Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1703/

Importance of overcoming Asian American stereotypes

Unfortunately, even though they think that you’re smart, and you’re hardworking, for them as a lawyer looking at a lawyer, the stereotype that we’re too quiet keeps them from being hired. And I used to think that sometimes they would say oh we’ll just put her in a room in the back and she’ll work real hard, but you can’t get in the door when people think you're not going to be sufficiently assertive, or be sufficiently articulate to be able to practice law. And when I coach a lot of women on...for mock interviews, for example, meeting people when they’re hoping to get a job, and I always tell them that’s what people are concerned about so you need to keep that conversation going, you need to make sure that they feel comfortable that you are sufficiently articulate.

And there is that in us where we say oh you know I don't have anything worthwhile to say, or my mother would always say "oh you know, I was so ashamed of you because you spoke up here, you shouldn’t have done that." And even though my mother was a very outspoken woman, she taught us that, and so getting over that and-and getting the feeling where you can speak up when it’s important and you can communicate with those in power is a lesson that a lot of Asian American women especially have to learn, but Asian Americans generally.


Date: July 11, 2019

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Kayla Tanaka

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Bar Association

Interviewee Bio

Judge Holly J. Fujie is a Sansei judge on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in California since 2012. She grew up in West Oakland, California in a diverse neighborhood. Both of her parents were incarcerated as children during World War II, but did not share their experiences with her until she was an adult. This affected her view on laws and government and led her to pursue a career as an attorney and later as a judge.

As a lawyer, she became involved with various minority bar association, including the Japanese American Bar Association, and mentorship programs. She became the first Asian American President of the State Bar of California in 2008. (July 2019)

*This is one of the main projects completed by The Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) Program intern each summer, which the Japanese American Bar Association and the Japanese American National Museum have co-hosted.

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