Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joanna Levin

Second Advisor

Rei Magosaki

Third Advisor

Justine Van Meter


In this project, I will explore the ways in which the critical race theory works in conjunction with film and literature to showcase the depths of the racial issues faced by Asian Americans. I will use Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown as a framework to express the major issues faced by the Asian American community and the concern brought up by implications made within the novel. Scholars such as Kent A. Ono and Vincent N. Pham and their book, Asian Americans and the Media, will be used as a primary source to introduce the problematic ways of the Hollywood establishment. Through the analysis of film such as Crazy Rich Asians and Turning Red, we will see how the increase of representation within Hollywood can mask the stereotypes of Asians and the lack of progress we have made as a society towards racial equality. The ways in which racial representation has been filled throughout films have actually played into racial stereotypes of Asians which further marginalizes this “model minority.” In films such as Crazy, Rich Asians, where the cast is almost entirely Asian and is a seemingly positive step towards inclusivity within Hollywood and America as a whole, Asian stereotypes are put in the spotlight, compounding the continuing discrimination towards Asian Americans. It is explained in Interior Chinatown that these racial representations, then, further contribute to the idea that Asians can never truly be American. Asians are restricted to strict stereotypes like Kung Fu guy, rich foreigners drowning in designers, math nerds, and overly sexualized women. A critical race approach to Interior Chinatown suggests that Asians are confined to these set roles based on laws and acts passed within America throughout its history such as the Chinese Exclusionary Act of 1882. This project will be separated into sections surrounding this topic and will continue to challenge scholars to introduce the Asian experience in America beyond the scope of the black and white binary– to speak of its intricacies in its own context based on its own history.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Saturday, May 11, 2024