‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Star Hudson Yang on Asian Americans on Television: ‘We’re Making Our Mark’

By Sameer Rao Feb 10, 2016

Hudson Yang, the pre-teen star of ABC’s "Fresh Off the Boat," has some positive things to say about the progress of Asian-American representation on television.

Yang, who plays lead character "Eddie," sat down with Hyphen Magazine for an interview that was published on Monday (February 8). The interview mainly deals with the 12-year-old’s personal life and the pressures of being on a major network show at such a young age, but he does speak briefly about the show’s significance and his own racial identity. The following three responses sum up his viewpoints: 

How do you think "Fresh Off the Boat" will impact how other Americans view Asian Americans? 

I think the biggest thing is that it will make Americans feel a little bit more comfortable. It’s like, “We’re on shows too, you know.” It’s not like there are no Asians on TV anymore, so we’re more equal. We’re making our mark. 

There are episodes that discuss issues of identity. I find that the Asian-American identity is very fluid, and I think that is definitely seen through your character. It upsets the stereotypes. Have you ever been affected by stereotypes in your life?

I have never had that happen to me. I feel like I am really lucky, because most of the kids at my school embrace that I’m Asian. The biggest thing is that there are a lot of other Asian kids in my school that I can relate to, unlike Eddie. So, if they tease me, I’d have basically half the kids in my grade to back me up.

How do you feel about being a part of one of the most significant shows featuring an Asian-American family to appear on network television? 

I feel really proud and happy. It is a great pleasure, but I don’t know how to really explain. It feels really honorable that I get to do this.

"Fresh Off the Boat" has received acclaim for its nuanced portrayal of an Asian-American family. It is the first primetime television comedy with an all-Asian-American leading cast since Margaret Cho’s 1994 show "All American Girl." 

Read the full Q&A on Hyphen Magazine’s website