When growing up in Brooklyn Chinatown, or more formally known as Sunset Park, as a kid I watched tv shows religiously. I’d take off my shoes, throw my bookbag on the couch, and went scouting for the tv remote every single day afterschool. Out of all the channels available on the cable, I stuck to the Disney Channel. Although the shows I watched had meaningful messages for kids my age, they were all missing a significant factor, me. Asian American representation was very slim during my childhood. It was very rare to see an Asian American play a significant role in a TV show on Disney that does not inbody the typical Asian stereotype. Although this was my experience when I was younger, Disney has taken huge steps in having a diverse cast including Asian Americans for many of their shows. With the increase in Asian representation and diversity in roles, the Asian American youth in this generation, living in an extremely diverse country, will see themselves represented on the screens.
In making progress towards more Asian American representation, Disney has many shows with main characters that are played by Asian Americans. Shows like Bizaardvark and Andi Mack on the Disney Channel showcase the diversity of Asian Americans, Disney has been working toward. In both Bizaardvark and Andi Mack, the lead roles in the shows are Asian American and are played by Asian American actresses. Frankie Wong, one of the lead roles in Bizaardvark, a show about teenagers being social influencers, is played by Madison Hu, a daughter of Chinese immigrants. Andi Mack, the lead roles in Andi Mack, a show about the coming of age, is played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee, also an Asian American. Having Asian American actresses play Asian American characters on Disney channel is a huge step towards Asian American diversity. With many more Asian Americans characters and actors on disney channel now, millions of Asian American youth nationwide will feel less invisible to media with more representation of their communities. They will be able to turn on the TV and see themselves in more and more characters.
Along with more Asian American representation on Disney channel, Disney has written more diverse roles for Asian Americans. Roles like the black belt martial art master, or an a plus nerd, were mainly played by Asian Americans when they were on the screens. With only Asian American actors playing nerds, or martial art masters, led to misrepresentation by enforcing the Asian stereotypes. Not all Asians know martial arts or are straight a students. With Disney Channel writing more diverse roles for Asian Americans, it shows the world that Asian Americans can be much more than the smart students, other students cheat off of. Referring back to the TV shows mentioned before, Bizaardvark is a great example of what Disney Channel is progressing towards. In telling a story about an Asian American being a social influencer, Freddie Wong , strays away for the Asian stereotype and instead shows the Asian American youth that they can also be a social influencer. In having more diverse roles written for Asian Americans, not only is the Disney Channel bring about more Asian American representation but accurate representation.
Alongside more Asian American representation on Disney Channel, other tv channels should be more inclusive among many other communities like the LGBTQ+ community that have very little representation on the screens. In doing so, we can make more inclusive and progressive world.
With more Asian Americans diversity on Disney Channel, Asian American youth are taught a bigger lesson; race should not affect your career goal or who you want to be. Having characters like Frankie Wong, in Bizaardvark, being a famous social influencer, Asian American children learning that your race does not have bearings on what they want to be. Frankie’s character strays away from the stereotypical Asian character on many TV shows that portrays Asians to be the nerdy student that does their homework after school everyday.