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Is There Discrimination Against Asian Americans In The Workplace?

1770 words - 7 pages

Is there discrimination against Asian Americans in the workplace?

Can you relate a man with an Ivy college diploma and decent salary to discrimination? Probably no, and neither can I. How about adding a racial identity to him, say Asian American? This answer may be not that simple.

Such topic above has brought about a hot debate on the Internet. Many people insist there is no discrimination against Asian Americans. More than a half Asian Americans hold college degree (Hyun, 16). “In 2013, Asians’ median weekly earnings were $973, as compared to$799 for whites” (Golash-Boza). Considered the most educated and richest racial group in the United States, Asians can hardly be connected to facing discrimination from the view of some people. In addition, many believe it is the lack of communication skills and leadership characteristics that hold Asians back in promotion, instead of discrimination.

However, demographic data can be tricky. “In 2004, less than 10 percent of Hmong, Laotian, or Cambodian adults in the US had college degrees”, while the number in all Chinese and Pakistani is a half (Golash-Boza). In addition, while Asian Americans consist of 6.2 percent of American higher education faculty, only 2.4 percent of them are in important positions, stated by the Committee of 100 in Higher Education Report Card (qtd. in Ruttiman).

It is the same with the uneven rate of Asians’ income. According to Golash-Boza, some Chinese and Indian men have greater personal budgets than white people, but not Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Hmong Americans. In addition, it makes sense when some Asians earn more than the white when they had better education and worked harder in schools. However, studies show Asian Americans have lower salaries compared to their white colleagues, when under the same level of education (Golash-Boza).

Probably the focus of this discrimination topic is what the reason makes it so hard for Asian Americans to get promotion to high positions. The term “bamboo ceiling” describes such situation, coined by Jane Hyun in her book Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians. She thinks “the lack of leadership potential” and “lack of communication skills” keep Asian Americans out of executive rooms.

It cannot be denied that the old Asian immigrants were quiet, unsocial and passive, but the young Asian generations who are born and educated in the US are more active and social. No longer facing with English language deficiency and less cultural barriers as their parents did, the young are almost totally fused with American society, yet there are still stereotypes molding them. While they are trying hard to make a difference, like breaking traditional Asian family rules (such as tiger parenting), the public should also be more tolerant and view every Asian American individually, specifically.

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