Well, here is a little confession for you. I pride myself on not being too Chinese, and here is why.
Growing up in a society where learning English is so much more important than perfecting Chinese, us Hongkongers were taught to look to the West. We grew up watching western cartoons, listened to English radio stations, spoke in English with our family members, we were generally raised to be faux westerners. We had to be whiter in order to be brighter, and outshine the other kids who were fighting for the limited placements for top private kindergartens. The same rule applies for Primary School, then Secondary School. Then finally, University. This method of survival eventually washed and stripped us of our yellowness.
We were less “Asian”. And we were proud of that.
But why were we so angry when Steve Harvey made that joking asked “do you like Asian men? No!”? Why were we so mad when Matt Damon was starred as the main protagonist in The Great Wall, which is literally a fantasy movie about THE Great Wall of China? Simply because we felt like we were underrepresented. It is until now, that we “Asians”, decide that we would like to be part of this group of people that society label as “Asians”. It is up till now when we demand the American population to look at us “Asians” for what we are.
But what are we?
What are we to say when someone throws a comment saying that “Asians are not attractive”? How are we to defend? What are we to say when someone argues that “There just are not enough Chinese actors that qualify to star in a Blockbuster”? How are we to respond? What are we to say when someone asks us to shut up and stop whining about our minor problems when “Black people are getting shot on streets and now you are whining about Asians in Hollywood”? How are we to fight back?
The reality of it all is that most Asian value systems shape their people into being realistic drones of progress in order to keep up with the western countries. Art is shunned in China, and the same applies to Hong Kong. There is no way to survive in the art industry if you were born in the middle-class. (Or so we have been told). The remaining few that we able to make a living in the industry remained to be the monopolies of “Asian Actors”, and hence the only faces that people see in the entertainment industry. These people ultimately became the faces that represent our race, our nation, and our continent. And I am not going to lie, most of these Asians are unattractive. Faces like Jackie Chan became the poster child for Chinese Actors, or maybe Asian Actors in general.(Please do not tell me that you think Jackie Chan is attractive. I would rather kill myself.) Some of you might not even know that Jackie Chan is from Hong Kong, and should actually be called a Hongkong artist.
I do agree that we Asians are pretty blessed to be living in this country, and this might not be as much of a serious issue as I put it, but I do believe that we have to change how Americans see us Asians. In order to do that, we have to change the entertainment industry. I believe that the entertainment industry plays the biggest part in shaping how the people see a particular culture or race. If we star in more movies or TV shows, encouraging young aspiring Asian actors to be part of this industry, we can change how people view us as a race.
Then, being Asian will no longer be a joke.