Asian American Actors In Modern Media Deal With Whitewashed

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Asian American actors in modern media deal with whitewashed film and television, underrepresentation in major works, and casting in stereotypical roles. These three problems are rooted in the history of Asian American actors in film and television, and have been perpetrated by stereotypes that continue to this day. The purpose of this memo is to examine the modern industry of film and television through the eyes of Asian American actors, viewing the stereotypes and stigmas these actors face, and looking forward to see what can be done by casting directors to reduce harmful stereotyping and increase diversity in film and television.
History of Asian and Asian American Stereotypes in Film and Television
One problem that arises when
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As economic and political tensions faded, a new stereotype replaced Yellow Peril in film and television. This stereotype, known as the model minority, is believed to have come around in the 1960s during the civil rights movement as an attempt to create resentment and tension within America’s minority groups (Huh 13).
The model minority stereotype characterized Asian Americans as immigrants that valued hard work, family, and determination (Mok 192). This appears to be a positive stereotype that exemplifies the values of the American Dream; however, academic scholars like Teresa Mok disagree. Mok argues that the model minority stereotype emphasizes the similarities of Asian Americans and white Americans. In this sense, the model minority might be seen as assimilating to American culture by acting whiter (Mok 193). This stereotype was most notably seen in the first all-Asian musical, Flower Drum Song. The plot exacerbated the idea of the model minority, centering the story around the benefits of assimilation in lieu of keeping with traditional ways. (Mok 193).
One of the most controversial stereotypes was yellowface. White American actors often donned yellowface to portray Asian characters: one notable example is that of Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Rooney’s performance was characterized by taped eyes, fake teeth, and painted skin (Huh 21). These characteristics meant to capitalize on the race of the character: by changing his appearance to include

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