North American media has done it again! The under representation, misrepresentation, and erasures of Asian Americans in American media have been occurring throughout history and remain to this day. Looking back on one of the firstAsian American actresses, Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American woman to make her way to Hollywood. She had gained international recognition but, her roles tended to work towards the stereotypical “dragon lady” role. Where do these stereotypes come from? The “dragon lady” stereotype is an example of a racial caricature and is only a small example of how Asians are portrayed in media. It’s almost impossible to find the line between “good” representation and “bad” representation, but it is important to address these representations due to the impact they have on how the cultures are viewed.

A lot of these misrepresentations have began from the “Model Minority” myth. The “Model Minority” myth is the idea that Asians have been able to thrive in the United States by their hard work. This phrase was actually used to criticize African Americans for not succeeding as well as Asians in the United States, while ignoring the oppressions that they both experience. Ideas that stemmed from the “model minority” myth are that Asians are naturally intelligent, and hard workers. These may be positive stereotypes but harness negative effects. This page provides detailed examples of how stereotypes are represented and challenged throughout television shows such as Fresh off the Boat.

When the media isn’t misrepresenting Asian Americans, they are erasing them completely. Casting white people in Asian roles has been becoming more common these days. This occurrence is commonly known as “white washing”. Most recently, Scarlett Johansson has been casted in the American adaptation of the Japanese film Ghost in the Shell. White washing not only happens in films, but in modeling as well. White model, Karlie Kloss was involved in an advertisement that required her to wear traditional Japanese clothing. The photoshoot’s results were incredibly distasteful and disrespectful. Portrayal of Asians in media don’t end with television and films. There’s also an interesting case study on how the the population of Asian Americans affect how they are presented in newspapers.

Our goal for this project is not only to address the issues that have been constantly ignored, but to give voice to the Asian Americans who have been overlooked throughout history.


Stereotypes in Television

Breaking Free from Stereotypes

Whitewashing in Modeling

Whitewashing in Hollywood

Asian Adaptation- Ghost in the Shell

Perpetual Stereotypes in Media outlets and the Bamboo Ceiling

Recommended sources about the “Model Minority” myth in relation to Media:

Wong, Paul, et al. “Asian Americans as a Model Minority: Self-Perceptions and Perceptions by Other Racial Groups.” Sociological Perspectives, vol. 41, no. 1, 1998, pp. 95–118., www.jstor.org/stable/1389355 (Links to an external site.).

This article focused on how Asian Americans view themselves and how they are perceived by other racial groups. It begins by questioning the academic success of Asian Americans how the “model minority” myth affects them. They also analyze the academic and career related success in Asian American’s by analyzing statistics. The target audience for this article are sociology scholars, and people studying Asian American lives. This article is influential because it provides a lot of ideas that haven’t been commonly presented in previous texts. I would recommend this article because it’d be useful, in case we need to refer to statistics.

Thornton, Michael and Atsushi Tajima. “A “Model” Minority: Japanese Americans as References and Role Models in Black Newspapers, 2000–2010.” Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, June 2014, pp. 139-157. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/14791420.2014.902086.

This article address the relationship between Black Americans and Japanese Americans in Black Newspapers. They explain, “That the relative success of Asian Americans has been exploited as a wedge issue may explain why work on black racial attitudes points to a division with Asian America,.” This supports the claim that the model minority myth pins people of color against each other. Michael Thornton is a professor for Afro-American studies and Atsushi Tajima is a professor of the department of Communication at the University of Washington Wisconsin. This article is influential because they were able to combine both of their specialties to find the relationship between Black Americans and Japanese Americans. I recommend this article because it describes the effect the model minority myth has on the way African Americans are viewed, and vice versa. In conclusion, it was observed that Japanese Americans weren’t mentioned in newspapers very often, but the news was always deep, complex and meaningful when they were reported.