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Monitored Peril

Monitored Peril: Asian Americans and the Politics of TV Representation

Darrell Y. Hamamoto
Copyright Date: 1994
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 326
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  • Book Info
    Monitored Peril
    Book Description:

    Illuminating the unstable relationship between commercial television programs, liberal democratic values, and white supremacist ideology, Monitored Peril clearly demonstrates the pervasiveness of racialized discourse in the U.S. “This is simply the best book on the representations of Asian-Americans in media culture and should be the standard reference for years to come.” --Douglas Kellner, University of Texas at Austin

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8558-5
    Subjects: Performing Arts

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Chapter 1 White Christian Nation
    (pp. 1-31)

    Early on in the movement of Asian labor to the United States, immigrants from the Far East were viewed by the dominant Euro-American society as a peril to a white Christian nation whose manifest destiny it was to lead the lesser races down the path of moral, political, and economic development along capitalist lines. Their massive numbers contributed greatly to national economic development and helped create the unparalleled social wealth of the United States in the early stages of its drive toward global ascendancy.¹ Needed but not necessarily wanted, Asian Americans have been often viewed as a yellow blight upon...

  5. Chapter 2 Asians in the American West
    (pp. 32-63)

    In the written history of the American republic, the often invoked phrase theWestward movementis fraught with deceptively benign meaning. It connotes a sense of historical inevitability, the realization of a higher destiny by the Euro-American executors of divine will. The phrase effectively masks the human and ecological depredation committed by “explorers,” “adventurers,” and “settlers,” who, viewed through the eyes of the vanquished, might less sympathetically be considered brigands, pirates, and squatters.

    The romantic concept of the Westward movement also obscures the central role played by Asian immigrants in the building of the American nation. In the parlance of...

  6. Chapter 3 War against Japanese America
    (pp. 64-96)

    The publication ofThe Negro Familyin 1965 engendered a great deal of controversy among policy intellectuals, government officials, academics, and the educated public. In the “Moynihan Report” the ongoing economic plight of African Americans was attributed to the absence of a family structure that conformed to the bourgeois standard. ¹ Shortly after the publication ofThe Negro Family, Professor William Petersen was asked by the editor of theNew York Times Magazineto write an article on a distinct racial group that also had suffered past discrimination yet did not seem to be troubled by a breakdown in family...

  7. Chapter 4 Asian Americans and U.S. Empire
    (pp. 97-129)

    At the conclusion of World War II, approximately 44,000 Japanese Americans were still being held in concentration camps scattered throughout the western states. The U.S. government’s goal of dispersing the Japanese American population had proven effective to a certain extent, but in time fully two-thirds of the Japanese American population returned to the West Coast after having been “relocated.”¹ Many families who returned to their former communities were welcomed back with racially motivated violence. However, because Japan was no longer the hated enemy, hostile acts against Japanese Americans were made somewhat less acceptable.

    Under the guidance of General Douglas MacArthur-supreme...

  8. Chapter 5 Southeast Asian America
    (pp. 130-164)

    On April 30, 1975, the South Vietnamese capital city of Saigon fell to communist forces. After decades of armed struggle, the war of Vietnamese national liberation had been won at last. An advanced industrial society boasting the most powerful military machine ever assembled in the history of humankind had been vanquished by an agrarian peasant society with a total population of 18 million. On April 29, the eve of the American debacle, a fleet of Marine helicopters ferried close to 1,000 U.S. officials and almost 6,000 Vietnamese to waiting aircraft carriers stationed off the coast in the South China Sea....

  9. Chapter 6 Contemporary Asian America
    (pp. 165-205)

    On January 17, 1989, a Vietnam veteran named Patrick Purdy toted his Chinese-made AK-47 to Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, and proceeded to shoot and kill five Asian American children. Four of the dead children were refugees from Cambodia: Ram Chun, Sokhim An, Rathanar Or, and Oeun Lim. The fifth child, Tran Thanh Thuy, was Vietnamese. Of the twenty-nine other children wounded in the attack, most were refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Although not officially listed as a hate crime, telltale scrawlings found on the rifle and Purdy’s known white supremacist beliefs strongly suggest a racial motivation in...

  10. Chapter 7 Counterprogramming
    (pp. 206-237)

    When represented at all, Asian Americans on network television programs exist primarily for the convenience and benefit of the Euro-American lead players. By and large, TV Asians are inserted in programs chiefly as semantic markers that reflect upon and reveal telling aspects of the Euro-American characters alone. Rarely are the lives of Asian American characters examined on their own merit, and the problems they face in daily life are not considered to be of intrinsic interest. On most of network television, as in the larger social world, meaning begins and ends with the cares and concerns of the dominant group...

  11. Chapter 8 Epilogue
    (pp. 238-254)

    In a film and television career that spanned a period of fifty years, beginning with the “Charlie Chan” film series during the 1930s and running through the TV-movie reprise ofKung Fu(1986), Keye Luke (1904-1991) was probably the Asian American actor best known to the general public. Born in Canton, China, but raised in Seattle, where he attended the University of Washington, Luke appeared in scores of feature films prior to his entry into television. He made his film debut inThe Painted Veil(1934), starring Greta Garbo. “I was lucky,” said Luke in a 1986 interview with the...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 255-282)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 283-292)
  14. Index
    (pp. 293-312)