The Minority Report | Ashley Kim
Mainstream media is black and white. While there’s more accurate representation of minorities on the rise in media, these representations usually exist within the realm of black actors and actresses. When they fall outside of these lines, these representations remain written within the con nes of stereotypes, and perpetuate the idea that the conversation of racism is only between white people and black people, and that misrepresentation of anyone else is acceptable.
Racism against Asians does not hold the same weight as racism against black people. We accept Asians—or any other race—as being a secondary minority, and that attitude is not unique to media.
When you have what is considered to be a step forward for representation of Asian-Americans in shows like Fresh off the Boat, there are still discrepancies. These Asian-Americans are not written completely separate from stereotypes—something frequently, if not always, done for white and black characters.
Sandra Oh’s character in Grey’s Anatomy, Christina Yang’s race is rarely mentioned, yet Americans still understand her to be perpetuating an ideology of Asian culture (Cue “you doctor yet?” joke). And the only way her character is defined by a white woman, or a black man. She hardly ever belongs to herself.
Steven Yeun’s character in The Walking Dead, Glenn Rhee, (despite being a main, well-loved character) is completely void of a backstory, insinuating that it’s not important. And he is often mistaken as a Chinese person. (He’s Korean.) And again, he is defined and made more palatable by a relationship with a white woman.
I refuse to believe that it is so difficult to write a substantial Asian-American character that is completely void of any semblance of stereotypes, or is not defined by the presence of another, more acceptable character.
It’s time to recognize that validating our biases is not more important than proper representation. Not now, and not ever.
We use these stereotypes to further implement and perpetuate unspoken, unnecessary hierarchies within society. Media does an injustice to people everywhere when minorities lack representation, or they’re not represented at all. We’ll never be at a point where mainstream media, or anyone, accept that minorities are capable people too, especially if we never try.