Importance of overcoming Asian American stereotypes

Neighbor took care of her mother after grandfather was taken by FBI Her grandfather was pressured to teach Japanese Camp stories impact on her career Japanese American identity Importance of overcoming Asian American stereotypes Challenges faced by female judges Becoming first AA State Bar President in California Receiving support from Sonia Sotomayer to run for the bench Advice to young lawyers

Transcripts available in the following languages:

Unfortunately, even though they think that you’re smart, and you’re hardworking, for them as a lawyer looking at a lawyer, the stereotype that we’re too quiet keeps them from being hired. And I used to think that sometimes they would say oh we’ll just put her in a room in the back and she’ll work real hard, but you can’t get in the door when people think you're not going to be sufficiently assertive, or be sufficiently articulate to be able to practice law. And when I coach a lot of women on...for mock interviews, for example, meeting people when they’re hoping to get a job, and I always tell them that’s what people are concerned about so you need to keep that conversation going, you need to make sure that they feel comfortable that you are sufficiently articulate.

And there is that in us where we say oh you know I don't have anything worthwhile to say, or my mother would always say "oh you know, I was so ashamed of you because you spoke up here, you shouldn’t have done that." And even though my mother was a very outspoken woman, she taught us that, and so getting over that and-and getting the feeling where you can speak up when it’s important and you can communicate with those in power is a lesson that a lot of Asian American women especially have to learn, but Asian Americans generally.

Date: July 11, 2019
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Kayla Tanaka
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Bar Association

Asian American communication lawyer stereotypes

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