This week The New York Times published an article on whitewashing in Hollywood, and Asian-American actors are speaking up.
By Amanda Hess, New York Times
May 25, 2016
From Emma Stone’s leading role in the 2015 rom-com, Aloha, in which she plays a quarter-Chinese and quarter–Native Hawaiian pilot, to the forthcoming manga-turned-live-action movie, Ghost in the Shell, which will star Scarlett Johansson as the Japanese character Major Motoko Kusanagi, Hollywood whitewashing is still alive and well.
This week The New York Times published “Asian-American Actors Are Fighting for Visibility. They Will Not Be Ignored.”, which discusses the lack of representation for people of color in television or film. —Rosin Saez
In the past year, Ms. Wu and a number of other Asian-American actors have emerged as fierce advocates for their own visibility — and frank critics of their industry. The issue has crystallized in a word — “whitewashing” — that calls out Hollywood for taking Asian roles and stories and filling them with white actors.
On Facebook, Ms. Wu ticked off a list of recent films guilty of the practice and said, “I could go on, and that’s a crying shame, y’all.” On Twitter, she bit back against Hollywood producers who believe their “lead must be white” and advised the creators of lily-white content to “CARE MORE.” Another tip: “An easy way to avoid tokenism? Have more than one” character of color, she tweeted in March. “Not so hard.”
It’s never been easy for an Asian-American actor to get work in Hollywood, let alone take a stand against the people who run the place. But the recent expansion of Asian-American roles on television has paradoxically ushered in a new generation of actors with just enough star power and job security to speak more freely about Hollywood’s larger failures.
And their heightened profile, along with an imaginative, on-the-ground social media army, has managed to push the issue of Asian-American representation — long relegated to the back burner — into the current heated debate about Hollywood’s monotone vision of the world.
[…] Whether that translates into change onscreen is an open question. “Everyone seems to be becoming slowly aware of how overwhelmingly white everything is,” [Aziz] Ansari said. “It’s almost like the whole system is slowly being shamed into diversity, but it’s moving at a snail’s pace.” He added: “Just look at the movie posters you see. It’s all white people.”—Amanda Hess