The Mendon High School Diversity Council, in collaboration with the Allegiance Club and Black Student Union, recently hosted acclaimed author Patricia Park, author of “Re Jane” and, more recently, The New York Times editorial piece, “I’m Done Being Your Model Minority.”
Park joined the group via Zoom to speak about her experiences as a writer, New Yorker, English professor, and Korean American. A student discussion prior to the Zoom event, as well as a question-and-answer session with Park, were facilitated by Allegiance Club president Jisu Oh and BSU president Muhammad Mbowe.
The discussion included a deep dive into Park's essay, which describes the rise in Asian hate crimes and Park's goal of disrupting the model minority myth that certain minority groups are all high-achieving and passive, which she feels contributes to the under-reporting of Asian American hate crimes.
“I suspect that many, many more crimes and aggressions against Asians go unreported — in part because of language barriers or immigration status, but also because of a cultural phenomenon that is intuitively understood in our communities,” Park wrote in her essay. “It’s the fear of disrupting our ‘model minority’ reputation. My Korean immigrant parents often told me when I was growing up: ‘Don’t make trouble. We’re guests in this country.’ Never mind that I was born here, and that my parents are Americans, too,” she said.
Park reminded students about the importance of speaking up, reporting racism or bullying, being allies to marginalized groups, and using their voices to enact positive change.
Read Park’s NYTimes editorial at: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/10/opinion/asian-american-hate-crimes.html