Sugarcoated Racism: Managing Racialized Anxieties in Hong Kong Television Drama

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This cultural emotion study explores the relation between racial representation and emotions/affect as part of the struggle for racial minorities’ visibility, through examining No Good Either Way (2012), a TV sitcom, which portrays the circulation of everyday anxiety in and out of workplaces with a multi-racial cast. In stead of relegating ethnic minority(EM) as “invisible neighbor,” the text strives to redefine racial relation on a basis of the racial dynamics of the friendship between ethnic Chinese and their EM friends in Hong Kong. In terms of methodology, rather than mobilizing stereotypes, applying an affective narrative analysis reveals a particularly racialized structure of everyday anxiety as well as its affective configuration of “sweetened trouble” (a structure of feeling). When the text displays how EMs strain to survive the working place full of trouble and hardship in the city, the undercurrent of racial othering behind this soft discourse about racial harmony, deployed by the commercial TV, can be understood as “sugarcoated racism”—a form of racial othering is not taken in the reproduction of stereotypes, but is a racial framing that positions the racial othering in the status of a troublemaker and a fool with lightened anxieties. Regarding Hong Kong’s television culture as a site for context configuration for constituting the inter- and intra-racial relation, the author argues that the significance of televisual emotions, in the study, serves as a valuable endeavor to understand a particular form of popular racialization that sugarcoats different racisms in the cover of sympathy of audience toward EM’s anxieties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisuality, Emotions and Minority Culture
EditorsJohn Nguyet ERNI
ISBN (Electronic)9783662538616
ISBN (Print)9783662538593
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


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