HomeCampusHigh School Seeks to Change Anti-Asian Incident into Teaching Moment

High School Seeks to Change Anti-Asian Incident into Teaching Moment

Burlingame High SchoolFour weeks after a racially charged incident at a basketball game, the incident is still reverberating at a high school in a wealthy community south of San Francisco.

Students at Burlingame High are trying to come to grips with their own student sections insensitivity towards Mills High, a predominantly Asian American school in Millbrae.

It happened January 12. Mills was up some 20 points and its cheering section was described as “cheering, chanting and dancing.”

Burlingame students, on the other hand, were quiet and quite dejected.

A cheer began to go up from the Burlingame students.

“You can’t see us. You can’t see us. You can’t see us.”

As Burlingame High student Priscilla Jin wrote in the San Mateo Daily Journal Feb 9, “I knew exactly to what the students were referring. They were teasing the Mills team and students, who have a majority Asian population.”

Jin was not amused.

“The people who make the chants and jokes often aren’t members of the minority of which they make fun,” she continued. “They don’t have the authority to decide when it’s OK to move on. Even if their intent was a joke, they should be prepared to apologize to those who were hurt and felt uncomfortable. A good rule to live by: Don’t make stereotypes based on race for personal pleasure or amusement. We shouldn’t speak for others and assume their comfort to be the same as our own.”

Burlingame High Principal Paul Belzer was also not amused. Ironically, he’s also served as principal at Mills High.

“Racial stereotyping and other acts of discrimination are unacceptable and need to be addressed directly and denounced,” he told his student body in the days after the incident, reported ABC7 News. “This type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Earlier this week, the Burlingame B was still reporting on the incident.

“We need to use this incident not as a merely a lesson in poor judgement but as a starting point to move forward,” the paper wrote in an editorial. “We need to remember that words can have more power than we might foresee. We need to remember that just because we live in an area where racism is not a commonality doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And we need to remember that inspiring positivity, respect and pride should always be what we are working towards together as a school.”

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