The land of opportunities, the home of the brave, the nesting nook of the American Dream—the United States has long held a position in which it can and does help people from less advantageous backgrounds to reach for prizes they would not be afforded elsewhere. This includes the Asian American populace, whose less-educated members or perhaps those with unrecognised qualifications have almost regularly found sustenance in some form of work.
Before the pandemic, 56% of Asian women and 77% of Asian men with a high-school qualification or less were employed; current post-pandemic numbers rest at 32% and 46% respectively. Not all of those who were laid off may have property or other means to fall back on. Without their job, they struggle to make ends meet for their very survival.
The hardest hit group is constituted by South-East Asians and Pacific Islanders, who suffer even more due to political oversight on the basis of the ‘Model Minority’ myth which drives the narrative that all Asians end up at Ivy League colleges, disregarding those who do not have college qualifications and are thus most in need of support. Some studies speculate that this could overall be affected by the rise in xenophobia against the Asian community following the coronavirus.
The Chinatown Manpower Project, a non-profit based in New York, helps immigrants better suit the American job market by offering English instruction and job training courses aimed specifically at low-income workers. The situation for the Asian American community right now is much worse than it has ever been in the past, and we must do all we can to make the change a little more comfortable. While people hope that the environment returns to pre-lockdown normalcy, this may take a long time and we must not be at odds with this notion if we are to settle into the new age and progress.