A video series for classroom teachers and caregivers who teach

A video series for classroom teachers and caregivers who teach

What does it mean to be Asian Pacific American?
Who is Asian Pacific American?
What are the impacts of Asian Pacific American stereotypes?

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is proud to present We are not a stereotype, a video series for educators, by educators. This series explores and challenges the complexity surrounding the term Asian Pacific American, breaking it down into topics that span multiple timelines, geographies, and identities.

Here you will find educational videos and resources about migration, occupation, racial and gender identities, cross-community building, and how to support student learning on these topics. We have also included links to collections in the Smithsonian Learning Lab that complement some of the themes in this series. Finally, to learn more about all of our speakers, you will find their biographies near the end of this page.

This series received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool and support from Expedia. Thank you to this series’ sponsors for making these learning opportunities available online for educators.

What topics are we breaking down?

What topics are we breaking down?

Asian-Black Solidarity Movements for Liberation \\ The Model Minority Myth \\ Occupation of the the Hawaiian Kingdom \\ Southeast Asian American Experiences in the US \\ Queer and Asian Identities \\ Filipinx Americans as Cross-Coalition Builders \\ South Asian American Experiences in the US \\ The Racialization of Undocumented Asians \\ The Bamboo Ceiling \\ Important Court Cases in Asian Pacific American History \\ Caste in the United States

What is this video series about?

Start here to find out:

Join the conversation #BreakingAPABias

Watch Now:

Watch Now:

Breaking Down: The Bamboo Ceiling
Speaker: Soukprida Phetmisy and Takeru “TK” Nagayoshi
Video length: 55 minutes
Topics and themes: Model Minority Myth \\ Racial imposter syndrome \\ Breaking the glass and bamboo ceilings \\ Microaggressions

The term Bamboo Ceiling was coined by Jane Hyun, an Executive Coach and Global Leadership Strategist. Her book "Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling" provides career strategies for Asian Americans. To learn more about Hyun's work click here.

Breaking Down: The Model Minority Myth
Speaker: Liz Kleinrock, Dr. Kiona and Takeru “TK” Nagayoshi
Video length: 40 minutes
Topics and themes: Migration \\ Interrogating racial assumptions \\ The harm of aggregated data

Breaking Down: How Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders shaped the legal landscape
Speaker: Robert Kim
Video length: 1 hour & 40 minutes
Topics and themes: Precedents in American history \\ Belonging \\ Race and racism \\ Importance and impact of the US judicial system \\ Critical inquiry in the US legal system \\ Law and K12 education

Breaking Down: The Racialization of Undocumented Asians
Speaker: Rose Ann E. Gutierrez
Video length: 58 minutes
Topics and themes: Complexities of law \\ Migration \\ Interrogating racial assumptions \\ Empathy

Breaking Down: Filipino/a/x Americans as Cross-Coalition Builders
Speakers: Tony DelaRosa and TJ Simba-Medel
Video length: 61 minutes
Topics and themes: Cross-Coalition Building \\ Intersectionality \\ Arts and Humanities

Breaking Down: Queer and Asian Identities
Speakers: Takeru “TK” Nagayoshi and Soukprida Phetmisy
Video length: 52 minutes
Topics and themes: Claiming identities \\ Intersectionality \\ Discriminiation and bias

Listen to the audio recording of this talk here.

Breaking Down: Southeast Asian American Experience in the United States
Speakers: Soukprida Phetmisy and Levi Lovang
Video length: 1 hour & 11 minutes
Topics and themes: Migration \\ Storytelling \\ Cross-Community Solidarity \\ Leadership

Breaking Down: Caricature as Portraiture
Speakers: Healoha Johnston and Ashleigh Coren
Video length: 53 minutes
Topics and themes: Trauma-informed teaching \\ Legacies of imperialism \\ Race and Racism

Breaking Down: Asian-Black Solidarity Movements for Liberation
Speakers: Liz Kleinrock and Dr. Kiona
Video length: 45 minutes
Topics and themes: Race and Racism \\ Cross-Community Solidarity \\ Representation \\ Activism

Explore this series further in the Smithsonian Learning Lab

We have created a series of five topical collections in the Smithsonian Learning Lab to complement some of the topics and themes in this video series. In each collection, you will find sets of guiding questions, activities, and additional resources about challenging caricatures, the importance of disaggregated data, how to find stories that are often hidden in curriculum, creative ways to think about the judicial system with young students, and more. These collections can be used in virtual, in-person, or hybrid learning environments. They can also be adapted for a variety of social studies, history and language arts lesson plans.

We recommend you begin exploring the “Welcome” collection first, which includes a reflection activity about equitable learning environments. After you explore this collection, we recommend exploring the remaining four collections in any order that you would like.

Start here!

Explore these collections in any order:

Meet our speakers

Dr. Kiona Headshot

Dr. Kiona    She / Her / Hers

Kiona, Ph.D., M.S., M.A. is the founder of the award-winning digital platform How Not To Travel Like A Basic B, which was launched in 2016. Seeing the deficits in academia where rarely Brown and Black people are rarely deemed experts in their own cultures and access to higher education is placed behind a huge paywall, she created a platform that does the opposite. She travels the world spotlighting different cultures, redefines the expert, and uplifts marginalized voices, hosting and teaching publicly streamed lessons for free on a gift-based model. Making global education accessible to anyone with a smartphone.Her work has gotten her Travel Content Creator of the Year by Audacity Fest and World’s Best Influencer by Fodor’s Travel. In addition, her travel expertise has gotten her features in Outside Magazine, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Pop Sugar, Next Shark, and many more. She’s been the keynote speaker at the Cosmos Summit, diversity expert panelist at World Travel Market, and moderator at MissFits Fest. She hosts a biweekly podcast called How Not To Travel which has hit Top 10 in UK/Ireland, USA, France, and Australia. She also has taken her educational classes offline and does monthly education trips to Cuba where her study abroad program is sold out a year in advance. She also runs a mentorship program called How Not To Grad School Like A Basic B, which facilitates People Of Color getting into graduate school on fully funded programs. Born and raised in Hawai’i and of mixed race Korean/Austrian descent, she frequently discusses the intentional erasure of Asian history, voices, and representation and advocates for Asian & Pacific Islander Americans in the media.


Liz Kleinrock    She / Her / Hers

Liz is an anti-bias and anti-racist educator of both children and adults, and creates curricular content for K-12 students, specializing in designing engaging and accessible units of study for all ages of learners. She began her career in education as an AmeriCorps volunteer teacher in Oakland, California in 2009, and has since served as both a classroom educator and diversity coordinator in Los Angeles, California. Liz also works with schools and districts throughout the United States to develop workshops and trainings for adults that support culturally responsive practices that fit the needs of specific communities. In 2018, Liz received the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching, and her lessons on teaching consent and personal boundaries to students have gained international media attention. Liz has written articles for numerous publications on destigmatizing privilege, trauma informed teaching, and cultivating relationships with students and families. Most recently, Liz is proud to share her 2019 TED Talk, “How to teach kids to talk about taboo topics” on building foundations of equity with young learners which has been viewed over 2 million times, and is working on her first book with Heinemann Publishing.


Takeru “TK” Nagayoshi    He / Him / His

Takeru Nagayoshi is the 2020 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. A sixth-year educator, he teaches AP English in New Bedford, MA. After piloting the research-based AP Capstone program, Takeru helped his district lead the state in the number of AP Certificates awarded with over 92 percent of his students passing their exams. As a son of Japanese immigrants and a gay person of color, Takeru leverages his identities to fight for education equity. Outside the classroom, he has written op-eds on education issues, coaches developing teachers, and lends his voice to multiple panels, committees, and an educator diversity task force. He has also participated in several fellowships, including those offered by Teach Plus, Harvard, and the MA Department of Education. An advocate for community-based solutions, he launched his own educator leadership program, SNEALI, which develops local capacity for New England teachers. Takeru has received recognitions such as the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award (2019), Boston University Young Alumni Award (2019), and Sontag Prize in Urban Education (2018). He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with an honors B.A. in international relations and from Boston University, an M.Ed in Curriculum and Teaching.


Robert Kim     He / Him / His

Robert (Bob) Kim is a leading expert in education law and policy in the United States. He is the author of Elevating Equity and Justice: 10 U.S. Supreme Court Cases Every Teacher Should Know (Heinemann) and co-author of Education and the Law, 5th ed. and Legal Issues in Education: Rights and Responsibilities in U.S. Public Schools Today (West Academic). From 2017 to 2019, Bob was a William T. Grant Distinguished Fellow at Rutgers University, where he examined the role of school finance research in policymaking and advocacy. From 2011 through 2016, he served as a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in the Obama Administration. Earlier in his career, Bob was a civil rights attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union and a policy analyst at the National Education Association.


Rose Ann E. Gutierrez     She / Her / Hers

Rose Ann E. Gutierrez is a PhD student at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She received her bachelor‘s degree in sociology at the University of Richmond and master’s degree in student development administration at Seattle University. She has worked in K-12 public education as a middle school teacher in Miami, FL and was recognized by her school as Rookie Teacher of the Year in her second year of teaching. She has also worked in higher education as a student affairs practitioner in Seattle, WA. Rose Ann has consistently been engaged in the local community with her involvement in Filipino American National Historical Society – Hampton Roads as former chapter secretary in Virginia Beach, VA; Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. as summit co-director and facilitator of community intergenerational dialogues in Seattle, WA; and Southern California AANHPI Educators as summit co-organizer in Los Angeles, CA. Rose Ann serves as a research associate for the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education and National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education at UCLA and has published book chapters, journal articles, and reports on undocumented students and Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students in higher education. Her research explores the analytical nexus between race, racism, and racialization, immigration, and social stratification in education.


Tony DelaRosa    He / They

Tony DelaRosa is a Filipinx American Educator, Motivational Speaker, Poet, and Cultural Broker. In 2013, he co-founded Pulse Poetry, a school elective course and after school direct service program which uses spoken word pedagogy and public speaking to empower youth voices in Indianapolis, Boston, and Miami. He has a Masters in Arts Education with a focus in Nonprofit Management from Harvard University, where he served as a Senior Editor for the Asian American Policy Review. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) to strengthen US to Philippine relations in Florida and more generally in the Southeast region of the US. His work has been featured in Boston's NPR, Hechinger Report at Columbia's Teacher's College, Harvard Ed Magazine, Hyphen Magazine: Asian American Unabridged and elsewhere. He currently works at TFA Miami-Dade as a Teacher Leadership Coach, and Consultant with NYC Men’s Teach through the NYC Department of Education.


TJ Simba-Medel     He / They

TJ is a professional performing artist and arts educator from Jersey City, New Jersey (all day, err day). As an international touring poet, his pedagogical methods are rooted in the art of Spoken Word (2006 New Jersey Youth Slam Team in HBO’s Brave New Voices, 2008 New York Knicks Poetry Slam Top Finalist, and the 2009 Southern Fried “King of the South” Individual Poetry Slam Champion). He holds a BA in Theater Arts from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock with a Certificate in Clowning from Paolo Coletto’s The School for Theater Creators. He is a proud alumni member of the longest running Asian American Improv Ensemble Stir Friday Night!, has provided vocals for arts activist musical group SoCHI Voices (2015 Finalist for NPRs Tiny Desk Concert Series), MCed for Chicago based Hip-Hop collective Elephant Rebellion, and is the Founder of SPITFire (Chicago’s First All Filipino-American Improv group and the US Chapter of Silly People’s Improv Theater in the Philippines). As an arts educator, he has collaborated with The American Theater Company, Mudlark Children’s Theater Company, Silk Road Rising Theater Company, Chicago Improv Productions, and the Chicago Poetry Center in collaboration with Urban Gateways. His television credits include a guest spot in EMPIRE on FOX and a special guest spot on CNNPhilippines in promotion of Manila Improv Festival in March of 2017. Finally, he currently acts as a Creative Consultant to the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO), the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C, and the Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC). He serves as the youngest Board Member for the Arkansas Philippine Association and as a Mental Health and Wellness Coach for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). His most recent endeavor was collaborating with the TaxWhiz Mon Abrea and the Asian Consulting Group for the release of the TaxWhiz App.


Soukprida Headshot

Soukprida Phetmisy    She / They

Soukprida Phetmisy (she/they) is a queer Lao American activist, DEI capacity builder, teaching artist, and anti-racist/anti-bias educator and facilitator. She is the sister/daughter/granddaughter of Lao-Viet refugees, and grew up in Houston, TX, where she was partially raised by her maternal grandparents. Her passion for community, storytelling, and disrupting the status quo was catalyzed by a decade of organizing and advocacy-centered work within the arts and education sectors. In her role leading Teach For America’s (TFA) national Asian American and Pacific Islander Alliances, she is responsible for cultivating and building relationships with grassroots and grasstops organizations, influencers, and media committed to strengthening Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander educators, students, and their communities. Alongside her work at TFA, Soukprida serves as a lead organizer and trainer with Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism, specializing in cultural competence, anti-racist/anti-bias education, and caucus. She holds a B.F.A. in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design and was a 2008 NPR Next Generation Radio fellow, publishing Accents & Identities. Her voice has been featured on NPR, Reset, Artemis, and more.



Levi Headshot

Levi Lovang    He / Him / His

Levi Lovang is a proud Hmong American educator, activist and child of refugees. He grew up in Milwaukee, WI where he earned his Bachelor’s in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He continued to learn the values of community and service while working with multiple Americorps organizations such as The SPARK Early Literacy Program, City Year and Teach For America as he humbly and honorably served with all three organizations and with Milwaukee Public Schools in his community. Levi truly developed an affinity for culturally relevant pedagogy, hip-hop pedagogy, Asian-American studies and anti-racist and anti-bias education as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. He taught for four years in his hometown and also earned his Master’s in Education at Alverno College. It was a difficult decision, but in the summer of 2018, Levi made a huge transition to the Bay Area to continue his career as an educator while continuing to learn more about his passions that also include organizing and public leadership. He taught 4th grade for two years with KIPP Bay Area Public Schools, and in the fall of 2020, Levi is transitioning to teach 7th and 8th grade math in the Mission District in San Francisco.


Healoha Johnston    She / Her / Hers

Healoha Johnston lives in Kaiwiki, Hawai‘i and is a Curator of Asian Pacific American Women’s Cultural History at the Smithsonian Institution. Her research interests include exploring connections between historic visual culture and contemporary art with a particular focus on the socio-political underpinnings that inform those relationships. As an art historian, Johnston has curatorial experience working in contemporary art galleries, arts and cultures non-profit organizations, NOAA’s Pacific National Monument program, and the Honolulu Museum of Art before joining the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.


Ashleigh Coren    She / Her / Hers

Ashleigh D. Coren is the Women’s History Content and Interpretation Curator at the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian's American Women's History Initiative. She holds a BA in Art and Visual Culture from Bates College, and an MS in Archives Management from Simmons University.

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

How do I talk about race?
For resources, tips and more information about how to talk about race with your students, family and community, we encourage you to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Talking About Race Portal.

What else does the Asian Pacific American Center have to help me understand Asian Pacific American stories?
We are so glad you are here! We have online exhibitions, videos, and information about Asian Pacific America’s past, present, and future. Please explore these links below and check smithsonianapa.org often for updates on new programs and digital offerings!