Dr. Suocai Su
The “Yellow Face” in Hollywood
What comes in your mind when you think of an Asian American? The high possibility of the answers from a non-Asian Americans will fall into at least one of these characteristics: skinny small unattractive people with dark figures and slanted eyes, very nerdy, a Math expert and the inability to speak well English. Have you ever wondered how or when did you automatically stereotype this group of people? It’s called the power of media and specifically, how Hollywood portrays Asian American image in this country. Since the media is a strong tool to promote the variety picture of the Americans, it, however, privileges the White race instead. I’ve been noticing all of the significant characters in Hollywood movies that receive greater social status, be the last one standing that have the power or be considered as attractive has all happened to be White males. I think the stereotype of Asian American from Hollywood is totally fallacious, twisted, and old-fashion. For a most developed country in the world like America, this “White-standard” need to change to open more opportunities for Asian Americans to promote and stand up for their own race and pride.
The image of Asian American has taken part in Hollywood movies in the early 1900s. It has not always been accurately represented the Asian group because Asian characters were portrayed by white actors. They usually change the look of the real “white” actors by make up in order to approximate East Asian facial characteristics, such as Mary Pickford as Cho-Cho-San in Madame Butterfly(1915), Richard Barthelmess as Cheng Huan in Broken Blossom(1919) and so on. According to Michelle I, the writer of the article Yellowface: A Story in Picture, states, “Caucasian actors stole their roles by having their eyes taped back to make them slanted … real Asians were cast as pidgin-English speaking houseboys and laundresses …when they appeared at...