“I grew up not realizing I was Asian.”
This was a surprisingly common answer to the first question at our latest Meetup panel discussion at RealSelf, “The Misconception of ‘Asian’: Faces of a Generalization.” Organized by IncludeSeattle, it was the second event in the group’s “Removing Stereotypes” series.
— Tina-Marie Gulley (@SoGulley) May 17, 2017
As the Seattle community is home to many Asian Americans and people from all parts of Asia, we were happy to host this conversation.
Laughter, honest stories, and respectful discussion were the hallmark of the event. Attendees shared their stories in a town-hall discussion that ranged from the recurring question, “Where are you from?” to the pros and cons of living in a “melting pot.”
— Ron V. (@RVxRIPTIDE) May 18, 2017
Being Asian in America is filled with challenges, from shattering stereotypes to finding your way in a company. The panelists shared stories from their upbringing, education, and now lessons they’ve learned in the working world.
Although Asian stereotypes are often positive, these mind-sets still cause problems. “Being Asian, and especially Asian female, you’re expected to respect authority, even to be submissive,” said Cecille Nguyen, a wealth strategist at Pacific Capital Resource Group. “There’s a corporate term for it: ‘Coachable.’ ”
Panel guests included professionals from the Seattle business community: Anousinh Siharath, senior recruiter at Nintendo America; Nguyen; Jess Estrada of freshjess.com; Ron Villahermosa, president of MediaDojo Inc.; and Sapan Parekh of Bellevue College. And RealSelf’s own Maureen Ezekwugo, VP of our Doctor Community.
IncludeSeattle organizes workshops and does consulting to help individuals and organizations grow more inclusive environments.