Asian-American writers in Hollywood are blaming studios for contributing to the alleged rise in anti-Asian sentiment in the country, calling for them to put an end to ethnic stereotyping in TV shows and movies.
The Writers of Guild of America West’s Asian American Writers Committee said in a statement Wednesday that Hollywood’s stereotyping has partially led to what it described as a rise in racism against Asians.
“Instead of celebrating our communities, Hollywood has often perpetuated negative stereotypes of Asian Americans that exacerbate racist, anti-AAPI sentiment,” the committee said. (AAPI stands for “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”)
The committee said that Hollywood frequently demeans Asian Americans by portraying them as terrorists and criminals, while frequently mocking their accents and cuisine.
“These portrayals have created false narratives about who we are and our role as American citizens. These actions have damaged our careers and our sense of belonging. We have noticed that despite outrage from within our community, there is little consequence to presenting racist portrayals of AAPI in film and TV.”
The committee also referred to reports of “a disturbing rise in violence against Asian Americans throughout the United States.”
While Hollywood depictions of AAPI are not the sole cause of the rise in hate crimes against our community, they are a critical factor in the forming of these opinions and can be used to turn this tide. While AAPI reside in both heavily-populated and remote regions across the country, many Americans still rely on film and television to educate them about our diverse communities. The use of flattening stereotypes such as the quiet Model Minority, often used as a wedge to further marginalize other non-white groups, are the types of depictions that incorrectly influence public opinion of the Asian American population. For that reason, standing by and remaining silent is no longer an option. We need our Hollywood community to stand with us to stem the racist choices that are contributing to this hatred and violence.
The Writers Guild of America West issued a statement Wednesday voicing support for its Asian American members.
"We stand in #solidarity with our AAPI brothers and sisters in our union, including the members of our Asian American Writers Committee, and the greater Asian American Pacific Islander community." (2/3)
— Writers Guild of America West (@WGAWest) February 24, 2021
Some Asian American activist groups have claimed that the rise in violence is due to white nationalism. On Saturday, protesters in New York blamed white nationalism for the the death of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai immigrant who was fatally shoved in San Francisco last month.
The victim’s alleged assailant is Antoine Watson, who is black. The 19-year-old Watson, who has pleaded not guilty, faces charges of murder and elder abuse causing death.