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Awkward Racial Question

Pennglock

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Im seeking some perspective on SF because it seems a lot of folks on this board do business in Asia and the anonymity of the web allows me to be a little more frank.

It's looking like I will be offered the chance to help head a group in Hong Kong starting this summer. 75% of the office will be asian, and about 100% of the clients. The job is a step up in responsibility and accepting the position would be a no-brainer but for one thing, Im black.

I hate to paint with a broad brush, but honestly 75% of the racial bullshit Ive encountered in my life has come from those of an asian persuasion. In college and to a lesser extent on this job, my interactions with foreign-born asians have been...weird. The vibe I catch is that many are either scared or appalled of me. This is just my experience, and admittedly it's a small sample size. Doesn't apply so much to the American-born.

A big part of this job is networking and selling, and Im worried my effectiveness is going to be comprimised right out of the gate.

Opinions and advice are welcome.
 

West24

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its funny that i just spoke to a friend and he said in korea whites are generally viewed as ok but brown and black not as much. im sure others can add more.
 

ter1413

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Opinion and/or advice? Go for it! Don't sit back a few years from now and regret that you didn't take the chance.!
 

Slopho

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I had a Vietnamese friend tell me once that in general dark skinned people, including other dark skinned Asians, are looked down upon. Its not just black people its anyone darker than they are.
 

Teacher

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Originally Posted by Slopho
I had a Vietnamese friend tell me once that in general dark skinned people, including other dark skinned Asians, are looked down upon. Its not just black people its anyone darker than they are.

I've heard this many times. Many of our female Korean students carry parasols so they don't darken from the sun.
 

Redwoood

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How much of a pain will it be to uproot yourself and move over there?
If it's not too big of a deal, just go for it. If after spending 6 months over there you realize that the social and professional interactions are indeed tainted by racial prejudice, justs come back.

You might be lucky and things turn out better than anticipated. Or worse. But you'll be richer by an awesome experience no matter what.
 

Joffrey

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I concur and say you should go for it. Take the challenge, if it sucks, stick around for a couple of years and get the experience and go somewhere else.
 

cross22

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I don't think anyone who starts with this mindset about a situation is going to succeed.
 

thekunk07

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the good news is you will have the biggest wang at work by 6 inches probably.
 

texas_jack

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Originally Posted by cross22
I don't think anyone who starts with this mindset about a situation is going to succeed.
I'm going to guess you're white. You have the luxury of going through your life without thinking how race will affect you negatively
 

bringusingoodale

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Dress to the nines and show them what it means to be a gentlemen.
 

cross22

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By mindset I meant the strong negative perception of the Asians (whether or not justified). But don't let that stop you from making assumptions.
 

globetrotter

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Hmmmmm, ok, my feeling is that you are going to encounter a lot of racism. Espectually if you are selling to and managing chinese or japanese. If your job will be working with ex-pat westerners, probrably less.

In about 20 years working in my line of work, I only knew one black guy in that position. He did well, and was well regarded, but I am sure he had some rough times. You will have some advantages in terms of a very powerful personal 'brand' - you'll be the black guy.


I still think I would do it, myself. I don't think that anybody will not do business with you because you are black, I am thinking moe people saying stupid things.
If you want to discuss any further pm me, I'd be happy to discuss off line.
 

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