“THIS IS A COMMON VIEW PRESENTED IN US TV PROGRAMS ABOUT PEOPLE FROM THE THIRD WORLD”: ETHNICITY DISCOURSES IN CHINESE ONLINE DISCUSSIONS
Chi-hua Hsiao/ Tunghai University
In this study, I use the discourse historical approach and Critical Discourse Analysis as the overall framework to examine the ethnicity discourses represented in the popular US situation comedy, The Big Bang Theory, and Chinese audience’s responses to dialogues involving ethnic issues represented in it. I explore how India and Indians are constructed through discursive strategies in The Big Bang Theory, and also how Chinese audience debates the stereotypes and potential discrimination. As Chinese audience members either reproduce or resist the images of Indians portrayed in The Big Bang Theory, some become self-reflective in that they not only challenge the biased characterizations of Indians in this sitcom but also discuss how Chinese should position themselves in watching derogatory portrayals of Indians through the lens of US-centered media programs. A discursive feature in Chinese audience’s ethnicity discourses is that they are replete with moral judgments as to whether others’ perceptions of and attitudes towards Indians meet moral standards or not. The audience’s discourses are loaded with moral meanings that overtly communicate (dis)respect for other ethnic groups.