As with all types of racism, Anti-Asian sentiment has seemingly existed forever. While there will always be efforts to address this problem, none have manifested in permanent solutions.
In the same vein as problems encountered by other demographics, this unfair and misplaced sentiment has resulted in great turmoil for many Asians, both in daily aspects of life and in the workplace. Not surprisingly, the challenges faced by this minority are manifold.
Since the onset of the global pandemic, anti-Asian racism has been on the rise again. Per a study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, hate crimes surged by 169% in fifteen major cities from 2020 to 2021. In tandem with escalating levels of crime, anti-Asian workplace discrimination has also seen an alarming rise.
Irrespective of whether you’re a mortgage recruiter or an executive search firm, disavowing racist stigmas of the Covid-19 pandemic is often a requisite for many businesses.
Below are ways for employers to successfully combat this growing issue.
Table of Contents
Educate Employees on the Model Minority Myth
When trying to combat any issue, it is essential to first make sure that you are well aware of the dynamics of the problem at hand. Many Americans tend to downplay anti-Asian racism, often due to the relative success of this demographic.
This mass characterization has resulted in the “Model Minority Myth,” a mass stereotyping that holds that Asians are already more successful than the general population based on their intellectual acumen.
The Model Minority Myth is highly flawed and should not be deemed fair or representative, either of individuals or the Asian demographic as a whole. Moreover, any social and economic success achieved is not credited to hard work or diligence, as is often the case.
This myth further aggravates tensions between minorities, perpetuating deeper issues. It is critical that businesses acknowledge and respond to the inclination to fall prey to the Model Minority Myth.
Empower Individuals to Report
Witnessing abuse and not taking any action is tantamount to being an abuser. When taking conscious steps to promote diversity and minimize general disenfranchisement, you must be mindful of any tendency to exclude bias against ethnicity, race, or religion. When you teach your employees to overcome the bystander effect, you’re halfway to implementing an all-inclusive plan of action.
Eliminating any perception of diffused responsibility and empowering all employees to come forward and report cases of racism is a powerful tool for combating workplace discrimination across the board. You should motivate employees to take the initiative to report any occurrence of racial abuse, irrespective of their position in the company.
However, it is essential that employees go through the proper channels to report such cases. Clear policies and procedures should be in place for reporting, investigating, and scheduling necessary follow-ups. This ensures workplace safety across the board; it also empowers every employee within the organization.
Understand Common Insensitivities
To foster an inclusive work environment, it is important to encourage dialogue, both about any negative experience or racism and all necessary contingencies for combating it.
Make your employees aware of the effects of insensitive remarks, which might otherwise be a trigger for colleagues. Any racist jokes, comments against one’s dialect, and jokes about Asian stereotypes must be discouraged, with disciplinary consequences for such actions.
Encourage a Diverse Leadership Style
Bring diversity to the leadership table. Encourage associates from various ethnicities and races to lead. Affirm that your organizational culture is flexible enough to cultivate and incorporate a diverse leadership style. Create a plan to ensure that Asian Americans, and others, are not left out.
Review Hiring Procedures
Unless you make the effort to improve your recruitment strategies and criteria, you cannot claim that you are combating the problem. Realizing that racism exists, yet taking no action to combat it, does not make you a supporter of diversity protocol.
In your efforts to minimize racial differences, try to revamp your existing hiring practices and adopt the best talent acquisition strategies, with equal protection and empowerment for all.
Be aware of the ratio of positions allotted to the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) and other minorities within your organization. Endeavor to make changes as necessary. Implement bias interrupters in your organization’s recruitment policy to ensure a safe and open working environment.
Enforce a Zero Tolerance Policy
Change comes from effort and recognition. Your Human Resources arm must take action against anyone involved in racism, or otherwise perpetuate a cycle of recurring issues. A zero-tolerance policy must be consolidated and circulated among employees. This policy should include the responsibilities of team members, reporting, objectives, disciplinary actions, and termination.
According to the 2022 STAATUS Index, one in five Americans holds Asians at least partially accountable for the propagation of COVID-19. This mindset needs to be changed and strategies must be put into action to counter said bias.
Whether adopting new workplace policies or working cooperatively with a staffing agency in Austin that specializes in non-biased recruiting, it is your responsibility as an employer to lead by example.