Mulan can save China on her own
Hollywood needs to stop pushing white male heroes on us
At 20 years old, I finally watched Mulan for the first time. I was instantly enamoured with this strong heroine who aimed to bring honour to her family by doing the unthinkable: posing as a boy to go fight in a war against the Huns, so that her sick father could stay home and rest.
Beyond the fact that Mulan is a powerful heroine, she is also Chinese. As a Chinese-Canadian, I love that. To see someone who looks like me as a kick-ass protagonist exuding confidence and strength is incredibly empowering. However, I’m worried that upcoming generations of Chinese Canadians won’t be able to witness leading characters who share their identity.
The new live-action Mulan, slated to hit theatres in 2018, initially considered pushing Mulan aside in favour of a white male fighting to save China. The first script, written by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, saw a “30-something European trader [. . .] help the Chinese Imperial Army [. . .] because he sets eyes on Mulan,” according to the blog Angry Asian Man.
Here’s my confusion: two women wrote the first iteration of this live-action movie. As a woman, I jumped with enthusiasm as I watched the animated Mulan save Li Shang, the emperor, and basically all of China from the yellow-eyed Huns.
Shouldn’t these women be celebrating these heroic actions by at least retaining the female hero in their retelling? Why was “heroism” automatically given back to men, while women were again stuck waiting for rescue? And beyond gender, what happened to having heroes of different ethnicities?
Hollywood evidently doesn’t consider these questions, or see the issue the same way that many of its consumers do. Since 2007, “characters from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups were 26.3 percent of all characters” in the top 100 Hollywood films, according to USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Further, Fusion Media reports that only 6.6 percent of main cast members across over 100 American network TV are of Asian descent.
There’s a massive gap in our media discourse as far as featuring heroes of colour is concerned — which is incredibly problematic, because not all heroes are white.
Time after time, Chinese characters find themselves stuck in the stereotypes of foreigners (usually with a difficult-to-understand accent), martial arts gurus, oversexualized females, asexual males, or subordinate nerds — not to mention restaurant owners, housekeepers, and suspicious shopkeepers, as musician and writer Zak Keith argues. Even when a heroic role is supposed to be Chinese, Hollywood finds a way to cast the whitest person possible and pass them off as Chinese. (I’m talking to you, Emma Stone.)
This live-action Mulan has the potential to break down these stereotypes and begin the first step towards properly including minorities as heroes. As of late, the script is being updated by Jurassic World writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, with a promise of a global casting call to find a Chinese female lead as well as Chinese actors for the other roles.
As a Chinese girl who has come to love how strong the character of Mulan is, the last thing I want to see on opening day is the likes of Matt Damon or (God forbid) Brad Pitt seducing a young and helpless Chinese girl. To quote an articulate tweet from Asian American actor and writer Anna Akana: “We don’t need a white man to save China in Mulan. That’s what Mulan is for. That’s literally her role.”
Save your pretty white boy arsenal for another day, Hollywood. Bring honour to us all and make Mulan Chinese, and right.
The Walking Dead: Glenn actor Steven Yeun says playing an Asian-American role model was the “greatest honour”
The Walking Dead lost one of its original characters last week, with the death of Glenn Rhee.
In the last seven years, Steven Yeun’s Glenn has become a beloved staple on the show - made all the more special by the fact that he was a rare Asian-American character who:
was portrayed as a genuine and relatable hero;
was not racially stereotyped nor defined by his ethnicity.
Glenn is a huge, huge loss to those looking for Asian-American role models on TV, especially when you consider how few of them actually exist.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Yeun said it was the “greatest honour” to play a character like him.
“I didn’t have a Glenn,” Yeun said, recalling his childhood. "I didn’t have someone to watch on television. I didn’t have someone where I can say, ‘That’s my face, and my face is being accepted by everybody watching this programme’.
The following happened over 1.5 years ago.
Jarred Ha was the victim of assaults by white female college rugby players and a white national guard. In both cases, he was the one being assaulted by white attackers.
Jarred with close up of large scar [left], racist white attacker Graham Harper [right]
The Western media spins the story around to paint Jarred Ha as the aggressor and the whites, the national guard in particular, as a “hero”.
Here is an in-depth analysis by an Asian woman.
In January 2015, a University of Washington (UW) junior named Jarred Ha was involved in a violent incident with Maddison Story, a female UW student (and rugby player) and Graham Harper, a male UW student. Before the incident occurred, Ha and Story were tenants of the same apartment building. According to Ha, Story “routinely took up two parking spots, which had become a sore subject among the other tenants.” When he saw her outside a dorm where many UW rugby players resided, he approached her and suggested that she needed “to park straighter.”
Depending on whom you ask, what happened afterwards varies significantly. But it is undisputed that a fight broke out between the two after Ha made the comment. Soon, multiple female UW rugby players (four, according to Ha) and eventually Harper joined the fight against Ha. Ultimately, Ha ended up using his knife against Harper. The knife was “a Karambit . . . with a curved, 2 ¼ inch fixed blade” that he had received from his father as a gift for self defense purposes. When 911 was called, Harper was found with stab wounds and cuts on his left leg, chest, and groin. His abdomen was punctured, “causing a small section of intestine to protrude.”
Unlike the media coverage of this incident, which focused on the disputed violence between Harper and Ha, this blog entry focuses on UW’s unequal treatment of the three students. In particular, it criticizes UW for failing to discipline Story and Harper in the same manner as Ha when evidence suggests the two were complicit in this violent incident. In fact, Ha was the only student who supported his story with two unbiased witnesses.
Story and Harper are White. Ha is Asian.
[click link for more]
UW’s Unequal Treatment of Student-to-Student Violence: The Case of Jarred Ha | Michigan Journal of Race & Law:
Here’s an example of the Western media.
National Guard reservist Graham Harper stabbed six times protecting woman | Daily Mail Online:
Finally, the “justice” system punished Jarred, the victim and none of the white attackers.
While still in jail, Ha was notified that he was suspended from the UW and barred from campus.
Ha said he has attended academic disciplinary hearings and was ordered to take an alcohol safety class. He has been told by the UW that he can reapply in the fall, but he hopes to get back in before then. No one else involved in the fight faced disciplinary action, said Ha’s defense
Ha, who moved back into his parents’ Bellevue home after they bailed him out of jail, hopes to return to school for the spring quarter. Norm Arkans, the UW’s associate vice president for media relations, said federal privacy laws prevent him from commenting on Ha’s status.
“My brother got everything taken away from him — his schooling, his friends, his life was just completely put on hold,” said Ha’s older sister, Vanessa, who graduated from the UW in 2012. “It’s just so unfair.”
When Vanessa attended the UW, her father, Joe Ha, became alarmed by the frequent safety alerts his daughter received on her cellphone from UW police. He gave her the choice of carrying a Taser, mace or a knife for protection. She chose mace.
Cleared after stabbing, former UW student wants his life back | The Seattle Times:
It’s worth noting that this racist national guard has an Asian girlfriend.
When Asians highly distrust Asian women with white men, this is exactly why.
Bottom line is that in a white society, don’t ever think the justice system is there for you. There are many other instances of outrageous injustice such as Vincent Chin, Chai Vang, all the many rapes and murders of specifically Asian women by white men that were ruled “not racially motivated”, setc. These are not isolated incidents.
Asian American groups meet with Fox News personnel over awful Jesse Watters segment
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and other advocacy groups met Tuesday with two officials from Fox News to discuss an Oct. 3 segment in which Fox News’s Jesse Watters interviewed people in New York’s Chinatown about U.S. politics and other matters. The segment played up commonly traded Asian stereotypes and subjected non-English-speaking Chinatown passersby to ridicule.
The backlash was strong, as critics on social media and elsewhere took issue with the particulars of the video as well as the sensibilities that drove it. “The segment was billed as a report on Chinese Americans’ views on the U.S. presidential election but it was rife with racist stereotypes, drew on thoughtless tropes and openly ridiculed Asian Americans,” reads a statement from AAJA. The organization demanded an apology. On Twitter, Watters himself said, “My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense.”
In an interview with colleague Chris Wallace, Bill O’Reilly — Watters’ boss — denied that the segment had gone “over the line.” Complaints about the bit were the work of an “organized campaign,” said O’Reilly.
Paul Cheung, president of AAJA, told the Erik Wemple Blog that the meeting was “productive.” “I think they heard what the community’s reactions are,” he said of the session at New York’s Museum of Chinese in America. Approximately 130 Asian American “groups and allies” have signed an open letter to Fox News regarding the unfortunate episode, said Cheung.
Ron Kim, a New York state assemblyman in attendance, told this blog that a representative from “The O’Reilly Factor” and a senior representative from the news side of the channel attended the meeting. Together they played a “good cop, bad cop” routine, said Kim. “The gentleman from O’Reilly’s show was defending what they were doing and trying to explain that this is a part of the opinion section of Fox News and sometimes edgy humor can go too far,” said Kim.
Meet the UC Berkeley Law Student Making a Living as an Asian Male Pornstar
When it comes to male performers of Asian descent in mainstream American heterosexual porn, there aren’t many. One of the very few who’s made it through in a visible way is Jeremy Long, who hopes to break the porn industry norm permanently.
Long, who is also a third-year UC Berkeley School of Law student, is a rising star in the adult industry with millions of views on his videos online. His chosen stage name pays homage to professional basketball player Jeremy Lin, whose star turn with the New York Knicks years ago brought mainstream attention to the lack of Asian players in the NBA, the equivalent of which Long is doing in porn.
“I’ve always had a lot of Asian pride,” Long told NextShark in a 2014 interview. “I have it tattooed on my forearm. So when this porn gig came along, I just responded how I always have whenever there’s a chance to put it down for us Asians.”
Unlike in the Hollywood movie industry, where Asian actors struggle to find roles, Long says the porn industry simply lacks willing Asian men.
“There’s no evil guy behind a desk being like, ‘Oh I hate Asians, fuck them,’” he told The Daily Californian. “It just happens based on what’s around, and there aren’t many Asian guys in those circles.
NextShark caught up with Long through email to talk about his upbringing, the types of women he dates, and what it’s like being an Asian male in porn.
Tell us a little bit about what it was like growing up for you.
“I was a badass little kid growing up — typical California Asian thug. I was in and out of juvenile hall until I got sent to CYA when I was 15. At some point I changed my life and started to go to community college, then transferred to Cal. Because of my background I knew how fortunate I was to be at Cal and I really tried my best and gave it 100 percent, so I did pretty well and that’s how I was able to go even further academically. But otherwise I have very little in common with the thousands of other Asians who populate our ‘elite’ universities.”
What type of women have you tended to date?
“I’ve been surrounded by other Asians my whole life. I’ve mostly dated not only Asian but a very specific type of Asian. Not sure exactly how to categorize, but the word ‘ghetto’ comes to mind. You know: the tatted-up, thugged-out, baby-daddy-in-prison-type of chick. That was my whole world for a very long time. Only after coming to Berkeley did I really realize there was a different and much larger community and class of Asians.
“I used to be really picky with girls. I’d say my ideal type would be a Viet girl who looks Korean. But I got locked up for a long time as a teenager (California Youth Authority) so after that I just kinda went wild and made up for all the time I lost and threw any preferences, racial or otherwise, out the window.”
“I wouldn’t really consider myself a playboy because, at least to me, that implies a sort of wealth and charm/fakeness that’s used to get girls. I’m very straightforward, open and honest.”
What are some of the things you hear when you’re working with female performers who’ve never had sex with an Asian guy before?
“A lot of girls I’ve worked with are from the South or Midwest or some other area where there are almost no Asians, so probably a majority of girls I’ve worked with had not been with an Asian guy before. At least 50 percent of the girls I’ve shot with have said, ‘Hell yeah, I get to fuck an Asian guy today!’ (or some variation of that). It’s pretty awesome, I’ve actually never seen such enthusiasm anywhere else before. Porn is a super-chill community and all the girls just see it as a cool, novel thing for them.”