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白领亚裔的觉醒

已有 355 次阅读2021-5-23 00:33 |个人分类:美国华人|系统分类:转帖-时事政治经济

May 21, 2021- NBC Asian America
While Asian Americans make up one of the biggest minority groups in finance, comprising roughly 15% of the employees at the six biggest U.S. banks, few have made it to the operating committees of these institutions.
May 21, 2021, 11:23 AM EDT
By Hugh Son, CNBC
A year after the pandemic began in New York City, something snapped in Alex Chi.
The 48-year-old Goldman Sachs banker had been inundated with articles and video clips of horrifying seemingly random attacks on Asian Americans in his home town. Then, in late March, eight people were gunned down in the Atlanta area — most of them immigrants from Korea and China — and Chi could stand it no longer.
The barrage of attacks forced a change in Chi, a partner and 27-year Goldman veteran. He became an in-house agitator of sorts, attending protests and rallying his colleagues around a simple idea: Silence is no longer an option.
“The message I’ve clearly put out to other Asian Americans is this: You have to start speaking up for yourselves,” Chi said in a recent interview. “We have to use this moment as an opportunity to finally make ourselves heard and change the narrative around Asian Americans in this country.”
Alex Chi, Goldman Sachs.
Alex Chi, Goldman Sachs.Goldman Sachs
This isn’t just the story of the political awakening of a single New York banker. It’s the story of thousands of Wall Street employees who are, many for the first time in their lives, connecting with co-workers in virtual chatrooms, over Zoom and in person to commiserate about being Asian in finance, and in America.
While Asian Americans make up one of the biggest minority groups in finance, comprising roughly 15% of the employees at the six biggest U.S. banks, few have made it to the operating committees of these institutions. Just one, former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, has led a top-tier bank.
Chi, who became a Goldman partner a decade ago, reaching one of Wall Street’s loftiest ranks, says he is one of the first Korean Americans to do so at the 151-year-old institution.
He believes Asian Americans at Goldman and beyond are now pushing back against the stereotype — rooted in a common cultural upbringing that stresses modesty and conflict avoidance and reinforced at times by workplace discrimination — that they are quiet, docile worker bees.
For the broader community, some 23 million people, the past few months have been the first time Asian American issues have reached the national stage in decades. The last time this has happened was probably in the early 1980s, when the beating death of Vincent Chin galvanized an earlier generation to form affinity groups, according to historians.
'China virus'
The arrival of the coronavirus last year brought a surge in bias crimes against Asian Americans, especially in New York and California. Many of the assaults have been against senior citizens and women. The violence has shattered the sense of security for many in the group, according to the Pew Research Center.
But a silver lining to the racial scapegoating that accompanied Covid-19 has been that it has unified many Americans of Asian descent, the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S. They make up a significant portion of the corporate workforce in industries including finance, technology and health care, and are an emerging force in politics.
“There’s so many differences within Asians, but you’re treated as one group,” said Joyce Chang, chair of global research at JPMorgan Chase. “Now, being targeted for hate crimes, people are saying, we are being treated like a monolith, we may as well get organized.”
Chang says she studied the history of anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. while at Columbia University in the 1980s, including the vicious 1982 killing of Chin by two bat-wielding Detroit autoworkers who mistakenly assumed he was Japanese. The killers, who blamed Japan for the decline of the U.S. auto industry, were fined $3,000 and avoided prison.
Victim's Mother Sobbing After Court Hearing in Detroit
Lillie Chin, mother of Vincent chin who was clubbed to death by two white men in a scuffle in June 1982, breaks down while leaving Detroit's City County Building. Bettmann Archive / via Getty Images
Chang said the current period reminds her of that time. Both for the larger issues — in the 1980s, anxiety over Japanese economic might was common, while today the emergence of China as a global superpower has policymakers worried — as well as the response.
The first use of the phrase “China virus″ by former President Donald Trump on Twitter in March 2020 led directly to an increase in online and offline anti-Asian abuse, according to a recent report in the American Journal of Public Health. Trump had nearly 90 million followers before getting booted from the platform.
Now, people are forming pan-Asian affinity groups to help keep track of the bias attacks and boost philanthropy. One such nonprofit, the Asian American Foundation, launched this month and said it has already raised $125 million for AAPI causes over the next five years. It, along with JPMorgan and other organizations, have given money to Stop AAPI Hate, a new group that began tracking bias attacks in January 2020 after a rash of incidents in California.
Initially, it was journalists in New York and San Francisco who chronicled the attacks, which began in the early days of the pandemic and ramped up this year, occurring on a daily basis at times. Then Asian American celebrities including actors and athletes amplified the coverage. Posts on social media brought home the idea that even being famous and powerful didn’t insulate people from feeling vulnerable.
The movement has extended to the finance realm. At JPMorgan, Chang says that after the Atlanta shootings, attendance at an internal forum for Asian Americans had 6,100 participants, about 10 times larger than the typical attendance before the pandemic.
The sentiment of many of those I spoke with was something akin to shock. Several had had superlative careers on Wall Street, and yet here they were, reliving some of the same trauma from their childhoods they had believed was a thing of the past.
Tom Lee, co-founder of research boutique Fundstrat and a regular CNBC on-air guest, said he faced “merciless anti-Asian attacks” growing up in a small town 25 miles from Detroit. That tough childhood helped him chart his own course as one of the best-known market prognosticators in the country, he said, because he had learned to tune out noise.
“It’s been easy to feel like Asians have a bit of a bull’s-eye on their backs,” Lee said in an interview.
Tom Lee, Fundstrat Global Advisors.
Tom Lee, Fundstrat Global Advisors.Scott Myln / CNBC
Mike Karp, CEO of Options Group, a recruiting firm that has placed thousands of traders and salespeople on Wall Street in the past three decades, put it a different way.
“They thought they were part of the mainstream until this `Chinese virus’ stuff,” Karp, who is Indian American, said of his AAPI clients. “Now there’s a building resentment that people have, and they aren’t taking it anymore.”
West Coast bias
Distress over the violence she was seeing in San Francisco and the initial lack of national media attention moved Cynthia Sugiyama, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo, to publish a highly personal piece in March.
Sugiyama says she has been overwhelmed by the response to her column, published in the San Francisco Chronicle and LinkedIn, from colleagues and others who related to her experiences being harassed as a child, and her resolve to respond to the current moment.
Cynthia Sugiyama, head of HR communications for Wells Fargo.
Cynthia Sugiyama, head of HR communications for Wells Fargo.Cynthia Sugiyama
"I’ve never before felt this sense of community as much as now," Sugiyama said. “What makes this moment pivotal is that the surge in anti-Asian sentiment on one side has been met with a powerful swell on the other side from Asian Americans who are finding their voices.”

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