What the Future Holds

My wife works for a high school in Millbrae, a "suburban-city" south of San Francisco. The City of Millbrae is a somewhat affluent area where although Caucasians make up the majority (approximately 63%), Asians make up a significant 29% of the population. One day my wife was talking to a senior student, a Caucasian girl bound for an Ivy League college on the East Coast. The girl related how she felt strange going away to a place where people would not understand what a "cha siu bao" was.

My wife and I live in Daly City, another burb-city just south of San Francisco. Asians make up the majority in Daly City and constitute 52% of the population. If you walk into the Trader Joe's here in Daly City, you'll find a diverse clientele, Asian and non-Asian. Yet if you walk into Ranch 99 or any of the other popular Asian supermarkets here in Daly City, you will find non-Asians shop at these markets as well.

What the future holds for the U.S. is "transculturation." It is widely projected that people of color will constitute the majority of the US and European population by 2050. It's already happened here in the California, and it happened a long time ago in Hawaii.

But the media has a big fat disconnect with reality. You'd figure that Hollywood (an industry based in California where people of color make up the majority) would have more portrayals of people of color, but there aren't very many beyond African Americans. Hollywood lives in a bubble of it's own creation and exports this idea of a "whites only" reality to the rest of world. Unfortunately, we as people of color still gladly buy their white supremacist bullshit and perpetuate it.

Sometimes, however, Hollywood's fictional universe precludes reality. Actor Dennis Haysbert portrayed an African American president in the TV show "24" starting in 2002, and 6 years later: VOILA! We elect an African American president.

I'm not holding my breath, but eventually Hollywood and the American media will come around to presenting more varied portrayals of Asians and Asian Americans. I just hope it doesn't take another 30 years for us to get some respect and representation. The future of a transculturated America has already arrived. Hollywood just needs to represent it.

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