Speaker educates faculty on cultural awareness

Joanna Im

Sage Hill School teacher Drew Ishii presented his speech, ‘Asian-Americans and the Model Minority Myth,’ to educate faculty and staff about cultural awareness Wednesday.

The school invited Ishii speak in order to help foster an inclusive environment for Asian American students, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Janine Jones said.

‘We’ve heard from our Asian American community that when we are talking about [diversity] a lot of the time we focus so much on our African-American and Latinx communities and not enough on our Asian and Asian-American communities,’ Jones said.

Ishii spoke about the the implicit biases and underrepresentation that Asian-Americans often face. He also discussed the model minority myth, which he defined as the idea that Asian-Americans are the ideal minority, and stressed the importance of the seeing past these stereotypes.

“We need to puncture, trouble, and disrupt the model minority myth,” Ishii said. “Non-AAPI folks need to ditch the model minority myth as well and not see our Asian cultures as exotic, trinkets, or backdrops. All of us need to demand representation in the media, workplace, and leadership.”

Faculty said they feel that the speech will allow them to diversify their curriculum in the future.

“The main reason why I was interested in attending this presentation was because I wanted to better understand how, in my role, I could support those students who feel that they might be seen as ‘eternal foreigners,’” French teacher Simona Ghirlanda said.