Mis/Representations of Asian/Americans in the Curricula: Perspectives from Second-Generation Japanese American Youth

Rachel Endo


This case study explores how six second-generation Japanese American youth recalled learning about cultural diversity at their high schools, particularly information that was intended to represent their identities as ethnic and racial minorities. Semi-structured interviews were used to investigate how the participants made sense of curricular content that did not represent their experiences accurately or completely. Site documents including course documents and syllabi were also analyzed. The findings suggest that (a) Asian Americans have largely been excluded from definitions of diversity and multiculturalism and (b) when White teachers included lessons intended to teach about Asian Americans, the content generally reinforced Orientalist stereotypes, particularly colonizing images of the cultural exoticism-pathology binary and/or racial sameness. The implications section details practical strategies for K-12 teachers to include more balanced information about Asian American experiences in the curricula.


Asian American; Japanese American; multicultural curriculum; multicultural teacher education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18251/ijme.v14i1.535

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