The Knick and its Disturbing Orientalism Problem frequently exploits Asian American women as submissive and docile objects

Last year, I featured Cinemax’s The Knick as a recommendation in a Rec Me Friday: The Knick. I stand by my recommendation because the show continues to be a beautifully shot series with good stories. The storylines highlighting the racial issues that Algernon Edwards, a black surgeon in the 1900s, faces are especially interesting to see.

I greatly enjoy how the show takes the time and effort to explore race with its black lead but I’m also extremely unsatisfied at how the same treatment isn’t extended to the Asian Americans characters. So, I hoped The Knick‘s representation of Asian Americans would improve this year in season 2.

…It didn’t. The portrayal of stereotypical and exploited Asian women remained horrifying to watch, especially as an Asian American woman myself.


ORIENTALISM IN THE KNICK‘S ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN