Challenges faced by female judges

Neighbor took care of her mother after grandfather was taken by FBI Her grandfather was pressured to teach Japanese Camp stories impact on her career Japanese American identity Importance of overcoming Asian American stereotypes Challenges faced by female judges Becoming first AA State Bar President in California Receiving support from Sonia Sotomayer to run for the bench Advice to young lawyers

Transcripts available in the following languages:

  • en

Probably the same challenges I still face as a judge, which is that you still get stereotyped. At that period of time, I mean, Asian American women were not lawyers and so besides being mistaken for the interpreter or the court reporter or just treated badly, I said you get a lot of "sweethearts" a lot of brushing you off, a lot of assuming that what you have to say isn’t important, and that even as a young lawyer, even as a partner at my law firm, if I was with a young Caucasian man they always, the other side would always talk to him. And ask him his opinion, and ask him what is the client going to do? And I would have to stop and say excuse me, it’s my client. This is my case and I am the partner on the case, and they would just kinda go… "Really?" You get a lot of that… I feel, a lot of women of color on the bench feel that we get a lot less respect than do say white males or even white females, and there's a feeling more that they can be disrespectful to us and that-that is okay -- of course it’s not and they learn that once they’ve had an interaction or two with me. You know, I work very very hard to make sure that I have control of my courtroom and that people understand that women of color can be the boss in this situation, but it’s still an issue.

Date: July 11, 2019
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Kayla Tanaka
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Bar Association

Asian American judge lawyer male chauvinism stereotypes women

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