One of my earliest memories of Asian Americans was from the movie: Rumble in the Bronx. It stared one of my favorite childhood actors, Jackie Chan. In the movie Jackie Chan plays Ma Hon Keung, a police officer from Hong Kong that comes to New York to visit family and to attend a wedding. All is going well until he encounters a biker gang and unintentionally starts a rivalry with them. Over the course of the movie the biker gang continuously attacks and harasses Jackie Chan and his family. Jackie Chan is able to defend himself and his family thanks to his masterful martial arts skills. At a point in the movie one of the members of the biker gang starts trouble a criminal organization know as the White Tiger when he takes their bag of diamonds. Unable to escape an encounter with the White Tiger with the stolen bag of diamonds, the gang member hide the diamonds in the wheelchair cushion of Jack Chan’s love interest’s little brother. This act ends up involving Jackie Chan in the conflict between the biker gang and the White Tiger. With help Jackie Chan is able to take down the White Tiger organization, what a hero!
Unbeknownst to the gang in the bringing of the movie, Jack Chan’s character masterful martial artist and with his skills he successfully defends himself from the biker gang’s attacks. After have watch the movie again recently I thought that the representation of Jackie Chan’s character in the movie was positive. Jackie Chan’s character was portrayed as the hero from a faraway land that beats ups the bad guys in an entertaining manner. When I was a child I thought that all police officers from Hong Kong were butt-kicking martial artists. As an adult I now know that isn’t true, so my perspective of Asian Americans has changed since the 1990’s. Another major character was Nancy who was played by Françoise Yip was portrayed as the working loving and caring sister. Although Nancy is a active member in the biker gang and participates the in harassment of Jackie Chan she is a good person at heart therefore her representation was also positive.
I think that representation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in media has changed little bit from when I was a kid. I don’t think there hasn’t been a noticeable difference in the representation in media because AAPI’s are still playing roles like comedic relief or martial arts master.