Last Tuesday (March 30), Lycée students joined the Debate Club to discuss the Atlanta shooting that took place in the US on the 16th of March 2021. We began by discussing hate crimes that have occurred against Asian communities during the past year, the reason behind such prejudices, and how we can stop the typical stereotypes applied to Asian communities in general. This expanded into a discussion about the representation of people of colour in the media, an exploration of the power of word choice (“Chinese virus”- Donald Trump, ‘Asian’ as an overarching term), and the lack of teaching in schools about the history of Black and Asian people.
Why is it important to have a debate about this subject?
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has seen a spike in the rate of hate crimes committed against Asian people or people with Asian features. Yet the media still doesn’t give enough coverage to this topic, which deserves to be tackled. It is crucial to debate this subject because prejudice against Asian communities has been disregarded for many years. This is a hate crime just like any other hate crime, but it has been normalized so much that we must actively raise awareness of it, in order to make changes together.
What have you taken away from the discussion?
After this discussion, we are unanimous in believing that all people of colour deserve better representation. It is important to treasure and celebrate the beauty of different cultures without reducing them to stereotypes. School systems are important to this and need to shed the light on the experience of people of colour, and educate students on the history of diverse cultures. This will help us understand the communities around us and enable us to challenge the under representation of Asians around the world, in general.
Many thanks to Nidal Charfi (2c) and Mia Pulverail (2c) for this summary.
A fortnightly Debate Club has been launched for all lycée students who want to extend their discussion skills and practise using spoken English in an academic context.