A Story of the Underdog

In this video, I attempt to illustrate a progression of an Asian American experience as a result of misrepresentations of them in the media. My idea was to debunk this stereotype of how Asian Americans are expected to be the sidekick or the underdog. What the media has done is influenced young Asian Americans and their perception of how they should act in a white hegemony and give them no agency when facing injustice and a constant silencing. This video should illustrate how, as life progresses, the Asian American eventually has enough of the disrespect and has an agency to turn his situation around.

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How to Meet Asian Women

For my final project I wanted to tell the stories of Asian and Asian American Women who have had the uncomfortable experience of having a man with Yellow Fever approach them and bring awareness to the issue of Yellow Fever to the general population. It’s because of the second reason that I made this a parody of a “How To” video without explicitly saying that it’s a parody. Rather than outright stating what the problem is to a potentially unreceptive audience, I decided to show the kind of ridiculous behavior that men with Yellow Fever display to Asian women in order to show how absurd and offensive it is.

A link to an amatourly made video

I made this video in order to breakdown some of the stereotypes of Asian Americans, specifically, how Asians are supposed to know Martial Arts. You are going to have to excuse the Amateur quality, since all I had was a camera and the simplest of Movie Editors.

However, I find it quite funny, because of the poorly made quality, it definitely pokes fun of some of the Supernatural aspects of martial arts depicted in media

Cultural Appropriation

In class when we talked about cultural appropriation and all the music videos like “Asian Girls” and “Princess of China” really got my mind going. I think it is crazy and interesting to see the ways we as humans take icons and images from different cultures and apply them to our own. While I can see the ways where this is problematic, especially with exploitation and commodification I do think it is up to us as the audience to decide what is legitimate and what is not. In this way I rationalize Avril Lavigne’s music video because she just attempted to use another culture in an obvious act that exploits K-Pop and it did not go on to become a huge success. While this always is not the case, I do think when something like this does become successful, we as consumers of this information should be the ones to blame for taking it seriously in my opinion. If Avril Lavigne loves K-Pop and wants to make a “K-Pop sounding song” I do not find that incredibly problematic unless everyone is taking it seriously as an original and creative work of its own. I do feel like certain images fit a certain aesthetic and I do not necessarily find offense to borrowed images across the board, but that the Avril Lavigne and Coldplay videos are great examples of crossing that line. When Quentin Tarentino makes a movie about slavery, is it a commodification of historical brutality against a different culture than his own or is it simply his way of trying to tell a great story and he believes that this background creates a good aesthetic for his film? Personally I find it problematic but my black roommate does not and loves that movie… My main point is that I believe that this concept is complicated and harder than just saying that every form of cultural signs/images being borrowed is terrible across the board. But maybe this is just all my crazy rationalization of thinking that Eminem is a top 3 rapper of all time. And should I even care or be influenced by that culture since it is not my own? See, it’s complicated…

Master of None Asian Women

The authorship in Master of None was definitely noticeable. Not because it was extremely horrible. On the contrary, it was extremely great at presenting an in your face and authentic representation of reality. The opening scene of the pilot episode was a sex scene between a man of color and a white woman. Honestly, yeah, threw me off a bit. But, I kept watching and do I not, Not NOT regret that decision!

It does not go unnoticed by most fans of the show that white women are predominately his love interests. The only Asian woman (Annie Chang) that went to dinner and made an appearance as a potential love interest of Dev was only in it for the free food. She definitely wasn’t the one in bed with Dev in the pilot episode. What does this say about this writer/producer’s choice? It can be interpreted in a lot of ways. From a comical standpoint, it points out this idea of dinner dates as just free dinners that can just be the main motive as to why women would give men the time of day and vice versa. And thinking of it like this, can make it hilarious. Maybe, the choice was to not perpetuate this stereotype and avoid painting an image of orientalist Asian woman in the opening scene. It can also be interpreted as a message that says that not all Asian women are hypersexual beings: and can only be either the dragon lady or the lotus blossom. It could have been the choice to make a claim that those aren’t the only two personas Asian women can have when it comes to their sexuality as well as character. Since there is an Asian women fetish in porn as well, that just made the decision speak for itself? OR MAYBE, these could be totally wrong assumptions about the possible reasons why.

What is about to be noted here does not focus on the headline, but I just want to attach it to this post, and it is that the second episode “Parents” was one of my favorites. As mentioned by Amy Lam on bitchmedia.org, “It’s a story that’s so common for children of immigrants. But the part of what brought me to tears, as a first-generation American myself, was realizing how painful and true and jarring it is to see our narratives reflected back to us on screens that have ignored our stories for so long.” Lam was able to sum up my experience with this episode in just 2 sentences and that just highlights the collective experience immigrant children have. It also says something about this show and how this particular episode was able to captivate the true realities of lived-experiences that the network primetime television shows I have been exposed to, have failed at attempting to portray.

Like Lam, I am hoping to see more women of color included in the second season as well. Of course I do not require this demand to be met. The show in itself has done so much on accurately presenting & representing realistic experiences and there are much thanks to be given to that. But I won’t deny that it would be nice to see Asian women also being represented as well as presented.

Master Of None (Episode 4)

Even in the opening of this episode with the scenes of Indian portrayal, I cannot be sure that if watching those scenes aimlessly that I would consciously realize that a lot of those actors are not the race they are portraying. I’ve heard of black face and yellow face many times. But these concepts in present time have not been so closely related to me. Apparently, they have become reincarnated in a different way with ingrained stereotypes. These things have been around for a long time but it almost seems like they are ingrained in media portrayal with the new blast of media. So much so, that when watching something with this stereotypical portrayal of a race with an actor of a different race could go unnoticed. Now that may just be me almost unconsciously watching movies and television, but it really does seem like stereotypes are so engrained in media that some may go unnoticed or in better terms maybe un-protested, at least in one’s mind. Aziz does such a great job at showing how absurd media portrayals are of certain races like his own and how the media business’ view on these races is so crazy especially when he says that there can’t be two Indians in a show because it’d be an “Indian show.” It’s so funny how he gets these ideas across which just makes it that much more easy to actually be able to laugh at the fact it’s actually true even though in reality these ideas are real.

Directly following those clips is the audition for a taxi driver. These scenes are comical because the absurdness of them. They are number one auditioning for a taxi driver which is stereotypical. Also the fact that the actors are told to do an Indian accent when they are Indian is just ironically… I don’t even know the words. If someone is Indian, they do not need a fake accent to be Indian because by definition, they are Indian with or without an accent. It would be different if they already had an accent, but since they don’t, why is it needed to show the character is Indian? It just brings up the issue of insane stereotypes in the media with races other than caucasian in America.

Also, the scene when Ravi realizes one of his favorite “Indian” actors isn’t Indian really demonstrates how media’s portrayal of race is so influential on audiences. It connects to the concept that people believe what they see in the media. When someone is not familiar with a race and they see a character on television or in the movies that is of this race, they believe that what they see exemplifies how that race acts, what they wear, etc. Unfortunately, the media is swimming with stereotypes and because of this, the conception people get of certain races is often exaggerated and overall misleading. The scene is of course comical but it touches on the fact that it isn’t even always a differing race that uses the media to seek information about race. Even those of the same race as the exemplary race in the media can use what they see as the standard of their own race. Or in this case, the media even tricks those of the same race as a certain character fooled. Even though the show is an exaggerated form of this idea, I am sure this has happened in real life with many people.

Overall, the show is revolutionarily comical and real and I’m excited to continue to follow during the rest of the season.