To Not Build Another Stereotype

In the Asian American acting community, there is currently a push to break existing stereotypes and pave a new road for future actors and films. By doing so, actors and actresses hope to find agency and influence in the roles that they play. In breaking these stereotyper however, there needs to be great care taken to not create new stereotypes. The danger seems to me as follows:

One of the ideas is to get all Asian Americans that are involved in media to come to a unified position and to move forward as a unit in an effort to break stereotypes. The issue with this is that stereotypes are formed from generalizations being made over a group of people. If ALL the Asian Americans are using the same techniques to break a mold, then they will merely end up where they started. Since the goal is not to have a new generalization placed on them, the next course of action seems to be the simpler and more obvious one.

In order to not build another stereotype, there must be a movement not just within the Asian American community. Actors and those in the media as a whole must put an emphasis on performing out of their own natural tendencies and talents. If ALL people are working to form their own identity, then Asian Americans will naturally find their own slot. It is obviously possible that they may actually perform many similar roles and stereotypes may once again form. But to me that seems not totally bad. There should be a certain lack of surprise and even joy in recognizing that others like you are doing similar things. May we just hope that these come from positive rather than negative directions.


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