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Whether it was her multiple victories, or her thanking her parents in Korean in her winning speech, or her father proudly standing up for her Best Actress in a TV drama award, Sandra Oh brought us a lot of ugly-cries of joy during the Golden Globe Awards last night.
Her awards and her parents’ pride led many to highlight the importance of diversity and representation in Hollywood. Especially since 2018 was a significant year for proving that audiences want to see films with more people of color at their center, with Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther exploding in the box office. And people watching the Globes at home at last night were eager to express their pride at Oh’s wins.
What a night!! 🦅 💚 The Eagles win AND so does my fellow Asian American, Korean American peep @IamSandraOh AND she gave the best acceptance speech ever! 👏 👏 👏 I cannot wait to show our children the video of her bowing to her parents and saying 사랑해요 (I ❤️ you)! 🇰🇷 🇺🇸— nydiahan (@nydia_han) January 7, 2019
Thank you and congratulations @IAmSandraOh. First Asian American woman to host the golden globes, and to win best actress in a TV Drama. Seeing your face tonight on screen made me tear up. #RepresentationMatters— spicy food goddess (@annetteokwong) January 7, 2019
Except, there was a significant error in the way the history-making was represented, not only by viewers but even by some news organizations. San Francisco Chronicle and Today show headlines referred to Oh as the “first Asian American host.” However, Oh is from Nepean, near Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, and her fellow citizens were swift to point it out on Twitter.
Stop calling Sandra Oh Asian-American. She was born in Canada— Teen Sensation Fru (@FruTegomoh) January 7, 2019
Or was it the #goldenglobes ? Too many award shows— GeoLeo (@Leogodreau) January 7, 2019
@metromorning I am a little surprised and disappointed that both Matt and his guest, talking about the Golden Globes last night, consistentently referred to Sandra Oh as “Asian American”. She was born in Ottawa/Nepean. When did that place become US territory?— Cynthia Mohareb (@SenexMacDonald) January 7, 2019
That Oh is the first Asian woman to host the Golden Globes and the first in nearly 40 years to win a lead actress award in a television drama are no small things. But the assumptions about what these history-making victories are serve as a reminder that the celebration of diversity requires a bit of fact-checking, too.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque