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Undergraduate Research Journal

Keywords

Chinese American motion picture actors and actresses, Asian American actresses, motion picture industry

Abstract

The United States’ film industry has an extensive and rich history that also offers insight into the development of American culture. However, the history of Hollywood includes many cases of discrimination, racism, and the use of stereotypes within roles. Films reflect societal constructs and beliefs, including stereotypes that European Americans had against non-white immigrants and citizens. Asian-Americans especially suffered from stereotypes and discrimination within the United States in the early 20th Century. Such stereotypes and racism appeared in both the films produced in Hollywood, and within Hollywood and the film industry itself. Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American film actress, experienced many forms of discrimination and racism throughout her career as an actress. Even though she was a highly popular actress, she was not free from the scrutiny of European-Americans and the ingrained biases that they held towards people with Asian heritage. Although Anna May Wong starred in multiple movies and gained popularity, she continually faced discrimination and racism within the film industry throughout her career, both in Hollywood and in Europe, demonstrating the long history of discrimination and racism towards non-white actors within the film industry.

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