Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Reed College of Media


Not Listed

Committee Chair

Julia Fraustino

Committee Member

Stephen Urbanski

Committee Member

Geah Pressgrove

Committee Member

Kirsten Song


The rise of Asian American representation in entertainment media has brought new questions to the current perceptions of Asian Americans in American culture. Where whitewashing of roles or stereotypes of the Model Minority were once portrayed frequently in the past, there are now more diverse stories being shown. When representational images are being shown in entertainment media, there is need for a media literacy lens to critically analyze these images. With this rise in Asian American representation, what are current perceptions of Asian Americans in American culture and American entertainment media? What are current levels of media literacy? This study aimed to answer these questions by examining how young adults currently perceive Asian Americans in American culture and entertainment media, as well as gauging their use of media literacy. Drawn on focus groups and interviews (N=17, with majority of participants identifying as Caucasian), this study suggests that Asian Americans are still perceived as the Model Minority, but there is a growing tendency to question stereotypes and welcome diverse perspectives. Regarding media literacy, many participants could recognize social issues being portrayed, but did not critically analyze the images they saw. These findings imply that diverse representation of Asian Americans is growing and welcomed but is not believed to be personally influential to an individual’s perception of their reality. The current study contributes to the limited empirical literature of current perceptions of Asian American representation in entertainment media and provides a new avenue of media literacy to be explored.