Game Crib came out with a new web based series based on a pro team of a famous online video game, League of Legends. League of Legends has become the biggest played Video game online in the past year, and pro teams make up a small fraction of the community. Game Crib decided to film the lives of a certain North American team, Team Solo Mid. For those who don’t know about TSM they are made up of all Asian Americans who have been living in America for the majority of their lives. It starts out with the first episode showing where they live and the house they live in, and it’s just like any other reality TV show like Jersey Shore. They also head out as a group and go to Verizon and look at phones and then go to other places that are needed like a grocery store. The entire Episode just felt very resistant to me where they were doing activities that you would have done when you were living with your friends at a college age. The stereo types did not exist within the show and it’s as if you could close your eyes and if you just listened to them you would not be able to guess what race they were.
I was blown away by a web based series about Asian Americans living together that has not been canceled half way through the series. It reminded me of All American Girl, of course it’s not on cable television but it has an all Asian American cast and in a way its breaking stereo types even if that’s not the original purpose they were trying to come across. I was then watching more episodes of the show and during one of the episodes they destroy the forever foreigner by all them going out playing paintball, hanging out with friends, and going rock climbing. It helped fight against stereo types of Asians and of Video Game players. It brought this feeling that even though their job is to play video games professionally they are well rounded and enjoy such a physical sport like paintball or rock climbing.
In a later episode they explain that at a tournament one of their team mates had been underperforming and they decided to replace him off the team to better their chances at winning. The drama that went on was felt by players all around the world and many people were talking about it. Just the overall feeling of this web series is a great resistant view on the dominant images of Asians in America. I suggest this web based series for anyone who likes to play video games online or is a big League of Legends fan.
One of my favorite comedians of all time is Aziz Ansari. He is of Indian back ground and anyone who watches him can respect the type of work he does. Sometimes he is very crass with his humor but he usually satirizes racial issues to try to bring awareness to them. In his new standup comedy series, featured on Comedy Central, he makes several jokes about race, but never to instigate stereo types but to try to resist them or negotiate them. During his new performance whenever he is about to talk about something racist he started with telling the audience that he knew it was racist and that these jokes can bother people who are listening. I thought it took away from the negative nature of the racial jokes he then said. The audience gets a feeling that its funny but in the same way it helped recontextualize some of the racial terms that he was saying. One of his jokes centered around the use of the words “Ching-chong Bing-bong” and he then later was talking about how it’s strange how everyone knows what those racial slurs mean. The second he said that joke everyone knew he was talking about a Chinese racial slur and he was trying to get the crowd to realize it’s wrong that everyone knows that.
He really shows a lot of resistant views on the Asian Pacific culture stereo types with some of the jokes he likes to tell. One that really stood out to me was he was looking up racial slurs that were used in America. He found some that made no sense like, Killer of Christ. He asked the audience if anyone knew who it was for and finally someone said Jews. Aziz then informed us it was for Asian people and he confused at how that was even possible, and when he looked it up why; it’s for people who hate Asians so much they even blame them for killing Jesus Christ. He then laughed it off and was talking about how weird it actually sounded to say that to someone. It really showed a great understand and a huge resistant reading on his part. I saw that as a way of looking at how some people can have such a huge hate for a group and blame almost anything even if it was blown out of proportion like Aziz did. He also talks about his friend in LA who called a locksmith. The locksmith did not do any business with his friend because his last name was Chun and he hated Korean Americans, which is a great show of yellow peril of how this guy was so afraid of Korea that he wouldn’t do any business with Americans who happened to be Korean. His next telling of the joke was very interesting to me, he was playing around with the idea of how many Korean Americans would it take to call him to get their lock taken care of before he couldn’t afford to be racist anymore. He came to the conclusion that if they did that another stereo type would emerge from the ashes of the previous one. The guy wouldn’t think that Korean Americans were trying to kill America anymore, but would think they couldn’t find their keys. Then he would make fun of them for that all the time.
Aziz is a very good comedian, but he has also shown up in several famous TV shows that shows how much of a great actor/comedian that he is. He has a role in Park & Recreation, shows up on Scrubs, and is also part of the new animated film EPIC. He has shown a lot of hope to Asian Pacific minorities of this age and will always be playing the resistant role to try to break free of all the stereo types that can possibly constrain him.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ8XJeLQQYs link for his preview on his stand up.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xu3JLXfuwQ link for his EPIC animated film.
In this blog I will be mainly talking about three musicals only, Les Miserable, Wicked, and Phantom of the Opera. Musicals can in my opinion have some of the most interesting respected women, while at the same time they tend to also have a lot of ridicule roles for females in the arts.
Phantom of the Opera is about a sad romance of a man who was abused as a kid and scarred emotionally and was hidden in the depths of an opera house to run away from his guardians and the outside world. He then grew up and taught the main heroine how to sing and to become one of the best singers in the opera house he was staying at. During the course of this musical Christine, the main heroine, is depicted as someone who always needs help and only sort of changes throughout the entire musical. She never changes the stereo type of the damsel in distress and only perpetuates the stereo type. It also show cases several other characters who are not that different and all have major flaws in them. The lead soprano for the opera house is hated by everyone and everyone tries to get what she wants but she is still not happy.(being the scary old lady) Also there is a friend of Christine’s who is very girly and usually is not allowed to do anything by her mother that is un lady like. This musical does not really challenge female roles in Musicals and puts them into the area that we are used to seeing them in.
Les Miserables is another musical about the revolution crazed period of France. Its main character Val Jon(male) is sent to jail for 19 years for only stealing bread to feed his dying family and is sentenced to parole for the rest of his life making his life miserable. He then changes identities with the help of the church and tries to become a different man hiding from the law for the rest of his life. Along the way he finds several different female characters and even raises one to be his adopted daughter, but everyone is still the beautiful damsel that is hurt in some way to fulfill the greed of man. You see some breaks in the character with a character named Ebony who tries to fight to get her man, but in the end still loses to the sweetheart who didn’t really do anything but look at him. It shows a controlling image where you don’t have to have a good personality to get a guy as long as you’re a very beautiful he will go to you regardless of how much others try.
Wicked is by far one of the most breakthrough performances for any female in any musical I have ever seen. This is the story of the Wizard of Oz but a different take on it. We never really know too much of the “Wicked” Witch and how she is named that, or how her and Glinda know each other, the movie just tells us so. It tries to get you to understand that a label is something put onto you by someone and it is very one sided. The main character Elphaba who is the mislabeled witch who is actually trying her hardest to do good and to make an impact on the world. She is then treated as an outcast and is exiled by everyone in the musical. She takes on a defeated girl, but stands up for everything that she goes by and breaks a lot of stereo types in the whole musical. Her complete contrast Glinda also shows a dramatic character change from the typical blond to a caring person who will even change if she meets the proper friends.
Overall Wicked is one of the best musicals to watch if you are interested in some very powerful female leads, and all the males are supporting cast to boot! But if you look around at the musical world a lot of musicals still perpetuate these stereo types and very few of them really challenge the bounds of the females.
It is said that people are very easily influenced of who they are when they are at a young age. Myself, I was raised into a family that only let you do anything if you were getting good grades and being active outside of school with sports. My whole life I was brought up that I had to go to college, there was no other option for me. But in fact, both my parents did not go to college when they left high school and waited over 15 years to finally get their college degree. I was drilled throughout my entire child hood on being good at school and graduating from college, don’t get me wrong I really think college is the right choice, but I never explored any other option at all. I had a giant bias in me that if I don’t graduate from college I’m going to end up as some homeless person or a 40 year old man who lives in his parent’s basement. Family environments can be like a blind fold to a new born baby. Babies are born knowing nothing, virtually blind to the world, and then family environments take their blindfold, in this case strong biases, and just cover up their eyes before they can even start to see.
I was raised in gilbert Arizona where the majority of people you would find are Mormon. Because of this I developed a lot of bias and stereotypes for the Mormon community. It got to the point before I could even realize it that when I saw a person I would label him/her as Mormon or non-Mormon as if they were restricted to only a certain attire or attitude. I was in choir for 4 years in high school and I really saw that as a big family to me, but in my school about 75% of the entire choir was Mormon so I had such strong ideals in my head about them. One day I was talking to my friend Mellissa, who was a Mormon, and it really shed light upon me. We were always hanging out together and had a fun time but I had it in my mind that Mormons only date other Mormons so I never asked her out on dates and she was finally frustrated enough to talk to me about it. In our conversation she told me, “Not every Mormon is the same, we all have different views.” I was just so use to the stereotypes that I built up that I started to think that she was just a Mormon named Mellissa; instead of seeing it as Mellissa my friend who is a Mormon.
Relating this to the Asian culture, my best friend Ngoc that I have been friends with since I was in 2nd grade came from Vietnam. His family moved over here for business and to start a new. He didn’t speak very well English at the time he was transferred into my class but we still ended up becoming friends. We hung out a lot and did almost everything together; even today we are friends and see each other at least once a week. I also see us in a family sense because we would eat at each other’s house, spend the night, and have the same classes throughout high school. I never really held as strong a stereotype against Asians as I did other ethnicities because I was around them and understood how diverse they could really be.
I strongly agree that Families can create biases and stereotypes for you, but at the same time it can help you completely remove a bias or a stereotype; in that sense I think you can describe it as a double edged sword. Groups that people are exposed to because of their family have not been labeled with the normal stereo types that usually come with people. It also can hurt you where you can build a certain bias or stereotype because of your family for not being exposed to a certain group. It is a way of thinking that will always happen in my opinion. Families won’t share ideals that they don’t hold themselves so it will always happen. Hopefully people will go out and explore other cultures for themselves and realize it is not as different as it might seem.