Importance of AAPI Inclusion in U.S. High School History Courses

Lacking AAPI Representation in U.S. History Courses

History courses taught by U.S. high schools often neglect to teach both the historical and contemporary accomplishments of Asian Americans and the challenges that these groups have faced.

In recent years, AAPI representation in history courses has marginally improved; however, there is still an incredible amount of AAPI history that students are never taught.

Chinese American Workers Building the Transcontinental Railroad

The inclusion of AAPI history in our high schools is crucial for a number of reasons:

Firstly, AAPI individuals have played a significant role in shaping American society and it is important to recognize those accomplishments and tell those stories.

Second, excluding AAPI history reinforces harmful stereotypes and perpetuates racism against AAPI groups. Only highlighting the contributions of specific groups distorts our understanding of history and essentially erases the contributions made by other groups.

Thirdly, inclusion of AAPI history can help promote inclusivity. By showing AAPI students the accomplishments of AAPI individuals throughout American history, schools can foster a greater sense of belonging and a more inclusive environment.

Aside from a select few events, very few historically important AAPI contributions are taught in schools. These are some more events that you should know about:

  1. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882: The first federal law that restricted immigration based on race and nationality. It prevented Chinese immigrants from entering the country for over 60 years and increased discrimination faced by Chinese Americans. Despite this act, Chinese Americans were instrumental in their contributions to the transcontinental railroad and work in agriculture and mining during this time.
  2. Japanese Americans helped grow American agriculture and agriculture-related industries, particularly in Hawaii and California. They also made significant contributions to the seafood industry on the west coast – even despite the widespread discrimination they faced during WWII.
  3. Filipino Americans have made widespread contributions to the healthcare and education industries, among others.
  4. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have significantly improved American society through in art, culture, sports, military contributions, and more.

This just scratches the surface of AAPi contributions in U.S history. Want to learn more? Check out the links below!

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