Asian Americans within the United States have experienced challenges that are embedded in racism or ethnicity. When it comes to the media, Asian Americans have experienced devastating effects following presentations that view them as members of another world. When a tsunami hit Asia in 2005 killing a hundred thousand, a popular radio show in the States played The Tsunami song that referred to the victims as chinks before pouring out insults that were humorous before intervention put a halt to its airing (Ono & Pham, 2009). Although the show hosts apologized for the misdeed, the harm done to the Asian Americans would linger long in their minds, and many of them became reluctant to refer to themselves as American Asians. The use of offensive communication against the Asian community within the States has made many Asian Americans wonder if they were living in a post-racism era. Nevertheless, the negative perception of the Asians within the American society can be attributed to the yellow peril. Under the yellow peril racism, Asians and Asian-Americans were perceived to be intruders, who would take over, invade, or negatively Asianize the entire United States nation together with her culture and society (Ono & Pham, 2009). According to yellow peril, Asians were viewed as racial stereotypes who would be of harm to the States regarding their culture, and they were out to affect the society negatively. All the fears are based on externalizations, orientalism, and structural embeddedness accorded to the Asians within the United States since time in memorial. The mass media has played a crucial role in propagating the yellow peril fears that are rooted in truth or falsehood.
Mass media within the United States has been racialized at the expense of Asians. Hollywood movie production has employed yellow face characters to refer to people of Asian origin. Yellowface logics embrace employment discrimination, mocking humor, visual technologies, anxiety about miscegenation, the necessity for misrecognition, and orientalism cultural imaginings (Ono & Pham, 2009). The yellow face logics play a pivotal role in supporting and maintaining unequal relations between the Americans and Asians in terms of power. In most cases, transparent masks are used to represent Asian characters, and such presentations lead to the suspension of disbelief among the Asians. Likewise, cloudy masks are used as a tool of racial masquerade towards the Asians. In some instances, frenemies are used to mimic and mock the people of Asian origin, which is known to the Americans. Asians within the United States have been victims of the hyper information society that is reluctant to keep pace with the ever-changing technologies. The American mass media has been in the forefront to extent racism with regard to gender and sexuality. Instead of referring to Asian people as either males or females, the mass media has constantly referred to them as studs or sissies or femmes or butches respectively (Ono & Pham, 2009). By referring to the people of Asian origin with coined names, the mass media has created an intersectional negative difference between the Americans and their Asian American counterparts. By the use of different terms to refer to the Asian Americans, the mass media has created a kind of new understanding among the natives, which lays the basis for future expectations about the naming of the Asian Americans. However, the mass media ignores the fact that the race or ethnicity is not personality. There is the need for the American mass media to be neutral in imposing knowledge and understanding within the society to avoid negative implications on the side of Asian Americans.
One of the major reasons why the mass media has continuously exposed the Asian Americans as the underdogs is due to the threatening model minorities stereotypes approach. Americans are presumed to be highly educated and more civilized compared to the Asian Americans and are, therefore familiar with the current trends in all aspects of the society (Ono & Pham, 2009). According to the understanding of many Americans, the Asian Americans form a small part of the society, and they deserve little inclusion in shaping the large society they are part of. Surprisingly, the model minorities stereotype advocates for the empowerment of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders in matters concerning their social, educational, and economic welfare. Under the provisions of MMS, AAPIs are viewed as people who are easy to associate with and their immediate members of the society. However, it is important to note that in most cases, the AAPIs have been viewed as lazy and defiant dependants. Following the misplaced understanding of the Americans towards the Asian Americans, there has always been the need to avert the situation and bring some order among all the people with regard to mass media involvement in matters concerning AAPIs. Through reactive solidarity, whereby all the Asian Americans protested misconceptions accorded to them, the community had to challenge the negative mistreatments accorded to them by the Americans by the use of independent mass media, which would, later on, be channeled to the mainstream media. In 2012, Asian Americans had something to boast about within the mass media as The Mindy Project, first network TV show starring an Asian, was aired thereby improving the representation of the Asian Americans in the mass media (Lopez, 2016). Ever since then, the Asian American invasion of the mass media has never gone back as other shows like American girl twenty years prior, and Fresh off the boat entered the airwaves though they faced mixed reactions from the society. The Asian American pursuit for media presentation had taken off when the pioneer shows hit the airwaves with much acceptance from the Asian American people.
Following the efforts of Asian Americans to enter the mass media, there were challenges in the marketing of their films. The existing media controllers were out to ensure that the new development would not be a success. Asian American films faced hit ups from other existing distributors on a daily basis, but the Asian Americans were happy with their films as they challenged the existing racism ceilings that inhibited their advancement in careers and occupations (Ono & Pham, 2009). However, the turnout by Asian American towards Asian shows was not as per the expectations. There was a need for new market approaches to make the entry of Asian American filming into the market. Asian Americans took to new media, mostly internet and garment printing, to form identities and representations that were not common within the dominant media (Ono & Pham, 2009). Luckily, the new approach was picking, and the Asian Americans had something to boast about as they were able to respond to the dominant representations and the institutions that worked towards creating alternative media. Although the Asian Americans were enjoying entry into the mass media, mainstream media was out to cast doom on the new development. Asian American actor Ken Jeong, in The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, was filmed being beaten by other American actors and the producers of the film had nothing to apologize about (Lopez, 2016). The Asian American role in the film was a true manifestation of how the media was anti-Asian. Following increased cases of negative representation of the Asian Americans in the media, alliances of institutions and individuals came together to formulate media policy that would henceforth look into the processes of creating, distributing, and own media content.
Following numerous challenges experienced by the Asian Americans in venturing into the media, several mass media movements arose to address the issue. There was the Asian reformation movement that worked towards ensuring that Asian Americans assimilated into the American style (Ono & Pham, 2009). After uncountable offenses by the American mass media towards the Asian Americans, protests against anti-Asians began, and their image within the society was being restored. The main agenda of the protests were based on hateful language that embraced offensive references and stereotypes towards the Asian Americans. However, there are exceptional cases of assimilation to the American culture as exhibited by boxing icon Manny Pacquiao (Dave et al., 2016). Later on, Asian American media activists were out to call for fair play within the mass media. The Asian Americans entrance into mass media had attracted most of their own, and like other consumers, they would respond to advertisements and products that would understand and cater for their culture and individuality (Lopez, 2016). There was the need to hire more Asian Americans within the mass media industry to make the mainstream media acceptable to all members of the society as they could not be ignored anymore. Through consumer activism, the Asian Americans were presented as the opposite to their previous counterparts, who were viewed as poor and victims of discrimination from the American mass media and the society at large.
To effectively venture into the market, the Asian American mass media took to the internet to reach more people. The youtube was indeed a new platform through which films could be aired to the audience without the interference of existing mass media influence. Videos posted on youtube received many views within a very short time, and the viewers could share rate, and mark as favorites (Ono & Pham, 2009). The use of the internet as new mass media proved fruitful on the side of Asian Americans and their films would be viewed by their members whenever they wanted, and no physical or political attempts would hinder them from accessing information from the internet. Following numerous success stories of Asian American filming, many celebrities came up, and it became easy to bring on board new performers into the filming industry and blend them with the celebrities to promote them. Many of the performers who have become famous on youtube owe it to their partnership with Asian Americans who have worked in the mainstream film like Jamie Chung and Justin Chon (Lopez, 2016). Celebrities facilitate the intersections between youtube and mainstream media. As of today, Asian American Youtube celebrities like Jeremy Lin have come out to prove that racism was part of his life as he grew up and his involvement with youths has had positive implications as he inspires many of them (Lopez, 2016). The internet has played a significant role in the development of Asian American film and its intersection with the mainstream media. Nevertheless, before the internet came into use, the exceptional work of Gene Cajayon had claimed wide acceptance from being a student project to an American phenomenon (Mabalon et al., 2001). Before the internet, the efforts of film performers would not gain wide acclamation easily, but with its inception, many performers were able to post their films and reach a wide audience.
In conclusion, the Asian American people have experienced racial segregation from within the United States. The challenge has been that most of the Americans have grown up with the understanding that other people belong to defined stereotypes. However, the Asian Americans have been in pursuit to ensure that the negative view does not damage their reputation they get from their colleagues. Most importantly, the mass media has been the common tool used by the Americans to brand the Asian Americans as yellow-faced stereotypes. Previously, the Asian Americans were represented in films in a manner that made them unhappy. To avert the situation, the Asian Americans have tirelessly worked to ensure that their image within the society is not fully destroyed. They constantly protested against any films that exposed them as the weaker members of the society. In their pursuit of equal representation within the mass media, the Asian Americans experienced constant stumble blocks from the mainstream media, which propagated the existing stereotype view of the Asian Americans. To be more effective, the Asian Americans opted to other methods of mass media including the internet, and at last, they were able to break loose from the stereotype bondage they had remained in for so long. They are able to make their films that show that they are people just like anybody else and they no longer keep numb whenever there is a mass media presentation that works to undermine their perception within the society they are part of. However, there still need more efforts from the traditional Asian American media activists to work for and maintain cultural citizenship. The Asian American people need to seek recognition from the large corporations that can lend a helping hand in their advertising and consumer roles.