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Teen Wolf

Racial Representations

Lesley Bradshaw, Author

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Model Minority Subversion

Conversely, Danny Mahaelani and Kali challenge the model minority stereotypes of Hawaiian and South Asian Indian portrayals, respectively. Danny largely conforms to the positive stereotypes of Hawaiian men – “happy, good-natured, musical” (Berger) – but he is also intelligent, sarcastic, and athletic. He is a technological genius with a criminal hacker past, skills that are prized and often utilized on the show. Despite being generally good-natured, he is best friends with the spoiled, egocentric anti-hero, Jackson, and possesses a dark sense of humor. He is the goalie for the high school’s lacrosse team and is extremely athletic; by the end of season two, he is the only first-string player without supernatural abilities. Further displacing the Polynesian stereotype, Danny is openly homosexual and is depicted in several monogamous, homosexual relationships throughout the series. 

Kali, an Alpha werewolf, subverts the South-Asian Indian female stereotypes that depict “all women behaving like mythological sita and savitri – docile, submissive, sacrificing, sentimental, superstitious, and incapable of rational action, their primary duty being wives, companions and devoted mothers” (Bhargava). Kali is, in her very nature, the exact opposite of submissive: she was the leader of a pack of werewolves and later the second-in-command in a pack of Alpha werewolves. She is, in fact, a villain. She is dominant, dark, fierce, protective, and utterly unapologetic about her behavior; she is not, however, depicted as hysterical, irrational, or overly emotional. Danny and Kali both add atypical features to model minority stereotypes, contributing to a fuller spectrum of representation for persons of color, as well as women and homosexual men.
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