Hollywood has the incredible ability to reach a huge number of people all over the world. The main market however is the United States and its average citizens who make up the majority of the movie-going public. It is precisely because of its influence that the way foreigners are portrayed in stereotypes is extremely damaging to each respective culture. The most prevalent examples that appear time and time again in Hollywood involve Asian, Italian and most recently the Arabic peoples. These cultures are continually exploited within Hollywood cinema and the true nature of their unique cultures and diverse people too often overlooked.
When the majority of people think of the Asian culture, if they have little or no direct knowledge, they will tend to draw on the media images of these people. The problem with that is the media shows a very narrow scope of the diversity of Asian people. Asians in the media are depicted in a limited and conventional choice of jobs: restaurant workers, grocers, cab drivers, martial artists, gangsters, laundry workers, and prostitutes. This misrepresents the variety of the Asian work force in America.
Perhaps one of the most prevalent stereotypes of Asian males is their ability to fight using karate or king fu; think Jackie Chan or Jet Li. When Asian males play the lead role in a movie or television show they are portrayed as an action star. American audiences rarely see an Asian man in a dramatic leading role. These restrictions on the Asian races are hugely unfair.
People of Italian descent today have a warped sense of pride. Embracing a fictitious character like "Tony Soprano" as a "man of honor" is harmful to their racial identity. Italians have grown so accustomed to the portrayal of Italian people as gangsters and mobsters that they have come to believe it as well. Since the Godfather, nearly 300 movies presenting Italians as members of organized crime have been produced.