Lucy Liu wants the way Asians are represented on-screen to change! On Thursday, The Washington Post published an op-ed penned by the Charlie's Angels star, which sees her examine the way in which Asians have commonly been portrayed in Hollywood.
Liu talks about significance of her Charlie's Angels role
Liu shared that growing up, the only people she saw in the media who "looked like me or my family" were George Takei, Jack Soo, and Anne Miyamoto. She also said that while she and her friends pretended to be in Charlie's Angels, she never dreamed that she would have the opportunity to star in the franchise years later!
"As part of something so iconic, my character Alex Munday normalized Asian identity for a mainstream audience and made a piece of Americana a little more inclusive," she said of her Charlie's Angels role. However, Liu also drew attention to the fact that Asians are still perceived as "Other," causing them to be placed in a "cultural box" as a result.
Liu discusses long-standing issue of Asian discrimination
Liu's essay also saw her reflect on how stereotypical depictions of Asians in media have long been entrenched in American culture. "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," she said.
The actress explained that Asians are commonly "depicted as either the submissive lotus blossom or the aggressive dragon lady," citing her Kill Bill character, Oren Ishii, as an example of the latter. "I could have been wearing a tuxedo and a blond wig," she said, "but I still would have been labeled a dragon lady because of my ethnicity."
Liu concluded her op-ed by commenting on the anti-Asian racism that has been rampant in America, specifically mentioning the shootings that took place in Atlanta in March. "How can we grow as a society unless we take a brutal and honest look at our collective history of discrimination in America?" the actress asked. "It’s time to Exit the Dragon."