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There's been a lot of things to get angry, upset, and disturbed by recently (actually, always), but I figured I'd ease into blogging with a slightly more accessible topic.

APA media representation increasingly seems to be the defining cause for mainstream, neoliberal APA youth activism; a development that I'm not exactly thrilled by. Yes, yes, the whitewashing of The Last Airbender is frustrating, but when the battle lines are drawn this narrowly it becomes easy to slip into highly problematic positive/negative, good/bad image binaries that tend to exclude just as much as they include. It causes victories to be as narrowly defined as the kid in Up and the latest role John Cho is cast in. There's a lot more to be said about this, but I'll save that for a more lengthy, theoretical post later on.

Despite all of my serious misgivings with media representation politics, I still can't help but smile at this quote from a recent post by Atlantic blogger and Vassar professor Hua Hsu on basketball player Jeremy Lin and the upcoming reality show K-Town:

As someone who grew up seeing very few Asian Americans on television, I still find myself mystified, even thrilled, whenever I come across one, even if my views on media representation have softened. There's something irrationally and inexplicably bemusing about these moments.
I really couldn't put it more perfectly. Sometimes it's easy for me to forget that when I was a Chinese kid growing up in an overwhelmingly white, Midwestern suburb, I was the yellow Power Ranger for Halloween (seriously) and Shelby Woo, not Nancy Drew, was my hero. And it's easy for me to gloss over my brief but strange obsession with the children's show Ni Hao Kai-Lan, where I'd camp out on the couch, utterly fascinated that there was someone on Nick Jr. speaking Mandarin and eating noodles. Of course, this isn't to say that my viewing practices are in spite of politics or separate from them (the show isn't so much targeted at APA children as it is a response to the increasing "utility" of Mandarin proficiency, Kai-Lan lives with her stoic yeye because...obviously), but that the combination makes for a surreal, complicated, and yet highly enthralling experience.

All of this is to say - I am so fucking excited for K-Town.


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