Asian hate was all the rage for a brief time, presumably for the Trump administration’s inflaming tensions with China. The result, though perhaps involving some understandable economic tariffs and boycotts against the China machine, certainly involved a domestic ugly side. Whether or not the challenges involved in mitigating domestic tensions justified a media counter onslaught I do not care to answer. What I am more concerned with another matter, regarding domestic employment.
The most threatening aspect of Asian hate to actual Asians, as opposed to diplomatic or political positions, is in their capacity for gainful employment. It is therefore with some sadness I must relate this, all too commonly unspoken story.
I have bounced around from position to position in uncompromising fashion for some time, and it was some accomplishment to have landed where I had. I shared some very good ideas to seal the deal – and I subsequently landed the best paycheck of my life. I was living under some personal tension and always on a ticking clock, but I was happy enough with the initial work and looking forward to moving forward. It all came to a crashing halt when I was faced with a stroke of violated principle anyone could have guessed…
We were presented with a seminar on Asian hate. The main speaker was a Chinese American actor and the moderator also Far East Asian. Nothing said was over the top. Nothing suggested was likely false. There were certainly valid sentiments expressed. But all I could think about, sure enough, was me.
I am not an Asian American. I am the proverbial ”White”, but not entirely a standard American version. I am German American and you should understand that within Banking sectors – even technology – German Americans are not always so terribly welcome. Be it the prior rampant inflation within Germany or what have you, the American banking sector has been decidedly not German. So while we may talk of White privilege, there is certainly lost in this that within some sectors that privilege is not for everyone. It was therefore not without great difficulty I had gained the position I had.
And yet, I was presented with something that left me with a pit in my stomach. You see, nearly the whole team and certainly all of management was Indian (Asian Indian). I have nothing against Indian people, I never have. I have worked with many, over and over again, and the experiences have been what I expect from colleagues generally: mainly good. Still, the event and its staging and choices was a challenging one for me to accept. Because Indians naturally, equally, represent the Asian category for employment purposes, just as much as Chinese, and yet the group representatives on the hate message were chosen (?) to be prototypical (dare I mention the eyes) Asian, skirting questions of ethnic discrimination in hiring.
Of course for employment purposes, German Americans are just “White”. I could have made a fine token front-man if I had put my head down and smiled on the command, and been the walking anecdotal counter-example… Even led a session or two. So I left the company. I took an opportunity to show my face as much as possible and everywhere to give no excuse for power to nurse their grudge without cause, and when two locked-down opportunities very suddenly cut off, I left and survived a most inhospitable political climate for a year overseas (for whatever indirect grudge they had…) before this writing.
Now I am broke. But I am good with myself and that is required for integrity.