July 5, 2021
The English department’s goal is to have all students read literature by authors with a variety of backgrounds.
“In the English curriculum, we are doing our best to include writers of color. And I think we are doing all right. I’m really happy with the changes we are able to make. This year, for instance, I have taught one white, male author all junior year. Every other writer has been a writer of color,” Wang said. “That’s been really phenomenal and that wouldn’t exist if some really bright people didn’t get together and go, ‘Hey! We should be inclusive in our curriculum!’ so I’m really happy with the way the English curriculum pans out.”
Spiller emphasized the need for curriculum changes and more substantive forms of activism. She is currently taking Asian American Studies, but said she would like to see more AAPI representation in mainstream history classes, not just history electives.
“I wish Asian-American history was put in our general history curriculum because you can’t teach history if you are only going to talk about it through one biased perspective. I also wish that Brookline strayed away from performative activism and towards substantive ,” Spiller said. “I think that moments of silence are great, but we can do other things that directly impact and change the circumstances as a community instead of just giving our condolences.”
Ultimately, Hsu said that acceptance will only come when representation for AAPI is attained in all aspects of society.
“In our community, we need to make sure that we are represented in political office and decision-making circles. Every time there’s a table where people are gathered to choose pathways forward, I think Asian and Asian-American community members need to be at that table,” Hsu said. “I also feel that’s true for us in the schools. We want to make sure that all children have the experience of having Asian-American teachers in all subjects from preschool, to Latin, to phys ed. Then our stories will be told more and more, and hopefully we can turn this around.”
Contributed reporting by Eliza Brown, Andi Lowe, Valentia Burlak, and Alice MacGarvie Thompson