After a long week of continuous studying, researching, and finals, I was ready to kick back and write an amazing blog post on the awesomeness of immigrant youth and anything related (yes, awesomeness is a word but only when describing the efforts of migrant youth). Instead, I open up twitter and find some very saddening and disturbing news. Angry Asian Man writes about the acts of violence that Asian students experience at a South Philadelphia high school. While the motives are unclear other than the more than racist motives, itâ€™s hard to believe that these incidents at South Philly high are isolated from the previous violent attitudes towards Asian immigrant youth earlier that year. Reading what Zhihua Tian experienced, I was reminded of the flood of articles that came out earlier this year, documenting an a surge in hate crimes against Latinos resulting from anti- immigrant sentiment (as well as here, here, and here). However, unique to the Asian American student experience, youth of Asian backgrounds often deal with contradictory identities growing up (to be the model minority or the forever foreigner?) who are, nevertheless, often perceived as being â€œweak,â€ or worthy of â€œsilencing.â€ HelenGym, in Young Philly Politics, writes on her blog regarding these incidents,
â€œIn particular, I want to stress that Iâ€™m also sick of having folks portray the Asian immigrant students in this situation solely as helpless victims. Many of these immigrant students have become articulate and impassioned leaders for youth voices. Theyâ€™ve written platforms about what they need from their principals and teachers. They need to be heard â€“ and the recommendations theyâ€™ve made over the year taken seriously.â€
I could not agree with her more. We have all been witnesses to this not only in relation to â€œAmerican DREAMersâ€ but also Asian migrant youth speaking out and spearheading efforts in their respective spaces. A recent example is Ju, an undocumented Korean student, who recently launched his website in hopes of reaching out to the Korean American community and educating others about his personal struggles. On a more personal note, after finding out I was undocumented, the migrant youth I admired were FYSH, because they had tremendous work regarding the DREAM Act in my home state, Chicago (not to mention founding members and fellow DREAM Activists!). I guess what I am trying to say is that fear, hatred, and violence against racialized minority groups, particularly those that are targeted because of their citizenship status or lack thereof, is completely irrational and point blank stupid. I donâ€™t see any minority group, let alone migrant youth and the DREAM movement quieting down anytime soon. As a matter of fact, to those that have to resort to violence to express their irrational ideas should be afraidâ€¦ afraid of what migrant youth have to offer to this our communities and this country. So, might as well just bask in our awesomeness or (in the words of Ju) join us!