My Analysis for Asian Stereotypes in American Media

As an Asian student who studies in America, I found out the stereotypes of Asian-American in media is interesting and different with what I thought. Like when I was in China all the stereotypes I know about American are from the movie or the TV show I watch. When I came to America, it is totally different than what I saw in the movie. Also, the stereotypes about Asian-American are based on what people fell in their daily life or what they saw in the media. The stereotypes in media also different with what people think about from their daily life. Because the development in Asia is fast, more and more Asian came to America. From the report, there is 5.6% of the total population, and half of them born in America. More native Asian-American happened because there are Asian came to America and had family long time ago. The new Asians who born in America are people get media and other’s attention. The new Asians makes the different idea happened. What people’s idea is from the Asian in their daily life, they went school or work with, but the one in media are people who born in Asia. People may already change, but the stereotypes are still there. I will analysis three popular culture artifacts that are Bruce Lee’s Martial Arts Movies; “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Face of Fu Manchu” & “Jimmy Kimmel Show”. These popular culture artifacts would show three different stereotypes about Asian in America media.

When people talked about Asian, the first thing they will think about would be martial art. I have seen lots of movies that show martial art about Asian, no matter it is a Chinese movie or Japanese or Thai Movie. Different countries’ people but all knows martial art; this makes a fun stereotype about Asian that if you are an Asian you need to know martial art. But this stereotype does not only happen because the movie but also the class people take. People can easy to find taekwondo or Tai Chi class. American are not the only one who interested; the Asians are more interested than Americans, and they go to learn it, it is kind of true for people think Asian knows martial art. The artifact I found is about Bruce Lee (Bruce Lee’s Martial Arts Movies-YouTube), and even he died for years but, people still can remember his act in the movie. Most of Bruce’s movie was talking about how people fight back with villains by using his Kung-Fu. These movies are indelibility not only because the story but also because the martial arts in the movie. These movies made fifty years ago, but people still can remember it, this shows how profound these movies are. Bruce Lee’s movie may start gave people an idea of martial art, and when these kinds of movies came to America, the stereotype is indelible in people’s mind. But people think Bruce Lee in Asian is different than what people think about him in America. From the IMBD, people think Bruce Lee as a well actor that “greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure in modern popular media.”(IMBD) He is only a successful actor in American’s thinking. But for Asian’s view, people are more focus on Bruce’s life. He was unsuccessful when he first arrive America, because he did not have a good grade and always fight with others. But he got success after he came to America and people in Asia were remembering of this. On the other hand, because Bruce Lee people start to have interested in martial art. Like the “Kung Fu Panda” was put two stereotypes together, the panda and martial art. For my personal expensive I always get the question about this movie star like Jackie Chen or Bruce Lee, or questions like do I know the martial arts. These are made me pride because martial arts are cool, and I am glad I can be an Asian.

Except the martial arts, another important stereotype people have for Asian is good at study but cannot speak English or having conversion with people well. No matter in people’s mind or they saw in school; the Asian student was always good at study. But on the other hands they just good at study, they do not like to talk with others much, and they never are a good leader. In the famous TV show big bang theory, one of the geniuses Rajesh, this character is from India and study in America, like most of the Asian he is smart but shy to talk with people. Also, he has the strange accent that people would laugh at him sometime in the show, but he also have friends who support him all the time (The Big Bang Theory-YouTube). As an international student, I think what the stereotype shows in the show is true. The idea in America and Asian is different. Spend lots of time also causes Asian students good at study. Their parents told them the only thing they need to worry about would be a study, and they do not need to worry about the money problem. But except study, they do not have much time to do other things, this causes them shy and cannot be a good leader. Also, almost all Asian students have accent if they not born in America, no matter they from India, Japan, Korean, China or other countries. The accent in different countries are different, this is why Asian cannot speak English well. Sometimes Asian is not good at study, they just out too much time to study, everyone spend that time to study can get a good grade. I think another reason Asians are shy because they are not good at English. When I am in school I scary to talk with people because I afraid they cannot understand me. Even though they are kind to me, but I still shy to talk with people, I think most of the Asians are same as me. They are willing to talk with people in native language but shy to talk in English.

The martial and good at study are good stereotypes, but nothing is perfect. Another stereotype I want to talk about was the “Yellow Peril”. People may not familiar with this word now, but it was in people’s mind for hundreds of years. The meaning of yellow peril means the yellow skin color will influence the global position of white people. The theory of yellow peril first brings up in Europe when Huns attack Europe with his army. At that time, Huns are too strong that no one can defeat them. At the Holmes’s story, one character called “Dr. Fu Manchu” (The Face of Fu Manchu-YouTube). In the movie or the novel, Dr. Fu Manchu was the evilest person in the world. Later on a British writer wrote a series of novel about this evilest guy. The reason people write or make this character is to let people in Europe have the mind of the Asian of evil. The movie or novel are published everywhere in Europe, and it gives people an idea that Asian will make their life worse, and they should avoid them. This theory also becomes one of the reason Europeans attack China or Japan during the 1800s. Now this theory is changing but still exists.

The new “Yellow Peril” theory started in U.S in late 1800s; Americans bring Chinese to build the road. When they finish, they found these Chinese starts take over their jobs (Sharp, Gwen). After that, in the recent years, Chinese and Japanese economy grow extremity fast, and American scary these Asian will take over their status of the economy all over the world. I have seen a video from Jimmy shows, in this show Jimmy was asked children how to pay back the money America borrow from China. One of the kid said killed all Chinese then they will never need to pay for the money. Also, another child said to build a wall is not let Chinese ask for the money (“Jimmy Kimmel Show”-YouTube). These kids may not old enough to have a mature thinking, but they are also not joking about this. Some of the people not see Asian as one of them and have hostility with Asian. They are not only aim at China but also with other Asian countries like Japan or India. Japan is big economic country, and India are like another China, they have more people than China and now the economic in India growth as fast as China. Now Asian-Americans are the people who earn most for the average salary, lots of Asian work on well-street or different bank. There might be people who think that is these Asian took their opportunity and let them lose the job. I never got the hostility like this and people are all nice to me. But these video get my attention because I think no one suppose treat like this. This TV show is famous, and everyone can watch when they saw this kind of news they may just change the idea about Asian. What on the news are not right ideas? Goods are all made in Asia like China or Vietnam because over there the labors are cheap, and to let them make they good can earn more profit for the company like Apple or Nike. These big companies can choose to make goods in America, but it will cost too much for the labor, is their decision to let those help them make the goods.

There are also stereotypes for Asian like Asian is bad drivers, they are smart and know how to do the business or good at technology. The stereotypes now are based on people’s daily communication with Asian. At the same time the stereotypes of Asian are also changing because the generation is changing; now the new kinds of Asian-American fit much better than their parents. These stereotypes may true in some way but wrong in the other way. These artifacts may true or not but once they are in the media people will change the idea about Asian in good or bad way. For my opinion, I think people should know others from their daily life, to spend time with people and know who they truly are. Only base on the media to think about people may make a big mistake. The best way to learn one is getting into his or her life.



“Bruce Lee | Trailer ( from His 5 Martial Arts Movies ).” YouTube. YouTube. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


“Bruce Lee.” <i>IMDb</i>. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


“The Face of Fu Manchu / Official Trailer (1965).” <i>YouTube</i>. YouTube. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


Sharp, Gwen. “OLD “YELLOW PERIL” ANTI-CHINESE PROPAGANDA.” Sociological Images RSS. 20 June 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


“20131016 Kill All Chinese Jimmy Kimmel Show.” YouTube. YouTube, 16 Oct. 2013. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


“The Big Bang Theory S06E06 Indian Accent.” YouTube. YouTube, 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.


2 thoughts on “My Analysis for Asian Stereotypes in American Media

  1. Chengzhi, i enjoyed reading your paper. Also, i liked how you implemented various artifacts that supported your argument. You writing style was smooth and easy to follow. great job in your arguement dealing with Asian Stereotypes in American Media

  2. chengzhi2015, your essay was very interesting, and I really enjoyed your use of the YouTube videos to strengthen your arguments. Your dual perspectives from living in China and seeing American stereotypes from the media, then seeing the Asian stereotypes from a non-Asian country is very interesting as well.

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