Careering While Asian Panel (April 12th)

To be included in a larger piece on Social Utilitarianism (in preparation) [partially redacted]

My question for the Careering While Asian panel on April 12th (in short): should international Asian applicants use the name they picked when coming to America on applications/resumes or should they use their birth name?

Careering While Asian (My Question to the Panel)

My bff goes by a different name in the United States than whenever she visits parents in China.

Research supports this from a utilitarian perspective: international students, postdocs, & researchers who change their name increase their odds of being hired and/or a STEM grad finding a company sponsor for an H1Visa.

But we also want a world where someone can put their real name on their CV, resume, application without it negatively affecting their hireability.

My question is:

- If an international student asks whether they should use this strategy, should I say yes based on the name discrimination research, or say no & encourage them to continue applying until they find a job that accepts them as they are — name and all?

(Further complicating matters is the fact that ‘continue applying until’ may have a deadline due to the grace period between graduation & having to find an H1B sponsor)

Careering While Asian Panel Response

Panelist F.R. : “[:45] There have been times in the past where I’ve put my initials on applications & that maybe is a happy medium.
[:59] But I’m more aligned with the idea of call me by the name I was given. And if yall can’t get with that then I’m sorry — maybe it’s not the right place for me.

I believe that even knowing how to pronounce other people’s names right is very important. Because you’re already misidentifying them & I wouldn’t want to be misidentified for years at a job where they can’t say my name properly.

[1:26–1:41] So for me, maybe in the application process do initials — I don’t know, whatever serves you best

…but I’m aligned with, you know, your name has meaning — and your name has value — and your name is you. So if that’s how you want to be represented then do that thing.”

Panelist A.N. : [1:50] “How much does their name matter for them in this instance?
[2:09] Do they feel like it would benefit them to use their American name? If they really truly believe that then it’s their choice to put that.

At the end of the day, when you get the job & you go through the process of signing papers you’re going to put whatever name is on your SScard & whatever name is on your resume isn’t going to define the rest of your career. People get hired & then they go into the workplace & introduce themselves as their nickname…

[3:29] Once you get a job you can establish yourself & your name by introducing yourself & just being confident in that and making sure that people pronounce it correctly. [3:37]

This is literally the same as Minda Zetlin’s (2016) article:
dye your hair blonde
— and wear glasses
— and ask for the receipt
—and where a floral mask, etc

Intersectional Utilitarianism

(A poignant, exquisite piece reconciling the progressive ideals a community may have with the unique realities that some members of that community confront in a systematic, generational manner)

By Paniz Khosroshahy, 2016 (March 18)

“…And even if at some point you do decide to challenge these norms by not shaving, you always have the privilege of fitting back into the “norm”.

You never spent years wondering if all your actions were to be seen as part of who you are as a wider culture of the unenlightened cheap camel jockeys and towel-heads. You never have to worry about “dirty Arab” and “smelly Indian” stereotypes, and have never been forced to walk an impossible line between “prudish Muslim” and “high maintenance Persian girl”. For many women of colour in activist communities that do remove their body hair, shaving is survival.

So if you’re a woman of colour that is too ashamed, too traumatized, of being made to feel undesirable, know that your feminism is valid.

You body is valid,
your desire to not create more stereotypes for your community is valid,

your need to escape racial violence is valid.

And if any white feminist tells you that you should practice “body acceptance”, that you need to raise your “feminist consciousness”, forcing you to pick allegiances between your gender and race, know that they are not your ally,

know that their mere “acceptance” won’t change anything because it is not your body that is the problem but the norms of this society that are based on your erasure.

As a wonderful woman of colour once told me, “I’m here for woman of colour that wax, thread, laser, shave all damn day… white women will never know that trauma.”

[Title: Not shaving isn’t always a choice for women of colour]

Perhaps, as Minda Zetlin argues, and Paniz Khosroshahy unapologetically reinforced, we may wish for a world where it isn’t considered strategically advantageous for a dark haired woman to dye her hair blonde, where a woman doesn’t decide to wear a scarf because it increases her odds of being promoted compared to wearing a necktie (Johnson et al., 1994), where a woman doesn’t opt for wearing a skirt suit instead of a pantsuit to convey confidence (Pine et al., 2011), where a woman doesn’t have to worry about ensuring her makeup for work is light to convey attractiveness & not heavy which may convey sexualization (Bernard et al., 2020), where a Black American male doesn’t regularly wear glasses to disabuse others’ potential cognitive schemas of criminality/aggression, where an Asian immigrant to the USA doesn’t feel compelled to change her name from Guiqing to Susan, or a world where an LGB employee doesn’t feel compelled to stay in the closet at a non-inclusive workplace (Ragins & Cornwell, 2001). Alas,

we have to deal with the world as we currently find it if we aspire to reach the platform(s) necessary to improve it.


AAPI Data (NBC Story)

Kimmy Yam (NBC): Asian Americans have experienced hate incidents at a significantly higher percentage than the general population, but are also among the least likely to say they are “very comfortable” reporting hate crimes to authorities.

“What our data show is that upwards of 2 million AAPIs have experienced these hate incidents since Covid-19 started,” Karthick Ramakrishnan, the group’s founder who helped lead the study, told NBC Asian America. “But a very small fraction of them have reported to community hotlines and an even smaller proportion, at least what we know, have been established by law enforcement authorities as hate crimes.”

Researchers examined responses from more than 16,000 people of all major races who participated in the online survey at the end of March. They found that so far this year, roughly 1 in 10 Asian Americans had experienced hate crimes or hate incidents. In comparison, 6% of the general population had this year.

In 2020, 12%of Asian Americans and 10% of Pacific Islanders experienced hate incidents, while the national average was 8%.

In general, over a quarter of Asian Americans and a similar percentage of Pacific Islanders reported having experienced hate incidents at some point in their lives. But when asked how comfortable they would be reporting a hate crime to law enforcement authorities, 30% of Asian Americans and 36% of Pacific Islanders responded that they were “very comfortable.”

But other groups, including Black and Latino Americans, reported higher rates, at 45% and 42%, respectively. White respondents had the highest percentage for being comfortable with reporting to law enforcement, at 54%.

Ramakrishnan pointed out that the reluctance to report could have to do with fear of retaliation as well as a concern over whether justice will be served. A New York City principal reflected many of these findings, telling NBC Asian American this year that many of her students, who are from immigrant families living in low-income neighborhoods, indicated that they fear retaliation if they report racist incidents.

Researchers also looked at what other racial groups have been experiencing during the pandemic and beyond. They found that Asian Americans confront similar levels of hate incidents compared to other minorities. About 27% of them reported experiencing verbal or physical abuse or property damage due to their ethnicity. Latinos reported the same rate, but Black Americans reported a higher share at 34%.

“The kinds of stereotypes and the kinds of discrimination that black people face is different, and in some cases more severe. When you’re talking about housing discrimination, as well as discrimination by police, it’s much higher for black people than it is for Asians,” Ramakrishnan said. “But I think when it comes to these hate incidents, it seems that there’s a greater similarity in the frequency of hate incidents, even though the exact nature of those hate incidents might vary.”

Ramakrishnan acknowledged that Asian Americans seemed under-indexed for hate crimes and incidents prior to the pandemic but the rate has since accelerated. He suspects that attacks could increase as the U.S. moves toward opening the economy up.

“In terms of in the last two decades, 9/11 was a critical factor in increasing the market share for hate, if you will, and mainstreaming hate and white nationalism,” he said,

adding that the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first Black president led to “a dramatic increase in the proportion of people that joined hate groups, and also the rise of racial resentment in American society that continued through Trump’s presidency.”

And this confluence of white nationalism, xenophobia and nativism, in addition to the rise of misinformation and disinformation, Ramakrishnan said, will need a multifaceted approach to mitigate. He said monitoring hate groups and giving adequate resources to communities of color “so that their more complex narratives are known, that people don’t have stereotypical views of who they are,” will all prove important.

“It’s just going to take a lot for that to wind down,” he said. “Just because Trump is gone does not mean that the forces that are pulling us apart, and the forces of white nationalism, have gone away.”

June 22nd Update

The Arkansas governor race shows how exceptional Black candidates have to be

by Hayes Brown

The race for governor of Arkansas was already due to be interesting — former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced she would run for the GOP nomination earlier this year. But now the Democratic side has a fascinating candidate, one whose announcement video has been viewed over 4 million times on Twitter. Dr. Chris Jones has a doctorate in nuclear physics and is an ordained minister and former nonprofit executive. And all that says a lot about how exceptional Black politicians have to be, Hayes Brown writes.

“He also checks all the boxes that we don’t say a Black man running for office needs to have — but they absolutely do,” Brown writes. “And the issues he focuses on — education, infrastructure and ‘living out our values’ — are solidly middle of the road, not too progressive — or too, well, Black — for Arkansan voters.”

Read Hayes Brown’s full analysis here and be sure to check out the rest of your Tuesday MSNBC Daily.

About Traveling While Black

This half-hour documentary experience begins in the historic Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington DC with an intimate series of moments between several patrons reflecting on their experiences of restricted movement and race relations in the United States. The film confronts the way we understand and talk about race in America. Traveling While Black highlights the urgent need to remember and learn from the past while facilitating a dialogue about the challenges minority travelers still face today. Traveling While Black is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Felix & Paul Studios.

Learn more about Traveling While Black here.

We look forward to your visit. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at

Due to overwhelmingly positive visitor feedback, we will be showing Roger Ross Williams’ VR film Traveling While Black for a second weekend in Liberty Station. Tickets are now available from Friday, June 25 through Sunday, June 27.

Tickets are limited, so book yours now before showtimes sell out.

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.