S. B. Woo, President of 80-20 Educational Foundation, EF, wrote
EEOC Chairwoman Cari M. Dominguez. Woo applauded her desire
to "outreach" in order to decrease workplace discrimination and
offered to work with her. He also said, "AsAms not only perceive
discrimination at work but also suffer real discrimination."
Woo cited those statistics that he had sent earlier to
Labor Sec. Chao.
Domingues had puzzled publicly over why 31% of AsAm workers
perceived discrimination at work and yet filed very few complaints
with EEOC. Woo wrote to explain that
there are cultural and social reasons for the scarcity of
complaints to the EEOC from AsAms. A complaint to EEOC is
equivalent to initiating litigation in the minds of AsAms.
Many AsAms fear litigation for the following reasons.
A) Cultural Inhibitions Against Litigation
First generation Asian immigrants have strong cultural inhibition
to litigation. Many of us feel that being involving in a law suit
at least partially reflects on us, since in our view a truly good
&successful person can solve all problems without going to court.
We distrust lawyers much more than average Americans. We
believe lawyers can be bought by money and power as
commonly happened in our respective old countries in the
past -- a belief that is likely inaccurate in US. So going to
court is like gambling, not being in complete control of
one's own destiny and therefore a shame.
B) Cultural Inhibition Against Admitting Being Discriminated
Many of us hate to admit that we have been discriminated against.
Confucian training influences us to believe that a good and strong
person would win respect instead of suffer discrimination. Again
we believe being discriminated against partially reflects on us.
So when asked by a pollster and knowing that their names will
not be tied to the admission of having being discriminated, many
will admit. But the same persons probably have not mentioned
the discrimination to EVEN their own family members. I'll further
conjecture that not all Asian will owe up to being discriminated
even to a pollster. In other words, the real percentage may be
even higher than 31%.
C) Assessment of the Political Reality in America
Asian Ams are well aware that many of our compatriots consider us
"foreigners." We are further aware that should the same
discrimination statistics have applied to African Americans, the
NAACP, Urban League, the Black Congressional Caucus, Jesse
Jackson's Rainbow Coalition will have together long demanded a
Congressional investigation and gotten it. EEOC & the Civil Rights
Commission will be investigating the matter vigorously. Ethnic
publications like Ebony will be focusing on such statistics issue
after issues. The mainstream media will be carrying it week after
weeks. Nothing close to the above described had happened in the
Asian Am community. The AsAm politicians are on the whole less
powerful. So average AsAm workers don't feel their complaints
will be dealt with justly.
Many AsAms have observed how reluctant their employers are
to fire a Black or female colleague. We are NOT suggesting to fire
the others with ease, but to point out the political plight of a
small minority without the GROUP political clout.
How Asian American Must Adjust
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do." AsAms must ADJUST the
above cultural views when discriminated against. If we don't,
we'll forever be discriminated against.
Lacking GROUP political clout is something that individual AsAms
can't do much about. That was why 80-20 was born! However, 80-20
can't by itself create GROUP political clout, unless you pitch in.
Your offspring will thank you.