When I saw this category on Jeopardy last Friday, September 24, 2021, I was excited that Asian Americans would be the focus of a category on a popular nationally televised US TV show. Given the perpertual foreigner stereotype and the fact that some 42% of Americans can’t even name a prominent Asian American, exposure would be great, right? One answer in particular left anything but thrilled. With the $1600 clue being
“She won Olympic gold in 1992 & in 1998 was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame”
one contestant answered “Tara Lipinski.” Tara Lipinski is Asian American? Okay, under pressure, someone might just guess an Olympic Skating champion. Tara Lipinski won the Olympic title in 1998 and people often forget the category (I often do when I try to play along), so that may be understandable.
What was worse was the fact that neither of the other two contestants, including million dollar winner Matt Amodio, knew the correct person, which is Kristi Yamaguchi. One of them guessed Michelle Kwan, which I suppose is a reasonable guess. Kwan got the silver behind Tara Lipinski in 1998 and is definitely Asian American. It’s not like Kristi Yamaguchi is unknown, winning the Olympics, getting into the Figure Skating Hall of Fame, getting into the US Olympics Hall of Fame, and even winning one season of Dancing with the Stars. On the bright side, I am happy that none of them answered “Jackie Chan,” which was the most common answer in the poll we cited above.
While I am happy that Asian Americans got this category at all, it seems that Asian Americans have a ways to go to be widely recognized and remembered.
(photo credit and permission: VL)