ASIAN AMERICAN ISSUES
Asian Men Deliberately Excluded from Star Wars?
ow that the fifth installment of the Star Wars saga has hit theatres, it's official: Asian men have no place in George Lucas's vision of the future. An Asian female Jedi was glimpsed in the most recent installment, but not one single Asian male has been spotted in any of the five movies.
Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:56:07 PM)
The absence is all the more remarkable given that Star Wars borrows its themes and fight scenes so obviously from samurai and kung-fu flicks. On a purely demographic level, it's difficult to imagine a distant future in which Asians will not be the preponderance of humanity. Even on a mundane economic level, Asians account for at least a third of today's global box office and video revenues.
The utter absence of Asian men in the latest installment is even more glaring in light of the promises Lucas made in response to Asian protests over the omission of Asian actors coupled with suspicious attachment of Asian cultural traits to unsavory alien grotesqueries in The Phantom Menace. Lucas had even hinted that images of Bruce Lee would be used in the installment now known as The Clone Wars.
In The Phantom Menace Lucas used Asian martial artists both to choreograph and perform the kendo-inspired light-saber sequences. But as if wishing to take back the decision, in The Clone Wars Lucas's PR machine made a point of showing that the fight sequences were choreographed by a white man and performed by the actors themselves. That explains why they were so leaden and lackluster, but raises the question why?
Could it be that George Lucas wants to avoid calling attention to his large debt to Asian action films?
Is Lucas afraid that including an Asian man will invite critical focus on the new movie's sub-par swordfight sequences?
Is Lucus slyly inviting viewers to see wizened little Master Yoda as a winking representation of Asian men?
Despite his avowed interest in Chinese and Japanese martial arts, culture, literature and films, is Lucas a closet racist after all?
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There's an Asian male pilot at the end of the Phantom Menace when Naboo fighters are attacking the Federation starship. He says, "There are too many of them!" I also belive that one of the pilots at the end of Return of the Jedi is an Asian male (though you may be unhappy to hear he slams into an Imperial Starship), when the rebellion is going after the Death Star, though I'll have to watch it again to be sure. I find it amusing the George Lucas gets attacked and bashed from every possible minority and majority group for everything from A to Z. It isn't fair and 99% of it isn't even true. However, I do understand the sensitivity to the "accents" used in the Phantom Menace, I was bothered by them to. Despite that, I never actually believed they were a product of racism, but at worst ignorance of other people's sensitivites. One other note, Star Wars does not take place in the future, and it is not a representation of humnity, it is a totally different galaxy. Having said that I do agree that there needs to be a more accurate representation of all peoples in entertainment.
Monday, January 27, 2003 at 11:26:56 (PST)
I think it's TOTAL RACIST BULLS***.
Fact is, STAR WARS is structured on textbook Campbellian mythology and a total RIP-OFF of Oriental culture! Just to cite a few examples:
1) Light/dark = Yang/Yin
2) Force = qi
3) Darth Vader's helmet = samurai helmet
4) Light sabers = samurai swords
5) Luke's robe = karate gi
6) Yoda = koan-spouting Zen master
7) Obi-Wan = Taoist adept/immortal
8) Etc, etc
Yet they got EVERY OTHER RACE in it, EXCEPT for the one it's BASED ON! Not even ONE token one!!!! Wow!
Star Wars = Oriental
Monday, January 27, 2003 at 09:35:20 (PST)
I think Asian Americans need to wake up and start protesting, complaining and threatening boycotts of advertisers, Hollywood producers and the media in general for continuously portraying Asian men as weak characters. Asian men are portrayed in one of four ways. #1 Evil Military Foreign General #2 Weak Computer Nerd (most prevalent) #3 Chinese/Japanese Chefs #4 Again, as a Foreign KungFu Master. Asian men are almost never portrayed in positive masculine roles as everyday American figures. But always as weak, greedy, clever but nerdy foreign characters. To the readers, do me a favor. Try to jot down the number of commercials/ads you view and see how many of them even cast Asians in there ads let alone positive ads. If you do see one it will be of some foreign speaking Asian cook holding a fish or some other stereotypical image. For a long time, blacks were stereotyped as well, I'm sure you all heard of the term "black exploitation films." When the media or Hollywood would always portray blacks as drug addicts, pimps and lazy criminals. However in the mid to late 1980's things changed because and only because the black leaders and communities started to threaten boycotts and protested regarding such poor images and representations of blacks by Hollywood producers and media giants. Today, you see many blacks in ads and TV shows and films portrayed in various and positive images. Trust me before the 1980's you really didn't see too many blacks in ads or movies other than the stereotypical ones. You as an Asian person may say, “who cares about all this, it doesn’t directly affect me.” Oh how WRONG you are! It MATTERS a LOT!! It means everything with regards to general acceptance as Asian Americans and not some "little foreign Chinamen." When a viewer is constantly shown the same negative/weak images, it will influence their thoughts. It MATTERS a LOT because it means Asians are less likely to be offered a position on a sports team, an executive level promotion (no corporate glass ceilings, which is often the case for Asian Americans with great credentials thus forcing us to go out and start our own businesses) and generally speaking, greater acceptance as Americans equal to the next white guy. It MATTERS a LOT because if you the Asian guy try out for sports and fail one time and strike out or throw an interception, the coach isn't privately going to think "why did I give this ASIAN guy a chance for a tryout, he's ASIAN he can't play ball, I'm going to cut him." It's called stereotyping & discriminating based on some preconceived notion that this coach may have about Asians not being athletic enough to compete at a certain level. Where would this Coach get such discriminating thoughts & prejudices? Well, you guessed it……..through the media! Again, images/ideas seen and heard over and over again influence the mind, whether you agree with it or not. Why do you think Advertisers spend billions of dollars each year to advertise? They know this truth. But going back to my example of the sports coach…… if a white or black guy missed the same play or threw that same interception the coach is more willing and open to give him another chance, thinking the kid just had a bad day! Because he has the belief that whites and blacks can play ball. The coach hasn’t been repeatedly exposed to the negative images, negative stereotypes about blacks and whites by the media. I’m not saying that whites or blacks are never shown in a bad light but it is balanced. Or I should say they are presented far more often in a positive light.
Are you guys now understanding why this image thing in the media and how Asian men are portrayed is so very important? Like I said the power of the media is HUGE! Because it has the power to influence people’s minds. Only when the media started to portray blacks as equal to whites, did the rest of American society become more receptive and respectful of African Americans. I remember in the late 70's and early 80's, most people were ignorant and thought many negative things about blacks because of the negative stereotypes shown in the media and they were the only images we saw over and over again. And unfortunately that influenced a lot of people’s opinions about blacks. Which was very wrong. It was Racism. The same thing is still happening today against Asian Americans and specifically Asian men. So YES it does affect you and me, the everyday Asian and we Asian Americans need to get angry and passionate about this. Start writing, emailing or calling the advertisers who sponsor films, companies and other media outlets which continue to stereotype. Tell them all, we’re tired of this crap! I'm not saying don't ever portray Asians in negative roles at all, that's not realistic but similar to their portrayal of whites and blacks, balance it out by also portraying us as powerful, insightful, sensitive, confident and strong leading men. And don't just stereotype us into the 1 of 4 roles I mentioned earlier. Tell the media and advertisers that we will no longer spend a single dime buying or supporting any of their products or services if they continue to feed us with negative/stereotypical views of Asian men. Not too long ago a racist incident occurred in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA. As most of you may know, California is the state with the largest contingency of Asians in the country. In the San Fran Bay Area, the numbers are even greater. I believe every 4th person in SF Bay Area is Asian. Meaning 25% of the total Northern CA. population is Asian American.
Anyways, going back to my story...there was a Chinese American family who walked onto a luxury automobile dealership. One of the family member was a young college UC Berkley student. He overheard a white guy making some offensive racial slurs and comments about some other Chinese family there looking for cars. Well the Chinese American guy got pissed and reported it to the manager who just shrugged it off and dismissed it. Probably thinking, "ah who cares, there just a bunch of Asians and they won't do anything about it." Trust me people if it was a black person (because of the NACCP’s strong presence) making this same complaint, the apathetic white male manager would have taken it a lot more seriously and would have addressed it right there and then! But since they were Asians, he assumed they were going to be "passive" and not do anything about it. BIG MISTAKE! This Chinese American guy wasn't some " me no speaka engrish Chinamen.” He was some type of Cal University student body activist. So this Chinese American dude emailed everyone he knew, including the local news stations and guess what? The local news channels aired this story and within days the auto dealership was bombarded with phone calls and emails regarding this racist salesman demanding that they reprimand/terminate him or ELSE. What is the or "ELSE" part? Simple, pure economics! You see in California and especially the metropolitan areas, there are a lot of Asian Americans purchasing luxury cars! Asians one after another called and emailed the dealership stating they will never again buy another car from them in the future. Well to make a long story short, two days later, the owner of this prestigious auto dealership wrote a personal letter to this Chinese American guy apologizing and a day after, fired the red neck salesman! Now that is what I’m talking about! A collective Asian voice, threatening boycotts….. got results! Without doubt, from that point on, I'm sure this dealership was very cautious and careful as to how they treated and viewed ASIAN customers.
Statistics show that Asians make up about 15% of the total population of California but about 30% of the economic output (income, spending). Meaning more than any other single group, Asians have the absolute power to seriously affect California's economy. The big businesses and merchants know this. With this knowledge we need to start wielding our economic might and collectively unite and voice our anger and frustrations by threatening to boycott, stop purchasing or refuse to support any entity, organization or individual who continue to demean, disrespect, misrepresent, and portray Asians in stereotypical and negative manner.
Media racism agains AA's
Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 21:04:45 (PST)
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