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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Multi-Directional Microaggressions: Filipino Students and Everyday Racism in Hawai`i's K-12 Schools

  • Author(s): Viernes, Kate
  • Advisor(s): Burns, Lucy N
  • et al.

This thesis examines Filipino Americans, Hawai`i's largest Asian Pacific Islander (API) group and their experiences with racism in Hawai`i, specifically in its K-12 educational system. Perceptions of Hawai`i as a model of "multiculturalism" obscure how the state's racially diverse population lives in the condition of settler colonialism which reproduce processes of racialization enabled by the islands' white colonizers. Through Critical Race Theory (CRT), I document how racial microaggressions, or everyday, subtle forms of racism, operate in the experiences recalled in interviews with six Filipino/a individuals who attended K-12 schools in Hawai`i. Emerging from these experiences are recurring patterns of Filipino students' involvement in school-based microaggressions that reflect Hawai`i's dominant racial discourse of "localism." The findings of this study demonstrate the complex, multi-directional nature of everyday racism as it is experienced, deployed, and resisted by Filipino K-12 students in Hawai`i.

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