My essay on Hollywood's "Asian Problem" is up at TeenVogue!
With Emma Stone cast as a hapa woman, Scarlett Johansson playing Major Motoko Kusanagi in the film adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, and not a single Asian actor in the running for the title role in Battle Angel Alita, the erasure of Asians in Hollywood is hitting a crisis point.
How does this problem hurt everyone, Asians and non-Asians alike?
It’s a mindset that diminishes Asian people’s humanity. It also assumes white audience’s inability to learn to empathize with Asian characters, even though exposure to people of diverse backgrounds diminishes the cross-race effect. And because of this bias, generations of Americans of all ethnicities have grown up without seeing rich, diverse, and complex depictions of Asian people in the media we consume. The Kung Fu heroines of my childhood may have modeled strength and excellence to me, but they shouldn’t have been my only models.