Alan Yang, Aziz Ansari win Emmys for Master of None, encourage more Asian American filmmakers.

Master of None Writer Alan Yang Called Out Hollywood’s Long History of Racist Asian Caricatures

Master of None Writer Alan Yang Called Out Hollywood’s Long History of Racist Asian Caricatures

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 18 2016 9:30 PM

Master of None Writer Alan Yang Called Out Hollywood’s History of Asian Caricatures in a Great Emmys Speech

screen_shot_20160918_at_8.57.13_pm
Alan Yang and Aziz Ansari.

ABC

As Jimmy Kimmel noted in his opening speech at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, this year marks the most inclusive ceremony ever, with a wide variety of nonwhite creators and performers nominated throughout the night. Among those nominees were Master of None co-creators Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, who won for Writing in a Comedy Series early in the evening.

While Ansari wasn’t able to get more than a couple of words in before the orchestra awkwardly played him off, Yang did get to share his thanks and call out Hollywood for its long history of racist Asian caricatures, while encouraging more Asian Americans to get into the filmmaking industry:

There’s 17 million Asian Americans in this country, and 17 million Italian Americans. They have The Godfather, Goodfellas, Rocky, and The Sopranos. We’ve got Long Duk Dong. So we have a long way to go. But I know we can get there, I believe in us, it’s just gonna take a lot of hard work. Asian parents out there, if you can do me a favor: Just a couple of you, get your kids cameras instead of violins, we’ll all be good.

Such a statement comes at an important time, as Asian American representation on screen has been slowly increasing, in frequency and nuance, thanks to shows like Fresh Off the Boat and, of course, Master of None.

Aisha Harris is a Slate culture writer and host of the Slate podcast Represent.