Search for
This Site
The Web

Get a free search
engine for your site

FILM REVIEWS
Crouching Tiger
Romeo Must Die
Snow Falling in Cedars

BOOK REVIEWS
Pursuing the Pearl

INTERVIEWS
Angela Lin
Billy Crawford
Hyepin Im
Jacqueline Kong
Jocelyn Enriquez
Kiana Tom
Larissa Lam

ARTICLES
AA Christian Music
AA Hate Crimes & Fetish
Burning of a Chinatown
Demise of Mr. Wong
EWP & Diversity
Improving 501c-3 Orgs.
KA Churches
Lost Empire Review
Politics
Vincent Chin

SPEECHES
George Takei on Diversity

GENERAL ARTICLES
21st Century Racism
AA Cinema
AA Stereotype
Amy Tan Interview
APA Discriminatin
Are you a "SCW?"
AsAm Females
AsAm Male Bashing
Asian American Cinema
Asian American Image
Asian Attitude
Asian Invasion of Hollywood
Asian Male
Asians on Campus
Asian Stereotypes
Asian Women (Media)
Black Racism
Casting Discriminations
Color Blind World
Demographic Figures
Hate Crimes (1998)
Hate Crimes (1999)
Hate Crimes on the Rise
History
Joy Luck Club Sucks
KA Women Cinema
Media Watch
Model Minority
Minority Report (SAG)
Minority Report (TV)
Nightline on AsAm's
Nightline on Immigrants
Origin of Stereotypes
President's Initiatives
Racism
Racism - Angela Oh
Racism - Angelo Ragaza
Racism - Gary Locke
Racism - John Kim
Racism (Military)
Racism - Norman Mineta
Racism - Phil Tajitsu Nash
Racism - Steward Ikeda
Racism (Views)
Stereotypes
Struggle for Roles
Then and Now
Too Many Asians!?!
Trouble w/AsAm Films
United
Vanishing AsAm Males
What Kind of Asian?
White House Prejudice
Yellow Face
Yellow or Gold?

Click Here
to receive email
when this page changes
o Powered by NetMind o

 

Ethnic Diversity:
Hollywood and the Asian Exclusion
Part 2 of 3

Film Review by Forrest Wood

IGNORANCE IS ONE THING, hypocrisy another. On September 19, 1999, KNBC News in Los Angeles interviewed a Chinese-American surgeon who had operated on an infant girl with a genetic heart defect. It all took place at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the so-called "Hospital to the Stars." Picture the irony: a distinguished surgeon on the staff of a world-famous hospital where many network and studio executives and their families receive medical care, but who wouldn't be hired by the hospital in Chicago Hope because the producers wanted a heart surgeon who looked like Barbara Hershey.

Picture of the article's author who is an actor and Pulitizer Prize nominated author.  In 2001, Forrest G. Wood plays THE MAN in the movie entitled - dot-com The Movie, the sexy action thriller about hate crimes, IPO's and the internet. MY PERSONAL MEDICAL HISTORY is typical. In the past six years I have had three major surgeries: two by an orthopedist born and educated in India and one by a urologist from Taiwan. As a cancer survivor, I have been scoped, probed, biopsied, imaged, and scanned by enough Asian medical specialists to mount a production of Miss Saigon. But my concern should not be misunderstood. I may be driven by my Eurasian background and an academic career in which my primary research field was the history of race relations; but I'm also an actor and am well aware that casting decisions must meet the dramatic requirements of the story. Only the most obtuse critic would not know that medical dramas are not really about the practice of medicine. Like all character-driven stories, they are about relationships and conflicts; hospitals and clinics merely provide the contexts. But there are many situations in which ethnicity is irrelevant; and many scenes in which the ages, genders, and ethnicities of the doctors have no dramatic significance.

IN FAIRNESS TO THE PRODUCERS of medical dramas, it should be noted that the Asian exclusion occurs on every show involving doctors. On October 6, 1999, NBC's Law & Order and the CBS movie, As Time Runs Out, included hospital scenes in which all of the physicians were white males although their sex and ethnicity had no relevance to the story lines. A doctor in Law & Order who had been a victim in a stolen car scam could have had any occupation and been of either sex and any age and ethnicity. The only story requirement was that he be able to afford a luxury car. And one did not have to wait long to be reminded of the stark contrast between Hollywood fantasy and the real world. The very next evening, KCAL News in Los Angeles carried a story about a female Chinese-American doctor at Stanford University Medical School who was the lead researcher in a program to develop a vaccination procedure that does not require needles.


Unfortunate Choices
In Other Films    

LOST EMPIRE:
Read Jeff Park's article on the many misguided and unfortunate choices made by NBC.

PEARL HARBOR:
Review background information on the film "Pearl Harbor" that illustrates the many fears that the Japanese and Asian American communities had about this film.

ROMEO MUST DIE:
Discover some possible reasons why Jet Li never got to "Kiss the Girl" in this remake of "Romeo and Juliet." Isn't this supposed to be a romance?

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHAL:
Delve into the many Asian female stereotypes existing in this upcoming Steven Spielberg movie based on the original book.

ICEBOX.COM'S "MR. WONG:"
Various perspectives are shared on why any negative and damaging stereotypes should always be directly addressed.



IF THE PRODUCERS of medical dramas continue to ignore reality, their shows will lose all credibility because the Asian presence is only going to grow. The prestige and high incomes of medical doctors are eminently compatible with Asian cultural values whereby parents are honored by their children's successes. In June, 1999, at a Los Angeles reception for twelve young people entering Tufts University Medical School, ten of the future doctors were Asian Americans. Contrast that ratio with the acceptance rate of all other minorities (African American, Latino, and Native American) to U.S. medical schools in 2000--10.6 percent (1,729 out of 16,303 admissions). If the present trend continues, the day is not far off when non-Caucasian physicians will be a majority. In some places it has already happened. In December, 1999, a network documentary featured a segment on the overcrowded emergency rooms in several eastern inner-city hospitals where virtually all of the doctors and nurses were Asian and Middle-Eastern. Yet, is there anyone who doubts that television hospitals will continue being staffed primarily with doctors who look like Mark Harmon?

ANOTHER FORUM where doctors frequently appear is the courtroom. For years a familiar face in the media was that of L.A. County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Noguchi who often testified in high profile cases, including the deaths of Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood. Forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee was a key witness at the O. J. Simpson trial (presided over by a Japanese-American judge) who also made the national news when he testified before the grand jury investigating the JonBenet Ramsey murder. But when was the last time an Asian American testified as an expert witness on Law & Order, The Practice, Judging Amy, Family Law, Ally McBeal, or any show with courtroom scenes?

AND IT'S NOT JUST MEDICAL DOCTORS. In May, 2000, a 5-member team from North Hollywood High School won fourth place at the National Science Bowl sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The faculty coach and one student were Japanese Americans and two of the others were Chinese Americans. A year later a team from the same school won it all. Four of the five students were Chinese Americans, two of them girls. Since 1997, UC Berkeley and UCLA have admitted more Asians than whites. (In 2000 the percentages at UCLA were 41.7 to 33.5.) American universities also enroll an inordinately large number of Asian Ph.D. candidates, especially in scientific and technical fields. But how many Asian-American scientists are seen on prime time television? Besides Wen Ho Lee?

* Part 1 * Part 3 *




Any questions regarding the content, contact Asian American Artistry
site design by Asian American Artistry

Copyright 1996-2003 - Asian American Artistry - All Rights Reserved.