Posts tagged asian american

To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk — In Chinese

Hollywood roles for actors of Asian descent are still mostly limited to immigrant or foreign characters.
For better or worse, Steven Eng, an actor who teaches voice and speech classes at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, says the ability to speak in foreign languages or accented English is “an essential part of the actor toolkit” particularly for Asian-American actors.
"We are constantly going in for roles that are characters from foreign countries, so it’s necessary for us to not sound ‘American,’ regardless of the fact that we were born and raised in the U.S." explains Eng, who says he emphasizes to his students the importance of specificity when developing an accent.

To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk — In Chinese

Hollywood roles for actors of Asian descent are still mostly limited to immigrant or foreign characters.

For better or worse, Steven Eng, an actor who teaches voice and speech classes at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, says the ability to speak in foreign languages or accented English is “an essential part of the actor toolkit” particularly for Asian-American actors.

"We are constantly going in for roles that are characters from foreign countries, so it’s necessary for us to not sound ‘American,’ regardless of the fact that we were born and raised in the U.S." explains Eng, who says he emphasizes to his students the importance of specificity when developing an accent.

Wong Fu and the secrets of DIY YouTube stardom

Michigan in Color: Our sacrifice, our shame

I’ve often been told I’m a part of the “nice” race, the “model minority.” At times, it’s assumed that what I do well, I do because I’m Asian — not because I was raised by one of the strongest, most intelligent women I know. It’s frustrating when I find myself settling into these expectations. Annoying when I find myself hyper-aware when breaking out of them. I am a daughter of immigrant parents, and I am infinitely dimensional, in-love, in-pain, exhausted, roaming. Growing up. Chinese is my blood, and in a way, it defines many of my decisions and my movements through this world. But it does not lay the entire groundwork for what I choose to chase, demolish — what I choose to give, or give up.

Tiger Mom vs. Brooklyn Dragon: I Hereby Challenge Amy Chua to a Barefist Kung Fu Duel

But, I am curious if you have ever found a moment, undressed of your “Tiger Mom, celebrity author” costume and all of the salesmanship it entails, to sit in your natural skin as an Asian-American, and as a mother, to properly measure how the thoughts you spread might affect our community, and in particular our youth — those young people of shiny black eyes and straight black hair who look like you and me, many of them growing up exactly as you and I had to grow up, isolated from other Asians and left to fend for themselves in that psychological warfare of the modern American childhood, with its teasing, its bullying, its acts of merciless dehumanization.

Fighting a McDonald’s in Queens for the Right to Sit. And Sit. And Sit.

As Asian-Americans Age, Their Children Face Cultural Hurdles

When I Grow Up I Can’t Be President

Making Peace With My Tiger Mom

I am the oldest of three, and the only son. I had always been a mama’s boy — sensitive, loyal, and a fine gentleman who many of the mothers in our community wanted to introduce to their daughters. In a seemingly typical Lifetime movie twist, I became rebellious in my later years in high school. That rebellion was not only to break out of the mold of that boy who wanted to please his mother, but because I had the realization that I was not going to become the man my mom thought I would be.

“Mom, I’m gay.”

Those few words would forever haunt my mother’s dreams, and put a startling halt to the idea of having a daughter-in-law. In the following six months leading up to my departure for college in Atlanta, I had never wanted to be so far away from home.

Philip Guo - Silent Technical Privilege

As an Asian male student at MIT, I fit society’s image of a young programmer. Thus, throughout college, nobody ever said to me:

  • “Well, you only got into MIT because you’re an Asian boy.”
  • (while struggling with a problem set) “Well, not everyone is cut out for Computer Science; have you considered majoring in bio?”
  • (after being assigned to a class project team) “How about you just design the graphics while we handle the backend? It’ll be easier for everyone that way.”
  • “Are you sure you know how to do this?”

stuffhappening:

all autocompletes were screenshots of actual searches on 12/3/2013

photo credit: Mike Allen

This Photoshoot

The idea was inspired by the UN Women campaign by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai. 

Racism from Absence

In my 19 years in America, I’ve never been stopped and frisked. Cops are always nice to me. People have no problems sitting next to me on the bus. No one’s scared of me no matter what direction I pointed my cap. 

The kind of Asian racism that makes headlines is cultural misappropriation -when some “insensitive” entertainer wears silk kimonos and painted faces to look exotic.

This never bothered me.

It’s the subtle, slippery racism that’s far more sinister. The absence of Asian leads in a non-martial arts movie or TV shows means I grew up knowing only non-Asian celebrities and role models. And that if you’re an Asian guy, you are not the stuff of fantasies girls grew up dreaming about.

The absence of Asians from politics and upper management means that Asians can be hard workers and geniuses but never leaders.

Above all, there seems to be some perma-foreignness about Asians. It’s not unusual to be told to “go back to China” and to be mocked for an accent we don’t have. The manifestations of this viewpoint range from the seemingly harmless to the outright hostile. But the underlying message is the same. Asians are not real Americans.

Inspirational Racism

I vividly remember seeing this racism first-hand in a conversation with one of my former business partners. I wanted to create a mentoring program in a predominantly Asian school organization.

He flat out told me he had no interest in helping Asians succeed in America. I asked him, “Are you serious?” He said, “Yeah.” He laughed a little.

He was serious.

It was a wtf moment for many reasons and was a major factor behind my decision to leave my position as a co-founder. I eventually heard from a mutual friend that he said I was a follower not a leader.

In retrospect, I’m fortunate to have heard him verbalize something that others keep to themselves. It allowed me to move on to bigger and better things, instead of wasting time working with someone who never saw me as a partner. 

Confessions of an ABC Banana Twinky

I’ve been uncomfortable being Asian since the 2nd grade. Back then I was the foreign kid who didn’t speak any English who became the butt of every joke.

This bullying motivated me to learn English fast. By 3rd grade, I was nearly fluent and huge chunk of my vocabulary were insults and comebacks.

In 4th grade I started seeing my race as a handicap. I thought the only way to be accepted is to break every Asian stereotype. As a result, I avoided the other Asian kids. I stopped caring about my grades. Then there was the denial. For a period of my life I was Chinese Clayton Bigsby. I actually felt like I was white. 

In the 6th grade one of my friends picked a fight with me for no reason and told me to go back to China. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have taken it so hard, since he was the same friend who used to jerk off his cat.

—-

When I moved to a better school district in the 8th grade, a lot of the overt forms of bullying disappeared. Despite this, I still scoffed at Asian cliques and was embarrassed to speak Chinese in public or do anything which reminded people of who I really was. 

The only time I referenced my race was through self-deprecating humor. 

—-

In college, I became “ok” with being Asian. I didn’t feel embarrassed to speak Chinese in public anymore. I also started to see some value in Asian culture and re-developed interest in the history.

I was also in a serious relationship with someone who accepted me fully. I also joined a business fraternity that was predominantly Asian.

I took a lot of steps in the right direction, but I still felt divided. It wasn’t until  my second time meditating with a Shaman that I finally confronted the self-loathing I built up through the years. 

—-

I learned that by acting opposite to my stereotypes, I’m still letting ignorance control my life. Instead, the only thing that matters is figuring out who I want to be, and seeing if my actions are consistent with that version of myself.

The challenge is being honest with myself and admitting when my actions come from a place of insecurity and defensiveness, and committing to change that behavior for the future.

—-

Note: I’m just some guy with a Finance background who rescues cats and makes videos. I don’t know doodle squats about race relations or even East Asian culture. Everything comes from my experiences growing up, and I hope some part of this resonates. 

If you have any comments, agreements, or disagreements please drop me a line via the confirm/deny link on the upper left corner. I’m also reachable by email here

Holiday Dance Mash-up by shutupanddance ft. Dan Ban

My Mother’s Jade - Short Film [17:38]

mom and her teen daughter, culture clash, and white boyfriends. Inspired by true events.