This is what racial discrimination can look like as an Asian
Much of the time, racism in America is viewed from an African-American lens. There is significant discussion about racism toward Black Americans, but there is not as much of a discussion about how racism can look different for people of other backgrounds.
Asian-American racism is a problem, too. Racism can look different for Asian individuals, though.
Asians: The “model minority”
Asians often face the preconception that they are a “model minority.” They are automatically perceived as talented, hardworking and intelligent. While those things are not bad in and of themselves, the reality may be that a specific person is not as good as or better than coworkers at a certain task. Then, with such a perception, their employer may penalize them more harshly for failure.
Casual racism against Asians
Another thing to think about is that Asians tend to face casual racism. Casual racism may come in the form of one-off jokes or jabs, like nicknaming a coworker “Ling Ling,” or someone using an “Asian” accent when making a jab against the coworker when they get something wrong. These things don’t seem particularly harmful in one-off situations, but they are.
Other kinds of casual racism may include misclassifying a person’s nationality or race, asking if the individual speaks “Asian” or making comments about the individual’s features (like eye shape). While not all comments are always negative, the reality is that any of them could be racism.
Whether intentional or unintentional, many behaviors against Asian people are racist, and it’s essential to put a stop to those behaviors in the workplace.
What can you do if you face racism in the workplace?
You have a right to work in a safe environment. You deserve to feel respected and to be treated fairly. If you’re facing discrimination and racism, then your employer needs to make changes.
If you believe that you’re being discriminated against, it is important to keep track of the moments when discrimination or racism has occurred. Write down the dates and times, and discuss your options with human resources or your employer. If they won’t help, then you may be able to look into your legal options.