Is the Green Hornet’s Kato Just Another Model Minority Stereotype?

By Jason

I was really excited to see The Green Hornet that just recently came out. I heard a lot of things about it before it came out, including the character, Kato, played by Jay Chou. I am impressed by his initiative to take part in a Hollywood film that is not even in his native language — his English in the movie is fairly decent with an obvious accent, but still understandable. For Jay Chou, I have a completely different image of him now.

While watching the film, I began to get angry because there way were too many of those usual degrading (and model minority) stereotypes. I do not know whether they were put in the film because the position Kato played was a naturally condescending role, the sidekick, compared to the The Green Hornet or if they were intentionally racist. I do not want to pull the racist card, but I do know that this happens way too often to be overlooked.

One of the themes in the film is the inequality between the two characters as they figure out if they are partners or if Kato is a subordinate character. By the end of the film, it concludes that they are “partners,” but it does not seem like it. It still feels like Kato, the Asian character, will always be subordinate to the Caucasian character. He will always be in the background doing all the work, but having no credit. Is this how it is in real life?

I appreciate the fact that a fairly major role was given to an Asian actor; however, it does not do any good when that role projects a negative image. From the film, I also appreciate the fact that it gave me stronger passion for Asian American activism.

ABOUT JASON: I’d like to grow up to be an activist and a catalyst for change. Presently, I am located in Los Angeles busily studying Asian American topics and living the student life.

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