March 2, 2006
Written by C.N.
The Washington Post describes a recent study conducted by the Gallup Organization that measured self-reported incidences of workplace discrimination. Among other things, the report notes that the Asian Americans report the highest rates of discrimination in the workplace:
For example, 31 percent of Asians surveyed reported incidents of discrimination, the largest percentage of any racial or ethnic group, with African Americans the second-largest group at 26 percent. But Asians generally file fewer discrimination complaints than other groups, according to the EEOC. . . .
The Gallup poll found that the most frequent type of discrimination cited by respondents reporting bias (26 percent) was sex bias, followed by race (23 percent) and age (17 percent). Women were more than twice as likely as men to say they had encountered bias. Some types of discrimination reported in the poll are not clearly covered by federal law, including favoritism, sexual orientation and language. . . .
The most frequent reports of discrimination were in promotion decisions (33 percent of those claiming bias) and pay (29 percent). But workers interviewed during the poll also reported bias manifested in harassment, work conditions and assignments.
The article goes on to document several recent lawsuits alleging systematic workplace discrimination, brought against notable companies such as Best Buy, AutoNation, Morgan Stanley, Boeing, Eastman Kodak, BellSouth, and Wal-Mart.
I find it quite interesting that although Asian Americans report the highest levels of workplace discrimination, they tend to be the least likely to actually file a discrimination complaint against their employer. Sadly, it looks like the cultural image of Asian Americans as quiet, docile, and therefore, easy to pick on and discriminate against is apparently true.
It is certainly unacceptable that Asian Americans are apparently encountering so much workplace discrimination. No group deserves to be treated with contempt or hostility in that manner. At the same time, perhaps one of the reasons why Asian Americans experience the most discrimination is because not enough of us actually fight back, which can then encourage even more discrimination against us.
In other words, at some point we as Asian Americans have to stand up, speak out, and demand our rights to equal treatment. No one else is going to do it for us. Until we collectively demonstrate that discriminating against Asian Americans will lead to the same kind of consequences as that committed against Blacks, we will continue to be seen as an easy target, plain and simple.