Date of Award
Languages, Philosophy and Speech Communication
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship Asian-Americans have with black Americans in order to determine how Asian Americans navigate their role in American racial discourse. Additionally, this study considers the causes and effects of Asian-American participation in movements like Black Lives Matter (BLM). This topic is explored through the analysis of Asian-American characters in black stories told through four films: Fruitvale Station, Get Out, The Hate U Give, and Sorry to Bother You. To narrow the scope of this research, I placed focus on characters in works that have been published since 2013, when the Black Lives Matter movement was officially formed and founded. Media functions both as a reflection of the society it is made in as well as an influence on how society perceives the world. The pervasiveness and power that media has in the world, particularly concerning social issues and social justice, makes this lens appropriate for studying race relations in the United States over the past several years. Issues concerning racial tension in the United States are often framed in a color-line binary – Black Americans versus White Americans – but Asian-Americans tend to fall in a racial position that is different from, yet relative to these two groups. This unique position gives Asian-Americans a choice to either actively combat systemic racism in solidarity with black activists or embrace the “model minority” role and avoid involvement in what is ultimately a contentious and sometimes dangerous conflict.
Ward, Naomi Yoko, "Get Out, Hiroki Tanaka: Asian-American Characters in Black Films and Black Activism" (2020). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 481.
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