Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Most Insidious Effect of Discrimination

The most insidious effect of discrimination is making the discriminated believe in the negative stereotyped images created for them by the bigots for the purpose of justifying bigots' prejudice.

Here is a well-known historic example. Before suffrage (i.e letting women vote) was established, plenty of women believed in the negative stereotyped image created for them by men: "Women are too soft-hearted and soft-headed to make the hard political decisions." Today, with examples of Condi Rice, Sandra O'Connor, Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein, no one believes in that any more. However, a lot of women in earlier years believed in such an image created by men to justify the male prejudice.

For the Asian Americans, the stereotyped images created for us are that we are (1) good work horses but not capable of being race horses, (2) too timid to be aggressive even when a situation calls for it -- a requirement for managing in America and (3) less naturally endowed to be engaging and humorous in cocktail parties, the breeding ground of high executives, and (4) show a disproportionate lack of interest in getting into management. The insidious effect is that many Asian Americans are induced to believe in those images created for us.

Some Asian Americans also believe that since we are sometimes referred to as the "model minority," we are therefore not likely to be discrimination against.

Here is a historic counter example. Men stood up whenever a woman came into or was leaving a room. Nevertheless, men didn't allow women to vote, didn't afford them the same educational and job opportunities.

If you think "model minority" is a big deal, think who were the women who were given the stereotyped image of being too soft-hearted to vote. They were no less than the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of the male who wanted an advantage in life.

I have an Asian American friend in Delaware who worked for a big company. One day he went out of his way to tell me that he was not interested in being in the management in his company. However, I have always observed that he fought fiercely for the top leadership position in ANY of the Asian American organizations that he belonged. He obviously has huge leadership appetite. Was he one of many Asian Americans finding the odds to become a manager too stiff and decided to practice self-deception or believed in the stereotyped images created for us?

Is there anything sadder or more insidious than coercing a normal or perhaps even smart individual to deny to him/ herself what he/she really wants and begin practicing self deception?


Asian Americans have the lowest odds to get into management, the slowest rate of progress toward equal opportunity, despite having the highest educational attainment. The following people put their mighty shoulders to the wheel to push for equal opportunity. We also want the thank many who gave generously &/or paid membership dues.
$1,000 to 80-20 PAC: C. S. Yang; Paul Chan and Partners
$1,000 to 80-20 Educational Foundation: Lily Wang; Alex Weiming New; Wilbert Y. Wo
We also thank all who joined 80-20 as members. To join:
http://www.80-20initiative.net/membership.html (easy to use) or

PERSONAL checks are payable to "80-20 PAC", mailed to:
Jing-Li Yu 80-20 special Assistant
P.O. Box 527340 Flushing, NY 11352-7340 .
Write down your E-MAIL address & PHONE no. on the BACK of the check.Basic membership is $35; Family (2 voters) is $50, Life Membership is $1,000. Student membership is $15.