George Takei: Asian American Stereotypes Are 'Demeaning and Dehumanizing'

George Takei discusses how stereotypes deeply impacted his family growing up. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Sparked by a controversial sketch during the 2016 Academy Awards, a movement among Asian-Americans in the entertainment industry has put the spotlight on the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of Asians in Hollywood.

Among those contributing to the conversation is actor and activist George Takei, known best for his role as Hikaru Sulu on the television show Star Trek. Speaking during a panel discussion as part of the Conference for Creative Content at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival co-hosted by Asia Society Southern California, Takei discusses the Oscars sketch and how damaging Asian American stereotypes can be.

"Stereotypes that we have been saddled with, some people have told me, are bland stereotypes — they are not really destructive, or insulting, or painful stereotypes. On the Oscars, three kids were accountants. We're good with numbers. They work at night. Hard-working," Takei said. "These so-called bland stereotypes can suddenly become, over night, dangerous. If one catastrophic event happens, those stereotypes can be used as weapons against us."

In the clip below, Takei recounts how stereotypes once put his family in danger. 

Click here to watch the video of the full program, which features panelists George Takei, Daniel Mayeda, Janet Yang, Arthur Dong, Marc Bernardin, and Emerlynn Lampitoc analyze the issues and discuss potential solutions. 

About the Author

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Michelle FlorCruz is a Content Producer at Asia Society. She was previously a reporter for, focusing on stories relating to business and culture in China and other areas of Asia.