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.
Really, you don’t want to get into the demographic argument. Studies show Hollywood fails to keep up with how diverse the real America is. For example, Asians make up 5-6% of the US, but barely 1% of Hollywood lead roles. Native Americans, on the other hand, are far UNDER 1%.
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.