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[MEDIA] The Invisible Asian Americans

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  • madchinaman
    The Invisible Asian-Americans By Michael Hong -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/17/2005 http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA496816.html?
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 24, 2005
      The Invisible Asian-Americans
      By Michael Hong -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/17/2005

      Television networks show an increasing number of ethnic faces as
      minorities are fast becoming the majority.

      Among these minorities are Asian-Americans; yet TV continues to turn
      a blind eye to this group.

      This unfortunately doesn't apply only to the casting of Asian-
      Americans but is also apparent in the lack of opportunities behind
      the camera and in the executive suites.

      A recent Directors Guild of America report on hiring at the top 40
      prime time shows revealed that Asian-American directors came in last
      at 1%.

      Meanwhile, the on-air environment for Asians remains stale. While My
      Wife & Kids and The George Lopez Show, among others, provide some
      representation for black and Hispanic America, Asian-Americans are
      still left out. Margaret Cho's All-American Girl, the first and only
      prime time network series starring an Asian-American, lived a very
      brief life.

      Moreover, the few series on mainstream television that have featured
      Asian-American actors tend to portray two-dimensional characters,
      often speaking with thick accents.

      Asian male characters are often portrayed as emasculated figures of
      comic relief. Asian females are cast either as submissive or
      as "dragon lady" seductresses.

      Media have the power to control audience perceptions, tastes,
      opinions and even actions.

      As Asian-Americans, not only are we unable to see our own lives and
      faces reflected on television devoid of flagrant stereotypes, but,
      perhaps even more dangerous, the actions of other groups toward
      Asians can be affected as well, resulting in everything from acts of
      hiring discrimination to violent hate crimes.

      Asian-Americans are in dire need of a basic media platform, a
      mainstream venue through which we can both shape the landscape of
      media and watch dynamic, complex and diverse portrayals of

      We still lack the basic representation on the small screen that BET
      and Univision offer black and Hispanic viewers.

      Since advertising is the Holy Grail, perhaps the lure of increased
      marketing dollars will lead the change.

      While making up only a third of the U.S. minority population
      collectively represented by Hispanic and African-Americans, some 12
      million Asian-Americans account for more than half of the total
      buying power—nearly $300 billion. And the Asian population is also
      growing nearly as fast as the Hispanic population.

      I am an Asian-American who is part of the "1.5 generation": someone
      who was born in Korea but grew up in the U.S. I consider myself to
      be a full-blooded American.

      My peers and I would like to have our distinct cultural voices heard
      and our faces seen, while contributing on a larger scale to the
      fabric of this nation, the same as other minority groups.

      It is now up to the rest of the media industry to answer this call
      to action.
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