Asian Americans are #onlyonepercent

Amid the social media trend #OscarsSoWhite, a new hashtag is now trending as a result of Sunday’s Academy Awards. Despite the positive reviews for Chris Rock, host of Sunday’s Academy Awards, he is receiving backlash for his Asian jokes in which he brought up three children of Asian descent to the stage dressed as the stereotypical “hard worker who excels at math and science.”

Upon the visual representation of the joke, Rock preceded to take a jab at a joke that clearly referenced child labor in Asia by stating, “If anybody’s upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids.”

In response to Rock’s Asian jokes, writer Jaya Sundaresh created a social media movement, #onlyonepercent, to indicate the statistic that only one percent of Asian Americans have received Oscar nominations in history.

The media coverage of #OscarsSoWhite, now trending for the second year in a row, forgets to include Asian Americans. Rather, it only focuses on the divide between black and white. Asians are not very well represented at the Oscars, nonetheless, the media industry; for, many Asian characters in Hollywood films are played by Caucasian actors and actresses. Emma Stone, for instance, received a lot of criticism when she played a partially-Asian character in the movie, Aloha. 

As Asians are often “whitewashed” in Hollywood films and television shows, it brings up the question of whether Hollywood is truly the place for Asians, and if it is not, how Hollywood can change the way Asians are represented or casted.

I think one way to bring more Asians representation in Hollywood is to analyze and pay attention to the way we hold casting auditions. Should producers and directors be looking at the individual during casting auditions? What if the casting process were blind auditions? Would this make a difference?

Blind casting would allow for producers and directors to focus on an actor’s or actress’ voice and non-physical appearance, resulting in a cast that is chosen based on talent not physical appearance. Through this process, producers and directors would not look at the names of those who audition, but focus more on the talent presented in front of them.

On the other hand, is blind casting really possible in the film industry? I mean, aren’t directors and producers seeking talent that is compatible with the camera?

Perhaps that is the issue in itself.

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