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Asian American Xenophobia
Posted on Tuesday 5th May, 2020 | Views 985
Asian American Xenophobia
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Asian American Xenophobia

BY DIANE DEMPSEY
Director, Small Business Programs, Intelligence & Security

BAE Systems, Inc.

 

As we move forward in our strategy to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic, we should be conscious of our attitude toward its inception, spread, management and potential eradication.

Although fear and anger can affect how we manage our day to day life, we should be mindful that it can be very destructive, personally and professionally. In our professional lives we place value on the ability to identify a problem or challenge and resolve it. Finding and placing blame for failure or ignoring poor performance is not a good business practice. Implementing lean practices, leveraging technology and employing high performing talent are elements of success.  We often promote these tenets when advocating for minority businesses.

One of the terms embraced by Corporate America in the last decade has been Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).  For many corporations the D&I Program includes hiring practices focused on woman and people of color, affinity groups and supplier diversity programs. Supporting these programs has allowed corporations to broaden their talent pool and supply chain.  It is also considered an essential element of their business strategy. Industry surveys are frequently completed and achieving high scores for D&I surveys is often posted on corporate website landing pages.  

Bearing in mind that D&I is essential to business strategy, using terms such as the “Kung Flu” is counterproductive as was the label “Spanish Flu” for the Great Influenza Pandemic in 1918.  This is the basis for bias, creating anger and fear. This undermines our culture, society and ultimately our economy. This is the foundation of fascism, as recently cited by Brett Stevens a New York Times and MSNBC contributor. Leveraging fear and anger was and continues to be a tool for fascist regimes.

The Asian American Community has become the most recent target forhate speech and being stigmatized as being the cause of COVID-19, according to Stewart Kwoh, the founder of Asian-Americans Advancing Justice. He also underscored how Asian Americans are on the front lines of combating COVID-19. “They are researchers, health care providers and first responders working in virus hot spots and our communities, every day.”

The Dalai Lama also spoke on COVID-19, urging people to focus on “what unites us as members of one human family. Accordingly, we need to reach out to each other with compassion. As human beings, we are all the same. We experience the same fears, the same hopes, the same uncertainties, yet we are also united by a desire for happiness. Our human capacity to reason and to see things realistically gives us the ability to transform hardship into opportunity,” he said. 

The Dalai Lama went on to say that the pandemic “and its consequences serve as a warning” and that “only by coming together in a coordinated, global response, will we meet the unprecedented magnitude of the challenges we face.”

In an era of tremendous stress on both family and business, we must move forward in a positive and productive manner. World economists recognize that technology, transportation and communication were the foundations for our global economy. They are also being used to manage and mitigate the COVID-19 Pandemic. We can all play a role in our recovery, by being open, flexible and positive.

 
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