Mannequin Challenge Shows All The Offensive S**t Asians Put Up With This Year

Fox's Jesse Watters does Chinatown. Scarlett Johansson plays anime. So far, 2016 has been enough to make Asian-Americans cringe.
A screenshot from the mannequin challenge "A-Woke."
A screenshot from the mannequin challenge "A-Woke."

Between the presidential campaign’s mudslinging and the current resurgence of bigotry and white nationalism, it’s easy to forget just how awkward it was for Asian-Americans in 2016.

But one group wants to remind you of a sector of racism that has gone largely overlooked ― and its lesson comes in the form of a viral mannequin challenge.

The video below, titled “A-Woke,” reveals some of the strange and offensive ways in which Asian-Americans were represented in entertainment and media in 2016.

“Asians are often expected to not make waves, not complain, not fight back,” Teja Arboleda, the video’s co-producer, told The Huffington Post. “This video is about peaceful demonstration against the types of issues brought up in the story.”

Whether it was Fox News’ Jesse Watters trolling the streets of New York’s Chinatown asking people if they know karate, directors casting white actresses (Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton) in originally Asian roles or a senator mocking war hero Rep. Tammy Duckworth for her Asian heritage during a debate, it’s clear that Asian-Americans were made to feel very uncomfortable this year. 

This emotionally charged mannequin challenge, Arboleda says, was made to shed light on these often-ignored issues and to help raise the “Asian consciousness.”

“Incessant whitewashing of Asian characters in Hollywood and continued stereotypes of Asians in the media have reached a boiling point,” Arboleda said.

“Asians are marginalized often, as the assumption is that they are all successful and smart,” he added. “We are fighting hard for representation as content creators, directors, producers, actors.”

Putting a spotlight on Asian issues is also especially important now, as Asian-Americans are seeing a surge in racial violence and harassment against them following the presidential election of Donald Trump.

Watch the video above and relive the troubling moments that Asian-Americans had to face this year.

Here’s a list of incidences referenced in the video, in order of appearance.

Hat tip, Next Shark.



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