US school quiz asks 6th graders if eating cats and dogs is a norm in China

The social studies quiz asks students if consuming domestic pets is a custom in China. Photo: Twitter/joyjuheelim
The social studies quiz asks students if consuming domestic pets is a custom in China. Photo: Twitter/joyjuheelim

A quiz administered at a school in the US state of Texas has been accused of stoking anti-Asian racism by asking students if eating domestic pets is a norm in China.

The teachers who wrote the quiz have since been suspended, the school district confirmed Wednesday on social media.

“The words used on the test question were derogatory and hurtful,” the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, based in a city northwest of Dallas, wrote. “The teachers have been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.”

A Twitter user, @Joyjuheelim, shared a picture of the quiz on Wednesday. One of the questions asks, “Which one of these Chinese NORMS is TRUE?”

Among the options is “It is normal in parts of China to eat cats and dogs.”

The other two options suggest that cutting off someone’s lips if they burp in a restaurant, and caning a child 50 times if they steal candy, could be Chinese customs.

“Harmful rhetoric in our education system is exactly why anti-Asian hate crimes and racism persist today,” the user tweeted with the picture. She said in a tweet reply that the quiz was for a social studies class doing a unit on China.

The post was retweeted over 6,000 times, with many expressing disgust that the teachers appear to be encouraging xenophobia among their students.

“I’m just so sickened and hurt by this. 11 year old American children are being brainwashed in school to revile and hate Chinese people,” one user wrote.

A question below asks whether it is true or false that China’s leader was voted in by the people of China. The statement curiously refers to the country’s president as simply “Jinping.”

Race-based attacks targeting Asians have increased in the US since the pandemic began, with many activists attributing the sentiment to the rhetoric of former president Donald Trump, who has referred to COVID-19 as “China virus” and “Kung Flu.”

Read more: Raw, all-natural and ‘nothing from China’: US pet food brand accused of racist branding

Globally, vocal denunciations of the Chinese government—for everything from Beijing’s crackdown on autonomy in Hong Kong to evidence of human rights abuses in the far-western region of Xinjiang—have also contributed to tendencies to conflate criticism of the Communist Party with racism against the Chinese population.

The school district added that it has recently launched diversity training for staff, and will work to create a “more inclusive and respectful environment.”

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