Let’s face it – the act of “white washing” Hollywood movies isn’t new. It started since the beginning of movies, but recently, movie-goers as well as several actors and actresses are speaking up. The movie industry is receiving back lash for their actor role selection for movie characters that were clearly meant for different ethnicities. The ticket sales for several of these movies are evidence that Hollywood needs to rethink their selection process. Some of the worst examples of whitewashing in movies include:
- Aloha w/Emma Stone playing a mixed-race character who is Chinese & Hawaiian descent
- Dragonball: Evolution w/ Justin Chatwin playing a Japanese anime character, Goku
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time w/Jake Gyllenhaal playing a Persian prince
- The Last Airbender w/white actors playing Katara, Aang, Zuko & Soka (Asian characters)
- Ghost in the Shell w/Scarlett Johansson playing a Japanese anime series character
There was a PSA video about whitewashing on the Ghost in the Shell movie.
When Asian actress Constance Wu (from Fresh Off the Boat) spoke up about this controversy, there were claims from Paramount & Dreamworks to put visual effects to make Johansson appear more Asian on screen. This type of whitewashing are problematic because it reduces the Asian race and ethnicity to mere physical appearance when race and culture are much deeper than looks. There is even a petition, Care2 petition, that is called “DreamWorks: Stop Whitewashing Asian Characters!” which currently has over 96,000 signatures. Asian actors & actresses are continuing to fight against the problematic whitewashing, claiming, “it will continue if Hollywood think it’s OK.”
Although this is a continuous problem in Hollywood films, it is great to see that there are people speaking up about this topic. Hopefully their voices are heard, and we’ll see a change in the next diverse Hollywood film.