Dear Minorities, Use Racism As Motivation For Achieving Financial Independence

If you're a minority, then I encourage you to use racism as motivation to build more wealth and achieve financial freedom sooner. The sooner you can build a passive income portfolio that covers your basic living expenses, the sooner you'll be free!

When I was a kid, I used to be very combative when it came to fighting racism. Part of the reason had to do with attending international schools in Asia until I was 14.

Kids from all over the world can get pretty nasty towards each other along racial lines, even though you'd think the opposite might happen in a diverse group.

I took up martial arts and learned ways to cripple my opponents in a fight if necessary. It's just in my personality to stick up for myself and others, even if it means going to the hospital or jail. 

Use Racism As Motivation To Get Better

It's easy to dismiss racism as no big deal if you're not a minority. You don't experience the same slights, perceived or otherwise, that frequently come your way. It happens at work, or in the grocery store, or on an airplane, or when you're standing in line anywhere minding your own business.

Over time you become inured to the insults, but the sting never goes away. It just gets buried. You move on.

Now that I'm an adult who has gone through the system to finally have enough to live life on my own terms, people have stopped pissing me off as much.

I don't have to kiss someone's ass to get ahead, nor do I have to sacrifice any shred of dignity to make more money. I've really got nothing to complain about, so I don't.

But when I see bullshit incidences like when a white woman called the cops on a black man after he simply asked her to leash her dog in Central Park, that pisses me off.

Use Discrimination As Fuel For Greater Grit And Determination

These types of situations keep happening over and over again. We need to make our voices heard. We need to share our experiences. And we need to make people accountable for their actions.

I don't know what it's like to be a black man living in America, but I do want to share some perspective on what life is like as an Asian minority living in America. Racism was a big reason why I decided to save so much and aggressively work on my passive income streams.

The desire to be beholden to no one was and still is a huge motivating factor.

I hope by sharing my experiences with racism others will share their own experiences as well. Ultimately, I hope to encourage those with racist tendencies to realize how much their actions hurt others so they can finally stop.

Every single hateful encounter I experience offline or online is from someone who has something difficult going on with their financial or personal lives. I believe that if more people at least can get their financial lives in order, some of their hate for others will slowly melt away.

Example Of Racism That Provided Me Max Motivation

My first experience with racism started in the 4th grade at Taipei American School. We aways had an “Americans” vs. “Chinese” soccer game during recess.

The issue was I was American, but of Asian ethnicity. “Americans” was really a code word for white, which included my white European classmates. So weird to cultivate a divide so early on.

Even though we were in Taiwan, Asians were called derogatory names on the pitch by non-Asians at Taipei American School all the time. There was a fight every single week.

One time I was tripped by a white German kid who proceeded to then stand over me and taunt me with racial slurs. I swept his legs from underneath him, stomped my heel into his solarplex and he laughed no longer. We both had to face the wall during the next recess.

Another time in the 7th grade at the International School Of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I was minding my own business shooting hoops during recess when a white kid proceeded to pick up my ball, punt it across the outdoor court for no reason and yell a slur.

I furiously told him to get the ball, and when he refused I punched his eardrum with an open hand. He went to the nurse's office because he said he lost his haring. He later apologized as did I.

Fighting Back Against Racism Was Part Of Life

I was able to fight back as a kid because all of us were more or less the same size. Starting in high school, it got much harder to fight back because I stopped growing but the bullies kept getting larger and larger. Some even brought knives to school.

But even with a size differential, I still fought back and got suspended for a couple days after getting into a fight with this one fella three inches taller and 40 pounds heavier. He had pushed me over while tying my shoe before class started. A cheap shot for sure, so I punched him in the face, crushing his glasses into his eyes in the process.

The head of security, who also happened to be my varsity tennis coach was called over to escort us to the principal's office. We were both suspended for a couple days.

When I was working my first craptastic job in high school at McDonald's, my Latino colleagues and I were constantly berated by a white manager for speaking Spanish.

I was in my fourth year of taking Spanish and would practice all I could with native speakers while I made those quarter pounders. “Shut up all of you! Stop speaking Spanish and making the customers feel uncomfortable. This is America!” he'd yell at us. Such verbal abuse for $4 an hour just wasn't worth it.

Below is an example of the occasional racist comments I receive on Financial Samurai.

Example of online racism I receive

Racism Continued Throughout College In Virginia

During college in the south, I was having a midnight snack with my girlfriend at Denny's, of all places, when four white offensive linemen came in mid-meal and sat in the booth next to us.

They told us to “Get the fuck out of here you chinks” or else they'd beat me and my girlfriend up. My girlfriend was half white, half Asian and absolutely beautiful.

She grew up in Abingdon, Virginia and told me she experienced racial hate as well. The KKK would occasionally send her family white supremacist propaganda. Given there were four massive dudes threatening us at Denny's, all we could do was leave. But believe me, I would have gladly taken one on in a fair fight to defend our honor.

In another incident, I pulled over to a gas station while driving home from college in Virginia. I was waiting in line to use the bathroom when some white guy said, “Hey! Can't you read English? The door is open you dummy!”

I turned around and told him calmly, “There's someone in there you idiot. The lock is broken.” He backed off, but then started grumbling your usual racist terms under his breadth when I walked inside.

Experiencing Racism While Working In Finance

At work one time, I remember several of my white colleagues make fun of a female managing director's voice after a conference call because she was of Indian decent. They kept ripping on her accent and bobbing their heads side to side, laughing.

None of them had ever been to India before and none of them were as senior in title as me. It was extremely frustrating to witness such disrespect to a colleague, especially since they acted all cordial towards her in person when she came to visit.

But what was I supposed to do? Raise a fuss on a Wall Street trading floor and get targeted every time I'd walk into the office? I told one of the mockers to take his next trip to Asia to gain some perspective. He didn't like that.

Racism Experienced By Military Vets

My grandfather and father told me about the racism they endured while serving in the US military in World War II, Vietnam, and the US foreign service. What kind of crock of shit is that to get disrespected while serving your country due to race?

I'm sure it would have hurt them to hear how I got made fun of or bullied due to our race growing up. So instead, I fought back and kept quiet.

Experiencing racial discrimination is extremely annoying because our ethnicity is what we are born with. It can get exhausting to have to deal with this constant judgement based on your race.

I am proud of my heritage, but when somebody is pointing a gun to your face it's best to back down and live to fight another day. Please pick and choose who you do battle with. If you're not ready, be patient. Your time will come.

Dear Minorities, Use Racism As Motivation To Achieve Financial Freedom Every Day
Never forget the past

Keep Working For Your Freedom

I remember one high school teacher tell me that racism is just the way things are. He said, “Get used to it. Work harder than the rest and you'll be fine.”

I carried this spirit with me all throughout college and to this day, despite having enough. Every day, I still get up at 5 am to do some writing by 8:30 am for three hours before spending the next 8-12 hours taking care of my children. I made a promise in July 2009 when I started Financial Samurai to write three times a week for 10 years and I did.

Several years ago, I decided to give over 500 rides for Uber to understand the platform, get to know people's stories, and make sure I don't take anything I have for granted. When you got out there and servicing other people for close to minimum wage, it is very humbling. The more you can learn about other people's backgrounds, the better.

After living in a minority majority city like San Francisco since 2001, I sometimes believe that everybody now lives in racial harmony. But then something terrible happens, such as the rise in AAPI hate since the pandemic began in 2020. Then I'm remind that we've got a long way to go to stamp out racism.

Academics Is The Main Way Out For Asians

The main way I knew how to compete was through academics. There was no Americans vs. Chinese in academics like on the pitch in elementary school. There was no physical competition either, except for the ability to make your brain focus for extended periods of time.

Academics was a level playing field where I strongly believed that if I tried my best, there would be a positive reward in the end. Academics was the main way towards eventual freedom.

Every time I felt like not studying, I'd remind myself about all the racial putdowns in order to keep on going. I was keenly aware of the lack of Asian role models in the media, in politics, in sports, or in leadership positions at large corporations.

Asians have to blaze our own trail because we couldn't rely on anybody like us to hook us up. Things are slowly becoming more diverse, but there's still a lot of work to be done.

More examples of racism on the internet
Another example of racism I receive

Instead of giving up when things get ugly, we can turn things around. For example, we can use discrimination as fuel to beat the competition and keep on going no matter what.

The Immigrant Mindset

Immigrants come to America for more opportunities. I firmly believe the reason why there are so many immigrant success stories is because they have a better appreciation of this country. They also have more perspective.

Immigrants have seen great poverty, extreme nepotism, and dilapidated infrastructures that rob them of progress. I hope more people can travel internationally and learn to speak more languages.

Even though it might sound unfair that one must “work twice as hard to get half as much,” it's a much better alternative than complaining or having no opportunities at all.

Heck, let me work 4X as much to get an equal amount as others so that my kids can have a better chance.

Even today, I get hounded every so often by the Internet Retirement Police or random internet trolls who try and dictate the way I should live my life. Instead of kneeling on my neck, they just like to constantly harass me and others.

The IRP remind me of the same type of people I encountered growing up trying to put me in my place due to my race. And they remind me of the privileged Amy Coopers of the world who take things too far because they lack the self-esteem and the security to love themselves first.

There Is No Real Safety Net In America


There is a continuous level of anxiety in various Asian cultures in America that we must amass wealth because we can't count on anybody to take care of us — not the government, nor our employers. Only our family will be there to help us through the tough times.

The savings rate in China, India, and Japan are over 25% compared to the average savings rate in America of ~6%. Such savings rates carry over to Asian American immigrants as well because money is our safety net. I personally saved over 50% of my after-tax income for 13 years after college partly because I knew I wasn't going to be able to last in my finance job for the rest of my life.

I was a minority working for a minority product in a satellite office. My career was capped. Was it sad to think that being a Director (one level above VP and one level below MD) was as high as I could go? Sort of. But I got over it, like I get over so many realities in life.

I could have tried to relocate to Hong Kong, New York, or London to battle for ascension, but I decided I had enough. Entrepreneurship is a better way to test your mettle. In the end, I felt like I had beat the system because I was able to negotiate a severance that paid for over five years of living expenses.

Keeping Fighting For Your Right To Be Free

If you've ever been discriminated against based on your race, sex, age, religion or the way you look, just know that you're not alone. Plenty of people get slapped around every day.

You can either take the insults lying down, or you can get up and get motivated to work harder and smarter than you've ever worked before. And when you have the right opportunity, fight back.

Whatever race you are, aggressively save a good portion of your income every year. Continuously learn about retirement strategies. Build as many sources of passive income as possible. Tell yourself that nobody is going to save you when you can no longer work. If you do these things, sooner or later, you will achieve financial freedom.

I may sound crazy for constantly fighting back against racists and injustices, but that's just my personality. If you mess with me, I will make you pay. I've learned over the years that if you don't fight back against bullies and racists, they will keep coming after you over and over again.

As your financial means grow, you will find more security. And if you develop a platform online, you will gain an even bigger weapon to fight back if anybody messes with you.

Racism is endemic in American society. We must make it stop.

Some follow up things to think about:

  • When you assume that everyone has an equal opportunity to get good grades and high college test scores. That is an incorrect assumption because not everybody has the financial means to pay for tutors or has two loving parents.
  • Don't assume that everyone has the equal opportunity to get ahead in the workplace when there are very few senior people who look like you. That is an incorrect assumption. People who are already in power tend to take care of people who look, talk, act, and have the same background as them.
  • When you assume someone has special talents, intelligence, or skills based on their race, that is a lazy assumption. Everybody is unique.
  • When all your friends look the same, talk the same, support the same people and believe in the same thing, it’s really hard to grow. Learn a new language. Travel. Make different types of friends.
  • When you paint an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, you are being ignorant. This is how dangerous stereotypes form.

Fight on and never surrender!

Related posts:

The Importance Of Feeling Consistently Uncomfortable For Personal Growth

Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord: A Story About Opportunity

An Asian-American's Perspective On Affirmative Action

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Photo Credit: Colleen Kong Savage

125 thoughts on “Dear Minorities, Use Racism As Motivation For Achieving Financial Independence”

  1. Excellent information and this demonstrates that the US is not a racist since Asian income is so high. Thanks for compiling the data.

      1. Excellent information and this demonstrates that the US is not a racist since Asian income is so high. Thanks for compiling the data.

        1. Ops – meant to say that the “US is not a racist country…” also, apologies for the double entry.

          1. And, don’ forget, not enough racism to keep Barack Obama from being elected twice as POTUS. Also, I would be curious to know if you have any data on how whites fare economically in Asian countries?

            Semper FI,

          2. Hey Sam – what happened to my comment regarding Obama being elected twice and how whites fare economically in Asian countries?

    1. Hey Luis,
      If a holocaust survivor become successful, does that mean they weren’t subject to racism?

      Also no need to sign every post with semper fi. No one cares

      1. Hi John,
        Making mention of the Holocaust is inappropriate in relation to the thread discussion that Sam and I were having – which pertains to per capita income in the US of Asians. As for “Semper Fi,” that’s how I end my correspondence and has nothing to do with whether anyone cares or not. Even to those who are rude, I still end a letter/email with “Semper Fi.”
        Semper Fi,

  2. I’m an Asian woman with an incredibly diverse family. My siblings and I were raised by a Black stepdad who was 6’4 semi-pro football player who married our mom and adopted us. He passed away a few years ago now, but growing up he was an amazing, wholesome dad who was fair, and loved us as his own. Today I’m married to a White man, my brother married a Black woman, and my sister married a Korean man. My nephews and nieces are a mix of Blacks, Whites, and Asians, and they all look ambiguous and very cute. My family is color-blind and I’m color-blind, which I’m very proud of, but the world does have its way of reminding me of my skin color. I always feel subtle racism even though I live in a majority-minority city like San Francisco, though usually it goes away once I open my mouth and start talking. But I have sensed racism when I worked at a tech company under all-White higher-ups, maybe even sexism, and living in my neighborhood with a couple of snobby White neighbors, though overtime I felt that awkwardness go away. It pops up all the time albeit subtly. When I get to a point where I finally have financial freedom, I plan on helping young people. I was really moved by watching “13” on Netflix. Although I know a lot of wonderful White people, there definitely some cold-hearted, numb ones out there.

  3. I sent a email but I want to see the sad site of racism at the same moment people are protesting a rioting because of racism.

    I have been a long term follower of yours and agree with your most recent letter in regards to police brutality and a lack of general respect for citizens from a ever more militarized police force. On a Macro level this is the story that we all are focused on.

    However there is racism that is going unreported. I sell wine all over chicago. And on the south and west sides of Chicago 800-1000 business have been looted or burned with 62 of my customers closed because of it on the back-end of Covid. Worst yet I am hearing from these owners that business in this area that are not black owned are no longer welcomed. But here is the big story not being told beyond the devastation of many of these first generation business owners losing everything. The majority of the small business owners are Indian, Pakastani, Latino, Arab, Palestinian, and African American. Very few of the business are white owned. These owners are facing racism from the black community because a portion of the community in BLM wish to force out other minority groups from owning business. You will find this on twitter in some of the more militant pages from a due diligence stand point but I am seeing it first hand. This is appalling that the main stream media is talking about one form of racism as another form of racism being done by factions of BLM movement at the same time. As I see this I can only ask why this keeps happening when we are a human race and Americans should have evolved beyond this by now. This is the first time in my 49 years that I have seen firsthand where the story being reported is not the full story, which after calling all my friends who say stories are chosen as a form of propaganda were cooks for many of thise years. The full story at least in Chicago is not being told.

    1. Very sad. Prejudice knows no boundaries, and it’s easy to succumb to it when your own community is hurting. There’s always more to a news story. I even hear anti-immigrant sentiment from immigrants themselves. Ugly part of being human that I hope we learn to recognize within ourselves and overcome.

    2. I was thinking this, as well — that your story would be discounted, Sam — as well as the Chicago story — because you’re not black. How could you experience racist attitudes and actions…

      I have heard this pounded over and over — that only black people face racism. This, after places at Seattle’s CHOP where white people weren’t allowed to go! They were called “decolonizing” spots.

      Sad but true.

      1. Black people don’t like non-black people because honestly, you guys continue to do stuff that hurts us. I moved all the way to Jamaica to avoid white people. I love my white friends from high school, and my implicit bias tests came out neutral, so this is not hatred. But as soon as I turned 18, and met people at work or elsewhere I became acutely aware of the fact that some of you guys are simply incorrigible racists. And I’m in my early 20s, so I can’t imagine what old people are like. Why should I be a second-class citizen in a country(Canada) with a shitty climate full of people who by my family’s standards are poor?
        It’s degrading and makes no sense to do if you can make money online.

        The Chicago/Seattle blacks are doing what I’m doing. They just don’t have an education or options. I’m not justifying but explaining the thought process behind a lot of what you see. White and black people are the most racist in North America as far as I can tell. But white racism affects many black people who are literally just normal people…EVERYWHERE.

    3. Jeff Callaway

      I grew up in a place called Compton, CA
      I returned in the ‘70’s
      as an assistant manager of the local supermarket. I was the only white employee and spoke enough Spanish.
      I grew up in numerous foster families. I had a “decent “ life, but experienced much of the same concerns expressed here. My black friends kept me safe and alive, but it was not easy.
      My point… it’s Not easy for many people, and it goes both ways. We grew up with bullies and jerks but never knew (blacks) were different. Our government created the differences once our nation was finally realizing there weren’t really any.

  4. I’m saddened after reading some of your “why’s”, Sam. You worked hard and now play to your own “fiddler”. Dont let the bastards wear you down!
    There are far more good people on this planet. Live your life and not someone else’s.

    Governor of Virginia just announced the the Lee monument in Richmond will be taken down ASAP. Change is happening. VOTE VOTE VOTE

  5. Sam,

    Thanks for the article. Like you, I carry a minority millstone around my neck but likely not as heavy as yours. For those of you who are not in a minority group, some of what you are reading and watching my be hard to relate to and rightly so as you may be able to try to understand it, unless it is you it is hard to comprehend. Empathy from the majority is a great way to try to get a feel for how it is. Sam, as you well know, some minority groups are a lot easier to visually identify than others and for those most identifiable, likely that their millstone weighs the most and for those who may not understand this, spend a few days wearing a 100lb weighted vest (literally) and see how it makes you feel physically. Certainly not remotely close to the burden of racism but at least a bit tangible. Once you complete the exercise, imagine what life would be like if the vest were 250 lbs.

    Save as much money as you can as early in your life as possible. Even if you are not comfortable investing, put it in a CD so it works for you while you sleep. As a professor once told me, money provides you the freedom to allow you to choose with whom you wish to associate.

    Final thought – children live what they learn

  6. Sam, I am so sorry for the racism you’ve experienced. It makes me incredibly sad.

    Great post & what a great way to fight back by saving for financial independence.

    1. Thank you Deanna. All these memories get suppressed, but they immediately bubble up to the surface whenever I see a new racial atrocity get committed. It is like never ending PTSD that I’m sure many minorities experience.

      It is Unfortunate we have to go through this, especially since our parents and grandparents and grandparents have already been fighting for so long so that we can live a better life.

      I know there is progress being made, but there’s still so much to do.

      1. I can only imagine how the recent racial atrocities bring these memories back to the surface. While I haven’t suffered from racism, I have suffered from haunting memories from drug abuse, childhood, etc. and know what it’s like when they surface.

        Yes, there is much to do, no doubt.

  7. Dear Sam,

    Thank you for being you.
    Thank you for all you do.
    Thank you for making this world a better place.


  8. Speaking as an African, our concern is not just for our own selves. A number of us are already sufficiently financially comfortable and still very unhappy with what goes on everyday. We are concerned for the weakest, poorest and most vulnerable in our communities. Its they who have daily encounters with the police due to their life circumstances. Until THEY are treated with respect and dignity, making more money for myself doesn’t really matter. Yes with more money I can turn a blind eye to a lot of the BS I’d otherwise have to deal with but I don’t think that’s the point.

    The poor will always be amongst us, the question is what do we need to do to ensure they are treated with respect and not casually strangled to death? I think the save yourself mentality is both selfish and dangerous. People protesting in the streets are protesting the murder of a man they never met.

    By the way, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and had no idea of your Asian heritage. I think that’s a great thing as race should not be relevant.

    1. No empathy for criminals. Celebrating degenerates does not make a good case for “racial equity”.

      1. I have to push back hard on this Dave. I lived in a ghetto for a bit (on my own after high school, working and partying) and went to a high-end private school in NYC($40k+ a year, real 1 percenter shit). The police mostly prosecute low-level drug crimes in ghettos. And when it comes to drug use and possession it is FAR more prevalent in the rich schools. However, they are unpunished! My friend got caught with a lot of hard drugs in high school, by police. Not a day in jail, no arrest record. Additionally, lots of these kids’ parents/grandparents run Ponzi schemes, tax scams, and all types of crazy shit. If even caught, probation or maybe a few months. Racial and wealth privilege is a sliding scale hierarchy. And poor blacks are treated the worst of all. People like you and I are not randomly searched all the time by police. I’m sure you might have smoked a joint in highschool…Imagine what your life would be like if you were caught.

  9. I’m a white woman who is financially independent. My parents raised me to always pay myself first, pay cash for everything except a home, ignore the Jones’, work hard, and get educated. I’m sorry that you’ve encountered many instances of racism from white people. Let’s not forget that racism affects many as I read black people wishing to kill all whites during this heinous faux protest. Indians discriminate against darker skinned Indians. Chinese put Uyghers in concentration camps. Racism has and always will be present. We can at least hope to model good behavior and hope that things are better for future generations.

    1. Your response is one of the reasons why the term “Karen” has come about for privileged white woman.

      People are experiencing racism and sharing their stories about racism and all you have to say is nothing and that there’s racism everywhere.

      What happened to you and people like you and Amy Cooper etc?

      1. As an Asian man myself – I can say that Asians are some of the most racist people in the world. We’re racist to each other – mainland Chinese vs. Hong Kong for instance. We as Maria mentioned discriminate against Uygher Muslim Chinese in China. Americans (whites) are the most tolerant in the world. If you don’t like it here – you can go back to whatever culture you’re from and see how your own people practice tolerance (hint: they don’t).

        Fun facts: 1) There were more slaves to South America than to North America. Only 400,000 slaves came to America. 99.999% of Americans’ and their descendants were not slave owners.
        2) There were millions of Europeans that were slaves in the Barbary slave trade to Africa.
        3) There were millions of slaves to the Middle East. Islam condones slavery and is codified in it.
        4) Slavery is still practiced in Africa, parts of Middle East, and South Asia today.

        Western culture has been the only one to formally proclaim slavery is wrong. Western culture also proclaimed the right to free speech, and freedom to practice religion. Good luck doing that in Pakistan, or China, or anywhere in Africa, or Middle East.

        As far as the Ahmaud Arbery event in Georgia – the man was “jogging” in Timberland shoes and had made multiple night time trespasses on that property. Had a previous record for criminal activity (stole a big TV from walmart, carried a gun on school premises and injured an officer while fleeing, etc.). In the video where two men that were doing a civilian’s arrest- Ahmaud lunged after the guy with the shotgun.

        Now as far as the Minnesota death. It is certainly sad that it happened – but I don’t believe it was racist in nature. It is actually police policy in Minnesota to allow putting force on the knee even though it’s wrong. This was an example more of incompetence by the police officer. Wouldn’t make sense in a crowd of people recording to blatantly do a racist action. The autopsy showed that it wasn’t even suffocation that caused death – it was a pre-existing cardiac condition (and likely exacerbated by drugs George Floyd had been taking) – and the knee to the neck didn’t do anything. Now looking at George Floyd’s previous history – he was not an angel by any means. He had a long record of criminal activity including breaking into a woman’s house – holding a gun to her stomach at gunpoint, and threatening to kill her. He may have served his time, but he was certainly not an outstanding individual.

        Now as far as these riots are concerned. Why is it that whenever blacks feel anger about something they loot, and steal from their own communities? I have not seen any other racial group behave like this to the degree the black community has. In the Hong Kong protests, protesters were civil and obedient. No looting or rioting.

        As far as racial profiling goes – well, African Americans are what 13% of the population and commit 50% of the crime in this country every year. Black on other race crimes are much higher than any other group.

        In Minnesota, I am reminded of two major incidents that happened recently.

        1) At the Mall of America, a black man threw a white baby over a balcony. Where were the riots for that?
        2) A Somalian police officer in Minnesota shot an innocent white women. No riots for that.

        There is a simple solution to blacks not getting “targeted” by the cops or by the justice system. They need to solve the problem of violence in their own communities. In America, blacks already get a tremendous amount of assistance via government assistance programs (welfare, food stamps, government subsidized housing, etc.) – but black communities, in fact almost 70% of black households are single mother. Compare to Asian households which are 15% single mother. These are decisions and responsibilities that the black community has to figure out and not point fingers on others.

          1. Maria – So you’re the person who shouts back “All Lives Matter” when you see a Black Lives Matter sign. You just don’t get it as a white woman and the other Karens of the world. You and Fei Xu are perfect for each other.

            1. Simple Andy,

              You can be *for* civil rights without mindlessly parroting trademarked, race-baity rallying cries. Please think more critically next time.

        1. Sorry you are a racist Asian man. You ned to focus on yourself and do better instead of pointing out all other areas of racism.

        2. I agree with you. Looting/rioting & property damage is not the answer in the black community. Saving, earning more, & frugality are the correct answer.

          1. I’ll pass your message on at the next meetup. I don’t understand how you people think that the “black community” is a thing. What do I have to do with these people? I’m black, dark-skinned, but pretty much 40% white if u look at my french great grandfathers. Some African Americans think I’m mixed with Hispanic or Indian. There are Asian people, Muslims, and white people in my family, and it’s rare for people in our family not to earn 6 figures, in any country we move to. But I move to new york and now I’m signed up for this “black community” of bullshit and poverty????

    2. You may or may not be right that racism exists everywhere. (Actually history proves you’re wrong but let’s put that aside for a moment.)

      However, until we start seeing videos of white men being casually strangled by black police officers OR videos of the police shooting down unarmed white men in the street – you will be living in denial to conclude that the problem is not hugely in your favour as a “white” woman.

      I suppose to live in denial is favourable to admitting an entire life of unmerited privilege or perhaps even admitting an inherently inhumane disposition.

      1. If casual strangulation and gun-downs of poor, innocent black men is what you see, you might need to get your eyes checked, sir, or at least approach these topics more objectively. Leave your race at the door before you start poring over crime stats. The truth just might surprise you.

  10. Hey Sam – important topic. Let me say first that I am a middle-aged white conservative catholic, that typically takes a very measured approach to charges of sexism, racism and the overall idea that success is reserved for the already privileged.

    That stated, what I saw on video of the events in Minneapolis, was a horrific, blatant murder of an innocent man. Was it racism? Very likely, especially in light of the fact that the officer apparently knew George Floyd, and it sure seems like he realized he had an opportunity to kill him and “get away with it” as he always had before. Derek Chauvin has a hot-head history, and it sure seems that he should have been run out of the force long before before he actually killed someone. Unfortunately for George Floyd and indeed the entire nation. That did not happen.

    With regard to the idea of pervasive racism, I believe it does in fact exist, but not quite in the way most people assume. I believe racism is in fact a basic foundational condition of every human culture, and only through concerted effort, and societal focus can we together keep racist behavior at bay. I degreed in socio-cultural anthoroplogy (ironically a social science itself founded in a stew of racism of 19th century European).

    I’ve certainly seen countless acts of racism both personally and through the lens of media over the decades, and racism (tribalism) knows no color, or ethnic limitations. If you are perceived to be a minority, wherever you may be in the world, and if you are perceived to be an outsider, and if you are perceived to be weak, you will likely be victimized at some point in some sort of racist attack, when the opportunity presents itself to the perpetrator. Good be a minor event, or it could be a drastic event.

    It’s happened to me, it’s happened to my wife, it’s happened to many of my friends and colleagues, regardless of their race, religion, creed, or ethnicity.

    What happened to George Floyd is repugnant to me and I can only pray for his peace, and for the peace of his loved ones.

    What’s happening in response to George Floyd is understandable, but also repugnant and tragic. Ultimately more innocents will be hurt, and killed in this civil unrest and mob insanity.

    1. “As a white conservative catholic man…”

      Sure. Just like those “As a black man…” commenters that take the stereotypical view of a white conservative catholic. Haha.


  11. Linda McCormick

    Thank you for writing this. We need more people to say ENOUGH. The US is rudderless and its time to say No More.

  12. “I firmly believe the reason why there are so many immigrant success stories is because they have so much perspective”

    You hit the nail on the head, Sam! Growing uo in China and hearing from my dad about the cultural Revolution and famine has given me so much perspective.

    Sorry to hear about all the racism you experienced–I’m so shocked that it even happened in Taiwan and Malaysia. As progressive as Canada is, I’ve also experienced racism. “You face is so flat.” “Go back to the toilet where you came from” “you got rich because you have a loaded Hong Kong daddy”. Those are some of the things people have said to me over the years. Luckily no one has physically tried to hurt me but I use the racism to drive me, as you did. Thank you for writing this article.

  13. I never knew you were Asian! Taiwanese?

    I am too, as an academic in Australia. I can identify with some of the problems you had growing up, but never to that extent.

    Thank you for sharing your path!

  14. Kinda late to comment but I might as well do so.

    I was fortunate to not face much racism growing up as an Indian dude, and this was in a conservative state of all places! Other than a few casual jokes, most people were impartial towards me due to my ethnic background. I am going to share how modern day racism is different.

    One thing I noticed growing up but never thought much of was how I saw so many interracial couples involving white men with women of all races but hardly any interracial couples involving white women, especially the better looking ones, with men of various races (especially not Asian or Indian). Well, after months of going out to bars, talking to various kinds of women, and having a great fun time in life I met this beautiful Danish blonde. We had a few flings and then decided to make it long term, dating each other.

    Now it was then that I realized how bad racism truly is.

    My coworkers at work were saying comments such as “what’s wrong with Indian girls?”.

    Guys who were impartial towards me were now being hostile towards me as soon as they heard of me with my girlfriend and saw our photos on social media.

    We would go out to eat, sleazy guys (usually white) would hit on her right in front of me and when we ignored them some of them would start talking loudly in Indian accents to get under my skin.

    I remember one time we were sitting down eating together and these two white guys, looked like blue collar country boy types, literally came into our booth and one of them put their hands on my girlfriend’s thighs. My girlfriend told the loser to go away, he simply said “damn feisty”, I replied saying “no just not interested”, he replied saying “who are you to say mustafa?”, she replied saying “my boyfriend now go away”. Luckily one of the workers who knew the clown by name told him to get lost as she was close to his mother it seems but still, talk about an experience. The guy’s friend was the one who brought the attention to us the whole time when he shouted “go back to your country boy!” a million times.

    You want to see the nasty side of the modern day racist male, try being a minority dating a beautiful white woman (even worse if she is a blonde, the racists hate it when we mess with the “pure” ones). Now it was then that I learned the nature of some of these modern day racists. The modern day racist doesn’t care if the Asian or Indian guy gets a nice paying job, moves up the corporate ladder, or makes a ton of money because he can always rationalize it by saying “I bet he can’t get hot girls because all Asian and Indian men are small down there”.

    Racists in America have coping mechanisms.

    It’s okay that Asians can make big bucks and work hard, they’re still weird and “our women” will still not want anything to do with them. We are still going to fuck “their women” while “our women” will laugh at them, that’s okay, let them make all the money they want, they still aren’t good enough for “our women”. Then you have cases like my girlfriend and I happening, talk about an experience.

    Then the second the same women these people worshiped end up being out with an Asian guy, the David Duke in them will come out.

    1. Wow. Just wow. I can’t even imagine this! I’m a white, blonde woman, and until recently was single for years. I’ve literally dated everyone under the sun and never experienced what you’ve experienced. Maybe it’s because I live in a big city where interracial couples are normal. I probably see just as many interracial couples as I do same race couples. It never seems like an issue here. I’m so sorry you experienced that.

  15. Smartest Woman on the Internet

    “…when the KKK would incessantly send her family white supremacist propaganda…”

    I call B.S. This never happened. For all intents and purposes, the KKK has been defunct for over 50 years. The last remaining “KKK members” are government informants all spying and snitching on one another.

    1. Seema Maheshwari

      What BS, there are numerous white supramists who have used KKK hoods and hoods to intimidate minorities. Your smartest woman on the internet is a misnomer.

    2. No, unfortunately, they were alive and well in a neighboring town where I grew up. My brother moved to that town briefly, and his neighbor used to hang his Klan uniform on the line outside to dry. My brother was shocked. We always knew they existed, but not so openly. Once a year they would petition to demonstrate in my town and permission was always granted. When I asked my parents why such awful people could be granted permission, they said it was the result of living in a free country where we were free to speak our minds. Just because you don’t like what someone says doesn’t mean they can’t say it, but you don’t have to agree. I was advised to ignore them and stay away.

      Sadly, even as recently as 2005 they were still chasing interracial couples out of town. I’ve moved away, so I don’t know what happens there now.

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  19. One difficulty that minorities can face is finding a community that we can fit in. I found good jobs on the East Coast (MA) and love the work, but find myself marginalized by the community here, and racism by the native population is palpable. So my life is all work now – that helps greatly on the financial side, but I’ve become a social hermit as a consequence and don’t expect to have friends by the end of my career. Pretty sad, actually, :) But I’d like to think I’m laying a solid financial foundation for my descendants. That’s my excuse.

    As an Asian minority I’d like to move back to California where I feel more comfortable blending in, but the cost of living is just as high and opportunity for well-paying position is much lower than here. Maybe inland cities like Sacramento may be “close enough”, but it’s not exactly a nice place either. I’m well off, but not crazy Bay Area rich like Mr. Samurai.

    A white guy would probably not feel as constrained in the places to retire, as there are a lot of choices in the more rural regions (like CO) and be able to stretch his dollar and feel comfortable living there.

    I’m thinking about traveling the country to find what could be a sweet spot for an Asian family to retire in – any clues about cities to visit?

  20. Experienced racism: Absolutely, by seeing it first hand through some family members (decades ago, but they’ve since changed their attitude about it), not to mention one time watching a meeting of the KKK at a local Burger King – fast food joint – where as I left, I walked over to them and told them how limited their views were.
    Experienced “reverse” racism: Yes on this one too. A long-time friend of 25+ years, who is African-American is the one that actually pointed it out to me because he was hired for a job that both of us were going for and he stated to me that he knew we were both well qualified for the job, but due to his skin color and the lack thereof in the environment we were interviewing for, he believed that was the final factor in their choice to hire him.

    1. The KKK is actually very, VERY intimidating for many minorities. Where you can go up to them and tell them how you feel, many minorities would walk the other way in fear of being beat up, robbed, or killed. So sadly, the KKK with their fires and hoods have done a good job in scaring the crap out of many people.

  21. For the most part, racism that is experienced in the work place is subtle and hard to prove. Reasons can bet attributed to a million little things that people can nitpick apart. Racism can be as simple as people not as likely to want to go out of their way to network with you, which may not actually be attributed directly to your race, but your race is a compounding factor along with other factors. Since most jobs are filled through networking the results can be pretty dramatic.

  22. Sam,

    I kind of figured you preferred San Francisco because of the heavy Asian population.

    I was actually out in Manhatten yesterday (Chelsea and Midtown). Haven’t been to Manhatten in many years. So, what do I think?

    Well…. I saw the same level of diversity there as I have seen in most other large American cities.

    I’m not quite sure I understand the media’s obsession with Donald Sperling. He’s a very old white guy. He grew up in a far different era, and it was a private conversation. That doesn’t make it right…… I’m just pointing out that Mr. Sperling is part of a rapidly dying demographic. I guess society advances one funeral at a time.

    I’m very optimistic about the younger generations! The millenials are so much more open and comfortable with ethnic/religion/family differences.

  23. Often, racism is generational, but Sterling is just acting stupid! There are all forms of discrimination which goes on in very subtle ways. The best revenge is success! It some ways it is like martial arts, you use leverage to overpower bigger, stronger opponents.

  24. I’ll be in London end of June and will report back any findings! I would have to imagine that London is as old school as it gets. But given the incredible diversity in London, like NYC, I would think there’s a lot of harmony. Glad you’ve never had to deal with racism!

  25. Wow! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Sam. It was a captivating read. As despicable as the racism you experienced was, it has probably helped you get where you are today. “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

    I have experienced gender bias, but I’ve fought for my compensation until I thought it was fair, although we never really know, do we?

    I just experienced ignorance on a comment made on my blog this weekend, which I had to respond to in defense of my family member. I tried to not let it inflame me but had to respond in a meaningful manner and not let it go. “Keep calm and carry on.”

  26. It’s great that you were able to use your experience with racism as one of the motivating factors for your success. However an earlier commenter mentioned, I think many incidents were actually just soft form of bullying. Since one’s race is an obvious differentiating factor, it’s easy to pick it as a target. True racism exists in society everywhere, but I truly believe U.S. is by far the least racist country in the world.

    As for Sterling’s comments, I’m a bit perplexed why so many people are appalled by it. I’ve heard many people of all races, ages, and genders who’ve said similar or worse things and still hold those types of racists views. What troubles me more is that no one seems to be bothered by the fact that someone’s private conversation which was secretly recorded and “accidentally leaked” to the media by another private party(not law enforcement investigating a crime) can be used to legally punish someone by the NBA. I guess in the end, money talks, and NBA doesn’t want to lose $$ in terms of sponsorship. Finally, Sterling gf isn’t attractive. She looks cheap and one of Tiger’s mistress types.

    1. If you call someone a racial slur, where I come from, that is racist. Where do you come from and what ethnicity are you?

      Also, I wouldn’t be so dismissing of Sterling’s comments if you talk to your black friends about the subject, unless you no longer want to have your friends. His comments were EXTREMELY offensive and dispiriting.

      1. I’m Asian, Korean to be exact, and have lived in U.S since 15. Everyone’s experience with racism is different and perhaps it’s because I lived as a non minority in a very homogeneous society for most of my adolescence, I’m less offended by non institutional forms of it compared to someone who grew up as a minority for all or most of their lives. In my experience in America, I’ve found most people of all ethnicity at one point have said very racists things or have made broad generalizations in private conversations. As for Sterling, it’s very true that black people would find his comments very offensive, but most blacks at the same time have said racist things about other people too, especially towards many Asians. I know Chinese people who grew up in Oakland who were constantly harassed by blacks, including being called racist names and dislike certain blacks(hip hop looking types) as a result, but still believe that’s mostly form of bullying(which isn’t any better). As one commenter mentioned, bully’s pick on those whom they perceive as easy targets.

  27. I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced racism or sexism. However, I know for a fact that both exist. In my experience, there are a LOT of closet racists out there. I have had people say crazy racist things to me because I’m white and they think I’ll agree.

    I think it’s great when people can use racism as motivation to do better for themselves. That’s really all you can do other than continuing to fight for what is right. Unfortunately, ignorance often dies a slow death.

  28. Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth

    I grew up in a poor, mainly white, Irish-Catholic area. Little girls can be viscous; You couldn’t pay me enough to repeat grade school! They would search for anything that made you different, and then ruthlessly attack until they found a new target.

    I went to a Lutheran college out of state, which was definitely an interesting experience. Most everyone there was Christian, and I didn’t see a big difference with the Catholic church I was raised in (which was very Liberal, and not at all strict to the Catholic teachings). But I was definitely made aware that people weren’t fond of Catholics, and my Southern-Baptist friend often told me “If you’re going to tell people you’re Catholic, you should at least say you’re non-practicing”. Which I found odd, since she didn’t say she was “non-practicing Southern-Baptist”, nor did others identify as “non-practicing Lutheran”, regardless of whether or not they went to church.

    I’ve experienced a LOT of sexism in the workplace; It’s really hard to be a woman and be in a position of authority. It seems as a woman in management, I was always being accused of being a bitch, or too soft, or overly dramatic. I could fire an employee for a major violation, and still find myself having to defend against having a “personal problem” with the individual. My motivations were always in question, and I was always held to a different standard than my male peers. And yet, to this day, most of my ex-bosses still tell me what a wonderful manager I was, and how they’d love to have me back. Huh? I intentionally avoid any management type careers now, which is very limiting professionally.

    1. Very interesting feedback on religion. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t realize Christianity was so segregated.

      Sexism in the workplace is rampant. Imagine Wall St. culture.

      I added this portion into the post after the e-mail was sent and the post was published,

      “At work one time, I remember several of my colleagues make fun of a female managing director’s voice after a conference call because she was of Indian decent. They kept ripping on her accent and bobbing their heads side to side, laughing. None of them had ever been to India before and none of them were as senior in title. It was extremely frustrating to witness such disrespect to a colleague, especially since they acted all cordial towards her in person when she came to visit. But what was I supposed to do? Raise a fuss on a Wall Street trading floor and get targeted every time I’d walk into the office? I told one of the mockers to take his next trip to Asia to gain some perspective. He didn’t like that.”

    2. I grew up Caucasian, Catholic in the Bible belt. Some kids weren’t allowed to play with me. Some even said, I couldn’t go to heaven, and that I had horns on my head. And yes, little girls can be terribly mean. Unfortunately I was a terrible fighter.
      I went to Korea in 1979 for the trip of a lifetime. I wanted to experience another culture. I fell in love, he fell in love. My father said, NO. No because we don’t have mixed races in our family.
      Enter the 2019 Dna test.
      Its good dad and mom have passed. Boy would they be surprised. My ancestors really got around.
      Lesson learned, if your father says, No and your in love, Go for it. Racism will be with us for longer than we want. But our life is fleeting, and too short not to be with the one you love.
      He and I are back together in our senior years. Do we get those direct stares? Sure. I just look at him and kiss him. White woman with Asian guy. If people don’t like it, to hell with em’

  29. Amen.

    I’m the most ‘majority’ you can get – white male. Went to school where it was 85 percent African American. Not complaining and while there was discrimination, it was nothing compared to what any minority feels.

    I love this article. Most of my friends are of foreign decent and I’ve never understood hating people because of where they came.

    If you’re going to judge a person, do it based on their actions.

    Regardless I think everyone relates to this article because we’ve all been discriminated against for different reasons. (Reverse Agism (actually a thing here in Florida), size, race, accent, mental ability, etc.)

  30. Good for you approaching this topic. I am surprised that you addressed this topic since it can be a divisive issue alienating those not on the receiving end.

    1. I thought about whether this article would offend anybody before publishing. And I came to the conclusion that the only people this personal story would offend would be people who condone racism and discrimination, whom I wouldn’t want as readers anyway.

      1. Kristin Wong

        That’s great, Sam. This brought back some not-so-nice memories for me, but you made it really inspiring. I enjoyed the read. I do think things are getting better, but sometimes I just think racism is less blatant. It’s still there, but it’s insidious, and that can be dangerous. Because where I come from, some people flat out don’t believe it’s still a problem.

  31. A great article that I completely agree with.

    As a white female, I have really never encountered racism. I have encountered a great deal of sexism in my work place (IT for corporate, industrial and public offices), however. You and I both share the same spirit that motivates us to push against stereotypes and small minded people and show them that they are wrong and not just tell them.

    I’m 22 years old, and whenever I am assigned to a new contract, I take pride in slowly watching people (that are above, adjacent, and beneath my pay scale) change their attitude from “Oh, how cute! The little girl thinks she can IT” to “She’s a co-worker and a valued adviser”. In the last year I have gotten three promotions and went from working for $10/hr. to 22/hr., which is not at all bad for a 22 year old, living in the mid-west, and who only has an A.A.S. in business.

    Racism and sexism is just an excuse for people to place blame on others for not trying and the core problem with a blame game such as that is a lack of willpower, which is really the only reason people get/stay in debt, don’t achieve, and never see their dreams. The world we live in is one that tells us we can have everything now, and the cost doesn’t matter as long as you are happy now, like your happiness in years to come does not matter. Everything is now, now, now and free, free, free.

    I’m glad that there are like-minded people out there and thank you for sharing your wisdom as well as holding people accountable.

  32. Racism exists. My question is, who does it hurt in the U.S. in 2014? Donald Sterling has ruined himself for the rest of his life. He didn’t pay anybody less, refuse to hire anybody, deny anybody anything based on race. He was having a fight with his girlfriend in what he thought was a private conversation, and what is not discussed about this crazy incident is that his girlfriend was also involved with Magic Johnson; Sterling’s “friends” would send him the girlfriend’s Instagram pictures and tease Sterling about sleeping with a woman who also sleeps with a guy who has AIDS. Those friends are mean, and Sterling is trying to stop their mean behavior; he can’t ask them to stop because it embarrasses him. He is a billionaire used to being in control, and here is was not in control of his relationship with his 50 year-younger girlfriend. He was trying to bully her, hurt her feelings and bring the situation back under his control. She certainly took action to bring the situation under her control, and she will get what she wants.

    Nobody has quit the Clippers organization in protest, and while the players and employees may have strong feelings, who would they be hurting by quitting? What would they do after quitting? They are making amazing money, and Sterling’s personality has nothing to do with their job on and off the court. Quite frankly, the person I feel sorriest for is Sterling’s wife of more than 60 years; she is the only one I would make a case for leaving, but I’m sure she has her reasons.

    Those experiences you, had in school, Sam, are mean behavior. The reason people do this kind of mean behavior is because they think they can get away with it. It may have some window-dressing with racial namecalling, but people pick on others they think won’t fight back. Whether they are smaller, or outnumbered, or culturally less inclined to violent response. The racism isn’t ignorance, especially in the U.S. in 2014. People know, just look at Sterling, Mel Gibson, Isaiah Washington, etc. They are just lashing out because they are narcissistic arrogant bullies, and the fastest way to call out a difference is in appearance (race, age, size, disability, gender, and all the way down to hairstyle, clothes, political party and socio-economic status). Even making fun of an accent is something that is universal; did you know that Eastern Asians make fun of the American accent? To them, it sounds like “arga barga bargggg” and that is the expression they use when joking about it when they are together and making fun of the “other.” There is a lot more to this kind of behavior, and people much smarter than me have written books on the subject, but mainly it is a social behavior marking “inclusion and identification” by excluding others. It happens in the animal kingdom, humans aren’t the only beings that can be mean.

    Personally, I think the football players threatened you because you were a tennis player. OK, that was a joke. But is it possible that you, Sam, got your Director promotion at such a young age because of your life experience in Asia, perhaps fluency in an Asian language, and are of Asian descent? Do you think if you went to the same school as your superior you would have made MD? What would your superior say to what you are implying? Do you feel you were racially discriminated against? Did you get paid half for doing twice the work? If so, why wouldn’t they hire everybody like you and quadruple the profit?

    Well, whatever motivation one uses to increase savings is their business. Like I said, racism does exist. But I do think a lot of what is described as “racism” is just plain meanness, and the real damage done in 2014 in the U.S. is to the racists, themselves.

    1. The experiences I shared were mean behaviors that were also racist due to the specific radials slurs that were directed my way.

      To answer your questions, everything is possible. Americans banks in America have more Americans ascend. European banks in America have more Europeans ascend. Asian banks in America have more Asians ascend. That’s just the way it is. Everybody has to deal with their own situations and decide what is best for them. If you don’t like your job, leave instead of complain, for example.

      1. Complaining is fine as long as it’s followed through with action and leads to productive outcome. Workers rights via labor unions in early 20th century, civil rights movement all came about with enough people complaining against an unfair system.

  33. Great article!!! I have experienced racism of all kinds. I am hispanic, grew up in an Asian suburb, but look Italian. I am reasonably intelligent so people did not know what to think of me…being one of the only hispanics in college prep classes in hs. I was very confused growing up lol. I love the fact that you put a positive spin on this article. It seems as though a lot of racist mantra is cropping up these days and I like the fact that you address combating it through financial independence. Keep up the good work!

  34. mysticaltyger

    Great post, Sam. I would also add as a gay person, I was also motivated to save more because then I wouldn’t have to worry about being in the closet at work. I am a natural saver anyway, but my being gay added to the motivation. I was always shocked that other gay men don’t have the same mindset, but most don’t.

    1. Good perspective and I can completely see that situation unfold. Being in San Francisco is great due to the diversity. I’m working with a gay fella now who is a riot. But I think b/c he feels so free at work and open in SF, perhaps the sense of urgency is not that great. We’re in the marketing department. But if we were working in a different sector or department, perhaps the pressure would feel different.

      1. mysticaltyger

        I live in the SF Bay Area myself (not SF proper), so I get that this area is definitely more tolerant/accepting. But even if it wasn’t, I don’t think gays in more repressive areas save that much more, on the whole. Americans in general are just clueless about practicing good economic defense and gays are pretty much the same as American culture at large in that way. (And, for for better and worse, most other ways as well; which we’re always trying to point out to our more homophobic brethren)

  35. Money Beagle

    People of all races need to find a way to realize that we’re all part of the same race…the human race. I appreciate your perspective and it’s interesting to see some of the things that have happened and how they shape you.

    One thing I’d like to point out is that racism occurs with all races. You didn’t put this out there, but I know many people seem to think that racism originates from white people only. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In Detroit, just miles from where I live, there was a situation a few weeks ago where a white person was driving his truck home from work. A kid, who happened to be black, ran out in front his truck. The truck hit the kid. Many witnesses agreed that there was nothing that he could have done, the kid ran out without looking.

    People ran out to see if the kid was OK (he turned out to be OK), and the man immediately got out of his truck to also check. A few black people from nearby homes came out, started calling him names associated with the fact that he was white, and started beating him up. They beat him and kicked him to unconsciousness, and it was only the courageousness of a woman who stepped in and made them stop that he survived. Several were charged with assult and the one that was the leader was even charged with a hate crime…because of racism. Was what they did any less awful than if a group of white men had beaten a black man?

    There are always going to be those that are seen as minorities, but what happens when they are no longer the minority? And what happens when, after becoming the ‘majority’ so to speak, they have the opportunity to either discriminate or not?

    Going back to Donald Sterling, he never took the time to open his eyes to a different way of thinking. His life is likely nearly at an end and he missed the opportunity to broaden his views just as he broadened his wealth. We all only get one chance at life to form our view of the world, and with his means, the options for him to see the world and everything that everybody had to offer was immense. And he blew it. What a waste that in the end, everything he worked for, will be meaningless. None of us can take anything material with us, so he will end up dying a very ‘poor’ man when he does. And all by his own choosing. How sad is that?

    1. You are very right about “reverse racism.” Sometimes I wonder whether it’s because one group is trying to get back at another group, and then the cycle NEVER ends.

      One of the best things to do is to play SPORTS. You realize very quickly that it’s all about team, and you love your teammates no matter who they are. You win and lose together, and that is what builds character and relationships.

  36. Hi,

    I can so identify with your story. I was an only asian kid in a school in eastern Canada.
    Tough experience.

    Today even though I have a blue collar job, I am a millionaire on paper.

    I think some of those I went to school with did not do so well. They had more material wealth than my family did when I was young.

    The is racism everywhere in the world, ignorance is the bane of human existance.

  37. I am truly a minority, being a Malaysian of Indian descent in the US. I don’t fit into the Indian Community (those from India) nor I fit the American culture since I am an immigrant. I am a single mother which further narrows my ‘social’ inklings. I bought a house and moved in to a neighbourhood filled with Asians (Non Indian) since I am used to living with other nationalities coming from Malaysia. Recently I felt the stub of racial slur from my neighbours – one of the mothers (Vietnamese) told her daughter not to play with my kids as the mother (me) is a bad influence. My heart just sank. I am a professional who have saved up enough to get my kids through college, have a home in bay area, have an au pair, living a comfortable decent life and she who is a nail artist in a salon calls me a bad influence. I felt it is ridiculous that she is trying to influence her daughters at this early age ( 8 years old) and I am confused. My au pair is also from Vietnam and she has her own opinions too. I just cannot believe things I hear in this day and age. You tell me Sam, should I confront her? Damm woman cant even speak a work of proper English and would not even understand me!

    1. Hi G,

      Sorry to hear about your situation. The irony is that there are so many Vietnamese foreign workers in Malaysia, and a lot are looked down upon by your fellow countrymen.

      It’s probably just a misunderstanding on her part. If you want to investigate it further, as your Au pair to assist. If not just let it go. Everyone is facing their own demons and misunderstandings are common.


      1. You are right Mike – Malaysia is no better and that is why I migrated here. Yes any foreigner there is treated badly (sadly!). I am letting this go as I understand it is a misunderstanding and I cannot change a person’s opinion. All I can do on my part is be patient. Thank you for listening :-)

    2. That’s a tough spot to be in. But, on the bright side, you have a family who loves you :)

      The other mother thing is a demonstration of her low class. I would speak to her directly and tell her how you feel. Don’t keep it bottled inside.

  38. I feel ashamed when I hear about other human beings experiencing racism. I often forget that people have these biases – they seem so irrelevant to our generation – but the Donald Sterling comments do trigger a lot of anger for a lot of people. I experienced a little bit of “racism” when I worked in Japan for a year – it is fairly xenophobic country. I think one key difference is the impact of America’s soft power – people all over the world want to attend our colleges and watch our movies, so I don’t think Caucasian Americans will ever really understand what it means to walk in another’s shoes. You make a good point about racism – I think people who experience challenges such as racism have two choices: to be overcome with discouragement or to be motivated by a sense of injustice and persevere.

    1. I always get interesting feedback from those who’ve worked in Japan. I used to live in Kobe for a couple years as a kid and LOVED it. I also went to Shigakogen for skiing in HS and also loved it. I donno… haven’t experienced any racism there yet. But, my mainland Chinese friend says he always gets discriminated against.

      Mainland China and Japan have tense relationship.

  39. Sam, where you are from originally?

    Racism existed when one race thinks they are more superior than other races, and stereotyping. Or the citizen of one country thinks they are better, because their country is ‘better’ than the others.

    Like you said, a lot of immigrants to this country use it as the motivation to gain financial independence.
    Dave Ramsey said on his radio show that immigrants are more likely to become millionaire in this country than local.

  40. In my Air Force Tech School class, I was one of two white guys, the rest were black. The other white guy was a staff seargent who was retraining so they weren’t going to mess with him. It was mostly good natured ribbing I got from my black classmates but even that made me feel isolated and it didn’t take much to extrapolate how I’d feel if it were mean spirited or hateful. I didn’t grow up racist so I’m not going to say that it changed me, but it was an experience that I think more white people could benefit from.

    1. Yes… that “good natured ribbing” is rooted in something deeper. And if it continues endlessly, then that’s when relationships get strained. It’s easy to be part of the big group and tease the small group. There is comfort and safety in numbers.

  41. I don’t think I’ve ever been discouraged by gender inequality but can say that women who run businesses generally have to work twice as hard. At least in my profession there is some element of the good ole boy network, but it seems to be lessening with time. If you’re tough, you’re a bitch and if your soft, your probably PMS’ing. It’s hard to find the right balance.

    I do see horrible attitudes toward the large Native American population in our area and many of them certainly use the excuse of “the man” always getting them down. I try to tell as many who will listen that the biggest FU you can give the man is to be successful.

    1. I don’t understand how anybody can be racist against Native Americans when we plundered their land and people. But, I’m sure there are case by case situations we don’t know of.

  42. There are lots of Asians (my dad and sisters) who are interested in keeping up with appearances as well. Buying new cars when they cannot afford it and treating friends out when their mortgage is in trouble. It all depends on the person. On the other hand, cash gives me more choices and freedoms and I want to keep it that way.

    I’ve also been subjected to prejudice/racism. I was always the last one picked in gym class. Even the bigger girls who did nothing got picked before me. On the other hand, I was always picked first for those jeopardy games. I laugh about it now really. As a minority, of course there were some racial slurs being passed around as well. However, I rub it off now since “where are those people who were so downright nasty right now?” In the end, everything sorts itself out sooner or later and people usually reap what they sow.

    1. For sure there are examples of everything. And I certainly don’t speak for all Asians as there are plenty of different types of Asians. I’m just sharing my viewpoint and encouragement for anybody who has been slighted to get use the negativity as motivation.

  43. I work with a largely Asian population who all have the same viewpoints in terms of work ethic and saving money. It’s inspiring to watch.

    As a woman in a male dominated office, I am constantly feeling the pull of sexism. I was asked to get coffee the other day and to pick out table linens for a party. And that certainly isn’t my job. Blatant sexism is definitely part of the reason why I am leaving my job in June. Work harder. Get a percentage of the pay. But keep working.

    1. Get coffee? Who does the person asking think she is? Perhaps you could take a bathroom break pitstop in between? :)

      If you’re leaving in June…. try to get laid off, not quit please!

  44. I think Amy Chua “tiger mom” mentioned this as one of the reasons why certain minority groups are successful. I’m sure your views are more rational though…she can be a little extreme. In any case, thanks for sharing your story. I’m can empathize my fellow Asian brother! haha. I haven’t really dealt with much of it at work since I work in government and there are generally more minorities there. My sister who works in the finance field in the city probably deals with it more from the meat heads who work there who question when her parents will arrange her marriage or when she came to this country (we’re ABCs) among other comments… Glad you went off and did your own thing. While working hard to prove those racists wrong will often help you succeed…too often, those glass ceilings and hostile environment makes it tough still.

    1. Interesting that there are more minorities in gov’t. Any idea why this is? You would think the government would hire people very representative of the US population, hence Asians would be the minority.

      1. If my own extended family is any indication, it has to do with the stability involved. Once you’re in, it’s hard to be ousted.

      2. Affirmative Action. Managers are evaluated in part on their demonstrated “commitment to diversity” by hiring protected minorities. There is a floor, but not a ceiling, on that percentage. So even if the goal is 20% of XX and 50% of the department is XX, there is still incentive to hire XX over an unprotected category of individual. Most common in the non-technical service government entities like USPS and DMV.

        Government entities don’t exist to make a profit or compete in a marketplace.

        1. Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth

          I work for a company that does heavy highway road construction, mainly DOT jobs in various states. We’re required to report each month on our % of minority and female workers on each DOT job. The minority % varies by county, and I think is supposed to match the local population. Female % seems to always be set at 6.9%. We hire through the union halls, but we can’t request someone with experience running a mill, or grader, or breaker, but instead must always ask if they have any minority or female workers available. If they don’t, there’s paperwork that has to be filled out, proving we made the request. We’re always subcontractors on jobs; the higher our minority and female %, the better overall % the prime contractor has. If we consistently can’t meet the goals, and can’t prove we are attempting to do so, we won’t be able to get jobs.

          As a woman, the whole thing kind of offends me. There are very few women in unions to begin with, and even fewer working in heavy highway construction. To me, that’s understandable. Yes, it can pay well. But it’s hard, physically demanding, and inconsistent work. You may work 3 months one year, 9 months the next. Some years you make $20,000, some years $80,000+. You end up being on jobs not because you’re a valuable employee, or a good worker, but to fill a quota. We’ve only managed to find 2 women to work in the field for us. One is an excellent worker. The other I’m told is terrible, lazy, and everyone hates working with her. But we keep her, because we need to make a quota. She has a job for no other reason than that she’s female. As a woman, I find that insulting. Maybe I’m too proud, but I want to be valued equally for what I do, not valued only for being female.

          1. Fascinating insights on DOT jobs Cindy. Didn’t realize it was THAT specific on the percentage requirements for minorities and women. Affirmative action is a huge debate. On the one hand, if you don’t make restrictions, you can easily see an office become extremely homogenous as they hire everybody who looks, talks, walks, and learned like them. On the other hand, you get upset folks who think this is unfair.

            Everything is unfair b/c nobody starts with the same set of gifts. We just have to recognize this fact and do the best we can with what we have and what is allowed.

            1. Cindy @ GrowingHerWorth

              It’s a tough issue, and I definitely don’t know how to solve it. I don’t want being a woman to hold me back in my career; I want to be considered equally with men of equal experience, skill sets, education, etc. But I also don’t want to be hired based solely on the fact that I’m a woman, regardless of my qualifications.

              I also find it weird that their only concern is with the people doing the actual labor out in the field. The more consistent, higher paying positions? All of the decision makers, estimators, supervisors, etc. at our company are all white males. And the “office staff”? All white females. It’s like an unspoken rule in the industry. I was talking to a co-worker once about applying for an open position, and was met with the comment “But you don’t even golf”. Mind you, the position had nothing to do with golfing. And I met the qualifications. So, I applied. Wasn’t even considered.

            2. The reason such guidelines exist is because African Anericans were not getting hired at all due to discrimination. My grandfather would go apply for a job and be told “we are not hiring any more n——, we have already reached our quoto.” And the ones they hired were the lightest ones they could find.

  45. It is hard to understand racism and discrimination if you’ve never been targeted before. I’ve experienced it several times both directed at myself and towards my friends I was with and it’s a terrible feeling. A lot of it comes from lack of perspective as you said (ex. lack of traveling), lack of sensitivity, and upbringing.

    I felt discriminated in my career when I was making less money than my male counterparts and got passed over on a promotion. It definitely gave me a lot of motivation to prove they were wrong and to speak out for what I deserved. It took patience and persistence, but I got to where I wanted and they felt really bad for how they treated me.

  46. as an asian i experience racial the same discrimination like you do.
    on my last job with a public university, i work as a programmer/analyst. the boss who hire me retire so they transfer me to a new boss. he is american of mexican descent. every day he would come to work and talk to another american of mexican descent about things like:
    1. asian don’t know how to drive
    2. most of asian live on welfare & food stamps
    3. 20 of them will live in the same house
    i complain to the equal opportunity office one time and they choose to do nothing. so i retire from the university a few months ago at age 50 due to this kind of discrimimation.
    hawaii is the only us state where i can walk around and not being called names and so i always want to move to hawaii. the only problem is honolulu is just too expensive for me to live on a public servant’s retirement income.

    1. i thought number 2 and 3 were talking about mexicans .. they do have in some cases 10+ people in one small house …

      1. I have to say that Mexicans do not like to save. They live for today and don’t think much about their future. They like TV’s, cars, and trucks.

    2. Tiffany Brown

      You will never experience racism the way that I do. I can have the same qualifications as you, and will not even be considered for a job as a programmer/analyst, because of the color of my skin. The difference between your race and mine, is that they will never allow me to get my foot in the door, unless I prove to be somewhat superhuman, and even then, I will be put down to the point of suicidal thoughts. So please don’t say that your life is just as bad, because it is NOT, and never will be.

  47. John C @ Action Economics

    I would like to think that it doesn’t take a generation to die off to change negative attitudes about Race/Gender/Religion. I think the more each person as an individual talks to and interacts with people outside of their own race/religion these attitudes in the individual will change. I’ve met extremely bigoted people from teenagers to senior citizens, so I think aside from a generational issue, it has to do with individual choices and behaviors. I like to think that we are all capable of changing the way we think and treat others on a personal level, even someone so ingrained in negativity as Sterling is, I think he is still capable of change.

    I hope that over time more westerners will adopt some staples of Asian culture. I would love to see the savings rate in our country as a whole increase to above 10%.

    1. I wonder though, if the US savings rate suddenly went to 10% from 5% whether our economy would CRASH given that would be a serious slowdown in spending. Perhaps if the savings rate was increased by 1% a year for 5 years or 10 years, that would work. But we’ve got to do it slowly.

      1. John C @ Action Economics

        I don’t think it could happen over night either, you’re right if it was an instantaneous shift there would have to be major unintended consequences in the market.

  48. Agreed, I never see asians broke.. they act broke but they have money. Middle east immigrants also have a great financial stability. Its their culture and religion to stay away from debts iguess nothing that pays interest.

    I am hispanic btw

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