Neilsen’s Mariko Carpenter says the digital world is elevating the “Asian American Consciousness”

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By college.library – Who needs a smart phone?, via Wikemedia Creative Commons

By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer

On Monday, Neilsen released its report titled: Engaging Asian American Consumers At The Dawn Of A New Decade. The purpose of this report is to demonstrate how digitally engaged Asian Americans are and how they have effectively utilized and consumed different forms of digital media (streaming services, YouTube, social media etc).

Following the release of the report, Neilsen’s VP of Strategic Community Alliances, Mariko Carpenter summed up this growing trend in her webinar by calling it the “Asian American consciousness” and how this has changed how Asian Americans interact and consume media. She highlighted the historical perspective of American media and how with the rise of the digital world, things are changing in terms of showcasing more authentic cultural content (via AsAm News):

“Carpenter pointed to examples of Mickey Rooney’s yellow face performance of I. Y. Yunioshi (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and the one-dimensional portrayal of Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid movies.”

““We’ve had little bits of exciting times,” she said, referring to recent mainstream productions like Crazy Rich Asians.”

By logic, this “consciousness” is basically a waking up to an understanding that traditional modes of media are not only outdated, but historically have negatively portrayed the Asian American community by perpetuating racial stereotypes. But, it is also a demonstration that Asian Americans have a voice and know how to effectively utilize this voice so that their issues and concerns are heard. In our interview with Neilsen’s VP of Strategic Community Alliances, Mariko Carpenter, this important point was raised for comment:

“I think its true when you think about the content on broadcast, 10-15 years ago, sitcoms back then really didn’t have a lot of relevance for Asian American audiences. If you don’t speak the language or are not “western culturally” inclined it is not relevant for you, and I speak on this from personal experience, growing up and laughing at sitcoms for the sake of laughing and not really understanding why the jokes were funny”

“What we are finding is that through streaming services and YouTube etc, Asian Americans are not only finding content which is culturally relatable, but are also now creating this content – becoming influencers, celebrities and essentially being the people seeking out the content of who we are in the most authentic way possible.”

But amidst this engagement with media and content creation in the ever changing digital space, Carpenter mentions how “conscious” Asian Americans have become with news and current affairs and how these mediums have turned the tables on how Asian Americans interact and advocate on issues around equality, health and racism, which has become even more pronounced in this current time with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We see in Neilsen’s analysis, that Asian Americans were early to buy face masks ( all this started to happen way before COVID-19 became a global pandemic), because they are privy to the news happening overseas and in Asia. Now, with the rise of xenophobia around this pandemic we as Asian Americans are not only tuning into this but advocating strongly around it. “

“The digital world has created platforms for Asian Americans to ensure this issue of xenophobia stays as an important issue in the mainstream, where 20 or so years ago, it would have been very difficult to do so. Now we see not for profits, digital influencers and celebrities across divisions and industries fighting against COVID-19 xenophobia and using their platforms, following, supporters and audiences to make their voices heard.”

With the digital world continually changing and advancing, the voices of Asian Americans will only continue to grow. As Carpenter states:

“There was a time when Asian American celebrities didn’t necessarily want to be the “sole voice” when speaking out, but now with how present,fast paced and visible the digital world is, they now more than ever want to take advantage of their position and large platforms to speak out on important social issues. That is extremely telling.”

And with that, the “Asian American Consciousness” will only continue to become more prominent and will control the types of content released in the digital space. All this would not be possible, without Asian Americans creating, consuming, interacting and utilizing the digital world to their advantage.

If you do get the chance, please check out the Neilsen Report for more comprehensive information on this topic. For a summary of key findings and results, please read this AsAm News article on the report itself.

AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our  Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story. 

AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our  Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story. 

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