From Fu Manchu to 'Shang-Chi': The Unfortunate History of 'Yellow Peril' Villains
For over a century, Hollywood has been fascinated by the so-called "Yellow Peril," a catch-all term for the xenophobic fear of East Asian people and culture. This fear has manifested in countless ways, from the 19th-century "Chinaman" villain Fu Manchu to the more recent "Shang-Chi" comics. In many ways, these villains are a reflection of the deep-seated anxieties and prejudices of Western society. At the same time, however, they also serve as a powerful reminder of the racist history of Hollywood. By understanding the origins of these characters, we can begin to understand the ways in which Hollywood has perpetuated racist stereotypes. Only by recognizing these problems can we hope to create a more inclusive and diverse industry.
Representation matters. Just look at how mad some fans got when the Mandarin wasn't represented as an actual villain in Iron Man 3. But we should also consider that Mandarin has a history that began long before it was created in the 1960s -- a history that is, to put it in one word, yikes. And if instead of one word, we used 15 facts, it could be these.