With a recent surge of Asian Americans in American cinema, we are noticing that the stereotypes that we have used in the past are actually being used by their culture to break into American culture. Days of portraying Asian Americans as unintelligible and subservient are gone and are being replaced with a whole new outlook. The introduction of Martial Arts into American film has evolved the way Asians are viewed in American cinema. Quentin Tarantino introduced a whole new outlook to Asian culture with his feature films Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 and created a pop culture phenomenon.
Most recently we have seen an influx of Asian influence in American cinema. This has not always been the case, as in previous years we have seen very little positive characterizations of the Asian American culture represented in the media. As the political and cultural merging of Americans with Asian Americans was happening, the evolution of Asian portrayal in American cinema began a very gradual climb to where we are now. Asians in film have become a staple to American culture. Stereotyping in movies is generally looked upon as negative, however, the Asian Americans have managed to use it to their cultural advantage. As an American culture minorities in cinema have statistically been more likely to be portrayed in an unfavorable light. For example, in film Asian Americans can be seen in a few different characters, that of the funny sidekick, or the guru of wisdom, but of all the stereotypical characters the martial artist has become their gateway into American cinema and eventually American culture.
Discrimination against Asian Americans has gone on for many years. Prejudice against Asian Americans was first seen around the time of the anti-Chinese movement in the 19th century. The Chinese were believed to be racially inferior, docile, and subservient, but also cruel and crafty, despotic, and threatening (Healey, 2011) The Chinese and Japanese were...
References: Healey, J.F. (2011) Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Class: The Sociology of Group Conflict and Change. United Kingdom. Sage Publications
Asian Stereotypes in the mass media: A content analysis of Asian minority portrayals in U.S. films by Tianshi Xie. University of Michigan. 2007 UMI 1451603
Yellow Hollywood: Asian martial arts in U.S. global cinema
By Shin, Mina. University of Southern California, 2008. UMI 3325019.
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