Challenge

The United States used to be the center of world power after World War II. For decades, within the nation’s power, media was limited in its own perspective and focused on the American-centric viewpoint. Born in this prosperous age, many young Americans take the well-off life portrayed in most television shows for granted. When China’s rising on world economics, global defense, and international politics are proved to be true, some Americans started to worry about the consequences. With the language barrier and rather arrogant persona, many Americans have found China and Chinese culture relatively distant or mysterious. It is extremely easy for a nationalistic politician and the associated media to use this scenario to bring up American’s fear and hatred toward China. With my Chinese culture heritage, it has become a personal mission to introduce the extraordinary culture and knowledge to the American society. The question is: where to start?

Solution

  • Original Idea: A clay animation TV package featuring Chinese values through five Chinese legendary stories can be interesting, but turns out not feasible.
  • Alternative approach was an interview-based documentary with a theme to introduce the Chinese values to Americans. Interviewees included individuals that live in East-Central Indiana who worked or lived in China or Taiwan.
  • Interviewees talked about their observation of shared values in both American and Chinese cultures. Topics includes: (1) Family Values & Education, (2) Religions & Life Attitudes, (3) Cross-Cultural Communications

Results

  • The show was aired twice on PBS-WIPB-TV in the Indiana area, and later nominated for the 2009 Regional Emmy Award.
  • Opened up a positive dialogue through increasing the understanding of the shared values.
  • This program did fulfill the original goal of breaking down some stereotypes about Chinese people and culture.
Design + Thinking
Digital + Storytelling
Education + Marketing
Admin + Development

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