January | February 2015

White House Launches Asian American and Pacific Islander Bullying Prevention Task Force
Smiling Asian American male student

On November 18, 2014, the White House announced the launch of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Bullying Prevention Task Force. A key component of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the task force will work to address bullying of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth.

The bullying of AAPI youth is a growing problem in the United States. A 2014 study found that nearly 75 percent of turbaned Sikh students in Fresno, CA, were bullied or harassed. Compared with 27 percent in 2009, 50 percent of Asian American New York public school students surveyed in 2012 reported experiencing some kind of bias-based harassment.

“It was difficult growing up as a child. I was a bullied kid,” shares Hines Ward, retired NFL player and former member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. “I used to get talked about and teased all the time. The black kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I was Korean, the Korean kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I was black, and the white kids didn’t want to hang out with me because I was both black and Korean,” said Ward, speaking in a White House video.

AAPI youth may be bullied for a multitude of reasons, such as their immigration status, for the way they look, or for their English-language skills. There has also been an increase in hostility toward youth perceived to be Muslim following the 9/11 attacks. Research shows that youth involved in bullying are more likely to have challenges in school, to experience substance abuse, and to have physical and mental health challenges. Being bullied also endangers the victim’s academic achievement, and, ultimately his or her career readiness.

Composed of federal officials with expertise in education, civil rights, language access, community relations, and public and mental health, the task force will work with AAPI community stakeholders to analyze data on the prevalence of bullying in the AAPI community; address the barriers to seeking and receiving help for victims; develop toolkits for schools, students, and parents; and recommend policies to address the problem.

The task force, a partnership between the White House and the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and the Health and Human Services, builds on the Bullying Prevention Summit convened in 2011 by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Resources:

Read the full blog post announcing the launch of the task force on the Justice Department website and follow AAPI bullying prevention on Twitter using the hashtag #AAPIstrong.

Learn more about the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and access resources, including the Guide to Federal Agency Resources: Promoting a Healthy, Vibrant Asian American and Pacific Islander Community on the initiative’s website.