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'Fresh Off the Boat' actress Constance Wu: U.S. needs a 'fierce and productive' conversation on race

Constance Wu in ABC's
Constance Wu in ABC's "Fresh Off the Boat."
Eric McCandless/ABC

KPCC and other NPR Member stations are participating in a national conversation called "A Nation Engaged." This week at The Frame, we're asking creators who work in arts and entertainment to weigh in on our nation's state of affairs. 

Actress Constance Wu currently stars in ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat,” a sitcom about a Chinese-American immigrant family living in Florida in the 1990s. The show has given the actress a platform to talk about representation in Hollywood and race in America.

With season three of “Fresh Off the Boat” debuting Oct. 11 on ABC, we posed these questions to Wu:

What does it mean to be an American?

I think a huge part of being an American is doing the right thing and doing the good thing, even when it doesn't benefit you and even when it's hard. My vision of America, and what's important to me, is a conversation about systemic racism that is both fierce and productive. I think the biggest barrier to that has been the language — our lack of a language around race that is not blame-based or personally-based.​

What could the next president do to advance your vision?

Tackle and develop a language around issues of race gender and sexism that is productive, strong and brutally honest; have the courage to say those things, to talk about those things and to acknowledge that those things exist.

Series: A Nation Engaged

NPR and KPCC's coverage of critical issues facing the nation before November's presidential election. The stories seek to build a nationwide conversation around focusing on a specific question each time.

Read more in this series and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on Facebook.

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