How are Asian Americans culturally and psychologically different from Asians who grew up in Asia?

I think the place where you grow up is what most determines who you are as a person. From my experiences with Asian Americans and Asian Canadians (myself being one) I think Asians who are American or Canadian born (ABC or CBC we call them) are more often than not the same as any white person born there, just with an Asian skin and a varying degree of fluency in their mother language depending on how often they spoke it with their parents.

An Asian person who has spent at least 10 years in Asia before immigrating over still keeps more of their Asian aspects, can speak their language fluently, and probably identifies more with their mother country.

…and people like me who are in between (neither born abroad nor living long enough in Asia to really associate with it) are kind of in a tough middle ground and struggle with identity crisis and can go one way or the other. In my case, I identify with Canada (the place I grew up) and with Korea (which I find closer to my cultural values than modern day China) the most.


Why is Crazy Rich Asians considered groundbreaking for diversity and representation? Aren’t there tons of Asian actors in popular movies and TV?

To tell you the truth, this isn’t my favorite romantic comedy starring an Asian American lead, that would be Shanghai Kiss

(btw, Ken Leung gets with two white chicks + two chinese chicks in the film so some Asian american guys might be happy about that)

But Shanghai Kiss is unfortunately an indie film so was not widely released, so Crazy Rich Asians is the first wide release film starring Asian-American majority in 25 years. Which is why its such a big deal.

But aren’t there tons of other Asian actors in popular movies and TV shows like u said? Well let’s go over them

-Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Jet Li are always in martial arts style films. They rarely get more developed than that. Plus Jackie and Jet weren’t Asian Americans.

-John Cho was great in Harold & Kumar and I love that film series. But it’s a stoner comedy and is not a ‘mainstream’ film I would say

-Jay Chou in Green Hornet. Rain in Ninja Assassin and Speed Racer. Chow Yun Fat in a variety of films. They aren’t Asian American, and those movies bombed anyway. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Stephen Chow’s movies aren’t American films.

That’s about it for Asian men.

Asian women get more representation in American movies, but often as stereotypes

-Lucy Liu is usually in movies where she is an ass kicking love interest for a white guy lead

-Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Tang Wei, Gong Li, Fan Bing Bing, Claudia Kim, Fann Wong etc are in some American films but they aren’t Asian American and same as above ^.

-Jamie Chung, Brenda Song, Ming Na Wen, Lauren Tom, Sandra Oh, T.V Carpio etc also usually get roles where they are chased by white guys

-Kelly Hu, Tamilyn Tomita, great actresses just wish they were in more well known movies (well Tamilyn obviously had Karate Kid II but again, a love interest for the white kid..)

Actually its pretty incredible just how often Asian girls get cast in American movies as ‘ass kicking fierce love interests for white men’ but its almost all their roles!

But yeah Randall Park + Constance Wu in fresh off the boat, love it. This is just the natural extension of FOB into the world of movies, and I think it’s definitely a game changer considering all the stereotypical roles I just posted for Asians in hollywood


What are your thoughts on the upcoming movie “Crazy Rich Asians”?

I liked it, I guess as a Chinese-Canadian I’m glad to see a Hollywood movie come out that finally portrays Asian men in a positive light. In too many Hollywood movies, Asian girls and Asian men have been portrayed in a dichotomous way with double standards: Asian girls always the hot young beautiful sex fantasy for the white protagonist (see: Lucy Liu, Brenda Song, Jamie Chung, Zhang Ziyi etc) and the Asian guy some nerdy or kung fu stereotype (see: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Ken Jeong, Jimmy Yang the latter two who is coincidentally in this movie).

But for the first time since Bruce Lee’s films back in the 1970s we see Asian men being portrayed in an American movie… looking masculine. The scenes with the abs and topless and stuff is actually a huge barrier breaker more than people realize – how many American films have you seen where an Asian guy has been shown like that? again I don’t think since Bruce Lee. and that was 40 years ago.

The plot itself is nothing special – its typical Korean drama affair – but its the significance of this movie being a Hollywood racial barrier breaker that is the big deal here.

And not just that, but the cast is perfectly cast. All of the main characters more or less resemble who they are in real life. Constance Wu was born in Richmond, Virginia, she is that scrappy Asian American girl who finally made it big in Hollywood with Fresh Off the Boat. Henry Golding is that charming, handsome half-Asian guy who had never acted in any film before. Gemma Chan is a posh, sophisticated goddess who graduated from Oxford – prim and proper just like her role as Astrid. Awkwafina was once an unemployed New Yorker – now she’s a successful actress and music artist and just as quirky and funny as her role here.

These Asian American / Asian British stars lived the American Dream, and I think much more than the actual movie itself, I enjoyed the movie for its significance in bringing Asians (especially for men) back into a positive light once again. No more stereotypical kung fu / nerdy guys.. this proves to Americans (Korean drama fans already know this) that Asian men can be both masculine and sexy and be romantic..