'Crazy Rich Asians' and Being Truly Seen


Hannah Chao     |     AUGUST 20, 2018     |     5 MIN READ


I watched Crazy Rich Asians last week. I cried, my husband teared up, and, according to my Twitter feed, a ton of other people did too.

So why is a romantic comedy making people weep?

Being Seen, Being Known

For so long, neither Asian American faces nor experiences were fully represented in the media. So when we watched Crazy Rich Asians and saw people who looked like us and held values like ours, we were overwhelmed.

This is because when we are seen and known, we are acknowledged as human beings with inherent value. We are neither mistakes nor outsiders. We belong.

As Christians, we know only God truly sees us and knows us. He is our creator and perfect father. We find our identities in him, not by what the media or the world thinks. We don’t need to be CEOs or even on movie screens because we belong to the kingdom of God.

While the above is true, it doesn’t negate the fact that God has created us uniquely – as Asian Americans. For many of us, when it comes to our Christian beliefs, we either ignore our Asian Americanness or we think God doesn’t care about it at all.

God Made Me Asian American

Does God care that I am Asian American? Does it matter that I am a Christian and Asian?

The answer is resoundingly yes. In Psalm 139, the Psalmist wrote that God “knitted me together in my mother’s womb” and that he was “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Colloquially, we all grew up saying, “God never makes mistakes.”

This means we are all made in the image of God, and our Asian Americanness is a part of that. Our heritage, our struggle to fit into two (or more) cultures, our feelings that we are foreigners – these are all unique experiences that God can and will use for his glory. 

To be honest, I am only just starting to explore what it means to be Asian American and Christian. For so long, I ignored my Asianness or only thought of it in the worldly sense (smart in school, plays a lot of piano).

But now I know that God has created me to be Asian American, and he loves me for it. He sees all of me, and he knows all of me. 

To my Asian American brothers and sisters, God sees you and knows you too, and he loves that we are Asian American. The validation we get from seeing ourselves in television or movies is nothing compared to the affirmation we get from the Gospel.

We are seen, we are known, and we are loved. That is something we can all weep over with joy and gratitude.

Hannah Chao is a wife and a mom of two beautiful little girls. She is also addicted to Twitter. Hannah attends All Nations Community Church.