By Anya Daftary
Crazy Rich Asians is a movie that released in India in September. The movie is the quintessential story of a girl and a guy falling in love. Now, before I get into the details, I should talk about the importance of this article. Asians are almost, always misrepresented in mainstream media.
The problem, that I see within the spectrum of racism is the ignorance, in a way.
The problem is, that when we think of the split between our skin colour, we tend to go straight to black and white. Why? The racism that many black skinned people face is severe. Hate-crimes, violence, abuse, backlash and so much more is more severe than any of us, in the society we live in, can imagine. However, that being said, the misrepresentation of Asians in the media comes from a very stereotypical place, which isn’t applicable to all Asians. Chances are that, if you are Indian, you would introduce yourself as, not Asian. So, to most Non-Asian people, an Asian looks, stereotypically like someone from East Asia. There are times where an Indian is not considered Asian, and you can call that bad geographic knowledge; but the stereotype of, what an Asian looks like, to a non-Asian mind is probably east-Asian. Now this may not be true in all cases, but Asians, all around the world, be it, east, west, south or north, are subject to hate crimes and more. The backlash face due to mainstream media is highly divulged from the “typical” Asian. For example, the “how are you not good at maths?” stereotype. I am terrible at maths. Asians are portrayed as the very weak, nerdy and submissive type on almost all mainstream media. From Apu, from The Simpsons to Raj in The Big Bang Theory. The movie posed a major game-changing thread to society and culture. The movie was the first, major recognition of Asians at a diverse scale, and I don’t mean, just two black guys and a Hispanic girl with a load of white people.
When asked, actress, writer and director, Nandita Das said,
“No one Indian film can fully represent the diversity we have in India. When Indians are portrayed in a stereotypical way, we create misconceptions about Indians in mainstream media which affects how all of us really are. India has so much diversity which cannot be defined or limited to one definition. Therefore, when one begins to watch more films we can start putting different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is true, India.”
So, what was the movie? The movie was about a Chinese American economics professor at NYU, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) falling in love with a man, Nick Young (Henry Golding), who, just so happens to be from one of the richest families in Singapore. As it is Nick’s best friends wedding, he convinces Rachel to come along to Singapore. The Young family looks down on her, as she grew up a lower class, ABC (American Born Chinese). The movie is about, how Rachel begins to steadily move around his family, trying to win their approval, and, not backing down. She has help from, her college friend, Goh Peik Lin played by Awkwafina and other unlikely friends. The movie will have you dying of laughter and trying not to let your kajal smudge (basically weeping a lot!). One of my favourite artists, of all time, Kina Grannis, makes a cameo and sings. The music is upbeat and fun and has this small part of its own to it like it’s a character. I very highly recommend this movie, to everyone! I truly hope this is the first of many more Asians in our, media-dominated world!
As you can see, the story of the movie is so simple, however, its diversity and it’s accurate, representation of Asians. Personally, with my group of friends, we constantly joke and talk and imitate our mothers doing very stereotypical things, but it hasn’t become something, we’re seeing another Asian makes us automatically assume things. It should not to a point where, walking into a room, looking, relatively Indian, should make me automatically good at science or math. Being an Indian female, should not make me obligated to have to get married or come to reduce my identity to that, because there is so much more to anyone. So, hi, I am Asian, but, I´m so much more.