Three middle school teachers with the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District (CFBISD) in Texas have been put on administrative leave pending investigation on a test question that encouraged racial stereotypes about Chinese culture.
Joy Lim, a 2018 Carrollton Creekview High School graduate, shared the question on Twitter Tuesday, which she says had appeared on her sixth-grade sister’s social studies quiz.
The item asked which of three Chinese “norms” in the options is true. One choice mentioned cutting lips, another about corporal punishment, and the last one about eating cats and dogs.
“This is ridiculous,” Lim wrote. “Harmful rhetoric in our education system is exactly why anti-Asian hate crimes and racism persist today.”
my sister’s 6th grade social studies class took a quiz today and……… this is ridiculous.. harmful rhetoric in our education system is exactly why anti-asian hate crimes and racism persist today @CFBISD @BlalackMS do better pic.twitter.com/MCIjc0WI3z
— joy (@joyjuheelim) March 30, 2021
Lim’s tweet has since amassed more than 13,000 likes. It also caught the attention of school district officials, who called the test question “inappropriate,” “derogatory” and “hurtful” in a statement on Wednesday.
“Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD values our diverse community of learners and staff. Actions or language disrespecting any people group are not acceptable and do not represent our core belief system,” the district said.
As a result, three teachers involved in the test have been suspended while an investigation is ongoing. The district also vowed to enhance a new diversity training program “to create a more inclusive and respectful environment.”
The viral test question comes amid an increase in violence against Asian people in the U.S. Lim, whose family is Korean American, said she worried when her sister’s social studies class at Blalack Middle School started a unit on China.
“The language that was being used when the teacher was talking about the COVID-19 virus and where it had originated in China, very broad generalizations were being made, and I was uncomfortable where the teacher could take this,” Lim told the Dallas Morning News. “This is a classroom full of 11- and 12-year-olds, and I was really disappointed that this language was being used in the quiz, painting such harmful and negative stereotypes.”
She added, “Even for the Asian American students in the classroom, how are they going to internalize this?”
— CFBISD (@CFBISD) March 31, 2021
Unsurprisingly, parents at Blalack Middle School are critical.
“I too am Asian, and I worry about nowadays something abusive something that’s hate actions,” Jihea Kim told FOX 4. “It’s very dangerous.”
Carlos Aguilar also told the outlet, “They should be fired. They do not represent our community here.”
Leaders in the Asian American community also criticized the quiz — and the fact that it was approved by multiple administrators.
“The fact of the matter is when you instill that idea to middle school kids that kind of creates divisiveness instead of having an inclusive idea of welcoming everyone to this country,” John Jun, vice president of the DFW chapter of the Korean American Coalition, told NBCDFW.
Feature Image via Joy Lim (@joyjuheelim)