Woman criticizes Florida’s new mandate to teach Asian American history in schools as promoting the ‘model minority’ myth

Following the news that the Florida House unanimously passed a bill that requires Asian American Pacific Islander [AAPI] history be taught in the public education system, an Asian American content creator is speaking out about what she believes are its racist underpinnings.

Shengxiao “Sole” Yu, who goes by the TikTok username @lifeaffirmingnectar, is a social justice educator. On May 17, she took to the platform to share her thoughts on this newly approved bill.

“Y’all, Florida just passed AAPI history education and if you’re like, ‘Wait, did I read that headline correctly? Florida? As in, Governor DeSantis, signed this into bill?’ Yeah, exactly. This is why we gotta use our critical thinking,” Yu says. “Yeah, the same state that has the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, that banned African American history, that banned critical race theory … something’s not adding up.”

‘An important force in Asian American racialization is the invention of the model minority myth, which was very much based on perpetuating anti-Black oppression’

House Bill 1537, which was signed into law on May 9, requires that the “history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including the history of Japanese internment camps and the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II; the immigration, citizenship, civil rights, identity, and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; and the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to American society” now be taught.

This bill, Yu alleges, is a “white supremacist tactic.”

“An important force in Asian American racialization is the invention of the model minority myth, which was very much based on perpetuating anti-Black oppression,” she continues. “On top of that, the theory of Asian American racial triangulation teaches us that Asian Americans are typically used as a racial wedge group to create this triangulated form, this triangle shape, in order to keep the racialized structure stable.”

According to Learning for Justice, the model minority myth “characterizes Asian Americans as a polite, law-abiding group who have achieved a higher level of success than the general population through some combination of innate talent and pull-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps immigrant striving.”

Since the end of World War II, Kat Chow of NPR acknowledges that “white people have used Asian Americans and their perceived collective success as a racial wedge” with the desire to minimize and essentially gaslight other members of struggling ethnic or racial minority groups, specifically Black Americans, into believing that racism has nothing to do with it.

“Passing mandatory AAPI history education is compatible with banning Black American history if you think you can use Asians to continue anti-Black oppression,” Yu argues. “And I will not at all be shocked when Florida congresspeople and the governor hide behind the passage of this bill as proof to say that they are not racist.”

DeSantis did not respond to In The Know by Yahoo’s request for comment.

TikTokers have taken to Yu’s comments to share their reactions to the passage of the bill.

“I’m just wondering what kind of AAPI history he’ll allow to be taught,” @ohitsjustbekah wrote.

“What’s happening in Florida is only the beginning,” @deville_darling replied.

In January of this year, The Florida Department of Education made the controversial choice to “reject a preliminary pilot version” of the College Board’s Advanced Placement African American Studies course due to the department’s belief that it violated Florida law.

Juliana Kim of NPR reported that while 60 schools across the United States were participating in the AP program’s trial run, including one high school in Florida, state officials took issue with the possibility that the course would teach students about the reparations movement and Black Lives Matter.

“Stay vigilant and critical of these tactics,” Yu urges her followers.

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