I’m an Asian woman and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before that had an Asian male character unless the book is set in an Asian country. Most of the time negative Asian male stereotyoes are that they aren’t attractive, feminine looking or nerdy and awkward. I remember a class I took about diversity and we watched a clip of Bruce Lee. He was fighting all these people. My professor said that Bruce Lee could fght all those people and save the girl but he would never get the girl.
I don’t know if this is something that will come up in your book, but one particularly pervasive stereotype is that they’re smaller down there than other races. That and them being nerdy, emasculated, and either undesirable or fetishized are the ones that come to mind.
I would like to second this.
It’s okay for a character to have a trait that is considered stereotypical. It’s not okay to have a character who “is” a stereotype. The difference is the difference between dehumanizing them and portraying a person.
As someone who grew up in a wheelchair, I see it happen all the time with disabled characters in media too. It’s a stereotype that everyone knows “a wheelchair kid” and that being disabled specifically means that character is paraplegic and can’t move their legs (as if no other possible disabilities exist, or call for a wheelchair – or a wheelchair is integral to the essence of being a disabled character as if there’s no other way to get the point across that they have a disability) and then the character’s entire personality, life story, and life goals all involve the wheelchair, the ‘accident’ and their struggles as someone in a wheelchair. They never have personalities, aspirations (unless they were tragically ended by being in a wheelchair) and if they have a love interest, somehow the wheelchair is a major plotpoint about why they can or can’t be together. It’s downright ridiculous.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t have a character who is paraplegic and struggles with life in a wheelchair. It just means authors should really, really put effort into these characters to make them more than “the wheelchair kid.” Humanize them. Treat them like every other character in the story.
The best exercise is this: remove the character’s race, or disability, or whatever it is. Is the character still the same? Recognizable? Fully fleshed out even without that trait? If yes, then you’re okay.
People in the West like to tan and that causes some folks to have skin cancer. I don’t really see much of a difference there. But I must admit that Asia can be a bit more judgy in terms of appearances than it is in the West.
LI = love interest, in the games I normally play, I can make MC myself, so they can be Black, Asian or Caucasian, depending on the backstory I made up for them in my mind.
What I find really weird is how stereotypes that are actually nothing but positive are turned into negative for Asians. Like, how frigging horrible is that ‘brilliant and studious’ turns into ‘nerdy’… I mean, people even protest the mastery of martial arts as a negative Asian stereotype.
So, there you go, a smart, kick-ass male character who is also a high achiever with great hair is… not good enough? You gotta be kidding me.
I see what you mean