Representation of race in Cinema
The Asian image is unequally represented in film roles, and Asians usually play conventional roles that focus on workplace ethics and corporate life over personal growth (Nguyen, 2014). Asians are represented as sexual tools, lack identity, and martial artist, submissive and minority model. This paper will focus on the representation of the Asian image in the film ‘Better Luck Tomorrow. ’ Referring to the theory of racial formation, racial categorizations are formed by social relations and historical contexts in which they are related. As such, race and ethnic categories are prone to change over time due to changes in social relationships over time. The Asian image is represented as the models of the minority. Americans have dominated the movie compelling the viewers to justify the discriminatory behavior of the White protagonists with good intentions.
According to Erigha (2015: Pg. 84), the model of minority originated from the 19th century’s efforts to enhance American assimilation. Asians are perceived as a law-abiding race with notable educational and economic achievement. Asians are forced to assimilate between cultures leading to lost identity. The cast in the Better Luck Tomorrow succeeded in fighting for cultural identity by fully assimilating to the American way of life and opposing the Asian pigeonholes (Tomorrow, 2002). For instance, Stephanie, a Chinese- American relates more to her American identity and fails to identify with the Asian heritage (Tomorrow, 2002). When asked by Ben about her birth parents, Stephanie quickly replies that her White American foster parents her biological parents. Asians are depicted as sexual stereotypes to please the dominant Whites.
A lot of Asian women were trafficked from California to serve as prostitutes in America. These circumstances perpetuated interracial romance during the establishment of Victorian norms of heterosexuality in America (Hiramoto 2015: Pg. Since then, the representation of Asian image as deviant and often an instigator for the use of yellowface has gained enormous popularity in the US film. In the film industry, the Asian image is represented as less likable as martial arts master who speaks broken English (Reyes, 2017). As martial artists, Asians are often demasculinized through desexualization. They are submissive and dutifully execute the orders given to them by the Whites. Asians are often misunderstood to lack compassion, ambition, and leadership skills, and are best suited to be subordinated. For instance, Ben can have sex with the white women, but on condition that he accepts to rule and terms from the White women.
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