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Tag: Glee

Harry Shum Jr. – The modern Asian American male role model

by doorhalfopen

Two things prompted me to write about Harry Shum Jr. and Glee again. First of all, if you haven’t heard, he had the first major Glee episode focusing on his character, Mike Chang, a couple of weeks ago titled Asian F. In the episode Mike Chang’s father wants him to quit glee club because he got an A- in one of his classes, also known as an Asian F. The episode was well-received, and both “Mike Chang’ and “Asian F” were actually trending on Twitter for the entire day that it aired. This was the first time I’ve seen a TV show confront a very real Asian American issue (and associated stereotypes) and give it more than one or two lines. Or a joke. I had to write about it.

The other reason I want to talk about Harry Shum Jr. is because I came across this article¬†from AMWW, claiming that he may be the first Asian male role model in the United States since Bruce Lee. The article approached it from the perspective of the site’s theme, interracial relationships between Asian males and white women. While I disagree with the theme of the site (focusing so much on AMWF relationships), the article brings up a number of good points, and I would like to comment on some of the ideas presented.

Fact: images of Harry Shum Jr. get me page views

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Glee’s “Born this Way” – the self-hating Asian

by doorhalfopen

I don’t watch Glee regularly. Not because I’m ashamed to do it, but because I found it to be a little monotonous after a few episodes (not the biggest fan of musicals). Nonetheless I paid some attention to where the show was headed. Like Star Trek in the 60s, Glee’s setting and storyline allows for a truly diverse cast that gives each actor and actress pretty significant screen time. Of course, this also means someone like Harry Shum Jr. gets a rare opportunity to have real lines on a popular American TV show.

Recently it was brought to my attention that one of the new episodes had a powerful message. Based around Lady Gaga’s track Born this Way, the theme was to be happy with yourself. This isn’t an uncommon theme amongst shows for children and teenagers. What stands out for me in this episodes, however, is that the characters bring up examples that are close to the kind of pressure real students face today.

The episode touches on subjects like plastic surgery, disorders, obesity, and homophobia. I think this is great. The teenage audience is also the most insecure, and I’m happy there are episodes like this available for them. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll be focusing on one issue that was briefly discussed by one of the characters: the self-hating Asian.

Mike and Tina, played by Harry Shum Jr. and Jenna Ushkowitz

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