Category Archives: Community

BLOG POST (Module 6): SAHIBA GURAYA, House M. D.’s Token Minority A Stereotypical Representation

In season 8, episode 2 of House M. D., a new character, Dr. Chi Park (played by Charlyne Yi) was introduced and the only recurring Asian American character, along with Kal Penn in the entire 8 seasons.  

https://youtu.be/0sUCWGRjJcc?t=44s

You can start watching from 0:44 to 1:00, since it is in an interview and has a short clip from the show. Chi Park is not a very popular character, so much couldn’t be found on her, which indicates that Asian American characters quiet often play the supporting roles and are usually irrelevant.

chiiiiii mad

Dr. Chi Park is the newest addition to Dr. House’s team. Throughout the season, she is shown having anger issues, no social skills, and afraid of disgracing her parents. In an episode, it was implied that she lost her temper and punched her former boss for groping her. With her poor lack of social skills in explaining the event at her hearing with the board, she ended up getting fired from the neurology residence program and wound up working for House after he got out of prison.

House M. D. constructs Dr. Chi Park in a stereotypical sense as the Asian American “model minority” who was the top 2% in her class in medical school and works in an esteemed hospital with a well known doctor. As Ono and Pham would put it, she is also shown as “robotic,” obeying everything House says while the other doctors disagree with him and don’t follow House’s irrational decisions. This shows how the “robotic” “model minority” always repeats and obeys the authority, even if disagreeing with them.

As Ono and Pham discuss in their paper regarding Horatio Alger’s story, the show also presents Dr. Chi Park in a similar light. Dr. Chi Park’s parent arrived from Korea and Philippines, working their best to send their daughter to the best schools making sure she got the proper education. This shows how the “model minority” discourse of Horatio Alger myth is applied to this character. She is shown as a first generation Asian American who worked hard to get to where she is, who went from rags to riches, and now has a reputable occupation.

Additionally, Park is also considered to be a part of the “model minority variant,” as “yellow peril.” She is a successful doctor, working under the best diagnostician in the country. Her being successful in the medical profession, reinforces the idea that Asian Americans ultimately pose a threat to the U.S. taking the jobs of other Americans who could’ve had the potential to succeed in medicine; if not for the mass amount of Asians/Asian Americans taking all the notable jobs.

chi kissing chase.gif

Another stereotype the show tackles, is how Dr. Chi Park’s romantic interests are not in other Asian Americans. She falls for Dr. Chase and Dr. House, who are both white, reinforcing the stereotype that “Asian and Asian American women as romantic objects for white men.”

tumblr chi park

Dr. Park’s anger issues, which is always highlighted throughout the show, implies that she can’t be the rational and calm doctor like the others. Again, as Ono and Pham discuss, this shows how Asian Americans are “incapable of being the kind of doctor who cares about patients,” caring more about their selves and their problems. In turn, Park’s anger issues allows the other white doctors to become the “ideal doctor.”

With these stereotypes highlighted in the show, they reflect the codes and conventions  discussed in Ono and Pham’s reading. Not only are these stereotypes magnified in this show, but in other popular shows as well, like Vince Masuka in Dexter and Mindy Lahiri in The Mindy Project. With continuously allowing Asian and Asian American characters to play stereotypical roles, there will be less diversity of roles they can play in the television. This will not only reinforce the never-ending cycle of stereotypical-ness among Asian and Asian American roles, but restrict actors from being able to branch out from being a doctor and they will continue to be typecast.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. With more frequent Asian/Asian American actors in television such as Priyanka Chopra in Quantico, Ken Jeong in Dr. Ken, and Aziz Ansari in Master of None, do you think there should be a continuous proper representation of the Asian minority or now there is too much? Do you think these actors are breaking stereotypes and allowing more Asian/Asian Americans to branch out or work still needs to be done?
  2. Do you still see these stereotypical roles still present in television today? If so, which shows and how?
  3. Is the “model minority,” a term coined in the 1960s, still a threat to the U.S. workforce today?

Thank you so much for reading!! Any thoughts and comments are welcome 🙂

Related Readings: 

Kent A. Ono and Vincent Pham, Asian Americans and the Media: Chapter 5, “Threatening Model Minorities: The Asian American Horatio Alger Story”

 

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Welcome to Juan Manuel’s section!

“Ambiente Familiar” Mitrovica Danza Contemporánea (Mexico City) Dirección: Andrea Chirinos Intérpretes: Lilian Coffen, Luis Díaz, Nadia Lartige, Lilian Muller, Andrea Chirinos

Scholars, hi!

Welcome to the space of the nobodies and the forgotten! I’m Juan Manuel. I will be your GSI for summer 2017. As of three weeks ago, I am a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in performance studies. My work examines choreography and contemporary dance across the United States-Mexico borders.  My current research project gives specific attention to Mexican contemporary choreographers working in cities such as Mexico City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. I just started my field work this year; that is, I am out and about conducting interviews with choreographers, watching performances, listening to debates about performance theory and aesthetics in Mexico City, and watching a lot of dance films/shows in dark spaces with strangers that I will never know. My future project will examine the role of the dance quebradita in non-traditional, migrant receiving cities such as New Orleans, Salt Lake City, and Omaha. Qubradita was a dance genre popular among working-class migrants in the United States and the rural populations in Mexico.

Nadie-Juan-Sebastian-Mesa-Medellin_LNCIMA20160909_0069_1
Promotional image for the Colombian film for Los Nadie (2016).

For this blog, I am choosing the theme “the nobodies.” I decided to take inspiration from the 2016 film Los Nadie (The Nobodies). The film follows a group of punk youth in the barrios of Medellín, Colombia. They use juggling, friendship, and punk music as a way of life. This story charts my personal interest into the spaces and forms of belonging where the nobodies and the forgotten hang out. I grew up undocumented in Utah. As a working-class Mexican existing outside of the legal bounds of political citizenship and at times below the poverty line, my sense of belonging  was informed by being considered the worst threat to the imaginary of “America.” I consumed television, performances, and music that gave me a sense of belonging to the nobodies and anybody’s: the working-class labor force in and outside of Mexico. I watched telenovelas ( Marimar), listened to Mexican rock/punk (Rebel’dand Mexican banda (El Mexicano), and cried repeatedly while watching films such as Los Olvidados (The Young and the Damned) (1950), West Side Story (1961), and Macario (1960).

Pina Pellicer in a still image from the film Macario (1960).
Pina Pellicer in a still image from the Mexican film Macario (1960).
Anybody's wants to be part of the Jets. West Side Story (1961)
Anybody’s wants to be part of the Jets. West Side Story (1961)
A still image from the performance Amarillo (2009), produced by the Mexico City-based company Linea de Sombra.
A still image from the performance Amarillo (2009), produced by the Mexico City-based company Linea de Sombra. The story follows the many nobodies that try to enter the United States from Mexico.

When I am not watching a performance or writing about a choreographer, I spend my time on Netflix watching the London-based show Chewing Gum. The show is written by and stars Michaela Coel, who plays Tracey, a working-class girl who lives in a municipal housing project. I look forward to working with you as we examine television, social media, and performance. We will work together through this labyrinth of nobodies, anybody’s, and the forgotten to understand how power works through the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, faith, and class.

Promotional image for the series Chewing Gum
Promotional image for the series Chewing Gum