Welcome to the Typical Asian Podcast! Click below to listen or read the article for a full transcript.
According to the Guardian, Asian Americans have been subject to the most racism and bullying than any other demographic. 54% of Asians reported being bullied compared to 31.3% white and 38.4 black.
Asian Americans are underrepresented and are often overlooked, and there’s no better time than now to take stand and break the with labels Hollywood set in place for us as martial art masters, math geeks, and as Wesley Yang would put it “barely distinguishable, conformist quasi-robots who do not matter socially or culturally.”
Today I’m going to talk about several Asian American influencers who have made a long lasting cultural impact today and speak about their importance and why you must follow them.
First off, we have George Takei
Beyond his pioneering role for Asian Americans in Star Trek, George Takei is now one of the most influential figures in Asian America. He has been extremely vocal in causes that range from Japanese internment camps to gay rights and now “whitewashing” of Hollywood.
“So let me get this straight. You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales…in Asia? This backpedaling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting,” Takei wrote on Facebook with regards to Scarlett Johansson’s casting in the “Ghost in the shell.” – a film based on a Japanese Manga.
Takei has been active in politics and social causes throughout his life, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King and giving numerous speeches about his family’s experience as an immigrant facing racism in the United States during the 2nd world war. Takei is not only a leader, but a social media guru and a pun-genius. His mix of humor, wit, and intelligence have made an incredible impact, garnering nearly 10 million followers on Facebook – truly a small testament to his influence..
Michelle Phan is an entrepreneur, make up artist, digital pioneer, and a social activist. Ranking as the most popular Youtube makeup artist, Michelle Phan has taken Youtube by storm. If you haven’t guessed, she’s one heck of a deal.
According to her website, she’s won a Streamy, Webby, and entered Forbes 2015 30 under 30 to show for it.
Beyond her Youtube videos, she started ipsy, an award winning beauty sampling service with over a million subscribers in North America. She is continually improving and expanding the business.
Phan is an incredible example of the American dream. Her mother immigrated from Vietnam and entered the United States with less than $20 in her pocket and ended up raising her daughter by painting nails at a nail parlor. She grew up in tough conditions, but eventually made it out and has become one of the most successful digital entrepreneurs to this date – inspiring hundreds of thousands globally.
Michelle Phan stands as one of the most influential Asian Americans, as she single handedly sidestepped Hollywood and became an online sensation. She continues to inspire and empower not only Asian Americans, but females around the world with the “Let Girls Learn” program which helps adolescent girls in less fortunate countries attend school.
She built an empire – and put Asian Americans on the map in the youtube universe. She breaks down the walls of stereotypes and fills the gaps with talent, beauty, and love. Truly an inspiration.
Last but not least, I have a sports figure who you all might be familiar with.
Remember Linsanity? Yeah. We all do too.
Jeremy Lin has been an incredible figure for Asian Americans in recent years, being very vocal about blatant racism in the NBA. The Harvard graduate is the son to Taiwanese immigrants and remains to be one of the top personalities in the sport – although his ‘linsanity’ form hasn’t been replicated since.
Before Lin, we had the Yao Mings, Michelle Kwans, and the Chien Ming Wangs. But we did not have anyone to stand up for Asian Americans causes – mostly due to the blatant racism and disrespect that followed his boom to fame.
“Chink in the Armor” was used by ESPN twice to describe Lin. Floy Mayweather is quoted as saying “Jeremy lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the praise.”
C’mon Floyd. Get it together.
“There’s this whole thing where it’s OK to make fun of certain guys more than it is other guys,” Lin is quoted saying. “And Asians are very easy to make fun of. We’re the model minority. So everyone can joke about Asians: They’re nice people, respectful people; they won’t do anything.” People look at me, and they’ve always jumped to conclusions. They don’t see toughness. But how do you define that?”
Asian America – we’ve all felt this way. And we’re so glad that we have people like Jeremy Lin to speak up and empower the rest of us.
Although those three guys were the top three we had in mind, we also have several honorable mentions.
We encourage everyone to check out these links and follow these guys as well.
Well that’s it from us today. It’s time for The Typical Asian to sign off. Until next time!