Monday, November 14, 2016

Asian Representation

I'm one of those people who has been watching the diversity movement closely. Mostly because I'm curious about how this is going to turn out. I see comments made, usually innocently, and the immediate backlash. Sometimes I see decisions made that just blow me away. Those of you who followed the #MakeMulanRight know what I'm talking about. Here's the thing, I don't know if that was just a rumor started by someone who wanted to see everyone get up in arms, but there's a reason why that was a big deal.

Mulan is one of the only Disney Princesses of Asian descent. Depending on how you classify Asian, you might also consider Jasmine in that category. She had a unique story, and she fought on her own. She was the one who defended her family's honor, and she was the one who ultimately saved China. For anyone to think that her story needs to be 'fixed' by adding a white hero to rescue or save Mulan is more than insulting. But there's another reason why it's so important to make this story about Asians.

Asians are very underrepresented in media in general. You might see one, to represent the group, and that's it. The prime example that comes to mind for me is Harry Potter. There's so many amazing characters in that series, but how many Asians can you count? I know that it's a school that's predominantly white because they're all in England, but at the same time, there's Asians in England. There's Asians everywhere, and don't think there aren't. When I lived in Spain, almost all of the museums had three languages: Spanish, English and Japanese. When we made the music video for our writing group, everyone was so excited that I could be Cho Chang. And I was fine with being Cho Chang. Because she was an Asian who was actually represented in the Harry Potter universe. But that was my only option. If I were an Asian male, I wouldn't even have a character to play.

Ravenclaw Selfie!

I honestly can't wait for the live action of Mulan, and I'm fervently hoping that they do the movie justice. Not just the movie, but the characters. We don't need white actors to portray Asians. Let's go out and find some Asians. I know they're out there somewhere. I bet they'd do a pretty good job of playing Asians.