This must be a women’s week in Seattle. The Asian Pacific American Summit for API women, a national leadership conference, held on Microsoft campus, had attracted Asian women from all over the country. There were four men out of 181 attendees. Good men, I presumed.
During its networking lunch, I was sitting with four Asian American women and one Caucasian woman. The question was “What does it mean to the an Asian Pacific American.
These are their answers:
“It means pride.”
“It means a heritage of Asian cultures.”
“It means we have to work harder and longer to get to where we are.”
“It means opportunity. I take advantage of affirmative action. I was sought out because I am a Filipino and my company wanted to recruit people of color to go into management and they train me to do so.”
“We’re not a model minority. I know of many of our people who have no resources and no skills to get to where they want. And they don’t know how.”
“I was in a conference and am doing a presentation. (Instead of commenting on the quality of her content, the first reaction from a white person said, ‘You speak without an accent.’” Discrimination and racism are alive.
“People still judge you by the color of your skin and hair. Education opens door.”
“People stereotype that Asians don’t make waves. Each has a different life experiences and it depends on how we use our experiences to fight against discrimination.”