The gesture in the photo is hurtful and “dehumanizing” for people of Asian descent, said Stephanie Cho, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta. The photo concerns her not only as an advocate for the Asian American community, but as the parent of an Asian American student in the district.
“As Asian Americans, we are viewed as a perpetual foreigner, and our eyes are what people distinguish as identifying us as Asian or foreign,” Cho said. “[The gesture] is incredibly offensive. It reduces a person to a gesture instead of a full human being.”
The incident shows Gwinnett County Public Schools needs to take an “intentionally inclusive” approach in education, said Everton Blair, a member of the Gwinnett County Board of Education
“There is no better time than now to educate our children on the beauty of our pluralistic diversity and to guard against actions and beliefs that ostracize or racially exclude others,” Blair said.
This is second known yearbook flap in the Gwinnett district this summer. In June, Collins Hill High School apologized after discovering its 2020 yearbook contained a racial slur next to an image Martin Luther King Jr.