Goodbye Glen: One Less Asian Guy on TV

Goodbye Glen: One Less Asian Guy on TV

[Spoiler Alert!]

Honestly, I’ve had better stuff to do and haven’t watched the Walking Dead since season 5(ish), but after just hearing the recent news about Glenn, I’m feeling a huge TWD binge coming on for old times’ sake.

Here’s the scene. It’s pretty damn horrible and intensely graphic – be warned:

Glenn Death Scene

So if you didn’t click on it, the gist of the scene is that Glenn gets his skull bashed in, and if you did happen to click on it, you’re probably trying to find a toilet to hurl into rn, understandably.

There’s a lot of sex, brutality, and death on TWD and on other TV programmes, (looking at you, Game of Thrones), so by now society is more or less used to it, but this is just wayyyyy too far. You know, I get that producer Greg Nicotero really wanted to hit you over the head with this one (ha), and the overly-explicit blood, gore is effective in doing so, but it’s just plain distasteful. Do we really need to see all that? Nobody had any better ideas in terms of how to portray it?

Anyways, thats not the point; the point is that with Glenn’s death, there is now one fewer portrayal of a strong Asian man on TV, of which there’s only a handful, and that’s kind of a problem.

As a little half-Chinese kid growing up in Pickering, On., (super-white suburbs just outside of Toronto), I didn’t really ever see an Asian man in a strong leading role in Western media and didn’t have any Asian role models outside of my father. Asian men and boys were only found as:

  • Kung Fu masters
  • Power Rangers
  • Socially awkward
  • Nerds
  • The punchline
  • Otherwise foreign and portrayed as the “other”

Never ever was the Asian guy the knight in shining armour, that all boys aspire to be to some extent. So how did this affect my behaviour and self-image? Well nobody can really know because there’s so many factors at play here, but I can tell you this much: I used to feel pressure to play the Asian stereotype to be funny and likeable. I’d put on the fake Chinese accent for cheap laughs, make fun of the culture, and so on and so forth. Eventually, this became a toxic part of my identity until I realized I didn’t have to latch on to the China-man role – I could just be myself.

I think all of this could have been avoided if I saw more Asian men like Glenn in strong leading roles on TV. Or is funny just funny? Are you ok with the presence of Asian males in TV? Comment below and let’s have a discussion!


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