Diversity: Being Yellow in America

Diversity: Being Yellow in America

Yellow on the outside and white on the inside.  What does this describe?  If you look at it on a logical level, you know it describes a banana.  If you look at it on a figurative level, it describes how Asian-Americans are descrimated against in America and back Home. It describes the internal/external struggle between being American and being Asian. The internal struggle is how you stay true to your roots and how your own race views you. The external struggle is how America views you. This applies in Life but is often seen in Business, Technology, and Hollywood.

The beginning of our blog preview is from a popular song and describes a certain "angst" in being Asian-American. The words are from Coldplay's song appropriately titled, Yellow. This caught our attention at FREEAG8 after watching the movie Crazy Rich Asians. This Yellow song cover was remade for the movie, with permission from Coldplay, in Mandarin by Katherine Ho. Crazy Rich Asians was about the many divides that we still face today: old and new culture, Asian versus American, the younger generation versus the older generation, the poor and the rich.

The discrimination still plays today in Corporate America and Hollywood.  It's changed as the times have changed but there is an underlying assumptions in the discrimination.

"Years ago," complains Virginia Kee, a high school teacher in New York's Chinatown, "they used to think you were Fu Manchu or Charlie Chan. ; Then they thought you must own a laundry or restaurant. Now they think all we know how to do is sit in front of a computer."

Crazy Rich Asians broke the stereotype in Hollywood not by only having an all Asian cast. But in actors that have diverse backgrounds as movie directors, writers, comedians and even a female rapper (Awkwafina). The movie was a game-changer for Asian-Americans in Hollywood and in Business.  It's like Jeremy Lin disrupting the NBA when he was on the New York Knicks or winning a NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors. It's Asian Entrepreneurs like Jack Ma from Alibaba or Masayoshi Son from Softbank disrupting technology and venture capital.

The typical path for most Asian-Americans would be a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. We chose entrepreneurship as a path to success forgoing the discrimination faced in Corporate America for Asians. We chose the freedom in being our own bosses and not being judged by the color of our skin but on results. We chose the freedom, as Entrepreneurs, to control our own destiny!

In great businesses, culture is important in that you have many colors like white, brown, black and even rainbow. Don't judge a book by its cover when you look at the stars. Instead, let them shine for you and everything you do should make a difference. Yeah, those Asians, were all YELLOW. What color are you?

Further reading from Time magazine Tech Diversity and The New Whiz Kids. Do you talk about diversity and inclusion or do you take real actions to ensure your workforce and management reflect society? What are your thoughts on technology diversity or Crazy Rich Asians? Let us know in the comments below or in our forum.








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