[asamstudiesintro NOTE: The following text below is from an October 30, 2012 blog entry written by veteran Asian American producer, actor, journalist, writer, activist Sumi Haru]
The time comes when I am up to here (hand to neck just below chin), and I need to have the sense to walk away. Over the last couple years, I have been part of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition that meets with television network brass and does yearly report cards on networks’ hiring of Asian Pacific Americans, in front of and behind the cameras.
Yesterday, I sent an email to the co-chairs, Guy Aoki of Media Action for Asian Americans and Marilyn Tokuda of the East West Players, as follows:
Dear Marilyn and Guy,
The time has come for me to step down from the APAMC. I have been involved in media advocacy since the late Sixties, and I find it terribly frustrating to sit in a room of television executives hearing them give the same excuses and reasons for the lack of balanced APA images as they have for 40 years. It’s even worse to hear a network executive to express the opinion that we are not Americans. I don’t want to bat my head against brick walls any more.
It is important that APAMC continue to ride the networks. But I strongly believe that it is up to us to create our own productions of the stories of our lives. If I could start all over, I would choose not to be an actor but rather to be a writer-producer. Of course, when I started, the options for women to be behind-the- cameras were almost nil. A woman of color back in the early Seventies had no chance at all of becoming a mogul.
I wish you all well in your battles with the networks.
Go forward with passion,
Now, what am I going to the time I just freed up in my life? I’m not sure; perhaps I’ll write another book.
Hi I really love your videos but I was wondering if its ok to paint your face brown for a costume , just for the accuracy of it. Again, I just want to understand, I know it’s a stupid question I've just never really gotten an answer. So ya, if it's ok great, if not, just please tell me and also if you could explain a bit it would be great. thanks (=
You love my videos…but not enough to watch them or actually read the resources I share in them or on Tumblr huh? Look, I really don’t wanna be a bitch but I’m so so tired of getting this question every Halloween. Right now I have over a dozen “is my costume appropriate?” asks and it’s incredibly annoying disrespectful. I spend a lot of my free time (more than I should) providing information about these issues so you can learn but at some point you need to educate yourself. Not only that, I go out of my way to not be preachy or “aggressive” so no one gets their fee fees hurt when I ask them very nicely not to be racist. Like….I cannot spoon feed you this information anymore than I already have.
My skin color is not a fun costume for you to try on for a night of drunken debauchery and trick or treating. Black people are being KILLED right now just for existing and you want to trivialize our existence for your costume’s “accuracy”? And then you have the nerve to ask me to explain to you why that’s offensive? Because it’s such a burden for you to hop your ass over to Google or scroll back ONE PAGE of my Tumblr and watch the video I made about appropriative costumes? Or maybe you could watch the Kat Blaque video I’ve shared multiple times about blackface where she included extensive research?
I consider myself to be a woman with a high level of patience, but it has worn extremely thin. This is what I get for trying and this is why so many other people of color tell ya’ll to f-off when you demand education. I’m not here to write anyone’s papers, do research for their job, evaluate their Halloween costume or hold their hand and help them feel more comfortable about the casual racism they clearly know they’re partaking in. You know good and well why painting your skin for “accuracy” isn’t ok and if you don’t, Google. And if you still don’t get it, or don’t care, paint your skin and have the time of your life while real life black people march and cry out asking for this country to respect our humanity and stop killing us for being black. Don’t worry though, no one will mistake your painted brown skin for an actual person of color, so you’re totally safe. Have a wonderful Halloween.
Learn about the African Kushites who overthrew the ancient Egyptians.
Around 800 BC, Kush, a little-known subject state of Egypt, rose up and conquered Egypt, enthroned its own Pharaohs and ruled for nearly 100 years. This unlikely chapter of history has been buried by the Egyptians and was belittled by early archaeologists, who refused to believe that dark-skinned Africans could have risen so high.
I have re-fallen in love with PBS, mainly because their online selection of videos is so frickin’ BAMF.
Thought my followers would enjoy this little FULL EPISODE about racism, archaeology, and the fact that YES, THERE WERE BLACK RULERS OF EGYPT AND BLACK PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND GUESS WHAT, THEY KICKED ASS.
Flavorwire interviewed Matthew Klickstein, a man you’ve never heard of before, about his book, SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age. Mid-interview he decided to wax philosophic about diversity in the terms above. Now, I suspect, his “woman” publicist and “woman” editor both wish he were dead.
The whole situation here is beyond upsetting. Reading the interview at first I thought it had to be some kind of joke. As someone who loved the era of Nickelodeon tv Klickstein is talking about, I cannot believe how insensitive and offensive he really is.
And sure while some of the shows aren’t as diverse as I’d like them to be, at least they did not espouse the hate this guy does in the interview.
Was Pete and Pete an all-white show? Yes. At a time where that went unexamined in society. But it was very good at capturing a specific point in childhood, which is why it still charms today. Plus it had Ellen tutor Big Pete math problems, and for that I will always love it. Looking back though, older and hopefully a bit more aware of the world than I was as a kid, yeah, the lack of diversity is obvious. It is just a shame Klickstein can’t see these types of shows as building blocks for the future than the be-all, end-all.
Warner Bros decided to not do this after journalists asked questions.
Adam Moore, SAG-AFTRA’s National Director of EEO & Diversity, laid down some history.
Moore said that “there is simply no excuse” for painting down stunt performers. “While this sort of thing doesn’t happen very often anymore, still, in 2014 there are apparently people who don’t seem to understand that there are qualified professionals ready to do this work and that, if you are foolish enough to engage in this offensive behavior, you will be called out for it. Performers and audiences alike won’t stand for it – they’ll speak out in ways like this and stand up by spurning the content itself in favor of on-screen experiences that are reflective of our collective stories and values.”
The first public protest of the practice of painting down white stunt performers occurred in 1971 when it was learned a white stuntman had been painted down to double for actor Lou Gossett Jr. on the Warner Bros film Skin Game. Elbert Hudson, president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP, protested the practice, sending angry letters to SAG president Charlton Heston and Warner Bros executive Paul Heller.
“When this incident came to light, African American stuntman Marvin Walters contacted the U.S. Justice Department and as a result, a movement began in Hollywood to help ensure fair employment opportunities for women and people of color in front of and behind the camera,” said Jadie David, a retired black stunt woman and former SAG business rep. “There were lawsuits filed and won by Marvin and The Coalition of Black Stuntmen and Women, and damages were paid to all stunt performers of color. Finally, it seemed as if the status quo of selective hiring had seen its day.
“Fast-forward to today, and we are again faced with a Caucasian stunt woman who was going to be painted down to double for an African-American actress, ironically again, in a Warner Bros. production. The excuse of the past that there are no qualified African-Americans to hire is gone; there is a huge pool of qualified African-American women to choose from and many were available for work. The studios all have fair employment policies in place, as does SAG-AFTRA. This blatant disrespect of African-American stunt women is beyond the pale. Will the lesson ever be learned?”
Edward Holcroft chosen for BBC2 drama role despite advert calling for ‘an immensely talented non-Caucasian actor’. By Jason Deans
I am following the London Spy story with some apprehension. If you’ve been following closely enough, there were already some rows over the BBC’s decision to pick up this script and now this.
To quote from the article:
”’The character originated without any specific race but as I continued writing a particular story took hold which required a black character,” Smith added “However, during the rewriting of the final episodes the plot changed and he became a white character.’”
I’m sitting here trying to wrap my head around a story that first requires a black character and then, apparently, unrequires him in the rewrite. It sounds like Smith was either pressured into that rewrite and is now trying to cover for someone higher-up or else he has a massive problem with owning his own actions.
When asked whether he has gotten any offers to venture into Hollywood during his 20-year career, Jung Woo Sung replied, “Going abroad should not be an actor’s ultimate goal.”
He added, “Of course, filming foreign projects is up to the individual, and they will have a reason for doing so.” Then he frankly stated, “Hollywood is a white-dominated industry, so unfortunately the main character has to be white. But I want to be a main character.”
He further explained, “I’m not sure why Asian actors must make it their goal to enter Hollywood, if it means that they will end up playing villains and supporting characters.”
south korean actor, jung woo sung, speaking frankly about casting and job opportunities in hollywood. (x)
Think about anyone who has come out as bisexual in the media. Megan Fox, Billie Joe Armstrong, Margaret Cho, Anna Paquin, Megan Mullally, David Bowie, Angelina Jolie.
Their sexuality is usually glossed over — often times, the media decides the person is either gay or straight, depending the relationship they are currently in or the relationship they get into in the future. If a man comes out as bisexual and in the future gets into a relationship with another man, people generally define him as homosexual (such as Alan Cumming). It’s important to note both homosexual and heterosexual people are monosexual and only attracted to one gender. In saying someone is straight or gay based on who they are currently with totally negates an individual’s identity.
Several people throughout have been classified as monosexual, despite identifying as bi. Marlon Brando himself was bisexual and he’s well-known as a “manly” man, it’s no surprise that people would want to erase his sexuality to fit their perception of him. Anne Frank was also bisexual; she wrote about having a love for girls and wanting a girl to date in her diaries. Angelina Jolie is one of the most well-known bisexuals and she still gets marked under a monosexual title because of her long term relationship with Brad Pitt. Yet, in doing this, people are neglecting her identity.
I really think you guys should try to answer questions even if theyre "stupid" because all this people are trying to do is get educated and even though the answer seems obvious, some people cant catch on to things as easily.
On one occasion with a dear friend and fellow actor in Seattle (who happens to be white), I was sharing my perspective about race in the theatre and explaining some of the privileges afforded to him because he was a white actor.
One example of these recurrent advantages is being seen as “race-neutral.” In theatre, it’s an advantage to be white not because casting directors are racist, but because they’re human. Humans see color, whether they admit it to themselves or not. And in the absence of color, humans are more open to a first impression that isn’t tainted by their perception of a particular racial identity.
Just the thought of my friend having a tangible and unfair advantage over me because of his whiteness drove his sense of ideological stability into disarray. Suddenly, I was being made to feel as if I had inflicted harm on him by having an honest conversation. Simply making him aware of observable fact had caused perceived mental harm, and real psychological stress.
“Because most Whites have not been trained to think complexly about racism, and because it benefits White dominance not to do so, they have a very limited understanding of racism. Yet dominance leads to racial arrogance, and in this racial arrogance, Whites have no compunction about debating the knowledge of people who *have* thought complexly about race. Whites generally feel free to dismiss these informed perspectives, rather than have the humility to acknowledge that they are unfamiliar, reflect on them further, or seek more information.
"…Whites are in the position to legitimize people of color’s assertions of racism. Yet Whites are the least likely to see, understand, or be invested in validating these assertions and being honest about their consequences. This position, coupled with the need for racial comfort, has many Whites insisting that people of color explain White racism in the "right" way. The right away is generally politely and rationally, without any show of emotional upset."
The Redskins Nation citizens eagerly signed up, most of them knowing that they might be mocked in their interview with correspondent Jason Jones. But several hours into the Sept. 13 taping of the yet-to-air episode, the fans, all from Virginia, said they were suddenly confronted by a larger group of Native American activists — all of whom were in on the showdown prearranged by “The Daily Show.”
The encounter at a Dupont Circle hotel was so tense that an Alexandria fan said she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police. She has told “The Daily Show” to leave her out of the segment but doesn’t know whether the producers will comply.
“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” said Kelli O’Dell, 56, a former teacher who lives in Alexandria and doesn’t watch the show regularly. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”
If only the Native American activists protesting the racist R**** mascot knew what it was like to be falsely misrepresented and endangered without their consent, and defamed. They’d want to call the police, too.
When Japanese actors play as white characters tumblr doesn’t bat an eye.
But when white actors play as characters from another race tumblr…
I am going to post my own rebuttal, but *warning* its going to be a long post.
It’s unrealistic to expect filmmakers to cater to their demographics and alter their artistic vision because their audiences aren’t able to enjoy it if they don’t see characters that look like them.
Hollywood is about making money, not being fair to all races and artists. Hollywood is constantly catering to certain demographics- the white demographic. American films try to appeal to Europe and Australia as well, so they purposely hire white actors to draw in larger audiences and make more $$. There are many directors who want to make movies with non-white characters, but have their movies rejected by Hollywood, or are told to whitewash their characters.
For example, Neil Gaiman wrote a story based on African mythology, and all the characters were black (its called “Anansi Boys”). Hollywood wanted to make a movie of it, but they told the author “of course the characters cant be black in the movie, because black people don’t like fantasy.” They didn’t even want to consider any black actors, even though the writer specifically wanted them to being black.
Or George Lucas- who wanted to make a movie about the African American(emphasis on American, because American does not mean “white”)Tuskegee fighters of World War II. Hollywood refused to fund the movie because it had an entirely black cast. They said that black people are not “marketable” enough, and that nobody would want to watch an expensive movie with only black actors. They insisted that he include some white characters- even though they have no place in the story- to make white audiences happy. Lucas did not want to do that, and so Hollywood refused to pay for his movie- Lucas to pay for the movie with his own money. It bombed, and Hollywood blamed it on the fact that the characters were black (instead of the fact that the movie itself was bad).
Another example! With Asians. Wong Fu Productions (Asian directors) wanted to make a movie called Sleep Shift, in which their main character was an Asian man. Hollywood did not like this idea- they tried to persuade WFP to hire a white actor instead, because they insisted that movies about Asians are not “profitable,” and that movies need white characters in order to be successful. WFP tried arguing with them about it, but Hollywood just ended up cancelling their movie- they did NOT want to make a movie in which the hero was Asian.
Similar thing happened to Iwamatsu- he tried making a TV show with an Asian hero, but Hollywood executives told him that “audiences would shut off the TV if they seen an Asian hero.” Also, Justin Lin tried hiring an Asian lead for his movie “Tokyo Drift,” but the studio demanded that he hire a white actor instead. He had to argue with the studio, just so he could have colorblind auditions.
POC directors are the ones who are truly limited in Hollywood. They want to make movies about Asians, black people, Native Americans, etc. but Hollywood demands that they hire white actors, to cater to white audiences (who are always being pandered to) instead.
Screenwriters are specifically taught to make their main characters usually at least one of these traits: white, straight, or male. Because that’s what “audiences really pay to see.” They’re told to write non-whites as being the background characters, so that they don’t take focus way from what really sells- white characters.
Mainstream movies are not so much about creative and artistic freedom. They are about profiting off of the majority demographic.
I guess I just think a movie is more about story and acting than “pock representation” but okay.
Plenty of POC actors are just as good as white actors? Seriously, a lot of the time, they are not even considered for roles. I’ve known actors who were told to get plastic surgery to look more white, or to change their names to sound “less ethnic.” Or that they would never be successful, because they are not white. Look at Dev Patel- he is a rather good Indian-British actor, but he is typecasted. He says he usually only gets considered for stereotypical Indian roles like nerd or taxi driver, and that its harder for him to get a better role than that. Meanwhile, Megan Fox and Kirsten Stewart are mediocore white actresses who get lea roles because they are popular.
Also, non-white stories are just as good as any white person’s story too, and yet we don’t see much movies about them in comparison. It’s not like race doesn’t have anything to do with people’s experiences anyway. The experience of a Mexican-American in LA is going to be vastly different than a black living in say, Japan.
If I’m white and I go to India, would it be right for me to complain that I don’t see any white people in their films? No.
See, this is the weakest excuse. India is over 96% Indian/non-white. Japan is over 99% Japanese. It’s dumb to expect white people in an Indian or Japanese movie, because hardly any white people ilive in those countries. (but you know what? Japanese anime actually has a lot of white characters. Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alcemist, Porco Rosso, Howls Moving Castle, etc. all have white or European characters. White people are represented MORE than they should be in Japanese media)
The US, on the other hand, is diverse. For example, I live in San Francisco. It’s around 40% white here, so why is that when I watch movies that take place in SF, themovies portray it as 90% white? Same thing with New York City. It’s only around 40% white, and yet in the movies, you mostly only see white characters and maybe a few black characters.
America is NOT a white country. There are many non-white actors, directors, writers, etc. who want to make movies starring non-white characters, but again, Hollywood REJECTS them. Tells them that audiences will not like them as much since they are not white, and that they wold have a better chance if they were white.
Because America is mostly American. Korea is mostly Korean. Japan is mostly Japanese. Kenya is mostly Kenyan. Russia is mostly Russian./You can find a movie with all Koreans, all Indians, all Brazilians, etc. In America you have a much higher chance of finding a movie with multiple races.
"America is mostly American." What does that even mean? America is not a race. It’s a nationality. America is made of hundreds of different ethnic groups from Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc. Korea is NOT diverse, so therefore Korean movies are accurately representing their country.
Also, Brazil in itself racially diverse. Brazilian is like America, it’s not an ethnic background, it’s a nationality. Brazil has MANY black, Native American and Japanese people, yet their own movies usually only show white or light skinned Brazilians. So Brazil is not much better than American TV.
If you want to see people who look like your race (assuming you’re not white), there are plenty of great foreign films.
That doesn’t work for everybody. What about Native Americans? They belong to the United States, and yet American TV ignores the fact that they exist for the most part. They can’t look to Chinese and Mexican TV and see themselves “represented,” they have nowhere to turn to.
Also, people in America and in other countries again, have vastly different experiences. A Chinese-American lives a different life and culture than a person living in China does. Are they supposed to really relate to Chinese characters who live in China? I know I’m half Asian, I don’t relate to characters who live in another coutnry. Their culture is foreign to me, just like I’m foreign to them. I want to see more mixed race or Asian-American characters, I can relate to their stories better because their experience is more like my own.
In the end, again… mainstream movies are not about being fair to minoriteis. We are underrepresented, studies prove it. And a lot of the time, we are not even portrayed well on TV. I can’t name many Asian characters who are not either nerdy, martial artists, or immigrants with really thick accents. We are portrayed in a very one-dimensional way, as if we are cardboard cut outs. And whenever some director comes along and tries to fix it, they’re either forced to whitewash the characters or have their movie canceled altoghether.
Then whenever we say we want more diversity, people say that we’re just trying to take creative freedom away from white artists. When POC artists are the ones who have their creative freedom limited, by being told that non-white characters arent as “profitable.” You dont have to care, but I do, because I've wanted to be both an actress and a director in my life.
I would like to believe that not being racist isn’t extraordinarily difficult. I would like to think that by simply acknowledging the humanity of other people and their right to exist in this world and being open and aware to learning about certain issues, you can avoid many uncomfortable moments. If nothing else, you can certainly avoid the racist, imbecilic, drivel published yesterday by the New York Times.
Not just the author of the article, but the editors who didn’t catch it either.
A personal journey and investigative documentary into finding solutions for the lack of diversity in major Hollywood films.
…With this documentary I hope to find solutions by talking with directors, producers, actors, and critics in the industry as to how we can see more quality, well-rounded, diverse cinematic representations of African Americans on the big screen. I also have my own vision and plan for how we can see at least one clearly diverse film getting a nationwide release each year independent of major studios, which I plan to put in front of each person I talk with. (It’s achievable, but you’ll have to watch to find out what it is!)
guys this super cute black girl came in my store with big, beautiful, natural hair and she was showing off her new red dress and i told her “you look so beautiful, just like annie!” and she and her mom didn’t know about the new movie coming out so i showed her the trailer and she said “mommy she looks just like me!” and her smile was so fucking huge
About the Ghost in The Shell post - that casting choice is horrid and beneficial to no one. I did an internship at a casting agency for 4 months this year and I was surprised by the amount of diversity there was in our books. There were people from all over the world. It broke my heart that so many valid, potentially talented applicants were ignored due to final production choices based on racial prejudice. :/
OHhhh my god.
Thank you for telling me this. In an interview for a Japanese talk show, somewhere after Pacific Rim premiered, (it’s the ‘Bugsy’ interview on dailymotion w/ english subs) Rinko Kikuchi was talking about how she’d constantly audition for roles she knew she wouldn’t get.
But lately I noticed they’d always cast her as a dragon lady or side banana.
I would really, really like to know specifically who is responsible for this. I really would.
The author of Hunger Games explained Katniss in a difficult way. How did y'all they were supposed to find a Native American actress with olive skin, naturally straight black hair and grey eyes. Please give me a link to one and I'll shut up forever.
There’s plenty of lists with Native American actresses you can google yourself.
Gray eyes aren’t a white only trait, nor is Jennifer Lawrence a gray eyed gal. So please do shut up forever.
This reality is a bit harder to swallow: There are more white people in the US and Canada because the US and Canada were established using the systematic genocide of Native peoples, the theft of Native lands, and the labour of enslaved peoples in the past and immigrant peoples currently who were and are never meant to stay or survive.
And now you’re uncomfortable. Good.
When you accept and acknowledge that census figures reflect a long history of marginalization, it is preposterous to use these same figures as the benchmark to which you measure the inclusion of marginalized people.
During his months-long job search, he says he logged onto his computer every morning and combed the internet for listings, applying to everything he felt qualified for. In the Buzzfeed video above, he estimates that he sent out between 50 to 100 resumes a day — which is, in a word, impressive.
But Zamora said he wasn’t getting any responses, so on a hunch, he decided to drop the “s” in his name. José Zamora became Joe Zamora, and a week later, he says his inbox was full.
As he explains in the video, “Joe” hadn’t changed anything on his resume but that one letter. But what Zamora had done, effectively, was whitewash it.
"I had to drop a letter to get a title," Zamora said, later adding, "Sometimes I don’t even think people know or are conscious or aware that they’re judging — even if it’s by name — but I think we all do it all the time."
Divergent was cool and all but when I saw that it was in Chicago I was like huh?? Then Why is this movie so white?
You mean to tell me that after the apocalypse/war that only 3-4 black and Latino people survived in a city as diverse as CHICAGO