By Zara Zhi
AsAmNews Staff Writer
A social media post about job discrimination by an Asian American woman is quickly going viral. Tiffany Trieu was excited about a job she had applied for and sent a LinkedIn message to the company’s president.
But, as she explains on Facebook, her enthusiasm quickly turned into horror:
“Racial discrimination in the job market is real. It’s unfortunate I had to experience it myself to believe it.
I am speaking up about this as I and many of my friends are on the job search. We are all looking for a work environment to pour hard work into, give back to the community, and build a career (hopefully paying off college loans, too). For someone to turn you down before they consider what you can offer because of their assumptions based on how you look, your race, your nationality…that is extremely disappointing.
I applied to a water feature design position and sent a follow-up LinkedIn message to the studio’s president. Unfortunately this is what I received, and I also must note the president is a White male.
This conversation is given that the only information he had was my profile picture on LinkedIn. The most disconcerting part is HIS RESPONSE, not taking responsibility for his wrongful assumptions. That he “not [a] bad” person would never jump to the conclusions that he did.
If this happens to you, know you don’t have to face it alone. We should speak up. Our silence can keep privileged people in their positions of power.
Thank you for listening. Let us focus on HIS RESPONSE, rather than mine. This is where the problem lies. The next step is for us to do something. So how do you help? Let’s make discrimination, racism, -isms a part of our everyday conversations.”
Unfortunately, the response she received from the White male leader was less than welcoming. The president had turned her down based on confirmation bias regarding her citizenship and status as an American.
“Thank you very much for writing. Your persistence is respectful, as is your obvious poetic sympathies for water,” he writes.
“We have two hurdles to leap before we could engage you. The first is that we would need to maintain a higher flow of work, which could happen, but then the second is that we’ve hired so many foreign nationals that it seems time for us to hire an American, or be unfair. The chances of both hurdles being surmounted within a year are very slim, and so I cannot encourage you in this.
“However, if you do find yourself in Los Angles someday, please do make arrangements to visit the studio. I’m sure we could who you what we are working on and discuss any aspect of the work you may find interesting.”
The president of the studio judged Trieu based on her appearance, ignoring that she is in fact American.
She politely writes back:
“Thank you for your time and responding to me.
I would like to clarify that I am an American and unsure of how you came to the conclusion I am not American born. It is more important to note that America is made up of nothing but “foreign nationals” from one generation or another. As a country which prides itself for diversity and equality since it was established, I would hope its citizens uphold that belief as well.
On behalf of other minorities, I would like to express my sincere hopes that your assumptions will not prevent you from considering individuals who may contribute vastly to your team’s work and in the field in the future.
I appreciate your invitation to visit your studio as I am often in the LA area. Though you extend your invitation, I honestly do not feel accepted and welcome. Nonetheless, I wish you the best with your future projects and hope to have left you with a different perspective.”
Despite the incredibly ignorant mistake he made, the president’s only response was:
“You got the wrong guy. I’m sorry, of course if I offended you. I’m not bad.”
Has anything like this happened to you? Share you stories below.