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Hooray for Joan Watson: Why well-rounded Asian-American characters matter

My younger sister and I used to play a game when we watched TV. It didn’t have a name, but I’m going to call it “Asians!” It was pretty simple, really; there was only one goal. Whenever an Asian – specifically, an East or South-East Asian – appeared on the screen, we’d cry, “Asian!” Then, we’d just continue watching “Charmed,” the evening news or whatever game show was on.We never arranged rules or consciously decided we would play. An Asian person on TV was so rare that we felt excited to point it out. Mind you, it didn’t have to be a main character or even a bit part to warrant the exclamation. We’d even yell when an extra in an insurance commercial or someone in the background of a nightly news story was Asian. In this game, there was no winner – it didn’t matter which of us managed to spot the Asian first. All that mattered was that there was an Asian on TV. Didn’t that mean we were all winning?

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