- Do you use chopsticks or forks?
- Why are your eyes so small?
- Are you bad at driving?
- Something is wrong with my phone. Can you fix it?
- Are you related to Jacky Chan?
- Can you help me with my math homework?
- Is it true? Do you have a small penis?
- Do you have an American name?
- What is your name? Ting? Like the sound you make when you drop chopsticks?
- You speak English so well. Where did you learn it?
- Asians are not discriminated against. All of my doctors are Asian, and the Asian kids in school are the ones getting top honors. It’s the white kids who are disadvantaged.
- Can you recommend a good [Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, sushi, etc.] restaurant?
- Where are you from?” “No, where are you really from?
- You don’t act very Asian.
- You all look alike.
- What kind of Asian are you?
- Can you speak your language?
- Were you a fan of Jeremy Lin?
- Why do you only hang out with Asians? (common interest)
- Do you eat dogs? Really, never?
- Ching Chong Ling Long Ting Tong
- Am I holding these right? (chopsticks)
- Are you related to Chancellor Yang?
- Is it hard for you to tell each other apart?
- Do you know Kung Fu?
- Say my name in your language.
- Are your parents really strict?
- I would let you drive but I would like to get there alive
- Are you a bio, engineer or pre-law major?
- Do you know anyone named Lee?
Exploring my Taiwanese American self identity
This past weekend has to be the weekend I actually identify myself as Taiwanese American. From March 5th to March 7th, I attended the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association (ITASA) West Coast Conference (WCC). Being the president of Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) I feel the obligation to attend the conference. I did not know I would get so much out of this two day conference!
The theme, “To Infinity and Beyond”, seeks to inspire attendees to take the Taiwanese American identity and strengths above and beyond with our dreams and aspirations.
As we attend the first event as “space cadets” we enjoyed some awesome Taiwanese food then we had Dan Lin as one of our keynote speaker. Dan Lin is the CEO of Lin Pictures, a film and television production company with an overall deal at Warner Bros. Since his company’s formation in 2008, Lin has produced films that have grossed over $2.0 billion in worldwide box office sale. He most recently produced the blockbuster The LEGO Movie. Dan’s speech was very inspiring and the one thing I got from his speech is that jobs are not created for you, rather, you are responsible for making your own job in a company.
Dan Lin’s speech was only an inspiration that Taiwanese American has a space in the world. The workshops that we had during the conference are the tools that helped us with this Taiwanese identity.
For the first workshop session, I attended Karin Wang’s Advancing Justice: The Asian American history. This workshop was ran by students because Karin could not make it that day but I still think that it was very well ran. In the workshop, multiple incidents of Asians in America forged a new identity as Asian Americans in their struggle to recognize their human rights was posted on the wall in order and we were asked to comment on them. This workshop helped me recognize the social injustice that people face and that we should fight for our own justice.
The second workshop is making a zine. A zine is where one reflects on their experience and memories and in magazine form. I expressed myself by focusing on Taiwanese food and how they are delicious and not stinky.
Going through these workshops helped me figure out my Asian American, more specifically, my Taiwanese American identity.
This week we had a discussion of the dynamic of Asian in media before the youtube era and how the medium of YouTube has progressed Asian Americans into this era of independency from external institutions that focus on projecting a certain type of image of us. We had watched the short film Uploaded which touched on the idea of where Asian Americans stand now in the world of media and the pioneers who are changing the image of Asian Americans are compared to past media. Earlier in the quarter we had discussed the generalization of Asian Americans, from the submissive qualities of Asian American women to the emasculation of Asian American men, but it’s amazing to see that this image is progressively changing into this new form that brings a positive image that makes others envious of us.
We can see the role of not only YouTube, but the internet in general has been a tool for Asian Americans to finally be able to express ourselves compared to how traditional media could not do for us at all. In the Ono reading there is this discussion of new media practices for being able to show talents and perspectives without being filtered by any institution. A prime example is the concept of VLOGS, Video blogs, these videos allow expression of one’s ideals or perspectives on anything that is happening in our world today. Now you see YouTube personalities emerging and finally being able to become vocal because YouTube and other forms of media has allowed them to have a free space to do so.
As an advocate YouTube account holder, I watch most of these YouTube personalities religiously. I had never noticed before until our actual discussion of it in class of how the perspective of Asian Americans had changed. The past ideals of society viewing us in a negative manner, to basically us taking over the digital space. Where we are invading all forms of expression of self, and it has allowed the image of Asian Americans to sway away from stereotypical ideals, and in a way humanizing us with the rest of the world. I’m personally excited to see how this new era is going to progress and where it’s going to lead us for Asian Americans, but all I can hope for is good things for the future.
The changing culture of media and the advance of technology have opened up doors for Asian Americans cultural producers to share their content with a huge community. As shown in the film Uploaded: The Asian American Movement, YouTube has become a major platform for Asian American communities to voice their opinions, connect with other community members, and build an independent business.
The historical exclusion of Asian Americans in the mainstream entertainment industry have turned many young Asian Americans to YouTube to create their own content. Their content include a wide variety of themes, from fashion tips, to Asian American issues, to life and relationship, etc. and is presented in multiple forms, from short film, to vlog, to comedy, to music videos, to dance videos and etc. These contents increase the visibility of Asian American and help counter stereotypes perpetuated in the mainstream media. Some contents explicitly engage stereotypes about Asian Americans in vlogs, like KevJumba’s “I Have to Deal with Stereotypes”, while others counter them in a more subtle way, such as by presenting Asian Americans with non-stereotypical professions: comedian, singer, dancer and film makers.
Many of these YouTube stars are role models for younger Asian Americans who want to make it in the entertainment industry. They also connect with each other through social media and collaborate on projects. This community of Asian American YouTubers not only provides support for each other, but also builds a strong foundation for possible cultural shift in the mainstream media, a shift towards more justice and equality in representation politics.
Many of the YouTube stars featured in the film, such as Wong Fu Production and Kevin Wu, have hundreds of millions of subscribers. By directly connecting with their fans, or content consumers, Asian American cultural producers are able to bypass financial and legal barriers in the mainstream entertainment system such as the Hollywood and TV show. As shown in the film, Asian American YouTube stars produce and distribute their own content to their fans, and the financial support of their fans allow these cultural producers to continue to do their art with freedom and independence.
Jeff Chan argues in his book Who We Be: The Colorization of America that cultural change always precedes political change. I believe that the efforts of Asian American cultural producers on YouTube can lead to larger cultural shift and ultimately impacts policies regarding Asian American issues and rights.
Ruiqi Angel Ye
I feel that this past week was really productive, both in and out of class. In class, we had lots of discussion and analysis of media clips, readings, and Fresh off the Boat. Out of class, it seems that many of us did the readings, as seen in the increase in contribution and participation during class discussion.
We watched the documentary Uploaded: The Asian American Movement (2012), by a team of recent UCSD graduates led by up-and-coming young director, Kane Diep. Uploaded celebrates the generation of new media artists and activists of social media and YouTube. Asian Americans in media and pop culture share their stories, insights, and experiences. Overall, the documentary illustrates the progress that Asian Americans have made over the last decade or so, and highlights issues that they face today.
I have known that YouTube was a platform for ordinary people to express themselves – let it be via music, dance, vlog, tutorial, or other entertainment-related means of expression. Sometimes, there are informational “how to” videos as well. However, after watching Uploaded, I have realized how powerful and influential YouTube can be. YouTube has propelled and launched careers and fulfilled dreams for many Asian Americans. And it continues to inspire and to provide a platform for aspiring Asian Americans.
As discussed in the documentary, many popular YouTubers have followings and are considered celebrities. For instance, KevJumba (Kevin Wu) is an influential YouTube celebrity. Yet, he has not reached full celebrity status. According to filmmaker Freddie Wong, there is a spectrum of stardom. On one end of the spectrum, there are the Asian American celebrities in Hollywood, while on the other end, there are the Asian American celebrities on television. YouTube celebrities are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum who are famous, but not “famous.”
Additionally, I find it really interesting that there is a crossover between YouTube and television. Philip Wang of Wong Fu Productions mentioned that there are those who are on television (or the big screen) who are interested in transitioning to YouTube, but are unsure how to do so smoothly. Similarly, there are those on YouTube, like Wong Fu, who are interested in transitioning to television and/or the big screen, but are unsure how to do so smoothly. The “crossover relationship” between YouTube and television is difficult to describe, yet it exists. There are boundaries for each type of medium. So, achieving a certain degree of stardom in one medium does not necessarily translate into another medium. Why are transitions so difficult? Why is it that the stardom cannot crossover?
A fellow classmate and I did our Unsung Hero Project on KevJumba (Kevin Wu). Our work can be found here: https://asianamericanpopculture.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/kevjumba-kevin-wu/
For more information about the documentary Uploaded: The Asian American Movement, please see: http://uploadedtaam.com/
The official trailer for Uploaded is below: http://youtu.be/lHKOBxKUfVQ
* On a side note, I recognized a friend/classmate from my high school in the documentary. I figured out that the documentary was filmed at UCSD or in the San Diego area about 10 minutes into it. I was really happy to see him about 200 miles away participating in the discussion about Asian Americans in media and pop culture. Thanks to this class, I can discuss all the things that I have learned with him when I see him!
This week’s topic is about the new generation of Asian Americans and how they become popular with what they have today.
I would like to focus on an individual who I follow before he became this YouTube superstar. I have been watching Jason Chen’s video before he came out with his own album on iTunes as well as his original songs. Like many other YouTube stars Jason Chen started off recording in his own home with a simple microphone. He started off covering other artists work such as Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift. As he became more and more well known, he started to make his own original music.
As Uploaded described, YouTube serves as a platform for young stars who just want to share their talent. YouTube has made many stars that we know today. Not just that, but YouTube has also humanize celebrities; it makes us realize that celebrities do the same stuff we do and they eat the same stuff we do. They are no different than us and YouTube showed us that.
These independent singers are a threat to big companies because they first of all can attract a lot of customers from them and they ave their own freedom to do what that want without any limitations to what they can do. The superstars now are limited to their work, they do not have their own freedom to do what ever they want or sing whatever they want because they have to sing what the market wants.
I have once thought of making a YouTube channel and do parodies of stuff happening around life but that never happened because I was afraid of what other people would think and tha if I do upload videos they will exist forever.
Overall, these stars on YouTube are brave enough to show off their talent and that’s why they are famous.