“Am I Asian, or am I American?”
Dat chose not to fully embrace his Vietnamese heritage as a child and young adult. Today, he’s on a new path to uncovering and rediscovering his Asian identity.
My family immigrated to the United States when I was two so that we could pursue a vision of the Asian American dream. Throughout life, I always felt like I had to choose between fully embracing my own culture or putting on a cover to fit into American society.
I made the decision to embrace covering as the norm, but that led me to lose track of myself time and time again. I asked myself, “Am I Dat, Dan, or Dot? Am I Asian, or am I American?”
I hit a low point in life in the middle of the pandemic and decided to do self-transformation work to peel away the cover and rediscover my Asian identity.
For the first time in my life, I’ve opened up to my family to learn more about our family heritage. Through it, I found strength in my story of rising to be the thriving tech professional that I am today. I have since been able to live authentically and take pride in being Asian American as well as my Vietnamese upbringing.
I am so inspired by how Microsoft has provided us with the resources and culture to begin our own journey. Taking training about covering and allyship gave me new perspectives that helped me better understand myself and how to support others. I have also started hosting weekly sessions to give employees a safe space to share their stories and lived experiences and to help allies learn more about topics like covering, allyship, privilege, and more.
My preferred name is Dat, and I’ve now come to embrace it more than ever. Since I’ve started to bring my most authentic self to work every day, it’s felt like a breath of fresh air to see the amazing amount of support by my existing community, network, and new connections at Microsoft. Now, I have a mission to create a sense of belonging and worthiness in others so that they can be empowered to achieve the results they want, in the way they want, with their most unapologetic, authentic selves.
—Dat, identifies as Vietnamese and Asian American