Friday, March 03, 2006


My Chinese American friends sometimes protest, "There are so few Chinese stars in US pop culture! Zhang Ziyi, Jackie Chan, and who else?"

I don't perceive this as a problem. Why should the US promote Chinese stars as avidly as Caucasian stars? There's no one crying foul that the top stars in China are Chinese, or that the top stars in India are Indian, so why shouldn't the same apply to US stars?

But, my turn to be deeply offended came three weeks ago, when I was reading my email.

In my inbox, the Gmail web clips showed a clip from the "Ask Yahoo" RSS feed. These questions can be quite catchy, such as "Do eyelashes grow back?" or "How often does a blue moon occur?" Unfortunately the answers are less interesting, often in the form of "We don't know either." The question on this day asked:

"Why are all babies born with blue eyes?"

I clicked through to the answer, expecting that it would start with, "Now, now, that's not the case for many of our friends: the Chinese, Indians, Africans, ..."

However, the answer instead describes melanin, cites an doctor, and leaves this travesty unaddressed.

Not to worry, I think, soon this will be noticed and addressed. Today I chanced upon it again. The answer has been posted for weeks now, in original form.

Ah, Yahoo. The same disregard that they show for users by giving them crappy UI (interstitial ads for sending email? extraordinarily slow file upload? giant animated ads everywhere?) shines through again.


A said...

"My Chinese Americans sometimes protest" -- I sure hope there's a missing word there and you don't just mean you own several Chinese Americans.

"why shouldn't the same apply to US stars?"

I think because China is 99.9% Chinese and India 99.9% Indian, but the US is multiracial like few other nations on earth.

No, what's sad isn't that there are so few Chinese stars, but that all of them are imports -- Jackie Chan and Zhang Ziyi both had to make their fame in Asia first. There are some sports stars -- Michael Chang, Michelle Kwan -- since sports is a little more meritocratic than movie or music celebrity.

ArC said...

Stupid Blogger, I wasn't finished signing in.

Lukas said...

Actually speaking to the previous commenter, I beg to differ. Although the US can be said to be multiracial, they are far from being accepting of being multicultural. During my many journies down to the States, I have on more than one occasion experienced racist remarks esp. in the Continental US. I know this can be viewed as a generalization as well.

ArC said...

Fair enough, but all the more reason for non-racists in the US (or those feeling guilty about it =) ) to give talented AsAm actors and singers a chance.

Niniane, it also strikes me that Asia as a whole has actually been quite accepting of accepting stars from other cultures -- many countries have accepted Zhang and Chan as stars and welcome their movies... but I feel I'm digressing.

Anyways, name two Chinese-Americans on US TV. (now name two Chinese-American males on US TV...)

RandNo said...


Even Asian baby eyes look a little bluish when they are born. It is not a bright blue, just a kind of bluish/blackish look. I think this is what they mean. Next time you can look at a newborn and see it yourself. Same is for caucasian people with brown eyes.