Asian-American media watchdog Kulture aims to abolish Asian stereotypes in entertainment

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Asian-Americans have been unfairly maligned by Hollywood over the years and the trend shows no sign of abating. Kulture monitors the entertainment media for offensive representations of Asian-Americans and documents stereotypes and denigration of Asians in movies and television. The site is easy to navigate, categorizing offenses by media outlet, by type of offense, such as “Reinforces Stereotypes,” and by media type, such as TV commercials. Visitors to the site can also submit their own witnessed offenses through the “Report an Offense” feature.

Kulture is the only website that maintains a database of media offenses against Asian-Americans. They pull the curtain back onHollywood’s subtle racism and feature write ups that explore the offensive themes and tropes that are used to belittle Asian men and sexualize Asian women. In addition to providing the information on the offense, Kulture also analyzes the situation and provides explanation as to why it is considered offensive. Popular shows featured on the site include: “2 Broke Girls,” “Royal Pains,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “The Mindy Project.”

The offenses range from “Depicting Asians as Perpetual Immigrants” to “Asians as a Subordinate.” Every media offense, once added to the ‘Kulture Offense Database,’ stays forever. It serves as a repository and reference for the Asian-American community to know which TV shows, which directors, and which companies stereotype and demean Asian cultures.

According to Kulture, the Asian-American community doesn’t yet have full awareness of how depictions in the entertainment media disadvantage them in real life. As an example, Hollywood representations of Asians as timid translate into real-world stereotypes whereby whites refuse to see Asians as leaders.  Asians are often unable to fundamentally change attitudes towards them, which are stubbornly reinforced by Hollywood. In other cases, Asians have a general awareness, but there is no common understanding as to why exactly certain Hollywood depictions are offensive; this forms a shaky basis from which to advocate change. Kulture addresses this by unpacking TV and movie scenes in detail and explaining the offensive nature of them.

Asian-Americans account for approximately 5.6% of the United States population, roughly 18.2 million people. According to student surveys conducted by the University of Michigan, Asian-Americans, when asked, could not name more than a few Asian actors, and the ones they could name were often portrayed in negative terms. Women are often sexualized while men are cast as villains or uncultured characters.

Many Asians know TV shows represent them in a bad light. But they may think they’re alone in that view,” says Kulture’s founder Tim Gupta. “Kulture spotlights how Hollywood mocks and excludes Asian men while fetishizing Asian women. Kulture helps Asians and those concerned about media racism stay abreast of how Asians are depicted, and we will eventually serve as a platform for them to take action against Hollywood offenders.”

To view the list of media offenses, visit www.kulturemedia.org.

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New book explores representations of mixed race Asian Americans in popular culture

 

In this first book-length study of media images of multiracial Asian Americans, Leilani Nishime traces the codes that alternatively enable and prevent audiences from recognizing the multiracial status of Asian Americans.

Nishime’s perceptive readings of popular media–movies, television shows, magazine articles, and artwork–indicate how and why the viewing public often fails to identify multiracial Asian Americans. Using actor Keanu Reeves, golfer Tiger Woods, and the television show Battlestar Galactica as examples, Nishime suggests that this failure is tied to gender, sexuality, and post-racial politics. In contrast to these representations, Nishime provides a set of alternative moments when audiences can view multiracial Asians as multiracial. Through a consideration of the Matrix trilogy, reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, and the artwork of Kip Fulbeck, these examples highlight both the perils and benefits of racial visibility, uncovering our society’s ways of constructing racial categories. Throughout this incisive study, Nishime offers nuanced interpretations that open the door to a new and productive understanding of race in America.

Nishime’s persuasive, well-grounded analysis yields genuinely brilliant insights regarding the pitfalls and possibilities of multiracial visibility in contemporary media culture. Lucidly written with appealing attention to popular texts, this is the sort of book that moves multiracial and Asian American studies in interesting and engaging new directions.”–Glen Mimura, author of Ghostlife of Third Cinema: Asian American Film and Video

Leilani Nishime is an assistant professor of communications at the University of Washington and the coeditor of East Main Street: Asian American Popular Culture.

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New book explores representations of mixed race Asian Americans in popular culture

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Blue Chalk Tells the Story of the Menswear Dog

Brooklyn-based digital media company Blue Chalk presents a visual storytelling piece about David Fung and Yena Kim’s canine fashion line, which was launched earlier this year. This five-minute visual breaks down how the couple started a simple dog fashion blog and Tumblr page featuring their Shiba Inu, Bodhi and how it exploded into to a full-time business that urged the duo out of their jobs in the design and fashion industry. Peep the video above and look for more from David and Yena, who will be releasing a book — Menswear Dog: A Dog’s Guide to Being a Man — in the forthcoming months.

When David Fung and wife Yena Kim decided on a whim to create a Tumblr featuring their adorable shiba inu dog, Bodhi, dressed in sophisticated menswear, little did they know that they would soon be leaving their full time jobs to author a book and start a canine fashion line.

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Asian Americans and the Media: Perpetuating the Model Minority

Here’s an interesting essay on the representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood and the mainstream media.

While the under representation of Asian Americans in the media remains a considerable issue, it is the misrepresentation of Asian Americans that perpetuates the more disturbing trend of minority stereotypes and typecasting.  As influential as the media is today, the fact that few Asian Americans are represented and subsequently portrayed in stereotypical roles makes the community an easier target to be exploited by these representations.  Specifically, studies have suggested that of these representations, the “Model Minority” stereotype is consistently demonstrated in advertising and primetime television; being associated with high status professionals may seem like a positive attribute, but by ignoring other aspects of the Asian American Community, the “Model Minority” label promotes consistent misperceptions of values and culture.

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Asian Americans and the Media: Perpetuating the Model Minority

Media