Firefly takes place in a universe where Chinese and American cultures have fused, as evidenced by Chinese signage, and the frequent use of spoken Chinese in the series. Yet, for a universe that's supposedly half Chinese, there are exceedingly few appearances by people of Asian descent in the show.

I know that out of universe, this can be attributed to deep-seated cultural and racial issues in the film and television industry.

I'm interested to know, however: is there an explanation in universe as to why a half-Chinese culture is so darned white?

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    We only saw a tiny fraction of the system? – kaine Aug 16 '18 at 14:42
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    Point 2 of this answer to 'Why does everyone in Firefly speak Chinese?' has a theoretical answer. – Jenayah Aug 16 '18 at 14:44
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    Actually, according to an interview question/answer at a 'con, it just wasn't something Whedon wanted to emphasize. Wasn't racist, just wasn't an emphasis. (Of course, there are many who say that that is implicit racism anyway, so...) – JohnP Aug 16 '18 at 15:27
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    "deep-seated cultural and racial issues in the film and television industry" - Erm, I'm pretty sure this was an American show made for a largely American audience (and hence with a cast that largely reflects the demographic of who'll be watching it). How many Western actors do we see in Scarlet Heart? – Valorum Aug 16 '18 at 17:07
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    This is an "uncomfortable truth": xkcd.com/561 – Buzz Aug 17 '18 at 1:04

I believe that what you are seeing is the result of colonization undertaken by like groups of people, either grouped by religion or race. I wouldn't expect to find large disparate demographic groups colonizing a planet.

  • So where are all the Chinese people? – Valorum Aug 19 '18 at 20:20
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    They never visited a planet colonized by Chinese people. All they ever hit are the poor, backwater places. Obviously, the Chinese did better in than the non-Chinese population. So more the bulk of the colonization was carried out by more wealthy and stay were the money is: The core planets. – Ring Aug 19 '18 at 20:30
  • -editing error- – Ring Aug 19 '18 at 20:32
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    Adding that to your answer would improve it. Adding some actual evidence to back it up would improve it greatly – Valorum Aug 19 '18 at 20:36
  • Have you ever read any history? The successful culture never migrates/emigrates. It's always those less fortunate who board the boats for green shores. The people who leave as a group will almost always be those of a like mind and culture. Successful colonization by disparate groups are exceedingly rare. That scenario has played out countless times throughout human history. – Ring Aug 19 '18 at 20:46

Firefly's culture is a mixture of American and Chinese, but there's no indication that it's 50/50.

In fact, there's plenty of evidence that American culture has been dominant.

Even among those who speak both languages fluently, English is the primary language, while Chinese is mostly reserved for cursing.

The flag for the Union of Allied Planets is a combination of the US and Chinese flags, but the American flag is much larger and clearly dominant.

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