May 2, 2022 - MoFo Diversity

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Representation in the AAPI Community

Eric Min, an of counsel in the firm’s Finance Department, advises private equity sponsors, major investment banks, and corporations in a variety of complex U.S. and cross-border financing transactions, including leveraged acquisitions, syndicated lending, investment grade lending, asset-based lending, and venture capital financings. He represents clients in transactions covering a variety of industries, including FinTech, healthcare, and industrials.

As part of our celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Eric discusses some of the biggest challenges that AAPI individuals face in society today and some of the changes he’s seen starting to take shape in order to eliminate those challenges.

While there is a range of obstacles that the AAPI community faces living in the U.S. (e.g., political, economic, etc.), I believe that a significant reason that these roadblocks persist is that the AAPI community has been historically marginalized in the conversation regarding race in America. As a community, Asian Americans have largely been unable to exert the degree of influence in America that they otherwise would be expected to have, given the size and energy of the community. A major challenge that people from the AAPI community have faced is overcoming preconceived notions about what it means to be Asian American in America and gaining access to doors that have largely been shut. Because of the lack of high-profile AAPI influencers in mainstream culture (whether in politics, art, media, or sports), there has been a general lack of opportunity for folks from the AAPI community to be considered for certain positions and be given opportunities that may be open for other groups. Thankfully, this seems to be gradually changing, as in recent years we’ve seen a greater focus in mainstream American culture on the Asian American experience (think Shang-Chi and Crazy Rich Asians for movies, David Chang for cooking, Hasan Minhaj and Mindy Kaling for comedy, BTS for music, Jeremy Lin and Shohei Ohtani for sports). As America’s view of what Asian Americans are capable of evolves, the opportunities for and acceptance of future generations of Asian Americans exponentially increase. That said, as the recent wave of AAPI-targeted violence indicates, we as a society still have a long way to go in eliminating centuries of implicit bias that still continue to negatively impact the lives of Asian Americans in the United States.