Re-Branding Asian American Stereotypes

BlogHer Original Post

Usually we think of branding as something a company does to improve its image. But what about when a racial group is constantly stereotyped? A group of Asian American thought leaders gathered in Los Angeles over the weekend for Beyond the Bad and the Ugly, the first-ever summit on on these stereotypes. One of the most interesting ideas to come out of this meeting of the minds, comes from actor and freelance branding consultant Kate Rigg. Here's an excerpt of what she writes on her blog, AP/Icon:

Part of brand is how we are perceived. Like I said when building or re-imagining a brand you look at what the marketplace already thinks of it—how it is perceived, what stereotypes exist, what expectations exist. So that is where Asian America, unfortunately has the strongest brand identity. In the often unflattering eyes of the media which is where stereotypes become such a hot topic of discourse. Which is why everyone is freaking out. Especially American born AP/I’s who cant relate AT ALL to the pidgin speaking noodle sucking nerd boy dragon lady sex kitten king fu master math genius wily suspicious clown like lampooned characters we see still very much alive and well in popular culture. Obviously that is not at all our total brand package. We do have Jeremy Lins we do have Kate Riggs we do have John Chos we do have Lisa Lings. But they are still pretty few and far between.

Girl with a dragon tattoo, Image Credit: Shutterstock

Kate's post brings up some really interesting ideas and questions for me. How do you create a brand for a group that has many sub-groups? And can Asian Americans re-brand if others are constantly pigeonholing us into a certain molds?

I'd like to hear your thoughts about this -- tell me, in the comments!

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.


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