On navigating racial stereotypes:
The stereotype that I run into the most with my own race is looking young. I was 27 and had just started a new job, and I was introduced to the team as a new person. One older woman said to me, “I don’t mean to sound ageist, but you don’t look like you’ve graduated from college.” It was like, what was the purpose of making that statement? I’m telling you that I have.The implication that I might be in school signals that I might be less than professional.
For Asian-American men, the leading stereotypes are being good at math and being good with computers. But when you narrow that down to East Asian men, you are also pegged as quiet, shy, and for many, socially awkward. I had a conversation with a friend who was categorized as being “stoic and unexpressive” even though I know him to be a very funny, likable person. If your communication skills are not that strong, it’s easy for people not to talk very much.