Color Outside the Lines: Representing the Monolith

Hello and welcome to Color Outside the Lines, a weekly discussion space for people of color.

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Prompt

Uh…hi…sooo…I guess that I have two threads popping up at around the same time.

I had not been planning on making one of these, but I wanted to show the Youtube Roundtable that CJ Leung of Cool History Bros had with Daniel Kwan, Xiran Jay Zhao, and Yang of Accented Cinema. 

They originally had this discussion about two weeks ago. It was planned to be in response to Shang-chi, which is why the participants are all of Chinese descent; but I gather that only Accented Cinema and maybe one of the others were able to see it in time. But, in the roughly two hours of discussion they were able to touch on how “Asian representation” absolutely does not just mean Chinese and how there are many differences within any particular Asian group. One thing that they touched on a lot was how Asian Americans (and Canadians, etc.) tend to be very very different from Asians in Asia, particularly when it comes to dealing with the Western perceptions of Asia and Western media in general.

I have watched hundreds upon hundreds of movies from Asia and have made long write-ups on several, the most recent one being Mardaani. But I cannot say that I feel any sort of deep connection to the culture through them, even when it comes to movies that are from where my ancestors originated. I can sometimes see myself in them and maybe feel myself in them, but it is all superficial. And there is an appeal in that superficiality for me.

I would imagine that the conversation for other minority ethnicities has areas of overlap, parallels, and commonalities. But there are also lots of differences as well. Some things do not apply, while other factors are much more important.

So…my prompt is…uh…what I said previously, but in the form of a question, I guess.

Yeah…