Hedreich Nichols

May 2023

The PI in AAPI Part III

Episode Description

In this final full week of #AAPIHeritage month, you still have time to learn about the PI in AAPI with your students, families or just for yourself. Read the part I blog, check out the resources in part II and add the resources below to your cache.

What you can listen to (beware, the Jawaiian sound is addictive).

What you can watch.

What you can read.

How you can ‘vacation’ virtually.

How you can support and conserve from where you are.

About our guest:

Kecia McDonald is not a PI, she is an EL resource teacher and longtime resident on the Big Island. You can follow her on ⁠Instagram⁠, ⁠LinkedIn ⁠or ⁠Twitter⁠.

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The PI in AAPI

Although I hate the fact that we celebrate certain cultures only during certain months, I acknowledge that so much of the country sees diverse Americans as adjuncts, and with no group is that as profound as with Pacific Islanders. Admittedly, it is the group of Americans that I know least about, so I’m excited to learn, and to share my new knowledge with you.

As I talk with educator Kecia McDonald, I realize how little I know about our nation’s 50th state. Let’s start with the most famous word, Aloha. So much more than a salutation, the Aloha Spirit brings each person to the self and is the foundation for projecting positive feelings to others. Starting with the word Aloha, one can immediately see that what most Mainlanders know about Hawaii has been reduced to eliminate a depth, beauty and almost hallowedness that seems to flow throughout the island–if you’re looking closely enough.

My next big line of inquiry–as a person of color–has been, “who are all the brown people?” So much diversity! Resisting the urge to run up to people asking, “what are you” (CRINGE), I could luckily rely on my friend Kecia to learn more about our nation’s #1 most diverse county. What fun it was learning names of cultural groups I have never encountered. Polynesian peoples from Enewetak, Bikini, Rongelap, Kwajalein, Majuro, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae enrich the culture of the Hawaiian islands. For me, learning these new words, a few new (for me) cultural hallmarks and traditions, as well as geography and migration stories has been an incredible way to spend time and further anchor my work.

As you listen, here are some resources to deepen your knowledge and to help you, your families and your students build cultural literacy, especially around the PI in AAPI.

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The Original School Indoctrination

After this week’s CrazyPLN Twitter Chat, led by the incredibly knowledgeable “Constitution Lady”, Linda R. Monk J.D., I began to look more closely at the verbiage in various state censorship and “anti-woke” laws and book bans. While researching the often vaguely worded laws, it occurred to me that the general consensus is that there is an attack on the way things have always been, based on a systematic point of view that grants “history” and “the way things have been” a pass on the kinds of scrutiny that books and courses adding diverse voices to our narratives are under today.

That pass has been given to a national narrative that deserves scrutiny. A good place to start would be the Lost Cause and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. These decedents of Confederate soldiers and officers wanted to build a narrative that cast their loved ones in a positive light. Understandable, as many agree that it’s not proper to “speak ill of the dead”. However, sometimes truth has to come out to validate the narratives of those harmed.

“Happy Slaves” and Other Popular Historical Myths

I was taught in elementary school that Slaves were happy and that they found Christianity because of their benevolent masters. I don’t know any girl of 9 or 10, or any woman of any age who would happily be raped by and bear children for a man not of her own choosing, with no right of refusal. As a lighter skinned Black woman, this historical trauma is in my genes. And while I do not see myself as a victim, I do have a right to have my truth, the truth of my ancestors, told.

When those indoctrinated by the national narrative shaped by the desire to elevate a myth above truth, it is indoctrination. When laws seek to silence that truth, it is a harmful and cancerous core that will haunt us all until we finally deal with it openly, transparently.

This week, after you’ve listened, delve into the resources below. They present a picture of yesteryear’s indoctrination and today’s so-called indoctrination. I hope, even if you are skeptical, that this knowledge will help you see that indoctrination is in the eye of the beholder and that every American story deserves to be told as a part of our national narrative.

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