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Reflections on Racial Justice: Asian Voices


Promoting Change

Vicky Tsai explains that it is “a confluence of factors” that hold Asian Americans back from top corporate posts:  “historical racism, discrimination, stereotypes, and cultural misconceptions.”  Asians are held out of DEI initiatives because, “discriminatory microaggressions that we face in our day-to-day working interactions aren’t registered as ‘racist’ because they’re not overt, consciously done, or because we don’t call attention to them.”  She says that “the only way to change this is for the entire community to start speaking up and having our stories be heard.”

The conviction now among many Asian Americans is that it is time to stand up to stereotypes and racism.  They recognize that the silent strategy no longer works.  They follow a process familiar to African-Americans and Latinx people.

  1. Educate yourself. Learn the history that is not taught in schools.
  2. Speak out: share your stories, listen, be open, don’t blame, ask “why do you feel that way?”
  3. Identify allies and friends to connect within safe spaces. Encourage them to organize platforms where people can speak and host events that educate people on how to stand up on behalf of Asian Americans and other minorities.  Take the first step to help people be aware and understand how you feel and what you experience.  Be ready to have the conversation and provide resources.
  4. Asian Americans as well as their friends and allies should be “upstanders” who when they see something wrong, say something and work to make it right.
  5. Promote pan-Asian solidarity and find common cause with other minorities.
  6. Recognize that Asians are not monolithic, culturally or economically, and that there are real and differing needs in those various communities.
  7. To attract corporate support and philanthropic dollars, some Asians have started non-profits to advocate for Asian Americans.

In the last analysis, building relationships that create trust and understanding will create change.  Asian Americans, as well as their friends and allies, need each other to be cultural interpreters who explain what is felt when something that reinforces stereotypes and racism is said or done.  Thear Suzuki, a survivor of Cambodian genocide, a global client services partner at EY, and a member of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum board, writes that lasting change requires “focus on changing hearts and attitudes.”  That work is interpersonal, in the neighborhood, in the workplace, and in the community.

Resources

Recently established Asian-led foundations 

  • The Asian American Foundation (TAAF)
  • Stop AAPI Hate
  • Asian Uplift
  • The Orchid Giving Circle—Asian Women Caring and Sharing

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Frank Lloyd
Frank Lloyd
Dr. Frank Lloyd is a board member and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Chair for Literacy Achieves, a Dallas, Texas-based non-profit that teaches English as a second language to adult immigrants to facilitate their employment, parenting, and other life skills. He is the producer of Literacy Achieves’ podcast, When I Got Here: Untold Immigrant Stories where immigrants share inspiring personal stories of why they left their homelands, how they got to the U.S., and the lives they are making here. Dr. Lloyd is the former Associate Dean of Executive Education at Southern Methodist University's (SMU) Edwin L. Cox School of Business, where he led the development and delivery of award-winning executive leadership programs and established a national center of excellence on Latino leadership. Dr. Lloyd joined SMU’s Cox School from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, where he was Vice President of Executive Education. Prior to joining Thunderbird, Dr. Lloyd was a human resources executive with General Motors. Among the highlights of his career, he was responsible for organization development and leadership training for GM Europe during its transition from mass to lean production, and he was the first GM Human Resources manager at New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI), the historic joint venture between GM and Toyota noted for its innovative labor-management relations and the introduction of the Toyota production system. Dr. Lloyd is an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of UNICON, the Global Consortium for University-based Executive Education. He is the former board chair of Daystar US which mobilizes resources to support Daystar, a non-denominational Christian university in Nairobi, Kenya whose mission is to prepare servant leaders for Africa. He also served on the national board of Inroads, an organization with the mission to develop and place talented underserved youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. Dr. Lloyd was a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Isfahan in Iran. He also served as a U.S. Information Agency curriculum consultant for Germany. He earned a master’s degree at Purdue University and a Ph. D. at the University of Iowa. His undergraduate degree is from Occidental College.

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