They All Look The Same Essay, Research Paper
I Don t Know, But They All Look the Same.
I am not going to let this b##ch get away with this. I said to myself as I carefully observed my car for the evidence. At the parking lot of my work place, a Mercedes Benz lightly hit my car on the front bumper when the driver was carelessly backing up. Even before I could realize the circumstance, a Caucasian lady got out of the Mercedes and took a quick glance at my car. She said, I don t think I damaged your car. Then, she parked her car. For a strange reason, my mouth was kept open during the short period of time. After parking next to the Mercedes, I found a little scratch mark on my front bumper. At the same time, I saw the lady hastily walk away. Excuse me, Mam. I approached the lady with my fake gentle manner. To my surprise, the response was not very kind. What? I am late for my meeting right now. Oh, I am sorry mam, but I think you scratched my bumper. I replied in a low and incompetent tone. Didn t I just tell you I did not damage your car? Are you calling me a liar, boy? Startled by her machine gun-verbal assault, my mouth was shut down for a moment. The sudden anger made my eyes wide open and I found some silver paint on the bottom of the Mercedes s back bumper. Yes, it was time for me to strike her back. I burst right into her face and said, what the hell is this then, huh? Like a police officer, I asked the Caucasian woman for her driver s license and insurance number. The panicking woman was not willing to give her private information to a crooked Asian gang member who drives a fixed up Honda Accord. Instead, she got on her cellular phone and explained the situation to her lawyer. Do I really have to give them to that Asian boy? I don t
know, Chinese, Korean, whatever, they all look the same anyways. I could not help not to listen to these statements which pierced through my ears from a distance. The white woman asked me many questions as if I was the one who damaged her precious E-Class. Is that your car?, let me see your insurance papers and license, and oh, do you have green card? What does your parents do? These questions certainly made me lose my temper and made me curse her out and I just left the scene. Scheming crooks, illegal aliens, greedy shop owners, bookworms, and lost tourists are some of the stereotypes which follow Asian Americans like their name tags. Behind the curtain, there is Hollywood, which represents the majority of the American media. The American Media created stereotypes to transmit negative and limited range of cliched stock images of the Asian immigrants.
Since Asian Americans are among the minority groups, the rest of the American society are most likely to meet them in the television screen in their living room because not every city in the country has Asian population like Los Angeles or New York. From the gangster – involved, short and cunning characteristics of Asian men to the exotic, sex hungry Asian women, the television and movie perpetuate the gender, race and class inequalities by allowing these stereotypes to appear over and over in their box office hits. In today s TV shows, it is impossible yo see a sexy hero like Brad Pitt with yellow skin and dark hair. In order for an Asian character to score a hit movie, he has to be funny with broken English and most of all, the Kung – Fu master who flies among his enemies. More often than not, Asian men have always played the role of evil and greedy gangster in popular adventure movies such as Lethal Weapon 4″ and Rush Hour. The myth that Asian American communities such as Chinatown is filled with illegal activities like drug dealing, prostitution, and gang movements all get their emphasis in the movies. In Lethal
Weapon 4, Jet Li, who is the action hero in Asia plays the villain. Jet Li plays the crime boss who
is in charge of smuggling illegal labor force from China, drug dealings, and assigned killings among other things. When his Chinatown based operation is discovered by two Los Angeles police officers, played by a Caucasian and a black actor, the chase is on to capture the foreign villain. The result, of course, the cowboy – like cops defeat the evil Kung – Fu master and his crew with American style fighting. In another popular adventure movie, Rambo , the muscular white male hero Sylvester Stallone, single handedly defeated a village full of Vietnamese soldiers in his quest to destroy Communism. Such a heroic effort could not be possible in reality. This kind of film creates the images of the Asian enemies who lack intelligence and destined losers. Also, the Hollywood producers tend to oversize the old male – dominance in Asian society which does not necessarily apply to the modern Asian American society. Such aspect labels the Asian men as the undesirable male partners. The Asian man must also display no competition to the white man in terms of courtship with women, especially Asian women. This aspect is shown in the movies with usual endings where the white stranger rescues the innocent Asian girl from her evil Asian master.
Out of irony, the Asian man is not allowed to have an intimate relationship with a white woman because the white woman cannot be subjected to the Asian patriarchal system, which is seen as inferior and potentially degrading. The perfect example of this aspect is that we have not seen any sexy, sweat, and romantic Asian hero in the movies. Asian men are portrayed as weak and less masculine to emphasize that they do not have the ability to attract women into entering companionship, unlike the white men who always successfully grab the attention of the Asian women. For decades, Americans have viewed Asian immigrants as always taking from this country without giving anything back. In the movie Falling Down, the white main character
played by Michael Douglas accuses a Korean grocer of draining American resources without bothering to fit into American society. This accusation justifies the lead character s destruction of the Korean s grocery store. Asian American men are also used as the sidekick clown in comedy sitcoms in order to spice up the show. The Chinese food delivery man in Seinfield and Mr. Kong in the King of the Hill both speak broken English and act silly in order to draw extra laughter. One most commonly portrayed characteristic in many Asian characters in the movies is that they are unfamiliar not only with English but also the modernized and logical western culture.
Asian actresses in the Hollywood are not immune from the repetitious stereotype disease such as the China Doll and the dragon lady. Asian women are supposedly sexually active, exotic, overly feminine and eager to please men. This character is termed China Doll. In Return to Paradise, the movie sets itself in Malaysia where three white male Americans spend their time laying on the beach, using drugs and sleeping with the local girls. Even though the Asian female actresses in the movie were not Asian Americans, it still conveyed the message that Asian women enjoy sexually serving white men because they are white and rich. Another example of the China Doll character appeared in The Year of the Dragon. The main actor, a white police chief who is deemed racist towards Chinese, tries his best to eliminate violence in New York s Chinatown. He befriends an Asian American female news anchor to get his crack – down on Chinatown violence stories on TV broadcast. The police officer is depicted as arrogant and selfish man, and the Asian news anchor dislikes him because he makes derogatory remarks about her being Chinese. However, the predictable result comes into play when the police officer visits the woman s house, he coerces the new anchor into having sex with him and she submits to him, despite giving him rejection slaps on the face prior to engaging in sexual intercourse. This movie
not only showed that Asian American women were passive and indecisive, but it also stressed that Asian American women desire to have sex with white men, even if she says no initially. Dragon lady refers to an Asian woman who is perceived as seductive, desirable but at the same time, she is untrustworthy. Scheming, treacherous and dangerous, the dragon lady is the female version of the Asian bad guy, only with a slightly different approach to defeat her enemies. In the movie Pay Back which features Mel Gibson as a good hustler, Lucy Lui plays a member of an Asian gang who seduces her male prays sexually and when they least expect it, she backstabs them.
The show does not end here. After all the negative stereo types for the Asian men and women, the Hollywood still has some more bullets left in the barrel which is aimed at the Asian community as a whole this time. Asian Americans are often viewed as the model minority of America with their smart and diligent work ethic. Unfortunately, some of the portraits in the movies go too far in the wrong direction, depicting Asians as so flawless that they are robbed of humanity. The TV sitcom Pearl showed an Asian student who was an over – achiever with little emotional life. It is hard to find Asians in the television who are relatable human beings. On the other hand, Asia is often used an explanation for the magical or supernatural. Alice by Woody Allen shows the magical powers of an elixir by having the white main character buy it from an Asian herbalist. This passes out the idea that Asian cultures are so strange and unknowable that they are unrealistic and can defy the physical realities of the western world.
A television set or radio in an American family plays major role in the family s daily life. Many Americans entertain themselves with many world famous hit television shows and movies.
Also, it is not the fortune teller but the television sitting in the living room which will reveal the next President s smiley face. But, the good purpose of informing the society backfires at Asian
Americans when the Hollywood which represents major portion of American media, repeatedly shows the negative stereo types of Asian Americans. As a child, one way to memorize the English alphabet was to repeat it over and over again. Some of the stereotypes are even stuck to brain that I often joke about my Chinese friends about their parents owning restaurants and their accents. The stereotypes have become so common that it is O.K. to joke about Asian people without hesitation and become the cool and funny guy. But, if the signal tower of the TV studio keeps on sending the negative stereotypes of Asian Americans to the rest of the America, Asian Americans will always be the aliens with small eyes. Black criminals, athletes, white rich men, trashes, Mexican workers, and Asian shop owners, and bookworms, we are all Americans.