The MEDIA ACTION NETWORK FOR ASIAN AMERICANS (MANAA) is the first organization solely dedicated to monitoring all facets of the media – television, motion pictures, print, advertising, radio, etc. – and advocating balanced, sensitive and positive portrayals of Asian Americans.
The all-volunteer, non-profit group was formed in April of 1992 to address the negative stereotypes long perpetuated by the media which detrimentally affects all Asian Americans, hurting not only their self image, but how non-Asians treat them.
MANAA operates a 24-hour hotline (213) 486-4433 and (888) 90-MANAA which enables the community to report incidents worthy of criticism or praise. The group then checks out the item and, if appropriate, contacts the sources responsible, trying to educate them and prevent such offense from happening again.
- In July 1993, after months of fruitless behind-the-scenes negotiations with 20th Century Fox, MANAA launched the first nationwide campaign by Asian Americans against a film, “Rising Sun,” since 1985’s campaign on “Year of the Dragon.” The year-old organization coordinated educational protests in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco and other cities.
- MANAA’s concern over Warner Brothers’ radically divisive film, “Falling Down” (1993), led director Joel Schumacher to produce a public service announcement film trailer promoting the need for people of all races to understand each other.
- In 1994, MANAA met with Marc Platt, President of Tristar Pictures, over another insensitive depiction of Korean American grocers in “It Could Happen to You.”
- In 1995, after a year and a half battle and after targeting the station’s advertisers, MANAA got KKBT FM’s morning show, “The House Party,” to stop its practice of imitating well-known Asian Americans with fake accents.
- In 1997, the organization also got Los Angeles radio station Power 106-FM to agree to the same policy within a month’s time. That same year MANAA met with the Executive Vice President and head of casting at CBS Television to discuss the network’s dismal handling of Asian American regulars on their programs (this was a follow-up to 1996’s talks with the President).
- In 2003, MANAA organized a protest against “Banzai” aired by Fox. MANAA, along with activists across the country, successfully persuaded advertisers from pulling their ads. The show was soon removed from the network.
- In 2004, MANAA, in conjunction with other API organizations, met with the Editor-In-Chief of Details magazine regarding an article titled “Gay or Asian.”
- In spring of 2006, MANAA confronts CBS Radio and Adam Carolla for a skit on Carolla’s radio show that mocks the Asian Excellence Awards with the term “ching-chong.” CBS agrees to implement on-line diversity training and to distribute a short manual, “Words Hurt and Harm.”