#asian american #representation #big hero 6
Fred Zilla was originally supposed to be of Ainu descent.
This is Fred in the comics:
And this is how Fred looks now:
Wasabi no Ginger was originally supposed to be Japanese (not necessarily stated from what I’ve searched but it appears to be quite obvious that he is).
This is how he looked in the comics:
And this is how he looks now:
(And yes this is wrong because you just can’t go around erasing POC with other POC.)
This is how Honey Lemon looked in the comics:
Her real name btw, is Miyazaki Aiko and her hair isn’t even naturally blonde.
And oh look, here’s Rapunzel:
So that’s 3 out of the 5 original Asian characters that pretty much got erased which leaves Hiro and Gogo Tomago (sorry but I’m gonna ignore Tadashi as a main character).
Hiro is Japanese and white and Gogo Tomago is Japanese and what makes them look soooo different from each other? Hiro has wide eyes and Gogo Tomago has slanted ones. Like no really. THAT’S how they let you know he was also white. Because he has big eyes.
And the thing to top it all off is that the city is named San Fransokyo. San Fransokyo? Really? Like they really couldn’t just let Asian Americans be, you know, Asian and American. At the same time. Because apparently that doesn’t exist. They had to “other” the city in order to make sense of it all, and that’s some bullshit right there.
I understand if you’re Asian American, that this is in some ways something really big because it’s like blatant representation of us (and not super vague like with Russell in UP) but at the same time, it’s still pretty shitty. This is not to say absolutely don’t watch it, but take this movie more as a small stepping stone to more (and hopefully better) representation of us rather than a huge leap towards something greater.
From Ellen Oh-The other day an old man made a comment to me that my oriental children were well mannered. I said thank you and tried not to let the oriental comment bother me. After all, he is from a different generation where oriental was the correct term to use for Asians. But it got me to thinking about the word and why it bothered me and I started doing some research and stumbled upon a forum with over 10 pages of back and forth on why it was insulting or why it was ridiculous. And the one comment that really upset me was when someone said “Oriental offensive? Since when did we let foreigners dictate how to use our language?”
It is a telling comment. Its roots based in the notion that Asians are foreigners. The term “oriental” comes from the “orient” which refers to the east. A term that was based on the Eurocentric belief that the Orient was a barbaric and exotic place east of Europe. It is why the word itself is considered derogatory, for it casts “orientals” as different, as foreigners. And when you think of yourself as American, being reminded that you are “foreign” hurts.
When I first started having conversations about race with my children, they would ask me if they should tell people they are Korean. I said no, you say you are American. “But I can’t say that,” my then 6 year old said. “They say I don’t look American.” I think as a parent, there are moments that just break your heart because you want to protect your children from the harsh realities of life and you find that you just can’t.
The reality is that my kids, me, my sister, my husband - we are as far from being Korean as we are from being Egyptian or Russian. We might look like a Korean and pass for one on the streets of Seoul, but as soon as we open our mouths, our Americanism pours right out. Not just in what we say or how we say it. But in how we think, walk, laugh, carry ourselves, etc. For someone to say “You’re not American because you don’t look like one.” Well then, you might as well strip us of our complete identity. It’s like every time someone shouts out “Go back to your own country!” Something inside of us dies just a little bit.
This past spring, youngest came home from kindergarten deeply upset. When I asked her what was wrong, she explained that she was sitting at lunch with 2 of her friends H and M, who are both blond and blue-eyed. Two boys were sitting across from them and were commenting on how pretty H and M are, listing how pretty their eyes were and their long hair, etc. They then turned to youngest and began to comment on how ugly she was in comparison. Youngest was devastated. I was proud of her for standing up to them. Telling them to stop or she would move to another table. When they didn’t stop, she made good on her threat and moved away. I was proud of her for taking a stand, but my heart broke for her. She asked me if she really was ugly because she didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes. “No,” I said, “you are beautiful inside and out but some people just are blind and can’t see a diamond shining so bright in front of them. But that’s ok. It’s their loss so don’t even waste your time thinking about them.”
Even in kindergarten, children learn to recognize differences and to comment on them. While I did call the school and had the teacher have the boys apologize to youngest, can we really blame children for deep rooted societal prejudices? They told youngest she was ugly because she was different. Her eyes were different, her cheeks were different, even the one asymmetric dimple she has was different. I told her different is good. I hope she remembers that and never lets this become insecurity.
Many people complain that we’ve become so PC that we can’t say anything for fear of someone getting offended. To some extent, I agree with that and I don’t ask for people to be so careful with their words. But ultimately it isn’t the words that hurt but the intent behind them and sometimes the words themselves become synonymous with the intent. Calling someone oriental or making chinky eyes might not have been made with a racist intent, but the word and the action have become synonymous with an intent to be racist. So why use them? Yes we are different and I truly believe different is good. But when these differences are used as a way to stereotype people negatively, it becomes racism.So please, don’t call me oriental. I am no devious, slant-eyed, exotic foreigner that speaks cryptically of ancient Chinese secrets. That stereotype needs to die. Help me kill it once and for all.