Sign Up! | Make Asianlife your home page
Meet People
Job Board
Subscribe to our newsletter
Interested in writing for Contact us at
Q. Have you seen ‘Crazy Rich Asians?’
* The poll results will be displayed after you vote.
Tuesday May 22, 2012

Workplace Discrimination against Asian Americans

Kathleen Tun,

It's always challenging to find a job, earn some money, a living. But what happens if you're a minority trying to find a job, even if you're born here in America, with a college degree? For minorities in the workplace environment, they tend to end up getting discriminated, whether it's directly or indirectly. It can come in the form of harassment or lower wages than the "superior" Whites.
One of the earliest discrimination against Asian Americans happened during the California Gold Rush, where so many people moved to strike it rich. This also attracted Chinese immigrants, who flocked over to California for the same reasons. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case. As more Chinese immigrants came over, they began to take over jobs, jobs that Whites also wanted. Anti-Chinese movement was made and eventually,  Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was enacted. Basically, Chinese were discrimination over the fact the Whites were jealous that their "jobs" were being taken.
When it comes to workplace discrimination, health happens to be one of the key issues that affects Asian American workers. In a study that consist of Arnold B. de Castro, Gilbert C. Gee, and David T. Takeuchi, the team of 3 were looking at the correlation between Filipino Americans and health condition while working. What they found was that poor health was "positively associated" when the Filipino Americans were working. This meant that their bosses, executives, etc, had no care in their health, which shows that discrimination was present.
Wages is also something that's affecting working Asian Americans. ChangHwan Kim and  Arthur Sakamoto found out that "native-born Asian Americans have 8-percent lower earnings than do measurably comparable white men." They even stated that education doesn't help out with wages. So it seems that an Asian American male, with a college degree, and born here in America, would still get  lower wage than White males. 8% might not seem to be alot but it clearly shows that Asian Americans are discrimination indirectly through wages.
Employment Frustration, something that would definitely show if Asian Americans continue to get discriminated. Because of the constant discrimination, one would think an employee would get fed up about being harassed over and over. Castro, Takeuchi, and  a different third member, Tessa Rue, talked about the employment frustration in their publication "Associations of Employment Frustration with Self-Rate Physical and Mental Health Among Asian Americans Immigrants in the U.S Labor Force". They reported that the more frustration the workers have, the lower the physical and mental health would get. This is something that would heavily affected the lives of Asian Americans because a heavy frustrated Asian American worker can do something bad. The fact that Asian Americans have to deal with such discrimination when they didn"t expected it would definitely show it eventually.
Unfortunately, Asian Americans, while being discriminated, tends to under-report to the right people, which would probably tell the rest of the society that nothing bad is happening, which isn't the case. Alyssa Rosenberg has found out that Asian Americans only filed 3.26% of discrimination complaints in her article "Asian Americans employees underreport discrimination, report finds." 3.26% is a really low percent and telling the discrimination to people in the community doesn't count towards the percent either. It's logical to let the community to know what's going on so they can try to find ways around it but it's also more logical to report this to the authority so that they can deal with it. Rosenberg stated that Asian Americans are "less likely to think the complaint process would be helpful to them. It is understandable to think that the authorities wouldn't help them because they happen to be the same race that discriminated them but at the same time, not all of them are racist.
Luckily, there are people and organization to help combat against it. Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) They actually hosted a hearing so that they can hear the anecdotes of discriminated workers and from the people that are helping to fight discrimination. One of the speaker, Woong Chang, a Korean-American restaurant worker and activist with the Restaurant Opportunities Center said that "White males get jobs that pays more yet Asian Americans and other minorities would have to work at the back". He also said that "even when they're qualified, they're denied promotions and raises". Statements like these from him and other speaker have showcased the fact that Asian American discrimination at the workplaces is going far too long.
What can be done about Asian American discrimination in workplaces? For starters, it helps to tell the right people that they are being discriminated. The faster someone reports it, the faster it should be resolved. There's always the option of just quitting the job. Yes, that would mean one would have to find a new job but it's better to find a new job where they wouldn't have to be discriminated. There are other ways that Asian Americans can do to help combat against this discrimination. It's time to step up and fight it. Get help if needed. After all, Asian Americans aren't the only ones that are discriminated

Copyright © 2024 AsianLife All rights reserved.