It has been almost three decades since Long Duk Dong made his appearance in “16 Candles,” and it doesn’t look like Hollywood’s perception of Asian men has changed all that much. Actor John Wusah turned down a chance to audition for a film, where the Asian character was there just to be made fun of. I can’t imagine that it’d be easy for an actor of any race to turn down an opportunity to work. So Kudos, Mr. Wusah.
“Chink-a-Chink-a Chinaman sitting on a fence; Trying to make a dollar out of 59 cents.” My parents were mortified when their 5-year-old daughter came home from school singing this chant. My friends and I had learned to jump rope to this song from older kids who thought it would be fun to teach a bunch of kindergartners a thing or two. At the time, I had about as much concept of what a “Chink” was as I did the actual value of 59 cents. But I was too young to see past my parents’ forced smiles.
I don’t necessarily love her semi-autobiographical show “All-American Girl” yet, but I relate to Margaret Cho, the star of ABC’s new comedy. Cho is Korean-American. I am Korean-American. She is the antithesis of the ideal Asian woman (geisha girl). No one would mistake me for Suzy Wong. She snorts when she laughs. I snort when I laugh. She’s big (chubby). I’m big (tall). Once, a Korean friend’s father helpfully advised me to “stop growing” if I wanted to land a husband. She’s not a doctor, but a comedian. I’m not a doctor, but a journalist – kind of like a comedian. Cho dates losers. When I date, they’re usually losers. She’s 25. I’m . . . well, never mind.