The Necessity of Teaching Asian American Literature in Southern American Schools

Amanda Reynolds

Abstract


In the ever-changing demographic of Southern American schools, it is becoming more important for teachers to assign novels from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Traditionally, African American and Hispanic American authors are used to fulfill the TEKS requirement of multicultural literature in Texas public schools. However, due to the number of African American and Hispanic American students in the South, students are not actually being exposed to literature outside of their own cultures or those with which they encounter on a daily basis. Thus, many Southern students are not being confronted with the issues of otherness that can be safely dealt with through multicultural literature. Asian American authors deal with otherness in  vastly different ways than most African American or Hispanic American authors. Topics often not present in African American and Hispanic American literature (such as religion, language and gender issues) are freely discussed by Asian American authors. By encouraging "disorientation" through literature, students are given the opportunity to work through their own fears and prejudices and, hopefully, eventually reach an understanding of otherness. To make this happen, it is becoming increasingly necessary to teach Asian American literature in Southern American schools.


Keywords


Asian-American Literature

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