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I’ve seen far too many films and television shows with actors of one Asian ethnicity playing characters of a different Asian ethnicity. But by no means am I trying to blame those actors at all; it’s how they were cast is what bothers me. As an Asian American, this stings and is incredibly annoying to see still being practiced to this day. Perfect instances include: 

  • Lana Condor from the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before film series. Her character, Lara Jean Covey, is Korean-American while Lana herself is Vietnamese-American. 
  • Nico Santos & Kris Aquino from Crazy Rich Asians. Both actors are Filipino but played characters of another Asian ethnicity respectively: Oliver T’sien, a Singaporean who is a second cousin of Nicholas Young, and Malaysian Princess Intan. 
  • Naomi Scott from Aladdin. Her character, Princess Jasmine, is Arab while Naomi herself is Indian.

These actors are amazing and talented in their own unique ways, so I am not trying to attack them. However, I can name many more of these instances since there are too many to count. But the fact that I can name so many proves that interchangeability between different Asian characters and different Asian actresses still continues to exist. Being a part of the Asian community, we refuse to be tolerant of this. It seriously isn’t that hard to cast Asian actors to play characters of the same Asian ethnicity. They shouldn’t be interchanged at all!

your sexual fetishes. 

Asians, especially Asian women, are stereotyped to be sexual fetishes for the common man. Of course, not all men are like this but there are enough men who do have such fetishes for Asians to state this. 

One instance of this disgusting matter is with TikTok user @citizenattorney1. He posted a TikTok advising those who want to attain an Asian woman to not search in America because they are “not cool” and “not nice,” but to search in Asia instead. He further explained to not worry if they dump you because you can just easily claim another one later on because there are so many of them. As an Asian woman seeing that, let’s just say my reaction was of pure rage and disgust. 

Luckily, he was removed from the social media platform and his video is now deleted. 

It is deeply sickening and disgusting how Asians are normally seen this way. We do not deserve to be treated as objects for your sexual fantasies. Knowing that there are people out there who have Asian fetishes, especially if it’s sexual, makes me as an Asian woman and generally all Asians very uncomfortable. We don’t exist to satisfy or fulfill anyone sexually. Stop treating us like this. Seriously. 

 all submissive or obedient. 

Asians can be loud, too, just like everyone else! The stereotype really needs to die. Perpetuating this further only brings in expectations that we aren’t extroverted and only introverted. In fact, this is closely related to being fetishized. Because we are expected to be submissive and obedient, those with Asian fetishes use those stereotypical and emasculating traits to their advantage to manipulate us only to feel superior about themselves. Such an expectation encourages them to pursue and take advantage of us for their own personal gain. 

all Chinese, Korean or Japanese. 

The belief that every Asian you meet will be either Chinese, Korean or Japanese is entirely false. Asia is vastly diverse; we all do not look the same. Not many people know that due to the education system and the media. I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t seem to know the geography of the world very well, especially of Asia. China, Korea and Japan are countries in East Asia. But they are not the only countries and regions that exist in the Asian continent. There is also South Asia, Southeast Asia, North Asia, Central Asia and West Asia. Each of these regions have countries such as India, Thailand, Russia, Kazakhstan and Armenia respectively, for example. 

East Asians are at the forefront when it comes to Asian representation. It’s incredible how they are representing themselves; however, other Asians are being underrepresented or not represented at all. They should have a chance to represent themselves as well. If the media steps up their game and includes other Asians, they can persuade the rest of the world to educate themselves on the vast diversity of Asia and the fact that there are many other Asian ethnicities that exist and deserve to be seen. 

all light-skinned or have monolids.  

There are some Asians who do, but there are also Asians who don’t. Again, Asia is vastly diverse; we all do not look the same at all and everyone looks different. For example, Taiwanese people will look completely different from Indonesian people. Taiwan is located in East Asia while Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia. Taiwanese people tend to typically have lighter skin and monolids; Indonesian people tend to have tanned skin and double eyelids. 

The reason why there are different types of eye shapes, and this applies to anyone regardless of race, depends entirely on climatic environment conditions. We all have a common slight fold known as an epicanthic fold located between the upper eyelid and the inner corner of the eye. Most East Asians and Southeast Asians will have a clear epicanthic fold for protection against strong ultraviolet light that exists in snowy and desert regions. 

The same could be said for our skin tones. There are Asian countries that typically have snowy weather conditions and some that don’t experience them at all. For example, the Philippines is located in the tropics, so it never snows, compared to Japan in which it does snow when the season arrives. 

Because of these differences, you can see now why not all Asians look the same. To perpetuate the belief that all Asians look the same is ignoring the diversity of our people. The media really need to step up their game when it comes to Asians representing themselves; many, many individuals need to be taught that we all look completely different from one another despite being the same race.  

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Stop AAPI Hate Organization

the root cause of the Corona Virus.

Ever since the emergence of the Corona Virus destructing our world, hate crimes against Asians have spiked exponentially. We will not stand here and let this continue anymore. Trump calling the pandemic the “Chinese virus” tolerates the vicious behavior of putting the blame on the Chinese and essentially all Asians. Our race is not a virus. It’s not an excuse to blame us for the pandemic. 

As an Asian person living in the U.S. myself, in a country where such hate crimes are becoming more common, I’m now terrified to go outside. I personally shouldn’t be in fear of going outside just because I’m Asian. I’m proud to be Asian and hate crimes shouldn’t allow me to feel ashamed of myself. But I can’t help but be in fear of what could potentially happen to me. It’s dangerous. 

I would like to address a recent event that happened on March 16, 2021 in Atlanta. A white terrorist by the name of Robert Aaron Long shot and killed eight people at three different Asian massage and spa parlors. Six of them were of Asian descent. News broke out that he had a sex addiction and was tempted to eliminate the problem. This tragic event shocked everyone on a national and international level, sparking the Stop AAPI Hate movement to reach its peak of awareness. 

Please stop attacking us. We are human, too. 

fond of cultural appropriation. 

It’s totally alright to love Asian culture as it is a sign of appreciation; but, if you want to claim it as your own, don’t even try. Do not try to cherry-pick our culture. No culture was ever designed for foreigners to just steal. It is the same for Asian culture. It’s highly disrespectful whether or not there was any good intention. There is a fine line between appreciation and appropriation. Being mindful of the difference between these two terms will help in understanding what to do and what not to do to avoid disrespecting cultures. 

From Oli London claiming that he is Korean to women putting chopsticks in their hair, these are examples of cultural appropriation. Also, stop using terms such as “onii-chan” or “oppa” in suggestive sexual contexts. The definitions behind them are getting twisted from their original definitions. These types of terms are meant for people to use to respect those in a higher position than them. Having their definitions twisted by ignorant individuals makes those who actually have to address people with those terms uncomfortable and feel awkward. 

Another note: if you meet a Korean or Japanese person, don’t immediately say they look like your favorite K-pop idol or anime character. That is cringe-worthy, annoying and rude. We are well aware that K-pop and anime are major cultural exports, but don’t assume that is the entirety of Korean or Japanese people.

Like any other culture, Asian culture is never meant to fit certain aesthetics or be trendy. What is within our culture is history and tradition; it should never be stolen away from us for other people’s personal interest. 

Hello!! I'm a 5th year student at University of California, Irvine majoring in Film and Media Studies and minoring in Global Cultures. My pronouns are she/her. I have a pure love and interest for learning and gaining more knowledge about the world, the good and the bad. My hobbies include listening to music, dancing, and watching films. Becoming a member of HerCampus at UCI, I wish to improve myself personally and professionally in becoming more properly expressive and less afraid to allow my voice to be heard. I'm looking forward to the journey ahead!! :))
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