If you don’t watch community, here is the premise:
A lawyer must go to community college once it is discovered that he falsified his bachelor’s degree. He goes to community college in order to practice law again.
The television show follows his experience at the community college and the people he meets. Seems simple enough right?
One of the characters he meets is Señor Chang, or later known as Ben Chang, played by (you guessed it) Ken Jeong. The series begins with Chang appearing to challenge the stereotypical roles of an Asian. But as the series progressed, he becomes more and more like the effeminate Asian male. His wife divorces him and he loses his job, rendering him homeless. Instead of teaching at the community college he becomes a student where he desperately wants to be part of the “cool kids”. Chang became the typical emasculated Asian male figure.
What?! Did Ken Jeong’s character just do something to challenge and dispel an Asian stereotype? Could he have possibly just done some good for the Asian American image? Wait…let’s check…who is Peggy Fleming?
He did! Jeong just tackled the issue of subconscious racism. Subconsciously we automatically associate racist thought with different races. This “accidental racism” is facilitated through pop culture media such as movie characters. GOOD JOB JEO…wait a second. What’s the purpose of this blog again?
Does Ken Jeong perpetuate, or does he challenge, the emasculated Asian male figure in modern pop culture?
The emasculated Asian male figure…emasculated…oh there it is. Jeong is dressed as a woman. What is more emasculating than dressing a man like a woman? And here we thought Jeong was making a point about subconscious racism, when really he portrays a much deeper “accidental racism” – the emasculated Asian male figure.