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Asian American Guys Still Left Out Of TV And Media

Asian American Real WorldRight after Tuesday’s historic inauguration, I crossed one item off my list of things I never expected to see in my life. As our 44th US President Barack Obama took office, hope began to muster behind the possibility of a racially harmonious America.

Sadly, as an Asian American guy, I crossed “black president” off my list before “Asian guy on The Real World.” No, I don’t really have a list tucked away somewhere in the attic, but truth remains that America elected a black president in 56 elections before MTV executives could cast an Asian Male in 21 seasons. And keep in mind, the 56 elections spanned across slavery, Jim Crow, and various other far bearing barriers… Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the show, The Real World is cable station MTV’s longest standing series. The Real World reality show features 7-8 cast members each season from around the US. The show focuses in on inter-personal relationships between cast members featuring everything from sex, drama, to “work.” The show maintains a mixed sense of diversity for the most part casting Caucasians. But every season, at least one token minority is thrown into the mix – usually a black, Hispanic, gay/lesbian/transgender, or a mix of the former. 

A handful of Asian females have made there way onto the show but an Asian male has yet to break into the scene. If it ever happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if they grabbed a emasculated Asian guy compared to the typical straight steroid juiced male members of the show. 

Anyhow, as only our better halves – Asian women everywhere – have no trouble landing on the Real World, Room Raiders, Parental Control, or whatever overly-done reality show MTV has in store for us next, I’m glad to see Asian guys have stormed all over one show, America’s Best Dance Crew. Randy Jackson’s show, currently into it’s third season, features Hip-Hop dance crews from across the US who battle one another for a cash prize and music videos. Surprisingly enough, 12 out of the 31 crews across the first three seasons featured male and female Asian dancers. 

As I’m pretty sure I can name all the non-martial arts Asian male actors off the top of my head (B.D. Wong on Law and Order: SVU, Daniel Kim as Jin on Lost, Ken Leung on Lost, John Cho’s various guest appearances), MTV’s dance show is at least a start. Progress is progress, but until MTV catches up with America, I won’t hold my breath for an Asian guy on The Real World.

New To Season 3, Quest Crew

New To Season 3, Quest Crew

The Jabbawockeez Won Season 1

The Jabbawockeez Won The First Season

17 Comments on "Asian American Guys Still Left Out Of TV And Media"

  1. Fantastic webpage you have here.|

  2. Liao Xiang says:

    I could totally understand the situations of what you said when you talked about the media structures in the U.S. In my point of view, misunderstanding always causes conflict. And I also think the misunderstandings of Asian Americans may caused by the lack of attention to them. So it likes a vicious cycle. Namely, more misunderstandings of Asian Americans will lead to less intention of people to pay attention to them, and less show up in the media will result in more misunderstandings. The article was posted on 2009, and I give my comment 15 years later. I don’t know if it is true that Asian American actors are still continuing “struggle for television roles” nowadays. Hopefully, the situation is much better now, by taking benefits from increasing communication opportunities between the two counties. I think “exclusion” will be abandoned someday. I always hold the view that communication will eliminate misunderstandings and stereotypes that attached on other cultures.

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  5. Qristian says:

    Two words:

    Jeremy Lin


    And that, in fact, IS in the real world instead of an MTV show called “Real World”.

  6. Fellow Canadian Asian says:

    Will, keep up the great work!

  7. Fellow Canadian Asian says:

    People tend to forget that the jews control the media and television and Hollywood. It is they that keep Asians from being portrayed positively.
    The old stereotypes are being kept alive by this single group of people.

  8. I Exist says:

    Those who think there aren’t asian males auditioning for shows like the Real World are either naive or only get their education about asians from t.v. and are afraid to have male asian friends.

    There are tons of asian guys who would love and who are more than qualified to be on The Real World.

    Yes, a KTown reality show is being made, but it’s not being picked up MTV. The creators, asian guys, are still looking for a carrier. Another point to be made, a whole bunch of asian guys were qualified to be on KTown. A whole bunch of asian guys were qualified to be on ABDC. So you can’t tell me that these guys don’t exist. MTV has been rejecting these guys on purpose for almost 20 years because they don’t want the possibility of an asian man hooking up with a white woman. But it’s absolutely okay if a white man hooks up with an asian woman. Or black woman. Or hispanic woman. Basically, MTV only wants white men to hook up with women.

  9. rob says:

    I want to see a statistic of Asian guys casting for the Real World. Is the %ages low? Probably. We don’t have enough Asian American Alpha male douchebags! Come on!

    • Lance says:

      I don’t think knowing the statistics of Asian guys for casting in The Real World was the point, it’s the fact that there are very few Asians on TV and even less in movies, and virtually zero in music other than Yo Yo Ma and Yoko Ono (and possibly Michelle Branch??). Maybe it should be that way since Asian Americans only make 4% of the U.S. population. My only concern is that I hope Asians that are talented are not overlooked all because they’re not common in the industry. I’ve heard Randy Jackson wants to limit Asian performers in his Dance show because there are too many Asian contestants…what?

  10. Will says:

    @Rindu, Interesting…MTV and Tyrese Gibson are in the talks of doing a Jersey Shore…but for Asians.

    Maybe hanging out with Jin on set for 2 Fast 2 Furious inspired Tyrese 😛

  11. Rindu Muncie says:

    You can’t sue MTV over RW casting, but it’s ridiculous. Not even one single asian male since 1992. Not a single Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Arabic, etc, etc dude.

    And considering they’ve had asian females, you can’t help but think that MTV is blatantly racist (that they cater to white racists who don’t mind asian females because they seem like sex objects, but they do mind asian males).

    I don’t even care if they cast the most white-washed asian dude who fits the stereotypical RW male profile (body of Yul Kwon, but total idiot like Brad from RW San Diego), in the age of Barrack Obama please give us an Asian male on Real World!!

    What’s really said that there are approx. 13.4 million Asians in the US, and only about 8. million LGBT people in the US (although that number varies because not everyone comes out or reports), but LGBT has been well OVERREPRESENTED on Real World, and asians, only females.

  12. Matt Roberts says:

    Can’t believe I never read this article before. Good stuff, being of full Korean descent, adopted by a Caucasian family at age 3 months, I always wanted to be that first Asian Guy on Real World/Road Rules. And BTW, I smoke, drink, voted Chuck Baldwin for President (per Ron Paul’s request when he dropped out) I hate everything associated Mathmatics, and my sundays are reserved for Tennessee Titans Football, Denny Hamlin on the racetrack, and Alfonso Soriano slamming the baseball out of the park. I have always felt MTV does a poor job at casting for these shows, and I quite frankly feel, they may be more racist than anything, and that something should be done. But unfortunately Mary-Ellis Bunim, creator of the show along with Johnathan Murray, has since passed away. So one may never get a complete answer in any case brought against MTV since Murray is the only person left. But it would be something of a great feat to stand up for the Asian male in America if such a case against MTV was brought forth and won. Anywho, again, good stuff, and If you would like to hear anything more from me, I can be found like everyone else in America on Facebook, I’m in the Grand Valley State University Network, Grand Rapids, MI and Davenport University Network.

    Matt Roberts

  13. shiningen.com says:

    Why would educated people watch such shit as anything on MTV or networks? Don’t all US media degrade Japanese and Chinese and Koreans? Do you like being degraded? Don’t watch the shit and ignore it, since nothing injures trolls (and decreases ad revenue) more than obscurity.

  14. David Nguyen says:

    I applied for next season’s Real World. No joke.

  15. Adía says:

    I know Mad TV is getting cancelled but Bobby Lee has been on there forever. And there’s Rex Lee on Entourage who plays Lloyd. He may represent bad stereotypes but its an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated (if not winning) show

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