My daughter came home last night from
her first job as a barista for a local Boba Tea eatery, crying.
“They don’t like me, mom! I’m doing
the exact same level of work that all the new kids are, and they keep
calling ME out cuz I’m not Asian.”
Several other barista type jobs at
various locally businesses to which she applied told her flat out
they only hire Asians (which, at least in my neighborhood, includes
Indians, from India). Since most of the fast food and convenience
stores here are owned by Asians, this has severely limited her
choices for simple, flexible, part-time work.
The first day of this job, a month
back, she came home and said, “My manager called me their
‘diversity hire,’ since I’m the only White person who works there. It
hurt my feelings. He made me feel like I didn’t get the job cuz I
deserved it.” Every day since, she’s come home with other racist
comments most of her managers continue to make.
Our daughter has a 4.3 gpa, is a hard
worker academically, and socially. She is the only White person in
her group of friends. She’s worked very hard, and continues to
do so, to be a part of this Asian crowd, that is now well over 75% of
her high school in an East Bay suburb of the San Francisco Bay area.
My son wasn’t so lucky. Boys going
through puberty are all about bravado, one-upping each other. Girls
are about connecting, communicating, building their community. Our
son was excluded and bullied for not being “A”sian, throughout
middle and high school. He had no friends at all, though he tried
again and again to ‘fit in’ with them, from Karate to Robotics to
Chess clubs and more. It broke his heart daily, and mine as well,
watching my beautiful, open, kind kid ostracized for being White. He
will likely struggle with a damaged self-image the rest of his life
because of these formative experiences.
Yet, neither of my children are
racists, like so many of their Asian friends and associates. My
daughter gets bullied often, even from her ‘friends’ with thoughtless
comments: “I only date Asians. I don’t find White girls
attractive,” from the 4 out of 5 boys in her group. My daughter
would love to get asked to proms, on dates. She watches her Asian
girlfriends get asked out. She does not.*
These are REALITIES for all of us,
Asians and Whites, here in the global melting pot of the San
Francisco Bay Area, and yet my children are still not racists. Why,
when so many are?
My husband is a software architect.
He’s been creating and deploying SaaS offerings for over 25 years
here in Silicon Valley. Every job he’s ever had in the software
industry, and trust me, he’s had a lot of jobs, he’s worked
almost exclusively with Asians. While offshore H1B
labor has been brought here by the tech industry since 1990,
this massive Asian influx globally was not anticipated. In the last
five yrs, the companies he’s worked for, whether the staff is 30 or
3000, in IT, or any other department now—close to 60% are of Asian
descent. And yet, my husband is not racist, though he’s been passed
up for many position by Asians on work visas and H1Bs.**
I invited my daughter’s best friend and
her family to our Thanksgiving dinner last year. I’d met Yi, the mom,
only once before, but my daughter spoke of her often when she’d
visited her BF’s home: “Her mom is really nice. And she says the
same stuff you do. She jokes that you must really be Asian,
the way you get on me about homework.” I was grateful my daughter
found the humor in her comment, instead of the likely unintended
slight. “You guys should get together. You can make a new girl
The girls arranged a late January
lunch, and the four of us went out for Thai food. Yi and I eased into
a smooth dialog. Fifteen yrs my junior, she was quite express,
articulate when I asked her questions, but she rarely turned my
interest around, which I’d say goes for most people I’ve met. A
tech-visa transplant from China in her early 20s, she’d been a single
mom since divorcing her White husband a decade before. And while I
did not feel a personal connection, with few common interests, a
profound one existed between us. Raising two kids, a boy my son’s
age, and a girl, my daughter’s best friend, Yi loves her children the
exact same way, with the same intensity as I do mine.
She suggested we get together again at
the end of our luncheon, but I did not pursue it, and neither did
she. Thanksgiving came around eleven month later. The girls were
having a school vacation sleepover celebration the weekend before the
holiday, and my daughter’s BF told us her family didn’t celebrate
Thanksgiving. But she confessed she’d like to, as I served breakfast
the next morning. Well, of course I invited her, her mom and brother
right then. She was so excited she texted them, and the girls were
jumping up and down, cheering, moments later with her mom’s response.
The seven of us ate turkey, and
stuffing, and shared stories of thanks around the table that night.
We played Pictionary after dinner, and laughed and laughed.
When the kids exited the scene to play video games, Yi, my husband
and I spoke of politics, religion, crossing all social lines of
decorum. I was pleasantly surprised how open she was to dialog beyond
the surface. And though we have radically different perspectives, the
exchange was engaging, educational, and thoroughly enjoyable for all
three of us. Even better, the kids bonded that Thanksgiving, and
since have established a once-a-month excursion.
Globalization is a REALITY. It’s
happening, right now. Most first world nations are being
inundated with immigrants looking for that illusive ‘better life.’
Like it, or not, global integration is here, and, as my husband, and
our kids know, it is mandatory, simply must happen, for
humanity, and our very small planet to survive us.
“One wish,” my mom asked my sister
and me on our drive home from elementary school back in the old days.
“Anything you want, what would it be.”
“World peace,” I’d said. It was the
mid-1970s, and a common catch phrase, but I meant it. Without war, or
economic disparity, I believed in our creative potential to problem
solve, and our unique ability to work together to realize our
fantastical visions. I didn’t know about the hunger of greed then,
insatiable, and colorblind.
It has been particularly hard on my
kids, this globalization process. It deeply saddens me that they must
suffer the slights of blind prejudice, just as the Asians in past
generations had to suffer the racism of the ignorant Whites here. It
terrifies me—the global competition for fewer jobs my kids will be
competing for after college. Yet, I still advocate for globalization.
This very small planet must integrate, or we will perish, and
likely take much of the life here with us, with the destructive
technology we’ve already invented.
My daughter worries she’ll never meet
anyone to date, yet alone marry, but I assure her she likely will.
And it’s even likely that man will be Asian, since 36.4% of the
global population are Asian*** and more than half of them are men.
“It doesn’t matter where someone came from, what their heritage, or
place of origin on the planet,” I’ve preached to my kids. “Choose
to be with someone kind.”
A border wall surrounding the U.S.
entirely will not stop Asians from flying in from China and India,
Korea, Viet Nam, Indonesia and other emerging Asian nations. Nor will
it stop the Middle East, South Americans, Cubans from coming here.
Seeking to keep us separate is a fool’s play. Communication is key
to build bridges over our differences, allowing us to meet in the
middle and mutually benefit from our strengths. Ignorance and
mistrust breed with distance. Nationalism is just thinly disguised
Asians, Latinos, Syrian’s, and
Palestinians, are all different cultures, not separate races
from Caucasian. We are one race, the human race.
Globalization—the blending of cultures—is
hard for everyone, scary, new, threatening to our social structure,
but a must if humanity is to survive, even thrive. The beauty
of interracial marriage is the same thing that bonds Yi and I, as
parents. We both passionately love our kids. She can’t possible hate
Whites, since her children are Asian/White. Combine two cultures, at
least on a localize level, defeats racism, as most every parent loves
their kids with intensity Yi and I do. It’s one of our best bits
about being human—the magnificent, spectacular, all-encompassing
love we get to feel for our children.
*Regardless of the sociology, it is
unusual in the extreme to see an Asian man partner with a
White women (though common the other way around), both here in the
States and abroad.
**Hiring offshore for less money, now
being exploited by every social network from Facebook to YouTube, to
Mr. Trump’s summer staff at his Mar-a-Lago estate, lowers the pay
rate for all of us. It’s no wonder U.S. income levels have been
stagnant for years.
***As of July, 2019, there are approx.
1.43+ billion Chinese (in China), or 18.41% of the global population.
Indians (in India) are a close second, with approx. 1.37+ billion, or
17.4% of the total world population. Combining just these two Asian
cultures, their world population is 4.1 billion people, or 36.14% of
the world population, and that is just within their respective
countries, not actual global numbers including visa work-holders and
undocumented immigrants abroad.