(Published in Linkedin the week of March 8, 2020)
As a minority in this great country, the following is shared in solidarity with my fellow Asian American friends and community.
Generally speaking, Asian Americans have been considered the “Model Minority”: hardworking, smart, nonthreatening and respectful of hierarchy.
In other words, Asian Americans have not challenged the status quo and their place in the hierarchy.
In broad terms, the Asian American culture values maintaining social norms and order, deference to those in power and not tilting or rocking the boat. The culture is, for the most part, so contrary to the western values of ultra individualism and the belief in the right to speak up against those in power and the social hierarchy. Maybe consequently, there’s been a quiet coexistent for Asian Americans by the status quo and established hierarchy.
The ugly face of scapegoating and racism has shown itself with the aggressions, assaults and murders of Asian Americans throughout our country at the hands of not just whites, but also, other minorities. Painfully, the vulnerability of the Asian Community in our country is evident and disrupting the quiet coexistence.
If the message of Asian Lives Matter is disregarded as vehemently as the message of Black Lives Matter by a reticent many or loud few and some elected or former leaders, the Asian American may come to reexamine its historically, quiet coexistence.
As stronger light is placed on the bamboo ceilings across the corridors, C-Suites and boardrooms of corporate America that limit their opportunities, Asian American professional may take up their call to speak up louder than they have about these professional inequities. Asian-Americans that have made it to the top rungs of corporate America, may choose that it is time to tilt and rock the boat.
The reality of how vulnerable the Asian American really is in today’s America may call for an awakening of the Model Minority.
And all of us who believe in diversity, equity and inclusion should be allies to our fellow Asian American brothers and sisters.