Lucy Liu: ‘It’ll take more work to end 200 years of Asian stereotypes in society’

Lucy Liu: ‘It’ll take more work to end 200 years of Asian stereotypes in society’

Lucy Liu has insisted there’s a lot more work to be done to eradicate the Asian stereotypes still present in society today.

The Kill Bill actress wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post in which she reflected on growing up without representation in Hollywood.

Discussing her work to break the “cultural box” for Asian Americans, she penned: “I feel fortunate to have ‘moved the needle’ a little with some mainstream success, but it is circumscribed, and there is still much further to go.

“Progress in advancing perceptions on race in this country is not linear; it’s not easy to shake off nearly 200 years of reductive images and condescension.”

The star began by sharing her perspective from her formative years, reflecting that “no one on television, in movies, or on magazine covers looked like me or my family” – with the star calling Anne Miyamoto from the Calgon fabric softener commercial her “kid hero”.

Lucy went on to star in high-profile movies, including 2000’s Charlie’s Angels remake, and although the actress has taken on boundary-breaking roles in Hollywood, she admitted the fight to end Asian stereotypes is far from over.

“As far back as I can see in the Western canon, Chinese women have been depicted as either the submissive lotus blossom or the aggressive dragon lady,” she wrote.

“Today, the cultural box Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) find themselves in is more figurative than the box Afong Moy (the first Chinese woman to immigrate to the U.S.) performed in, but it is every bit as real and confining.”

She added: “If I can’t play certain roles because mainstream Americans still see me as Other, and I don’t want to be cast only in ‘typically Asian’ roles because they reinforce stereotypes, I start to feel the walls of the metaphorical box we AAPI women stand in.’

“How can we grow as a society unless we take a brutal and honest look at our collective history of discrimination in America? It’s time to Exit the Dragon.”

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