Portrayal of Asian Americans

3456 WordsJun 15, 200514 Pages
Abstract My research focused on the coverage of Asian Americans in contemporary mass media. The following types of media were researched: · Music · Television · Films · Magazines I gave several examples where Asian Americans were used to play very simple characters. These roles were defined by stereotypes that exist in America. I also researched instances on counter actions taken by Asian Americans to protest against these negative images. My research also has examples of Asians that have succeeded in breaking through the racial barriers in the media. The results show that even though racial stereotyping still exists in various forms of mass media, there are signs that show noticeable improvement on allowing a more balanced…show more content…
"Hollywood typically restricts its portrayals of Asians to a limited range of clichéd stock characters" (Restrictive Portrayals [RP], 2004). Examples of the common roles that Asian Americans play in movies are martial artists, Indian cab drivers, television anchorwomen and prostitutes (RP, 2004). Even if most Americans do not buy into these images because they interact with many Asian Americans who do not fit the stereotype, the areas of concern are those parts in the United States where there isn't a sufficient Asian population (Wu, 2002). Since many Asian people do not surround these Americans on an everyday environment, it is a safe assumption that they will draw their judgment of Asian Americans from how they are portrayed on film and television. In many American films, Asian men are portrayed as passive, old, and speak broken English. The Karate Kid was a popular movie that depicted the Asian actor as such a man. In The Karate Kid, Pat Morita plays Mr. Miyagi, an old Japanese American World War II veteran who calmly trains an enthusiastic white teenage male the Japanese martial arts of karate. Despite the fact that Mr. Miyagi was an American World War II veteran, he was still portrayed speaking English with a foreign accent. The myth that all Asian men know some form of martial arts was also stressed in this movie when Mr. Miyagi surprises Daniel (the white male leading actor) with his karate moves after appearing
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