Controversy Mounts As Fans Debate Asian Representation In Shang-Chi


There’s no denying that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been a massive box office success. Still, it doesn’t mean the film hasn’t been at the center of several controversies. The film may not even release in China due to recently resurfaced comments by its star Simu Liu back in 2017.

Now it looks like fans have a whole new bone to pick with the movie and how many viewers are interpreting Asian representation in the film. Reddit user shivj80 made a post titled, “Pet peeve: Shang-Chi doesn’t represent all Asians and people should stop saying it does” and discussed some of the issues he’s found with people discussing the film.

“People have obviously been making a big deal about the fact that it’s the first Marvel movie with an all Asian main cast, which is absolutely great, but then you also have many articles calling it the “Asian Black Panther” and a “milestone for Asian Americans everywhere.”

The thing is though, it’s a huge stretch to call Shang-Chi an Asian American project. Really, it’s a victory for East Asian representation, or more specifically, Chinese Americans.”

Not everyone agreed with their statements on the subject. Some discussed how others shouldn’t complain when Marvel hasn’t gotten around to representing their culture or people at all.

Others suggested that the complaint in general was misguided or didn’t make any sense.

shivj80’s post also mentioned Black Panther, comparing its representation to that in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

“The reason why it’s important to note this is that, as an Indian, I’ve always felt that “Asian” is just used as shorthand for East Asian in the United States, entirely erasing South Asians and even Southeast Asians from the conversation. The reason that Shang Chi is not the Asian Black Panther is that the term Asian is so heterogeneous as to have no real meaning outside of the census, grouping together hundreds of different nationalities and cultures; African Americans, on the other hand, have a distinct diasporic identity that Black Panther speaks to.”

This sparked even more debates with fans raising several points about how both of the movies compare in terms of representation.

Still, some fans simply outright agreed with the post, pointing out issues that Disney and Marvel have had previously with this kind of marketing.

It seems that a lot of fans will be debating representation in Marvel films long into the future. Those who want to see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and decide for themselves can find it in theaters now.

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