When Racist Stereotypes Work in Your Favor


At Slate, computer-science professor Philip Guo discusses an odd side effect of stereotypes about Asian men: when he was first learning to code, they actually worked in his favor.

Even when Guo was a novice, people gave him the benefit of the doubt, which allowed him the time to learn everything he needed to learn. Friends of his who weren’t white or Asian males often experienced the opposite.

…people who look like me can just kinda do programming for work if we want, or not do it, or switch into it later, or out of it again….And nobody will make remarks about our appearance, about whether we’re truly dedicated hackers, or how our behavior might reflect badly on “our kind” of people.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →