Asian Americans are often stereotyped. In many cases, people assume the images depicted by mainstream media of this cultural group are accurate. However, these depictions are inaccurate representations of the cultural and socio-economic characteristics of Asian Americans. Numerous writers have written on the issue of the misrepresentation of Asian Americans among other prevalent issues; this paper is a response to a few works.
Racial identity is a major issue of discussion. Asian Americans are referred to as a minority group. However, they are characteristically different from other minorities in the United States. They are renowned for their hardworking nature, high achievements in academics, high incomes & low criminal behavior (Kim 5). They are considered docile, especially with regard to challenging racial inequities in comparison to their African American and Hispanic counterparts (Kim 10). According to Dave, Nisime, and Oren (3530, “Asian Americans are not ‘minorities” since they have economic freedom. White authorities have been tasked with the distribution of representations of Asian Americans according to “yellowface logics (Ono and Pham, 18)”. Asian Americans are stuck between white racial privilege and the struggle of being a minority group in America and this affects the general perception different people have on their racial identity.
The concept of cultural misrepresentation is also common with regard to Asian Americans. Mainstream media and other avenues have depicted this group in a manner that misrepresents their culture and history and this threatens the perpetuity of Asian American cultural history. Asian American scholarships are based off of cultural misrepresentation; there is also the issue of lack of representation in American popular culture (Dave, Nisime, and Oren, 339). The involvement in crime is considered as meticulous decision rather than poor choices and Asian Americans are in some cases considered as masterminds of the “yellow peril crime” stereotype (Kim, 8); with jurors perceptions being bias based on the “model minority” stereotype (Kim 11). The “yellow peril” stereotype represents Asian Americans as a threat to the “whiteness” of America. Dave, Nisiime, and Oren (356) state Asian American narratives are being configured into mainstream entertainment fiction and its history,”
The concept of inclusion/exclusion is also evident in many Asian American cultural texts. The four boys from the film “Better luck tomorrow” were never socially fulfilled despite success in other areas (Kim 6). Pop culture in American affects the content and success of Asian American media products and often the depiction of Asian characters illustrates anger and frustration. According to Ono and Pham (19), it is seemingly unclear about the place of Asian Americans in mainstream media. Asian Americans use their work in film and media as an outlet for racial anger and grievances. It might limit the incorporation of their work into mainstream media. Kim (16) expresses the reluctance of many Asian Americans to cooperate with the police and this affects legal action for Asian-on-Asian crimes.
The different texts illuminate the issue of cultural misrepresentation and struggle to obtain a racial identity in different settings and ways. Kim (1) expresses how the school children work hard to excel in different areas of academics and in a search for identity embark on criminal activity. In a search for a voice in the mainstream media, Asian Americans face a threat to their cultural identity due to assimilation and misrepresentation (Dave, Nisime, and Oren, 352). Ono and Pham introduce the issue of “yellow peril,” which threatens the true identity of Asian Americans. The main question is how Asian Americans will maintain and improve their cultural identity without threatening their cultural history or that of other cultures.
Conclusion Cultural Identity is a major concern for many Asian Americans. The prevalent stereotypes and misrepresentation in the media however presents a challenge to how the rest of America perceives them. To remedy this there is much to be done especially due to the fact that they are viewed as threats to the social order – “yellow peril”. The search for a new cultural identity that fits Asian Americans into the mainstream culture poses a threat to their cultural history.