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NPR's confusing Oscar mess: Michelle Yeoh 'who identifies as Asian' wins best actress

NPR ignited a chorus of boos across Twitter when they tweeted that Michelle Yeoh was the ‘first person who identifies as Asian’ to win the Oscar for best actress. SPOILER: It’s not quite what you might think. Twitchy readers may remember this from when Yeoh was first nominated.


Michelle Yeoh doesn’t just identify as Asian. She is Asian – born in Malaysia.

The actual article bears the more appropriate title, in our opinion:

‘Michelle Yeoh is the first Asian woman to win best actress Oscar’

See how simple that is?

The tweet, however, is technically and historically correct, albeit still annoying in that it creates a point of initial distraction from Yeoh’s big night.

It also might give some readers the impression that Michelle Yeoh isn’t actually Asian, in this age when people can identify as things they aren’t. That would be a great disservice to the actress and her ancestors.

This is the stuff to bury in the article itself, where the detail would be of interest. Although the tweet drew too much attention to the distinction, the article did include the explanation:

‘The caveat “who identifies as Asian” is necessary because two actresses – nominee Merle Oberon and two-time Oscar winner Vivien Leigh – hid their Asian ancestry and chose to pass as white.’

The article has since been updated to remove any trace of this detail, possibly in response to the immediate backlash on Twitter. The tweet, however, remains.


This is just reality.

We understand that Asians were mistreated at various times in American history and actresses may have had legitimate reasons to conceal their ancestry. It would be perfectly worthwhile for NPR to share this with its readers, but not at the expense of celebrating Yeoh’s accomplishment.

Hollywood is hyper-focused on parading their ‘firsts’ in an attempt to recover from mounting criticism that came to a head several years ago, and media is quick to jump on the bandwagon. Normal folks, however, don’t take kindly to the constant attempts to divide us or the technical language surrounding Yeoh’s heritage because of events that had nothing to do with her.


Fine, but just this once!

A sad story, to be sure.

We’re trying to unpack it for you. Life used to be simpler before progressives destroyed language.



LOL, not exactly. In fact, the headline is saddling Michelle Yeoh with another actress’s Dolezalling from the 1930’s. (Although, Oberon seems to have had a better reason than Dolezal.)

Again, it would have made a very nice, historically valuable footnote, or even a good subject for an article entirely devoted to the complicated history of race-hiding in Hollywood.

Because they have to have their ‘first’, man! … even though it’s not a first … or might be a first … depending on how you look at it … or how you define ‘Asian’ …

Hey, we didn’t make the rules.


Michelle Yeoh’s pinnacle career achievement is caught in the crossfire of Hollywood virtue signaling, the confusion of self-identity culture, her Asian ancestry, and the woke news media’s sudden newfound interest in technically accurate headlines.

It is quite comical.

Yeah, let’s just do it that way.

Congratulations on your good acting and shiny gold man thingy, Michelle Yeoh! You deserve it.


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