americans, Disability Narratives, and Crip Ecology 111

The Personal Is Political 111

Praxis: Action and Reflection 114

A Movement, Not a Moment 117

Part 3 Teach Us Visible by Celebrating Us 119

Chapter 11 Teaching Us Visible Through Art, Poetry, and Hip-Hop 121

The Personal Is Political 121

Praxis: Action and Reflection 133

A Movement, Not a Moment 139

Chapter 12 Teaching Asian American Studies Through Pop Culture 143

The Personal Is Political 143

Praxis: Action and Reflection 147

A Movement, Not a Moment 151

Part 4 Teach Us Visible by Moving with Us 153

Chapter 13 Working with Asian American Students, Staff, and Families 155

The Personal Is Political 155

Praxis: Action and Reflection 157

A Movement, Not a Moment 167

Chapter 14 Combating Anti-Asian Hate Case Study Workshop 169

The Personal Is Political 169

Praxis: Action and Reflection 171

A Movement, Not a Moment 177

Chapter 15 Asian America and Abolition 179

The Personal Is Political 179

Praxis: Action and Reflection 181

A Movement, Not a Moment 186

Epilogue 189

Glossary 195

References 203

Index 213


Dear Reader, thank you for holding this book. The way we hold each other is what grounds me in critical hope in times of crisis and in times of joy. It's 2023, and the Asian American community is facing a rising crisis of hate, racism, and violence stemming from systems of colonialism, exploitation, racial capitalism, xenophobia, sinophobia, white supremacy, and anti-blackness.

Asian Americans know that this has been happening to us long before the pandemic. In the United States, anti-Asian sentiment stems from racist and exclusionist policies like the 1790 Naturalization Act that restricted naturalization to only people identifying as "white." Anti-Asian sentiment stems from the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which for decades banned Chinese people from entering the United States. This act was extended to people from the Philippines, India, and Japan (indeed, an entire "barred Asiatic zone" was established in 1917), lumping different national-origin groups into a single racial category, the "Asiatic" (Ngai, 2021). Anti-Asian sentiment is an American tradition set forth by some of our nation's leaders:

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt with Executive Order 9066 (the internment of Japanese Americans)
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson's Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 (shifting an immigrant quota system to a merit-based system)
  • President Donald J. Trump's Executive Order 13769 in 2017 (also known as the "Muslim Ban")

Today the number of anti-Asian hate and violence incidents is reportedly soaring above 11,000, according to the organization Stop AAPI Hate 2022 report, which collected data between March 19, 2020, and March 31, 2022. These statistics don't even consider unreported incidents. Holding this book means you see us, hear us, and empathize with us.

The poem you read on the previous pages emerged from witnessing a wave of Asian American education policy slowly taking root across the United States. Of course I have to pay homage to the 1960's ethnic studies movement that manifested because of the Third World Liberation Front. While ethnic studies is mostly a bicoastal movement, specific Asian American students K-12 mandates began occurring recently, starting in Illinois with the Teach Equitable Asian American Community History Act (TEAACH Act). After the Act passed, many coalitions followed suit in different states, such as the Make Us Visible Connecticut and Make Us Visible New Jersey.

I chose the title Teaching the Invisible Race, because despite the anti-Asian American policies and incidents that I have outlined at large, people still render us invisible through gaslighting our oppression, excluding us from social justice education and conversations, through intentional omission, and homogenizing our vast and diverse experiences.

While my poem at the beginning of the book critiques how teachers as "shepherds" will hold us (teach our stories), this book aims at helping educators understand how to strengthen their own Asian American ethno-racial literacy in order to teach it to their students. The outcome is culturally responsive and sustaining, paying homage to Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings's evolved work in Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Pedagogy. Teaching the Invisible Race is Halo Halo, "mix-mix" in Tagalog. When I say Halo Halo, I mean this book is a remix of story, poetry, concepts, theory, framework, case studies, interviews, and more. Beyond the fight of combating anti-Asian sentiment, violence, and racism within ourselves and within the communities we serve, I'm pushing educators to hold both our fight and our joy together. To hold us close means you hold us beyond this moment and through this next stage of an evergreen movement.

The Term "Pro-Asian American"

CUNY professor Kevin Nadal explains how the terms "Yellow Power" and "Brown Power" stem from the Black Power Movement in the 1960s-70s. In a similar light, I'm using the contemporary term "pro-Asian American" as an inspiration from the Black community who founded the term "pro-Black" as a response to Black dehumanization and celebration for Black identity, history, culture, power, and futures.

In searching for the origins of the concept of "pro-Black," scholar mentors and friends pointed me to Marcus Garvey, a Black nationalist and pan-Africanist, who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in the 1920s, which stressed Black pride, racial unity of African Americans, and a need to redeem Africa from white rule (Hill, 1983). Others have pointed me to the "Black is Beautiful" movement founded by Kwame Brathwaite and Elombe Brath in the 1960s-70s, which broadly focused on embracing Black culture and identity, with a sub-focus on emotional and psychological well-being (National Museum of African American History & Culture). In a similar light, this book aims at exploring and educating on what it means to be pro-Asian American.

Asian American people have acted pro-Asian American without even labeling their actions as such through the building of Asian American employee resource groups, affinity spaces, businesses, movies, networks, and more. In a similar ethos to pro-Blackness, "pro-Asian American" balances the concept of combating or fighting anti-Asian hate and racism, since it is a symptom of white supremacy. "Pro-Asian American" means you are actively supporting the Asian American community with a big focus on low-income Asian American communities that go invisible due to the model minority myth (i.e., Hmong, Lao, Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, and more). "Pro-Asian American" means you are actively supporting Asian Americans with the notion that our liberation is tied to combating anti-Blackness and embodying a pro-Black lens. We owe our freedom to radical Black activists and organizers, many of whom are queer, trans, and non-binary, who paved the path for us to thrive as a community. I speak more about the history of Black-and-Asian American relations later in the book when talking about Isang Bagsak pedagogy and cross-racial solidarity.

Who Does This Book Center?

This book centers the narratives of Asian Americans: East, South, and Southeast. For clarity, East Asian refers to: mainland China, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. South Asia refers to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka with Afghanistan also often included. Southeast Asia refers to the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, East Timor (or Timor-Leste), Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand. This book does not center West Asian Americans, Central Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders because they deserve their own books, and this book will not do these communities justice as it pertains to education. This is not to say that I won't mention narratives or histories from these areas, because I know there are many overlaps around cross-racial coalitions in the fight for labor rights, in the fight against colonization, and in the fight for visibility in education. There is also overlap when we think about Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month (APIHM) in May.

Who Is the Audience?

Teaching the Invisible Race is geared toward upper elementary through high school English language arts, reading, social studies, and US history practitioners including teachers, instructional coaches, curriculum specialists, and anyone who has a stake in the realm of teaching and learning. This includes school administrators and counselors. This is the area of expertise that I taught and coached while working directly in schools. The examples and reproducibles in this book will reflect these content areas and grade levels. This book is also for those who identify as white, as well as who identify as People of Color (POC).

The Writing Process, Theories, Analysis, and Inquiry

While this is very much a practitioner's book, there are a few qualitative research logics that influenced my writing process, from the book design to the intake of interviews and readings and to the analysis of the content. These logics come from autoethnography, portraiture, narrative inquiry, community-engaged scholarship, and Asian Crit.

Autoethnography allowed me to share my own story as a Filipino American spoken word artist. Spoken word poetry is a dialectic, and like the best forms of pedagogy, dialogue with self, student, and community is paramount. With the reflection questions placed throughout the book, they ask you to stop and reflect. This methodology influenced the beginning cadence of every chapter with the section entitled "The Personal Is Political." I also wanted to emphasize the messiness that is being a Filipino American poet who has lived in San Diego, California, Cincinnati, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, Boston, Massachusetts, Miami, Florida and now Madison, Wisconsin. Each place and time period influences how I think and write about being Asian American in the United States, which makes for a narrative hyper-conscious of context.

Portraiture is the methodology that I learned from my former advisor at Harvard Graduate School...

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