DEI learning corner
Mental Health Awareness Month: Back to Basics
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, when Mental Health America first released a toolkit of materials to guide outreach activities.
This year, Mental Health Awareness Month is themed "Back to Basics." After the last two years of the pandemic, many are feeling stress, isolation, and uncertainty that takes a toll on their well-being. The goal of this theme is to provide a foundational knowledge about mental health and information about what to do if their mental health is a cause for concern. View the Back to Basics toolkit »
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is also celebrated in May. AAPI Heritage Month was established to affirm the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the U.S. This need for voice and representation is evident in the recent two-year increase in anti-Asian racism due to assumptions about connections to COVID. Throughout U.S. history, AAPI communities have experienced hostile and explicit racist acts, as well as the model minority myth.
Have you heard about the model minority myth? Coined in 1966, the white-determined model minority myth perpetuates the stereotype that Asian Americans are successful due to being a polite and submissive monolith, while creating a pedestal of whiteness that separates AAPI individuals from fellow people of color.
What is the negative impact of the myth? What’s wrong with a stereotype of “success”?
- Uses harmful criteria of "success" that also fuels harmful criteria of failure
- Promotes discrimination toward and among people of color by ranking proximity to whiteness
- Reinforces exclusion and underrepresentation of Asian and Pacific Islander communities
- Ignores the diversity of individuals, cultures, economic disparities, and histories of immigration and colonization
- Denies and silences experiences of racism, microaggressions, violence, and discrimination
- Causes trauma for transracial adoptees who have been raised in racially isolated environments
What can you do?
- Don’t judge others by the myth’s toxic criteria and be aware of stereotypes. Listen to those who share their experiences.
- Evaluate the media you’re consuming, and support individuals and organizations that combat racism. White supremacy fuels Asian and Black hostility and hides solidarity. Black Lives Matter. Stop AAPI Hate.
- Support and promote AAPI representation in all fields.
- Search online for "Asian and Pacific Islanders" to appreciate the diversity of experiences within this umbrella term.
- Search online for "history of anti-Asian hate" and “model minority myth.” Hate crimes against Asian and Pacific Islander communities are not new.
- Search online for "transracial adoptee trauma" to learn how transracial adoption often melds with white saviorism, racial isolation, and internalized oppression.