My friend Paul Marcarelli of Verizon “Can you hear me now?” fame said, “Being invited to someone’s Facebook is like being invited to a cocktail party; you just don’t know who’s going to be there and what will be said during the libations, whispers and gossip happening around you.” I think he said it perfectly. Sometimes I wander into a conversation or a post on my newsfeed and I cannot control myself; emotions seem to force me to type my input or share my feelings. Of course as a conservative woman, I particularly get incensed when I am mocked as sexist, racist, homophobic and every other thing that they accuse us of. Liberals on my newsfeed are always complaining about their supposed “unfair treatment”—however it is sometimes worth looking in the mirror and questioning one’s own actions, something that my friend Matt Rhodes has said, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to continually do.”
Last week, a FB friend peeked into my “mirror” and purported that I am advocating for the “white man” due to my response to a biased blog/article she posted in which an Asian male was complaining on twitter, #NotYourAsianSidekick, about how he doesn’t get a fair shake because he is Asian. My friend said the disparity of their wage gap was a significant percentage within the American corporate world compared to the “white male”. I read through the article and started getting just mad. Number one, the study that was used to base their American argument of a “disparity of wages of White over Asian” was done in Australia! Yes, it was an Australian study, made by Australians, to base their argument on the United States wage gap. My initial response to my friend was:
From what I’ve seen in the corporate world of Asian man vs White man… Asian men are docile and follow the crowd. Not too many leaders among them but when they do appear, they run the company and they in turn pay the white man more then the Asian man so whose fault is it, really? I heard them play the blame game and whine and for me as a manager, that was not the way to go to increase your paycheck or for upward mobility.
After that, I was accused of playing into the stereotype and advocating for the “white man” simply because I am a non-white Asian sticking up for something that was obviously wrong. (By the way, many times have I said to my white friends, “It sucks to be white”. If you’re white, you simply can’t win any argument on the subject of color, race or sex because even if you’re right, your words are going to be taken out of context. Apparently they do not understand the hardships of discriminatory practices.)
I was shocked at my friend’s accusations. I wrote, “I try to advocate forward movement for all through hard work and values, without blaming someone because they didn’t get something. Sometimes inequality happens and then I’m all on it. I’ve seen it firsthand; but most of the time, the ones who use those excuses are manipulative and try to play a game to get what they want and I think most managers are wise enough to leave them behind.”
Being accused of racism automatically triggers defense mechanisms, no matter what your color. Anyone who knows me is very aware how fiercely proud I am of my heritage. I am proud of being an American and proud of my Asian–Korean and Japanese heritage from my parents. I am so proud that I only wanted to date Asian Americans and the thought of actually dating another race has never entered my mind (until recently when, out of the blue, I fell head over heels in love with someone not Asian). My life is founded on the premise of family preservation, to love one another and to not judge. But I also try to avoid unstable people, mostly those who believe in entitlements– whining and complaining and making excuses for their lives while not working to change things for the better (yet believing they deserve it anyway).
I went on to comment on my friend’s post that Asian males, including some Asian Americans, are constantly coddled by their mothers and their families and if they are oldest, throw in the towel. Chauvinism prevails and Asian men are always used to getting whatever they want. An Asian American female on the post responded,
I agree with you regarding Asian men’s upbringing, their egos are pumped up by parents and top grades, but when they get out into the working world, they find that they’re not -All That-. It takes quite an adjustment to learn to play corporate politics and some are never good at it. Whereas Asian women have been negotiating all their lives.
I can say for sure there are different disparities in male/female pay grades particularly because of the immigration process. There are vast cultural differences in Asian countries and I also believe that much of Asian’s lagging – particularly men, when they become stagnant in their jobs–may be caused by their upbringing in a culture in which man can do no wrong, are constantly coddled by their families and treated like “little gods”. Thus they get thrust into a western culture and expect the same. Qualifications may be the same, but from what I’ve observed, personality and work ethics do show disparities. As a manager, I didn’t look at the color, race or gender. I chose people who I believed could handle the job and do it in a timely matter. The Asian men that I know who have succeeded are mostly Chinese and Indian. They seem to have assimilated to a point of being leaders and team players. Companies welcome diversity and culture these days, but for my Twitter friends, this is an excuse and what they consider an unfair step backwards.
Yes, at one time there was definitely a glass ceiling in which women and people of different colors fell below, but for me, knowing what I know, using racism as an excuse for bad workers (of any color) is unacceptable. My involvement for years in the Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, which is the biggest National Asian American Chamber of Commerce Association showed all the major American corporations promoting diversity particular with Asians.
Another Asian American friend, who was a major player in her corporation and her Asian husband is an executive in a major public corporation, wrote, “Certainly not in my husbands case. He treats and pays all on merit and experience. Most corporate companies have set pay scales/levels and human resources to make sure there is no discrimination.”
And therein lies the truth. In this present day and age, human resources departments are set to make sure there are no disparities in pay and levels because they could get in trouble, the company could get in trouble for not follow the laws as an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Qualifications, such as a college degree, do not mean they can do the job. And as a manager again, no one wants a whiner or someone playing the blame game no matter what culture or color. The most successful Asian American men I know, who are making tremendous amounts of money and are big influences in their companies and fields, also faced glass ceilings–but they moved forward without whining and are now at the top of their game. Others pursued their entrepreneurial spirit, evolving from small business ownership inherited from their parents. One such company, Computer Associates, gave tremendous amounts of employment and opportunity to many Asian Americans.
I wrote on my friend’s post—in a very non-PC way, “Through my experience in the corporate arena, which is 5 years in NYC and more in the D.C. area, you would need to weed out the different Asians.” I once had to fire a Korean male because he didn’t do his job. He kept asking me, “Don’t you feel prejudice from your fellow workers and our manager?” My response was an unequivocal no. I am a female Asian employee and my employers had provided all the education for me to become head of IT–so what prejudice could there be? As long as I am a professional and make sure to cross my t’s and dot my i’s, possibilities are endless.
Thus in my opinion, my friend’s article does not prove anything other than trying to place unfounded blame and provoke stereotypes that are simply not there. This does not do anything to promote equality and if anything, it further divides the races. Sometimes I wonder if people are so self-loathing that they have to make themselves appear righteous by taking up arms for causes that they know nothing about. Yes, reverse discrimination exists, but it is exacerbated by know-it-alls who make constant excuses as to why their lives (and yours) aren’t working. (Bottom line, it makes me believe there are a lot of mental health issues out there…)
As for me, I refuse to be entrapped by such nonsense. I am a proud conservative Asian American female and mother and I will be raising my children to make no excuses, but to instead work hard. I want them to understand that every goal and dream they have can only be achieved by their own merit and hard work. Color or sex will never be a deterrent for my children; they will achieve success on their own. In addition, they will embrace and enjoy all the wonders of being a human being and part of a beautiful rainbow.