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A Family for Asian Psychologists

As a Chinese-American boy growing up in a mostly white neighborhood in Portland, Ore., Derald Wing Sue, PhD, still remembers the taunts that he and his younger brother Stanley endured every day in elementary school because of their Asian heritage. That early experience puzzled the brothers and sparked their fascination with human behavior says Sue, now a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College at Columbia University.

As adults both brothers became psychologists during the late 1960s and early 1970s when racial and ethnic identity movements flourished. Identity politics hadn't trickled into mainstream psychology, and Sue recalls feeling uncomfortable with psychology's emphasis on the autonomy of the individual over the collective good of the family or group. "I always felt the curriculum and the type of information taught to me did not represent my racial-ethnic background and experience," Sue says.

Now a national organization, Sue went on to help form the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) in 1972, and served as its first president.

This article, written by Christopher Munsey, appeared in the February 9th, 2006 publication of the Monitor on Psychology.

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