Who is Making Asian American Pacific Islander History in 2021: The GMA Inspiration List

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of one of the fastest-growing groups of people living in the United States. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders contain multitudes. They are a global community with a homegrown and unique perspective on America.

Their diversity expands continents and demographics. The hopes and dreams of the AAPI community are America at its finest, and its people and traditions are those that are tightly stitched into the fabric of the nation. The American dream is alive and well within the AAPI community, and we’ve gathered so many of those dreams here throughout this inspiring list of individuals.

We’re publishing The GMA Inspiration List as the community asserts its voice — speaking out and standing up as anti-Asian violence has spread amid the COVID-19 pandemic; defining itself on its own terms; and increasing awareness of their collective history and future in the United States.

The month of May is a time to remember those who have enriched the community and others with knowledge, pride and respect. We recognize that work, those struggles and the vision for the future of the AAPI community, and reflect on the idea that their history is at the heart of American history.

Welcome to the GMA INSPIRATION LIST: Who’s Making AAPI History Right Now?

Good Morning America and ABC News asked influential AAPI leaders, celebrities, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, athletes and more to nominate fellow members of the community for the list. It’s important to note: the vastness of the AAPI community means it has deep ties in countries of origin, which includes the rich Asian global diaspora. To honor the global community, we’ve provided space for nominators who do not identify as American. Most of the nominations on the list are rising stars on the cusp of becoming household names, whose influence, we believe, will become monumental. They are those who are doing the work, gaining success and sharing their talent … and making history right now.

America, meet the next generation of AAPI excellence. James Hong nominates Chris Naoki Lee

As an actor who has been a part of this business for nearly 70 years, it has been inspiring to see the rise in work from the Asian community, and I am proud to acknowledge Chris Naoki Lee as an up and coming artist. This industry certainly tries to put you in a box, or tries to make you stay in your own lane, but just as I had learned to weave my career into what it is today, I see Chris making similar bold choices as well. Not only does he work as an actor, but he continues to adapt and evolve in the fields of writing, directing, and producing. […]

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Breaking down the reality and history of mental health stigmas within America’s AAPI communities

AAPI mental health stigmas have only been exacerbated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Hannah Xu Throughout the month of May, the U.S. celebrates the history, culture, traditions, diversity and many contributions of the AAPI community with Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen for two reasons. One is to commemorate the first wave of Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843.

Between 1886 and 1911, 400,000-plus Japanese women and men immigrated to the states, particularly to Hawaii and the West Coast.

In memory of the arrival of Manjiro , the 14-year-old fisherman who is considered to be America’s first Japanese immigrant, Congress established May as AAPI Heritage month.

May also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

The Central Pacific Railroad, the company that built the western portion of the railroad, employed more than 10,000 Chinese laborers, yet their hard work has often been glossed over in history.

Even at a ceremony in 1969, marking the 100th anniversary of the completion of the railroad, centennial officials agreed to set aside part of the ceremony to pay homage to the Chinese workers who helped build the railroad, but they neglected to fulfill this promise — in a way that stung like a scorpion.

Instead, the then-Transportation Secretary, John A. Volpe, attributed the achievement to Americans, saying: “Who else but Americans could drill 10 tunnels in mountains 30 feet deep in snow?”

Volpe mentioned some of the backbreaking and hazardous work that was performed by a labor force consisting of 90% Chinese migrants, who were ineligible to become citizens under federal law, but they received nothing more than a passing mention. The five minutes of recognition that was promised to these migrant workers was never given. Thus, each May that passes, the AAPI community acknowledges this labor effort and reflects on the many ways in which Asian immigrants shaped this country.

For the 31 days of May, mental health advocates, organizations and those living with mental illnesses observe the importance of taking care of one’s mental wellness, and shed light on the issues that permeate the mental health industry, like inaccessibility, injustices within treatment centers, and the stigma that hinders people from seeking help.

The word stigma is defined by the Cambridge English dictionary as “a strong feeling of disapproval that most people in a society have about something.”

Stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness is extremely normalized and can be seen in several sectors of society.

Mainstream media coverage of complex illnesses, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, tend to emphasize portrayals of violence, unpredictability and danger to others, despite the fact that close to 96% of violent crimes are committed by people who […]

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Opinion: Overcoming stigma as an Asian American with ADHD

Overcoming stigma as an Asian American with ADHD

In many Asian American families, a good education and success in school is prioritized above all else. According to Eurekalert, a science news website, this high academic pressure stems from Asian cultures believing that academic success is the only way to climb up the economic ladder.

This strict viewpoint is imposed upon Asian American high school students with immigrant parents, and many of these students struggle with this pressure.

Meeting such academic standards is even more challenging for learning disabled Asian American children. And I am one of them.

As a Chinese student diagnosed with ADHD and ADD, it is extremely hard to cope with the fact you have a learning disorder. Some people in my Asian community did not acknowledge my learning disabilities, as traditional Chinese people look down upon learning disabilities.

ADHD, ADD, and other learning disabilities are considered shameful in the Chinese community. People who dismissed my ADHD and ADD just assumed I was “not smart,” and that was a “fault” of my parents. For many, there is no such thing as ADHD and ADD — they believe this is just a cover-up for laziness.

In an article from Understood, a website devoted to educating the public about learning disabilities, Professor Manju Banerjee states that Asian American parents believe that their child’s learning disability is a result of bad parenting. Therefore, these parents do not feel comfortable revealing data or information on their child’s learning struggles.

Thus, there is a scarcity of literature investigating ADHD among Asian Americans, but it’s not because ADHD affects fewer Asian students. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, the lack of data on Asian learning disabled children could be due to the fact that fewer Asian families report their children as learning disabled, due to the stigma.

Because of the stigma of ADHD, my ADHD was not even recognized until I was in middle school. I began falling behind in my classes because I was unable to complete my work or focus for at least 30 minutes. However, none of my teachers or counselors believed I had ADHD because I still managed to keep up good grades. And I think it was also rare for them to see an Asian student with ADHD, so I believe this is why my learning disabilities were so often ignored.

Teachers were unaware of all my sleepless nights and hours of frustration trying to keep up with my peers, who did not have ADHD and ADD. I felt like I was running a race with a weight tied to my ankle. On top of that, no one made me feel like my ADHD was valid, and I constantly blamed myself for not being able to perform like everyone else.

However, over the years, I have learned to accept my ADHD. I accepted the fact that although it does not define me, it is a part of me, and I have developed ways to cope with it. I am able to achieve success, despite my ADHD. Finally, I no longer feel ashamed of having it.

I want to use this opportunity to break the stereotype of Asians not having learning disabilities. It is so uncommon to hear about an Asian with a learning disability because it is stigmatized so heavily in the Asian community. Many Asian parents feel that their child’s inability to learn is their fault, and do not talk about it or try to hide it because it is so shameful.

Study: Asians Perceived To Lack Charisma

Study: Asians Perceived To Lack Charisma

Why do we see fewer Asian Americans in senior management positions? In the first study on Asian Americans and perceptions of leadership, researchers found that Asians are seen as having less charisma when compared to their white counterparts — a trait that’s often synonymous with leadership in Western societies. Host Michel Martin discusses the findings of this new study with lead author, Thomas Sy, of the University of California, Riverside.

I’m Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, my weekly Can I Just Tell You commentary. That’s in just a few minutes.

But first, you may have heard the phrase model minority used to describe Asian-Americans. That’s because they are popularly perceived to have strong study and work habits, behave with discipline, and willingly adopt American culture. But that stereotype, favorable as it may seem, is not helpful when it comes to being viewed as leaders.

A new study says that Asian-Americans, when compared with white Americans especially, are thought to be lacking in charisma and thus lacking in leadership ability in business and the board room. And these results may help explain why we see a smaller percentage of Asian-Americans in top management than whites, the researchers say.

To learn more about this study and how the results might be used in real life, we’ve called the lead author of the study, Thomas Sy. He’s an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California Riverside. And he’s with us from NPR West in Culver City, California. Thanks so much for joining us.

Professor THOMAS SY (University of California Riverside): Thanks for having me, Michel.

MARTIN: So I’m going to ask you to try to explain as simply as you can what was your methodology.

Prof. SY: Sure.

MARTIN: But the basic core question is, is there a stereotype that Asian-Americans are technically competent, but somehow not qualified for the top job?

Prof. SY: That’s a fairly accurate statement.

MARTIN: So how did you go around testing that idea?

Prof. SY: Sure, sure. So we provided them with an evaluation of an employee. This description gives fairly basic information. And all participants get the same type of information. The only thing that we varied was race itself. For our Caucasian counterpart, the description of this employee was John Davis. For our Asian counterpart it was Tung-Sheng Wong. In addition to name, we varied it by providing with demographic information. We literally told them: race, colon, Caucasian or Asian. And a third variable, we actually provide them with a picture. So this picture was either a picture of a Caucasian individual or an Asian individual.

MARTIN: So you surveyed business undergraduates because you were interested in future leaders. But you also surveyed groups of […]

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