Asian Americans Are More Represented In The Media Than Ever Before

As Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month comes to a close, a new report from Nielsen highlights major wins for representation.

As Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month comes to a close, a new report from Nielsen highlights major wins for representation.

"We are now a community that I really think has galvanized," said Mariko Carpenter, Nielsen's vice president of strategic community alliances.

Nielsen researchers found that from 2007-2018, the percentage of Asian characters in U.S. films with spoken lines doubled.

While the report acknowledges that "there is a lot more work to be done in the area of inclusion," Carpenter says that the portrayals of Asian Americans are also more authentic than ever before. 

"I think in the past, we might have played very much sort of the stereotypical Asian characters, whereas we're seeing now that Asian American faces are playing these characters with a lot of moral intersectionality, which is, I think, what appeals to audiences of any background," said Carpenter.

This past year, streaming dominated the demand for more diverse programming. And critics lauded titles like Netflix's "Never Have I Ever," "The Half Of It" and Hulu's "Pen15" for their nuanced and genuine portrayals of Asian American families, romances and childhoods.

"I think the more authentic it is, the more it appeals to a broader audience, right? And I think it's the humans, or the humanness, that comes out," said Carpenter.

As the streaming wars continue, Nielsen researchers and other entertainment experts agree that the influx of original programming will advance representation not just for Asian Americans, but minorities in general.

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