The Asian Americans Re-Articulate Race Identities to The World 

In the past century Asian was the definition of creation of confusing and unintelligible beings in America. Americans often label Asians as stupid, created stereotypes such as small eyes, always wearing glasses and last name to every Asians should be Ming and Lee. Time goes by and thing started to change, with online platform such as YouTube. There are Asian that posted videos when YouTube was first published are now having great influence towards many other Asians and even to other race in America.

The perspectives of Americans toward Asian Americans has significantly changes throughout the years. Simply put, social media has helped changes not only to our daily lives, it also seems to synchronized with how Americans sees Asian Americans at the same time.

Youtube is the biggest platform known around the world which allows people to access and post videos based on whatever they like as long as they didn’t violate the regulation. Some people sees opportunities in a such huge platform starts to post videos, including Asian Americans.

We Asian Americans used this opportunity like many others, trying to portrait a different image of Asians and re-articulate our race identities through new media and online platform such as Youtube. “Kevin Wu created an online persona and YouTube channel, ‘Kevjumba:’ Drawn to YouTube because of its surfeit of dance videos, Wu first posted his own dance video on February 6, 2007, but garnered few ‘views.” On a whim, and inspired by mainstream comedians, he then uploaded a comedic video and was eventually featured on YouTube’s homepage, vaulting him into Internet stardom.

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Over the course of eight years, Wu became an influential YouTube star, a pioneer of Asian American Web 2.0 culture, and a producer of one of the most popular YouTube channels, with 2.99 million subscribers and approximately 357 million views of his channel (as of June 11, 2015)”.

YouTube was first published February 14th, 2005, and Kevin Wu who was born in June 12, 1990 the “Kevjumba” is best known the first YouTube’s first star, one of the earliest YouTube celebrity and actor who posted his first video named “backyard” after almost two years from the Youtube first published. His first video “backyard” was posted 11 years ago and Kevin Wu was dancing, and the description down below the video says quote: “Just dancing having some fun and messing around. I was supposed to be cleaning the pond in the backyard.” This proves that video that were posted on YouTube at the time were far more easier to go viral with a person messing around, having fun and dancing in front of a camera than it is today, simple because he was one of the earliest YouTuber. It seems like he didn’t realised that the first video he posted had opened the gate to the future for Asian Americans so that we finally have a chance to re-articulate the impression of Asian Americans to America or even to the world.

On the other hand, Christine Bacareza Balance mentions the video which posted on March 15, 2011 by Alexandra Wallace, ranting about how Asian people talking loud in library and even intimated how she thought Asian people speak by saying “Ching Chong Ling Long” which angers a lot of Asians. “In order for a YouTube video to “go viral,” it must actually incorporate emotional hooks: key signifiers that catch the attention and sensibility of a particular audience. While sites like YouTube, by hosting such videos, enable the process of viral video making, these videos’ successful transmission—from one user to the next—requires what media scholar Henry Jenkins has termed a larger participatory culture of related blogs, social networking sites, and mass media coverage”. The comments Alexandra Wallace made in her video did not get the majority on her side, it did the exact opposite.

The video was so offensive and upsets many Asian people that they were willing to speak up because they were emotionally hooked to what Alexandra Wallace said in the video. The word choices in her video are rather very offensive, because the use of word such as ‘hordes‘’ to describe Asians as always having people coming by their house all the time and “ching chong” as she refers that to how Asian people speak and Asians speaks way too loud in the library. Whatever her motives may be, it did not repel Asians to prove ourselves, but to further inspired us to prove to everyone that we are not what she said and we are proud of ourselves. In Hollywood, Asian American actors has to deal with the pressure of racial discrimination or they would not having even a chance to brought themselves to the limelight in Hollywood.

There are many Asian actors overseas that are famous in their own country and undoubtedly as exceptions which gets to interview in Hollywood such as Jackie Chan. There was this movie name The Foreigner which Jackie Chan plays the leading role which is very rare and the movie name Unleashed or known as the ‘Danny the dog’ which Jet Li plays the leading role of the movie. However, they have one thing in common, and that is even though they are the leading role of the movie they seems to be the character that being manipulate by other roles in the movie, this seems like giving out a sense of racial discrimination because it almost feels like the movie is simply trying to express the “We own you even though you are the main character in the movie”, because after all Asian actors are the minority in the Hollywood.

Moreover, the relationship between video games and race also grabs audiences attentions. There are pro game players out there and most of game players are just doing it for fun. However, that makes no less sense of racism in the digital world than the real world. The sense of racism infiltrates everywhere and every corner of the world, there is no surprise that gaming can be such so tough when people are just trying to have fun in the digital world. “As the Kotaku post above noted, racism, sexism, and homophobia are commonplace in networked console video gameplay. Though the Xbox 360, PS2/3, and Wii all require users to sign off on Terms of Service agreements regarding the use of profanity and hate speech in live gameplay” (Lisa Nakamura, 88). Lisa point out that gaming consoles such as Xbox 360, PS2/3, and Will created the agreements of no hate speech in live gameplay, the thing is, there are almost no punishments toward racism in games. Hate speech is not very common in game but they are still exist nonetheless.

However, people throwing racial slurs when communicating online and every race of gamers are having to deal with this racism in game just like Asians. “Many gamers often define racism and sexism very differently than non-gamers do, distinguishing between “trash talk” and “real racism.” Many gamers who use sexist or racist language do not see themselves or their peers as racist. Fat, Ugly or Slutty’s goal is to collect overwhelming evidence that this speech is pervasive, harmful, and indeed both sexist and racist”(Lisa Nakamura, 92). This shows that people think that trash talk with racial slurs is ok because it’s just a “game”, it’s only a real racism when it comes to real life. Gamers do often curse when the game isn’t going their way, over reacting, and thus leads to arguments between gamers. Like Lisa Nakamura said, word choices such as Fat Ugly or Slutty is the prove of harmful and pervasive speech.

With that being said, The Wong Fu productions as an Asian American YouTube Channel. In the video of ‘Strangers again’, which produced by Wong Fu productions, is seemingly successfully to resonance Asian Americans by using their Asian faces to show and telling audiences stories. However, they are still using American names as casting names. They embraced and used the discrimination towards Asian Americans as their advantage. The Wong Fu productions has successfully delivered a message to everyone that Asian are no different to all others and they are living the same live just like all others. The video gets 19 million views, 31 thousand likes and 3.6 thousand dislikes. The number of view means a big success to them and although with 3.6 thousand dislikes, it is outnumbered by the likes many times over.

In conclusion, I do agree with Christine Balance that Asian AMerican YouTube performers are indeed the ‘affective labor’ that we had been suppress the feeling of being targeted towards racism, and the digital media and the internet culture indeed gives Asian Americans the opportunity to fight the past stereotype. Video games as the cyber racism in a sense in which people not really taking it seriously because after all, it is just a “game”. With that being said, it is still offensive nonetheless. Asian American YouTube video like Wong Fu production are all Asian cast and they use the online platform like YouTube to create videos to re-articulate how Americans see Asian Americans. Trying to prove that Asians are not stupid, not all good at math and not every Asian born with small eyes. Asian Americans are undoubtedly successfully re-articulating Asian Americans to the world.

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 The Asian Americans Re-Articulate Race Identities to The World . (2022, Feb 09). Retrieved from

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