Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

Big Trouble in Little China

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Big Trouble in Little China (BTLC) addresses stereotypes and aids assimilation by portraying Asian Americans as true Americans; condemning stereotypical actions; undermining untrue stereotypes; and reinforcing certain stereotypes as countertypes. BTLC encourages assimilation of Asian Americans into American society by portraying them as true Americans – they speak proper English, and Wang showed loyalty to America, as he gave a toast to “America’s colors… that never run dry ”.

This contrasts with films which portray Asian Americans as different and unable to adapt to American society. For example, Mr Yunioshi, who speaks accented English in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). Hence, BTLC aids acceptance and assimilation of Asian Americans by showing how they have changed their behavior and lifestyles so they are like true Americans. The film also reflects assimilation by showing that Asian Americans are being treated like true Americans.

This is seen from the strong friendship between Burton and Wang. Burton is willing to risk his life to help Wang rescue his fiance. Burton also said that despite their racial differences, he and Wang were just old friends and Californians. Burton does not see Wang as an Asian, but as a fellow American and a good friend. Another example is the interracial romance between Eddie and Margo. Due to the stereotype that Asians are of lower position than Caucasians, interracial romances usually do not have a good ending in films.

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For example, in The Forbidden City (1918), the Asian female lead was killed after the Emperor knew she had a child with a Caucasian, to warn people that interracial romances are strictly condemned . But nobody found the interracial relationship between Eddie and Margo surprising or strange. They were seen as a normal male and female, not an Asian male and Caucasian female. The interracial friendship and romance convey to viewers that racial differences can be erased and Asian Americans are really true Americans.

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