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Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders remain underrepresented on television, study finds

Although significant progress has been made in the past few years in opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on prime-time television, they remain underrepresented, marginalized and relegated to token appearances on comedies and dramas, the summation of a new study released Tuesday.

“Tokens on the Small Screen,” conducted by professors and scholars from six California universities, is a 10-year follow-up to and expansion of an earlier examination of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on prime-time series.

“With successful shows like ‘Master of None’ and “Fresh Off the Boat’ on the air, it may seem that Asian Americans are making greater strides on television,” Christina B. Chin, an assistant professor at California State University, Fullerton, and one of the authors of the study, said in a statement.

“Yet, when we take a deeper look at the larger TV landscape, we start to see that these shows are the exception rather than the rule,” Chin said. “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders actors and their stories are still tokenized or missing.”

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