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Brilliant Asian-Americans face 'bamboo ceiling' in U.S.

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© 2012 AFP

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If it's called a bamboo ceiling in the US, what is it called in Japan when foreigners here face the same thing.....a sushi ceiling maybe?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A good friend, US born Thai, Berkley grad, returned to Thailand a decade ago and won't return to the US for the same reasons.

Back in Thailand his world is an open book, but stateside he grew up being 'China boy', 'Chopstick', and a thousand other racial slurs... and this kid is cool, grew up in Laguna, surfer, plays ball, smart, good looking, but American culture can push against you if you're not white.

The bamboo curtain exists, and America lost another good one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think film and TV has to take some of the blame for this - if there is an Asian in a series or film 8 times out of 10 they are a tech guy, a computer boffin or a nerd... or a Yakuza.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is still a great deal of racism in the U.S., but it really depends on where you live. Seattle elected an African-American to two terms as mayor, in spite of having fewer African-Americans than the demographic percentage they occupy in the nation as a whole, and Washington State had a Chinese-American governor, now our ambassador to China, for two terms.

Asian-Americans tend to have their greatest representation in business and government leadership in those parts of the country where they have historically been a well-represented minority - the West Coast and NYC to a lesser extent. You won't find this to be the case in the the Mountain West, Midwest or the South because Asian-Americans comprise just a fraction of the population. As it is, Asian-Americans make up a much smaller portion of the U.S. population with people from S. Korea showing the greatest gains in population and Japanese-Americans on the decline as a group due to the lack of immigration.

Contrary to what Mr. Tseng claims, Asian-Americans is not the "fastest growing multi-cultural group (whatever that means)" in the U.S. Hispanics have been the fastest growing group for a couple decades now where as the percentage of Asian-Americans has flat-lined.

The two groups considered Asian that have shown the most dramatic rise in the last decade have been Indians and Pakistanis. I personally do not classify these two nations, nor Bangladesh, as Asian as their cultural traditions are in no way related to China. Similarly, it could be argued that Filipinos are largely outside the great Asian traditions as well and are just as Hispanic as some Caribbean and Latin American nations. Remove these three groups, and you see a different story demographically. I realize this is not the way demographers or some cultural anthropologists think, but my guess is that if you ask a Korean or Japanese whether they consider people from the three nations of the Asian subcontinent Asian that they would answer in the negative. We already know what people from the "Middle Kingdom" think.

Americans of Asian descent still comprise less than 6% of U.S. population, up from about 4.5% two decades ago, whereas Hispanics make-up almost 1/3 of total U.S. population and growing (about 17 million versus 100 million).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“Asians play certain characters,” he said. “They play the doctor, or they play the smart guy. That’s very much still the case. I don’t know what it takes to change that, otherwise I’d be doing it.”

I was horribly offended when I read this at first. I thought "They aren't playing characters! These are their LIVES". Then I realized it was an actor talking about typecasting Asians and felt like a complete idiot.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

HansNFranzJun. 19, 2012 - 01:44PM JST Yet, compared to Japan and China, the ceiling for Asians in the "Western world" is much less impenetrable. If anything, Japan and China must open their companies for foreigners first, then we'll see about the West

Actually, the lack of opportunities for Japanese returning from stints abroad, either in business with a non-Japanese firm or for an advanced degree, is much worse than the supposed "bamboo ceiling" in the U.S. for Asian-Americans. And because of this problem, fewer Japanese are studying abroad and are less interested in taking a position abroad.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just old racism.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yet, compared to Japan and China, the ceiling for Asians in the "Western world" is much less impenetrable. If anything, Japan and China must open their companies for foreigners first, then we'll see about the West.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Am I just being too P.C. by finding the term "bamboo ceiling" offensive and belittling? Like they don't have class in China so their ceilings must be made from bamboo? I guess it could be argued that the term is more likely to be remembered and therefore the issue might get more consideration but a part of me can't help but think that this sort of stereotyping is counterproductive. Also, if they are born and bred Americans then what connection do they really have to bamboo?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This article is overly boastful and not entirely accurate isn't it.. as it depends on the person also.. so statistically speaking it is incorrect completely.. and why the comparison to other demographics.. some elitist boasting by the writer from Associated Press as usual..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with Wanda-kun, why would an Indian contribute to the article when Asians ie Japanese, Chinese, Korean etc do not consider Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Phillipeano, Thai non Asian

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Being on the continent does not automatically mean your Asian per se.. geographically located yes, but not ethnically linked

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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