This recent segment from Watters’ World is an example of the widely used stereotypes still that are still applied to Asian Americans even today.
Cue the opening transition into the Watters World segment, as “oriental” music chimes in the background, perhaps as a way to clue viewers in that Asian Americans are the subjects providing their opinions. Jesse Watters, the interviewer, smoothly reinforces the image of a docile perpetual foreigner. He accomplishes this by interrogating non-English speakers and surely goes out of his way to include people who were not responsive to his aggressive questioning.
In addition, the assumption that those in Chinatown are representative of the entire country of China seems reminiscent of earlier phenomena of yellow peril and fear before WWII that Japanese Americans were representative of the actions of Japan. He highlights the businesses that many Asian Americans worked in when first immigrating into the United States, including scenes where he is receiving a massage, practicing in a tae kwon do studio, and talking to street merchants. Despite the diversity of occupations held by Asian Americans, he chooses to specifically collect his content from those workers alone.
Of course, viewers were quick to lash out against the obvious stereotyping the program included. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah provided a segment with a rundown of the many sweeping assumptions made by Watters throughout his piece on the O’Reilly Factor. For example, he asks a Chinese man if he knows karate, a Japanese martial arts form, followed by a transition into material filmed in a Korean Tae Kwon Do studio. He makes it painfully clear that the pan-ethnic view of a homogeneous” Asian America” is still present today.