For the first time in the last ten years, we have the first Asian-American sitcom and its host network ABC was accused of being "subliminally racist".Fresh Off the Boat, is the New York Times best-selling memoir which inspired the sitcom. The book was written by celebrity chef Eddie Huang about his experiences growing up in the US as a Chinese American in the 1990's. According to Urban Dictionary, the term "Fresh off the boat" can be scene as a derogatory term for Asian Americans.
Eddie Huang works as a producer for the show and has been very straightforward about keeping the name of the show the same, despite the possibility of the term being considered as derogatory to Asian Americans. “I would never call myself an American. I’m a Taiwanese-Chinese-American. My parents came here in the late ’70s and had me about three years after they’d lived in this country. So I consider myself fresh. You can’t tell me to not consider myself something," Huang said in an interview with BuzzFeed.Fresh Off the Boat- When a location has been infiltrated by an individual or collection of people who are of a certain ethnic minority or nationality.Me: "Raymond, look over there at that group of Chinese people". Raymond: "Shit they fresh off the boat".
In a with TIME, Eddie Huang defended his decision and explains why he not change the title:
“The book is very much about how growing up in America, you’re almost shamed into assimilation, and I chose the name Fresh off the Boat because as I got older, I really, really started to own who I was, where I was from. I had that duality of growing up in a very traditional Taiwanese-Chinese home, and then the outside American kind of wilderness and the older I got, the more I wanted to be fresh off the boat. If dominant culture is going to misunderstand it and use it or whatever, I can’t control that. But I know that my intention is very honest, it has integrity and it means a lot to me to reclaim the word. My mom was only in America, I think three years, when she had me. I grew up with people who just got here and that experience is very special to me. And it’s also an experience that dominant culture tried to kind of shame me for.”ABC picked up "Fresh Off the Boat" along with "Black-ish" for a racially diverse line-up. The pilot episode was recently released to the media last Wednesday and it received a largely positive response. Criticism towards Huang were made mostly on Twitter, but overall a majority of the comments have been positive.
Check out the trailer of "Fresh Off the Boat" and let us know what you think!The other television series that came under criticism is ABC's "Black-Ish". The show centers on Andre Johnson, played by Anthony Anderson and his family in the suburbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family? With a little help from his dad, Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future. Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think: Regardless of the titles of the televisions series, the fact that ABC was able to pick up an Asian-American television series, and a African American centered TV series speaks volume as ABC wants to become diverse network for all different cultures. Discuss this story with fellow Project Casting fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @projectcasting.