Constance Wu on Trump’s Election and How Fresh Off the Boat Challenges Racism

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Constance Wu. Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Can television save us in this post-election world? Probably not, but Constance Wu thinks it will help. The Fresh Off the Boat actress has never shied away from speaking her mind (from slamming Matt Damon’s The Great Wall to stumping — dancing? — for down-ballot voting), so of course she has some thoughts on the election and the impending Trump presidency. “We heard a lot about some of these Rust Belt states having economic anxiety because their manufacturing jobs are going away and that's why they voted for Trump, because he wants to get rid of NAFTA,” Wu told Vulture at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards. “My take on it is a lot of these jobs are going away just simply because we're evolving with technology, and robots and computers are taking them away. But since that's such a difficult thing to understand, often the scapegoat is immigrants and people of color, which is, I think, why you saw a lot of divisive, racist rhetoric during Trump's campaign and why we're seeing a rise of hate crimes toward people of color now.”

Well, what can be done about it? “I think that one of the best cures for racism isn't necessarily calling somebody a racist, but is actual exposure to other races as fully formed human beings. A lot of these people haven't met an Asian-American, they only see what they see on TV. So I think what I'm doing with my show Fresh Off the Boat, and what many networks are doing, where they're not just having diversity in the side parts ... I actually think small movements like that can help to eliminate a little bit of the fear of the unknown when it comes to race," Wu said. "And then maybe people of color become less of a scapegoat for economic anxiety and we can all start hating robots instead!”

But even Hollywood has a ways to go. “Another cause that is very dear and personal to me is the wage gap,” Wu said. “Not just between men and women, but the series regulars of color and the white series regulars. And what that says about how we value people.”