I had heard recently about this movement and was interested of course because as a Korean-American, I am of course proud that John Cho is Korean as well.
While driving home today, I caught the tail end of an interview that NPR was doing with the man who started the hashtag. He was very insightful and reminded me of feelings I had back in high school and even into my adult years.
As the youngest of three, I was at an advantage when I was applying to go to college. My siblings could give me tips and tricks on my applications and essays so that I could get into some UC (University of California) school. I have never been the best, typical student so I had to really rely on my essays and all the extracurricular stuff I did to set me apart from the intensely competitive class I was in. Luckily I got into UC Davis but that's not the point. While I was applying, I saw many questions regarding being a minority. I was pretty sure I am a minority but I remember asking my older sister and her explaining to me that no, we are not really a minority any more... in terms of college anyway.
That was really frustrating for me. My thoughts were, "So what just because I'm Asian, I'm automatically supposed to be good at conventional school and get extremely high standardized testing scores...? And if I don't, it's a shame and I don't get in anywhere since against my other (Asian) peers I don't measure up?" I started to get so angry at the fact that yes, I am good at math and I wear corrective lenses. I wanted to yell, "HEY! I have contacts/glasses because I sat too close to the TV not from pulling all nighters" just to prove that I wasn't your "run of the mill" Asian girl.
But that's the thing. I'm not your typical Asian girl. I'm tall, not skinny by any means, play/coach water polo, and am "too loud." When I was in grad school, this one woman had the nerve to tell me that I'm not Korean... I'm only American. Who was she to tell me how I identify? (Sorry that was a total random tangent).When people think of Asians, we are what's called the "model minority."
Honestly? I fucking hate that phrase. It creates this false identity that a percentage of Asian Americans may actually be, but it gets blanketed to all of us. When I tried to apply to medical school, I again felt the sting of being a part of the "model minority" and could not get fully accepted. I was wait listed twice but just didn't make the cut.
I'm feeling it now as I apply to nursing school because I still want to work with patients who are underserved. I have applied to the same school three times and have been rejected three times (obviously I've applied to other schools as well and also have gotten rejected).
Anyway, I think #StarringJohnCho is amazing because not only does it show the harsh reality that Hollywood is severely lacking in diversity, but it shows that Asians shouldn't be pigeon holed into "those characters." And not only that, more and more people should realize that not all Asian women laugh quietly behind their hands, are meek, are "exotic" (another thing that I HATE) and love being told what to do... Not all Asian men are totally asexual and are not well endowed (I don't know this personally but just like any other ethnicity, there are variations). Asian men can be sexy too. Trust me. Oh and we don't always have to have an exaggerated accent.
Maybe another hashtag can be #stoppigeonholingme .... or can that have another connotation? I don't know. Kids are weird these days and I don't know how to use hashtags.
You should listen to the whole interview. It's great. http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-05-12/fed-hollywoods-diversity-problem-guy-recreated-movie-posters-starringjohncho