You’re an Asian Man in tech, so you should have nothing to worry about…
AUTHOR’S NOTE as of early 2021:
I wrote this during the height of Black Lives Matter back in Summer 2020. However in light of the recent #NotYourVirus or #JeNeSuisPasVirus, #StopAsianHate, and #RacismIsAVirus movement in response to anti-East-Asian sentiment during these pandemic times I felt as though it’s a better time to publicly share this article.
Despite not facing explicit anti-East-Asian sentiment myself even in light of recent events in North America, I still do know that I’ve experienced subtle bias as an Asian Man in the tech world of North America.
Also, these are some examples of articles that exists now to support what my article touches upon:
Asian Americans in tech say they face 'a unique flavor of oppression'
Going unheard. Getting passed over for promotions. Stereotyped as "passive" and "diligent." Those are common threads in…
5 Ways The Model Minority Myth Is Used Against Asian Americans At Work
The "model minority" myth has he myth "perpetuates Asian Americans as polite, law- and rule-abiding ethnic groups who…
Analysis | The 'model minority' myth hurts Asian Americans - and even leads to violence
After anti-Asian American violence spiked during the past several months - including in Indianapolis - people…
The title of this article is an exact quote from a woman of colour in the tech industry here in Canada (Toronto to be precise), in particular, a Black woman who was a very good friend of mine and a leader in this space had said to me. This Black woman is someone who uttered it as a way to motivate me and I initially took it that way. However, the phrase stuck with me, it continued to ring at the back of my mind. A lot of things may be going on in your brain as well, as you’ve just read this paragraph such as perhaps the following:
- Oh but of course, Asians have privilege too, not just middle-aged White men
- Haha, he’s whining because of the fragility that he has as a man and one who belongs to an ethnic background where the patriarchy was also a huge part of its history.
- Oh, boohoo, so what? Take it like a man, suck it up, because even if it wasn’t true, Asians are supposed to be smart, so live up to it!
- You don’t believe it? Well of course you don’t, women of colour usually don’t have their voices heard, so if you want to ignore, negate, or silence her comment then you’re just one of those men.
- You can’t handle the truth, period.
These are things you may have thought if you weren’t an East-Asian man yourself (or maybe you are an East-Asian person but you still thought it), especially if you belong to a people-group that is considered to be more marginalized than us Asians in the tech world.
I’m not going to go into a pissing contest, a grief/oppression competition/Olympics, or whatever you may want to call it.
What I will say is this — initially, when she uttered those words, I took it positively. I heard it with my ears, I listened with my mind, and I remembered it with my heart. However, as time went on, I kept reflecting on my previous experiences to prior her utterance of those words to me. I kept being on the lookout for how I was treated in the tech world from that point on. I kept noticing, observing, and recognizing certain patterns that I just couldn’t stop seeing. Just as women, just as Black people, and just as any marginalized folks have experienced, patterns become the signals we latch onto. These patterns can take the form of micro-aggressions for example. These patterns can continue to chip away at our mental health and our abilities to perform at a forward-momentum state.
So now you may be wondering:
- Okay, wise guy, what are these patterns that you’ve noticed as an East-Asian man?
- Microaggressions? Really? Against East-Asian men in the tech world, that’s a laugh!
- Well, whatever these patterns are, they can’t be as bad as being catcalled while you’re walking the street or potentially being killed based on your skin colour.
Sure, you’re absolutely right — the patterns that I’ve experienced aren’t life-threatening or even as bad as having being asked “where are you really from?” or the like (if they were, then I wouldn’t be writing/talking about this because I wouldn’t be adding anything new to the conversation). So, yes, they’re not a matter of life or death. Sure, I can acknowledge that I can still walk down the street and enjoy my day. And sure, you’re absolutely right about the fact that there are indeed more Asians in the tech world than other minorities. However, despite all that, I’ve had to change myself for the worse because of all this. I’ve had to silence myself — nay — mute — nay — censor myself (see what I did there?) even at times on social media. I’ve had to play a part that matched the mental models of those who were in power/charge because if I didn’t, I would’ve been fired for example.
And perhaps you’re already seeing it? The fact that my voice may already at face-value be seen as “how dare he even think to talk about his own issues given his circumstances compared to the rest”; is something that could be frowned upon is in and of itself discriminative. I know I already said this earlier, but it’s tough to talk about this issue because I do recognize the facts. You’re indeed right, that my issues aren’t exactly life-or-death. Though, I could argue that it is because of the fact that I’ve had suicidal thoughts before, indirectly as a result of all of this. And there are certain statistics that I can draw from:
Suicide Among Asian Americans
Myth: Asian-Americans have higher suicide rates than other racial/ethnic groups. Fact: The suicide rate for…
I won’t say — “Asian men have higher suicide rates than any/other people groups” because they don’t. But that’s not the point. The point is, if an Asian man is supposed to have an easier time in the Western world and professional settings, why are suicide rates so high for Asian men and women at all? Again, this isn’t the point of this article, but I feel that it should still be brought up and mentioned, albeit briefly. Regardless, I’m done being silent on this because if a female feminist can recognize the importance of talking about men’s issues and be an advocate for them, then I as an East-Asian man can be just as empowered to talk about the issues I’ve faced in the tech industry.
Let’s at the very least acknowledge this:
- Subtle racism exists and is the whole reason why all of this has bubbled up to be what it is today.
- Subtle discrimination of others based on qualities/characteristics that they were born with exists.
- Subtle prejudice exists, period.
Therefore, what I’m really talking about here is that I’ve experienced subtle, implicit, and indirect discrimination based upon my race and gender.
But before I go into sharing 3 different kinds of experiences I’ve had, I’ll say this:
- Explicit racism/discrimination against Asians does indeed exist as well. Please see this as an example: https://www.weareresonate.com/2020/07/tech-ceo-apologizes-for-racist-attack-on-asian-american-family-after-video-goes-viral-solid8-michael-lofthouse/ And especially during these times that we’re living in, overt acts of hate have been conducted against Asians of all walks of life in Western society and have increased dramatically and drastically. Reference: https://bit.ly/3h4892z
- There is also a systemic form of said racism/discrimination against us Asians that takes on an insidiously deceiving face. “Evil comes with a pretty face,” they say and this form of systemic racism/discrimination against Asians comes in the form of a weaponized stereotype that was created by White men in the early days of North America. It’s called the “model minority”. Now you may wonder, how could such a stereotype be a bad thing? Isn’t it about saying that Asians are good at things, better at things than other races even? Isn’t it about saying that Asians are qualified for white-collar jobs? Isn’t it inclusive to assume Asians are competent at things that the White man used to consider exclusive to the White man? I will address this later, but you may already get the idea about how this has an insidious nature that is apart from the very fact that it was created to dehumanize the Black population at the time.
- My stories aren’t even going to be about the “Bamboo Ceiling” either. Yes us Asians have a ceiling too, there’s not only a glass one and a concrete one, but there’s a bamboo one too. As much as I won’t be addressing this whole topic directly, I will be indirectly addressing it. Please see this: https://hbr.org/2018/05/asian-americans-are-the-least-likely-group-in-the-u-s-to-be-promoted-to-management
First, a flashback
When I was in university, I was oftentimes told to “stand out” by so many different kinds of people — from professors to fellow classmates, from industry professionals speaking at industry events hosted at the university and community-at-large to recruiters and hiring managers are job/career fairs, and from the simple fact that competition is indeed fierce so “of course you gotta stand out”. Therefore, I did, I endeavoured to create a “personal brand” as everybody put it, and boy oh boy, did I end up standing the F out. Now of course, that wasn’t the only advice or sage wisdom that students were told, but that was chief amongst a whole slew of them. Others included “soft skills is everything”, “it’s your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude”, “we love passionate people”, “study abroad”, “work abroad”, “join student clubs”, “become a student leader”, “become an entrepreneur, we love entrepreneurs and an entrepreneurial-mindset/spirit”, “solve big problems”, “attend hackathons”, “write/publish a blog or just produce a lot of content”, “do this, do that”, etc.
Well, I can confidently say I did them all.
All the advice doled out at us wide-eyed university students, I heeded.
I became known in my university for being the “choir guy” because I founded a choir called Tales of Harmonia, as an example. I actually, later on, got featured in this book for it:
I became known by many of my peers for “being good at hustling” and still do, to this very day despite having lessened my online presence or how much I put out there.
I became known for being the “blockchain designer guy” by my friends as well because of all the experiences I’ve had in that space.
I did so many things to stand the F out, that you might be wondering wow, why is this guy about to complain to us about his “issues as an East-Asian man living/working in the Western World?” I’ll tell you why, right now.
The reason? I didn’t fit the mold.
“Bad culture fit.” they kept telling me, time and again.
Why 'Culture Fit' Is A Failed Idea In American Hiring
Picture this: You are a hiring manager who is deciding between candidates for a role at your company. Skills and…
Okay so in university you tell me to “have a personal brand” and do all those things to “stand out”. I end up doing it only to be shoved with “bad culture fit”? At first, I kept trying to gain feedback, learn, grow, and iterate my approach. Initially, I didn’t complain, I worked my ass off to improve my CV, my portfolio, my job hunting strategies, joined fellowships to be mentored and grow personally/professionally such as AudaciousYou and Pathrise, learned a shit ton by attending part-time courses learning front-end web development even, etc, but time and again I’ve still faced struggle after struggle, shut door after shut door, and obstacle after obstacle.
One might wonder — okay everybody experiences rejections, what makes this guy so special?
I’m not entitled, let me just interject here.
I have no entitled bone in me.
Growing up, my parents always told me “work hard, earn your stripes, and always be grateful”, well they didn’t say those exact words and in that exact way, but the meaning was conveyed as such more-or-less.
In fact, I’ve always been told “Tian, you’re too hard on yourself” by my peers.
So, I know I said I had lived experiences to share and I have specific ones, but I’ll conclude this intro bit by saying:
I know I’ve experienced subtle prejudice because I kept was stuck between a rock-and-a-hard-place, so much so that it induced suicidal thoughts. What was this “rock” and “hard-place”? The “rock” — being told “bad culture fit” despite the constant/consistent iterations towards betterment/improvement within the constraints I was under at the time. The “hard-place” — being told “you’re too hard on yourself” given that I was constantly hustling to improve/better myself by aligning with what mentors told me, what industry experts said on social media, and by my friends and peers.
2 Cases and 1 Bonus
Feedback after Rejection
You’re too passionate.
This was something I was told time and again as feedback after getting rejected. There was no constructive criticism, there was nothing actionable for me to take away, and there was nothing pragmatic/practical I could do based on this feedback.
Being told “you’re too passionate” as a reason for being rejected is just mind-bogglingly frustrating because on the one hand you’re told to “be passionate” and “we hire passionate people”, but on the other hand you’re then told this with a shut door in your face.
What was I supposed to take away from this? All I did was passionately talk about my experiences, why I was passionately interested in working for you, and my passions for tech, design, and innovation. I thought this was what you wanted?
Now of course, how could this be a microaggression against me as an Asian.
Well, I would share my experiences with my peers and I would notice that my fellow Asian peers who were more “down-to-earth” or “reserved” were constantly getting offers but the ones who weren’t had to get lucky because they “knew someone”, whatever that meant. Whilst, all my peers who weren’t Asian were getting offers left-right-and-center simply for their leadership skills and whatnot. Now, of course, I’m oversimplifying things and it may seem like this is all just hear-say. Truthfully, it could very well be. But, I’ve also been told many-a-times by my peers to “tone it down”, despite having the same “tone” as my non-Asian White peers.
Just as the “angry Black women” stereotype exists, I do strongly believe and have experienced being perceived negatively simply for being “out there”, “extroverted”, and “outspoken”. I do associate being rejected for being told that I’m “too passionate” or “too energetic” or “too creative” as a microaggression because if that’s the only reason for my rejection without anything else constructive being told to me, then all I can do is wonder if there’s something else/more to it.
The following is another piece of feedback that builds on this and will explain my reasoning for perceiving this as a microaggression or at the very least reveal an implicit bias in a more real sense.
You should be an entrepreneur
At face value, this sounds like a great thing to be told. I mean, you usually hear how marginalized people aren’t encouraged, enabled, or emboldened enough by their non-marginalized peers & superiors to start something. You usually hear stories of these people saying “I wish I had someone tell me to be an entrepreneur” or something to that effect.
And yes, initially I also took this as a positive comment. I took it as a compliment in fact and beamed with pride internally. I tried to hustle my way to becoming that successful tech entrepreneur that everybody told me that I would because of how confident they were of it. Well fast forward to 2020 when I was first told these things back in 2015 and well — I’m no entrepreneur, let alone an ex-Google, ex-Facebook, ex-Amazon millionaire. No, I’m simply someone who’s trying to get by and make a living in the tech world as a normal tech worker doing digital product design or UX/UI/IX design. Ideally, though I’d love to be able to work within an innovative environment, that’s still my intention, but nothing crazy, more, or less.
So what happened? Why did I not become that successful entrepreneur that most people thought I would become after getting closed door after another? Why did I not raise that Series A, B, C? Was it because I was Asian? No, far from it. It was because I wasn’t a software developer and didn’t find the “right one” in terms of a technical cofounder and couldn’t settle on a problem worthy of solving in such a way that is scalable, sustainable, and systemic within the constraints of being a university student living away from parents (who live in Winnipeg) and having to pay living expenses, etc.
But I was expected to be a successful entrepreneur by the people who rejected me for applying to a simple internship. So shouldn’t I have been? Oh wait!
I know why they thought that! It’s because I’m an Asian man in tech.
This must’ve been why they all assumed I knew how to code despite not knowing how to code.
This must’ve been why they all assumed I’d rather have been an entrepreneur despite the fact that I knowingly and intentionally applied to work for them as an intern.
This must’ve been why they all assumed I’d be “disruptive” and “rock the boat” if they were to hire me on.
But wait, what if I wasn’t Asian? Or better yet, what if I was a quiet, reserved, introverted, bookwormish, “Me No Speak English”, “toned-down” Asian? What if I was the kind of “model minority” Asian that would simply keep my head down, do the work, get shit done, and take orders like a good little Asian boy? What if I was the kind of Asian that walked the walk, but didn’t talk any talk? What if I was the kind of Asian guy that didn’t talk back because Asian men aren’t supposed to, right? They take orders, they don’t fight their parents because they’re all filial and pious towards their parents, and they listen well but don’t speak up because they don’t have any issues that affect them so there’s nothing to speak up about. If they did speak up, then that must mean they aren’t grateful for the job that they have and therefore, aren’t collaborative, aren’t good at soft skills, and aren’t a good team player. They must have a desire to do their own thing, I mean they’re capable, ‘cuz they’re Asian, so they must be competent enough to take the risk of becoming an entrepreneur. Of course, they’ll be successful, I have no concerns or worries that they won’t be. But their ideas aren’t welcome around this here parts, because aren’t they grateful to just have a job? I guess they’re not willing to conform — sighs, “sorry, bad culture fit, see you.”
A case of mistaken identity
Communitech, the place where Blackberry was born, the place where Google’s first Canadian tech headquarters is located, and the place that serves as a hub of innovation of all of a subregion (Kitchener-Waterloo) that inspired Sam Altman to consider UWaterloo to be more innovative than his alma-mater of Stanford. Communitech, a place where I had worked as an intern and had considered to be a very coveted experience for me given all of the aforementioned words of recognition I’ve shared of this environment.
Communitech, the place that gave birth to “True North” — a tech festival celebrating the success of how their diversity enables their innovation (amongst other values). This is a place that I’ve had mad, deep, and wide respect, reverence, and love for because of its history, impact, and wealth of knowledge/wisdom that I can draw from. This was an environment that I thought if I could be immersed in would enable me to better myself and enable me to get closer to my entrepreneurial dreams one day.
Now, before I share the story, I need to set up the backdrop. I was but an intern working with a startup/venture studio there. The thing is, I actually wasn’t working at a space that my employer-owned, rather it was an office space owned by one of my employer’s clients. This client had traded a part of their office for my employer’s work — in-kind services in other words. This client is a long-time resident of Communitech, during the heyday of Communitech when Blackbetter was called “Research in Motion”. This client company is one that’s mostly run by middle-aged Caucasians.
What was this incident that I considered to be a “case of mistaken identity”? Well, it was during Oktoberfest time and Communitech had held their annual Tektoberfest — wherein there was one evening they hosted a meetup that had free drinks and networking. Now, let me be clear — I may be Asian but I don’t get the Asian flush and I may be a light drinker, but not so much so that 2 small glasses of ginger-ale and rye could get me angry-drunk. I actually have 3 stages of drunkenness, which goes glad to sad, and then finally, mad. That mad stage I’ve ever only attained twice and that evening wasn’t it because the 2 times I’ve had it was the equivalent of 10 small glasses of whiskey, not two measly cocktails.
Why is this all-important and relevant? Well, what had occurred and you obviously may not believe me because I can already see you rolling your eyes saying — “Oh a drunk story, really? He’s got a drunk story to defend his beliefs of subtle racism/discrimination/prejudice? Man, he’s gotta come up with something better than that.” Well, sure fine, you may not easily believe me, because I could either have made this all up, I could have forgotten how much I really had to drink because “blackouts” do occur, after all, I get that, and last but not least — even if I’m telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the accuser may have been super drunk, so why blame them for it?
Well here’s the deal, if you’ll please hear me out — this isn’t a simple case of “he said, she said”, because if it was — then I wouldn’t be talking about it. This was a case that had a real negative consequence that I had to face for a crime I truly never did. And the only proof I have is an apology email from the office manager who handled the situation. Let me ask you this — if you had been accused of a crime you hadn’t committed or even a crime you HAD committed (and mind you, what I was accused of wasn’t even a crime, rather just a bad thing), would you say it’s only fair the accuser and accused stand “trial” and get to meet each other face-to-face in front of witnesses and a “judge” to judge the whole case and make final calls for? Wouldn’t you say as professionals, simply being told a story of someone doing something out of their “drunken stupor” without even bringing the accuser and accused to meet face-to-face to at least have the decency to allow me to apologize to my accuser would be the right thing to do? Well unfortunately none of that occurred and I can full well assert my claim that a game of telephone had occurred.
So here’s the sequence of events that took place that evening.
- I had arrived at about 6:30pm EST at the pub and obtained my 2 free drink tickets. Being the cheap student that I was, I never paid anything for any additional drinks or even swindled my way to drink any additional drinks. All I had was my 2 cocktails that entire night.
- I had walked around, shook hands, networked, chatted it up, even tried out their mechanical bull that was there for all to try out. I didn’t really get anything out of it except for my 2 free cocktails and some simple mixin’ & minglin’. Nothing really came of it.
- Then, it was closing time, so I being the cheap student that I was, didn’t want to pay to travel back to my apartment. So, I asked around trying to find someone I can carpool with; it was also because this was a foreign part of town for me. It wasn’t near where I lived as it was in Waterloo while I was living in Kitchener.
- After asking around, nobody had any room for me to carpool with, so I simply took the bus home after receiving some directions from the folks there. I did so and got home safe & sound, then slept like a baby.
- The morning after, my boss from the venture studio that I was working at (not the client of my employer) gave me a call to ask me if I had “did the thing” that I was accused of. I told him no and he believed me because he even prefaced the entire conversation by saying that he didn’t believe what I was being accused of because he knew the kind of person I was.
So what was it that I was accused of?
Apparently, a lady had offered her phone to me (despite my phone is fully functional that evening and in my possession) so that I can call a cab home, but out of my drunken stupor, I had smacked the phone out of her hands and smashed it on the floor. When I heard this, I thought it was the most ridiculous accusation anyone could have ever made of me as I’ve never been so angry in any drunken state to ever do something close to that ever in my life.
Of course, you may not believe me as I mentioned above, but let me continue.
The consequence of this accusation? My employer’s client kicked me out of their office without any warning. Now please remember, I was an intern at the time and how this accusation went down was — the lady who accused me of this situation had told the then office manager, Jane Kains, who told my employer’s client, who then told my employer of their executive decision.
I had never met my accuser throughout all of this and my accuser never even named me. I was told that my accuser simply said “a young Asian man had blah blah blah”. Additionally, they had assumed that I was the young Asian man simply because they had noticed me around the building quite a few times and didn’t recognize me as a regular of Communitech therefore formed their suspicions about me on that.
Now, you can believe me or not when I say I never did the “crime”, but regardless, it’s how they handled this whole situation that is telling. Essentially, I ended up being treated like a criminal despite not even given a “fair trial” so-to-speak. Even murderers are treated with more grace, dignity, and respect than what I had experienced and yet I was an intern. Getting kicked out of an office for committing a crime I had not committed and being accused of something simply based on my appearance… This is why I had considered this to be a “case of mistaken identity” because, well:
All Asians look alike after all, am I right?
This isn’t professional-related but I think it’s worth mentioning only briefly because as much as it’s more on the personal end — one can argue very simply that one’s personal life is intrinsically tied to one’s professional life. There are many articles such as the following that talk about this topic, but I’ll just leave this one here:
On Dating Apps, Casual Racism Has Become The Norm For Asian Men
Lee Doud, an actor-producer who is of mixed race, is used to hearing casual ethnic slurs about his Chinese heritage…
When I was a kid, I used to joke about how I “Asian failed” — getting anything less than 90 was considered as such. Other Asian-North-Americans might have even considered anything less than 95 was an “Asian-fail”. Yes, this was me leaning into the “model minority” myth. This was me making light of something that now I regret doing so. I created the myth for myself that I should be smart and smarter than other people because of my race and ultimately I wish I never did. I wish this stereotype never existed in the first place, let alone be used as a weapon against another people-group by a more powerful people-group.
However, I inherited this history and I wish to see it dismantled and will work to dismantle it by speaking up and being loud/proud. I’m proud of my passions in the STEEEM subjects as I like to call them — “Science, Tech, Engineering, Entrepreneurship/Economics, Entertainment/Media, and Mathematics”. I’m loud/proud to be a nerd but also a musician, also an artist, also a writer, a dancer, a singer, etc. This is why I fight for greater equity in the world of media & entertainment for us Asians because the more and better representation we have for Asians in pop culture, the more we’ll be seen as human beings by everybody.
Even after checking off those soft-skills boxes, I was still more easily perceived as to be better at hard skills over soft skills and therefore I took all of my experiences as stereotyping based on my race. Now even gender plays a role here, because “Asian men” are seen as stoic stereotypically whereas “Asian women”, well to be honest having not lived in the body of an Asian woman it’s hard to say. I can only speak based on my observations and statistics and what I’ll say might sound controversial but it’s in my perception that Asian women are treated relatively better than Asian men in Western society.
This is primarily based on the following statistic that Asian men are at the bottom whilst Asian women are at the top of the dating totem pole in Western society. This translates into the workplace into various forms due to how human beings on average make decisions based on superficial factors such as physical attractiveness even when they’re hiring. This is a fact because human beings apply mental heuristics or “shortcuts” simply-put, in almost everything they do due to our inherent laziness. But, when I say “better than Asian men”, I mean they’re at least given more room to grow and make mistakes. Asian men on the other hand are expected to be well-performing from the get-go.
Asian men receive less mentorship because they’re already assumed to be good enough or above the need for mentorship. There’s a common denominator in how we’re treated and that is that we can both be seen as objects — Asian men as just a “tool” or “machine” that’s good at what it does but nothing more and Asian women as “objects” of “sexual desire” by the White male leaders that still make up most of the tech industry. In my experiences — whenever someone assumes I’m smarter than I know myself to actually be, it feels like I’m being objectified.
And just as women can discriminate against each other, Asians can discriminate against each other based on this stereotype and I sure have had my fair share of experiences with my fellow Asian brothers and sisters.
Asians may both benefit from the “model minority” stereotype in the ways of now being promoted to CEO-ship such as the likes of Google’s and Microsoft’s CEO being of South Asian descent. Additionally, this stereotype might make it easier for us to get hired than other races relatively, you’ll notice though that there exists still a disparity of Asians in technical vs non-technical roles, with Asians in more technical than non-technical simply because we may be seen as more of a “machine” due to our “nerdiness” than non-Asians. But regardless of all that, this stereotype’s true insidiousness enables things like:
- not being given entry/junior-level roles more easily; there exists this trap of being seen as “overqualified” more easily simply put
- not being given the chance to grow, learn, and make mistakes as much; to not be mentored as much or given the chance to be seen as “teachable” as easily because we’re automatically perceived as to be “too good for it” or have a “holier-than-thou” attitude so-to-speak especially when we don’t
- not being seen as fun and creative just as much as we’re smart and capable
- not being respected for both sides of our brains, rather we have to choose between one or the other
- not being seen as human beings, but rather objectified as “objects of output (male) and/or desire (female)”.
There’s so much more I can say on this subject matter, but I’ll end it with this: stereotypes, both negative and positive have adverse negative effects no matter what.
Believing/Perceiving/Thinking someone is more than they actually are based on characteristics/qualities/traits that they were born with and cannot & should-not-be-able-to control is just as bad as thinking they are less than they actually are. Both are prohibitive. Both are inhibitive. Both are discriminative.
This is why I’m proud of how the representation of Asians in media has gotten better over the last few years. It’s time we Asians are finally seen for the diverse selves that we are, not either/or but both/and or more/and. Historically we’ve either been seen as too weak to be of any use or too strong, so we must be a threat to society. Nowadays the “threat viewpoint” is in the spotlight due to how we can hear people saying “the Asians are taking over” whenever an Asian person takes a top leadership role in the tech industry for example. But, I have hope, faith, and confidence that these stereotypes will break down within my lifetime. As a digital product designer who’s also an entertainer — singer, dancer, and pianist, as well as a cinephile, lover of great storytelling in the multimedia art form of video games, etc — I look forward to the day I’m appreciated for being the well-rounded person that I am.