The Perpetuation of Asian Stereotypes on Disney Channel- Isha Singh

December 11, 2019 at 1:48 am Leave a comment

Throughout the semester, we have discussed how in many films produced in both early and present day Hollywood, the representation of Asian Americans often aligns itself with perpetuating stereotypes targeted at such minority groups.

Growing up, I watched Disney Channel daily. Little did I realize just how offensive and stereotypical the Asian characters featured in the white dominated series were shown. Looking back on it now, I recognize how this false representation causes the younger generation to often view young Asian people as being different or “nerdy” in the derogatory manner. Disney Channel’s failure to show a young Asian character as being similar to their white counterparts then perpetuates the division between white children and children of color.

Three such examples of this perpetuation of stereotypes can be found in the following series, “Jessie”, “Bunk’d” and “Phineas and Ferb”. In both “Jessie” and “Phineas and Ferb” the South Asian characters have extremely ethnic names that are often mispronounced and made fun of throughout the show as a running joke. Even worse, both characters have Indian accents despite both of them being children growing up in American cities. Even though it doesn’t geographically make sense, to children viewing the shows it makes it seem as if all South Asian children solely talk about mathematics with an Indian accent. The characters had best friends of lizards and calculators rather than actual human beings, which further pushed the stereotypes of South Asian children being nerdy and “loners”.

Lastly, in “Bunk’d”, the character Tiffany who is a young East Asian woman attending summer camp is often found discussing her studies and how she cannot afford to have any fun because it would distract from her getting into Harvard. More so, when talking about her parents, she often says how her mother would get angry if she were to do something other than homework or cleaning which then also reinforces the tiger mom stereotype of Asian immigrant parents.

These perpetuations are problematic because they offer a false presentation of Asian American children and families that show them as traditional in a negative way, and holding limiting beliefs.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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