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 Meet the South Asians: Author Neeta Basin

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South Asians - we see them everywhere but not really anywhere. There proof lies in the increasing number of doctors, engineers, accountants, restaurant owners, street vendors, taxi drivers and more precisely in the latest stats. However they have very little presence in the presentations of the corporate marketing conference rooms - as potential markets to tap into. The reason for this is the limited knowledge of this vibrant group among the American corporate world. It will be my endeavor here to bring to you some basic facts about this community and I assure you that (as is usually the case) even the tip of this iceberg is going to enthrall you.

There are more than 14 million Asian Americans in the US and this number continues to grow in leaps and bounds. So who is the South Asian? For me to answer this question, I will first have to tell you who he/she is not. South Asia is an intrinsic part of Asia but there is a world of difference between the two. Asia, as Americans know it, consists of China, Japan, Korea and Philippines. A South Asian does not belong to any one of those countries. Asia can in fact be divided into 3 Asian ethnic groups - East Asia (or the “American Asia”) consisting of China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong; Southeast Asia housing Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore and; South Asia - home to Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Nepalese, Bhutanese and natives of Maldives. Among the Asian American group, it is the South Asian community that is not only the largest but the wealthiest Asian American community in the USA.

Bias-Busting: It Can Be Done:- Author Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D
“It’s hopeless,” my friend Jim told me, “We can’t stop bias. We’ll just have to wait for this generation to die off and a new one to come along.” Even a man as erudite as broadcaster Edward R. Murrow believed we could never rid ourselves of biases; we could only learn to work around them.

Fortunately, both Murrow and Jim are wrong. Of course some people refuse to change. For each of those, however, there are millions who, given the right skills and enough determination, can correct their distorted vision and see the world and its people more clearly.

Those who argue that biases – defined here as “inflexible beliefs about particular categories of people” – can’t be fixed say that they are an intrinsic part of human nature and, therefore, impossible to eradicate. Every time I hear the phrases “human nature” or “We’re only human,” my hackles go up. To say that something is “only human” implies that to be human is to be incapable of change; it connotes that there’s not a darn thing we can do to improve ourselves or our attitudes. I am more optimistic. I, and most researchers in the field, believe that through awareness, knowledge, and plain old-fashioned effort we can, at the very least, reduce our biases to the point at which they have a minimal influence on our lives and work.

Getting Networked: Women of All Colors & New Technology: by Miriam Muléy
Women’s desires to network, form meaningful relationships, and continuously gather information from trusted inner circles make new technology, such as blogs and online communities, a growing medium of choice. Women of color—primarily women of Hispanic, African, and Asian ancestry -- have the same desire to establish meaningful connections. They are increasingly looking to new technology as a means to become informed, learn new skills, and connect with others who share similar desires.

Suppliers and business leaders have an exciting opportunity to connect with these customers. Consider the following data to support the growing use of non-traditional media among diverse audiences.
  • According to research, there were approximately 182 million persons in the U.S. using the Internet in 2006; by 2011 that number will increase to 211 million persons. Of the 29 million new persons using the Internet during this time period, the majority -- 54%-- will be diverse, represented by Hispanic, African American, or Asian persons.
  • Women have surpassed men in usage of the Internet and new technology (68% of all women browse vs. 66% of men). Similarly, 60% of African American women surf the web compared to 53% of African Americans in general.
  • Forty-four percent of Hispanics use the Internet. Several studies have shown that acculturation, language and education play a role in Hispanic Internet usage, with a higher degree of involvement among U.S. born Hispanics (76% internet usage) and lower involvement among foreign-born Hispanics (43%). Usage among Spanish-dominant Hispanics (32%) versus English-dominant Hispanics (78%) is expected to grow as more Spanish language content and online communities become available.
  • Asians are well ahead of the technology curve and have the highest degree of Internet usage at 74%--higher than the population overall. When connecting to Asian-American women, marketers need to isolate this audience into two very distinct groups: those who are second and third generation Asian Americans and those who are foreign born. As with the Hispanic market, the incidence of usage will vary by foreign vs. U.S. born.
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