On Wednesday, February 4th, I made sure my evening was clear because I did not want to miss “Fresh Off The Boat.” The last time I saw a whole bunch of Asians on a network sitcom was over 20 years ago when Margaret Cho starred in “All-American Girl.” I’ve been waiting a long time for a show like this. As I was watching “Fresh Off The Boat,” a flood of memories came rushing back. I remember the first time I was called a “chink.” I chuckled at the scene when Eddie and his mom go searching for Lunchables because I’ve done the same thing with my mom. I cheered out loud when Eddie’s parents stood up to the principal when Eddie was the only one who got in trouble after he defended himself. I knew that there would be people talking about how it was a racist show or it wasn’t really that funny, but I thought it was right on point. The show is from the perspective of a Chinese American kid growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood – of course it will seem racist! Racism was real – it is still real and it still exists. As an Asian American (Korean American to be exact), I related to every moment of the show – it was my life being played out on network tv. Someone gets it and thought it was important enough to make a sitcom out it. I wanted to personally thank ABC for supporting it. UNTIL I saw this picture posted on Grace from HapaMama‘s Facebook page.
***UPDATE FEB. 9, 2015: It has come to light that there were several bloggers of color on this tour, but none were Asian. I, along with my fellow bloggers included on this post, have decided to replace the photo with this graphic by Grace Hwang Lynch of HapaMama. We are raising our voices to bring up the fact that there is a stark under-representation of Asian Americans.***
Apparently, this was an #ABCtvevent for “Fresh Off The Boat.” I had to do a double take because I felt like I completely missed something or maybe all the Asians were wearing their invisibility cloaks. Upon further investigation and reading the Twitter threads and other Facebook updates, I came to realize that NONE of the Asian bloggers were invited to this and invisibility cloaks only exist in Harry Potter books.
I can’t tell you how disappointed I was about this. Asian Americans are not a silent minority that sits out from things like watching tv shows and buying things that are advertised in between the tv shows we watch. In fact, we have opinions and preferences. This exclusion feels like a big door slamming in my face and it also feels like no one bothered to SEE us.
For a show that is from the perspective of an Asian American, wouldn’t it make sense to have included Asian bloggers at the #ABCtvevent? I know, for a fact, that there are Asian bloggers in Los Angeles – and they would be ones with significant readership and social media reach. Our voices should matter, too.
Our world is not monochromatic. The audience that everyone wants to reach is one that is multicultural and multiracial. Blogger events, PR outreach, and press events should reflect that audience reality.
Please join me in speaking up, tweeting, sharing this post and the other posts of my fellow Asian American bloggers who wrote about this on Facebook, and standing by me. Be seen. Be heard. Be VISIBLE.
Read, tweet, share, and comment on these #FreshOffTheBoat #ABCtvevent blog posts by some incredible Asian American bloggers:
Fresh Off The Boat but Not on the Bus by Mona Concepcion
Rocking the Fresh Off the Boat Blogger Bus by Thien-Kim
Fresh Off The Boat? How About a Seat on the Bus? by Grace Hwang-Lynch