Contemporary Relevance

Asian-American Racism During COVID-19 Pandemic

In Inside Out & Back Again the main character, Ha, experiences bullying where her classmates are being racist towards her; they call her ‘chinh chong’ and many other racist names. Today, during this COVID-19 pandemic Asian Americans are again experiencing a wave of racism. Since the coronavirus originated in China, many people have been racist towards Asian Americans causing hate crimes across America such as a person stabbing an Asian person because they thought they were out spreading the virus. An Asian man even experienced racist ‘aggression’ with a woman shouting profanities and coughing at him while walking across the street.

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Bullying In America

Throughout the novel, Ha experiences bullying from her classmates. Today, 20% of students between the ages of 12-18 are bullied; 19% of students in grades 9-12 experience bullying on school property. Seventy percent of children today have said that they have witnessed bullying in school, and seventy percent of school staff have witnessed bullying – 41 percent of that staff witness it once every week. Today, bullying has taken the cyber form – out of those who have been bullied, 15% percent of them have been bullied through text messages or online. There are now bullying prevention programs in schools working on diminishing bullying in education.

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English Language Learners

Ha struggles with learning English throughout the novel, despite the help she receives from her next door neighbor, Miss Washington. Today, schools have programs to aid students with learning English as a second language; according to the National Education Association, there were almost five million English language learners (ELL) in the US during the early two thousands. Spanish and Asian languages are the most common language learners, but there are over 400 languages that go through the ELL system in our public schools. Only about 2.5% of teachers in the U.S. who teach ELL students have the proper degree and certification to teach English language learners. Those ELLs who were tested in reading comprehension in the early two thousands proved that only 18.7% received a score of average or above average on their test. ELLs have a drop out rate up to four times that of native English speakers.

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Inside Out and Back Again’s Homepage

Sabrina Pierce 2020

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