Students react to increase in Asian media


Playing the role of high school student Jim Wang, Asian American actor Ben Wang delivers an announcement in the newly released TV show “American Born Chinese.” According to Rosalie Chiang, an actress who plays Suzy Nakamura in the show, the increase in cultural representation in Hollywood has had a positive impact. “The Asian community in Hollywood is expanding, [and] the film industry is definitely going in the right direction,” Chiang said. (Photo: Disney Plus)

Amid a wave of increased Asian representation in the film industry, students at Palo Alto High School are praising the integration of culture and entertainment in the new comedy television series “American Born Chinese.”

“American Born Chinese” follows the story of Asian actor Ben Wang as Jin Wang, and his journey through high school life, combining aspects of traditional Chinese folktale and modern fantasy into its storyline. 

According to Rosalie Chiang, voice actor of Meilin Lee from Academy Award nominated “Turning Red” and actress of Jin’s friend Suzy in “American Born Chinese,” Asian representation in the film industry continues to grow from increased representation in award-winning Asian films.

“It [Asian representation] is definitely expanding,” Chiang said. “When I was younger, there were more stereotypical Asian characters. There’s a much bigger cinema industry outside of Hollywood, and I’m glad that people are starting to take notice with [shows and films] like ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Parasite’, and I hope to continue seeing that.”

Chiang said the increase in diversity of roles for Asian actors and actresses helps combat prejudice against Asians. 

“We’re beyond the color of our skin and beyond the stereotypes that have been put on us,” Chiang said. 

Senior Caden Domingo said he attributes the increase in representation to the increasing interest in Asian media. 

“There are already a lot of people that are more engaged with Asian media and it’s becoming very popular,” Domingo said. “More and more Asian shows are only going to amplify that popularity.” 

Senior Kyle Xu said “American Born Chinese” will open the gateway for other Asian cultures to be recognized in America. 

“It [the show] will definitely give a bigger presence to Asian culture in America,” Xu said, “It’s going to create more awareness of different types of Asians. Everything is a spectrum, and there’s so much to learn and explore in Asian culture, just like there is with any other culture. It can be a good starting point for other cultures and ethnicities to also be celebrated.”

According to Chiang, although working alongside renowned actors like Academy Award-winning actress and actor Michelle Yeoh and Key Huy Quan was an exciting experience, there is still room for more Asian actors and actresses in the film industry.

“The fact that I get to say that I’m in the same project as them is crazy, I spent most of my life seeing them on TV,” Chiang said. “The film industry is definitely going in the right direction. However, I do feel like they have been using a lot of the same Asian actors over and over again. If they want real growth, they need to hire newer actors and newer people.”

According to Domingo, spotlighting different cultures through film is a great way to cultivate inclusivity in society. 

“Increased diversity in media is certainly a step forward,” Domingo said. “It teaches people about Chinese culture that not many [other] people know about, and I think that’s just the biggest thing — learning about each other’s culture.”