MY PERSONAL STORY:
I chose this topic because it caught my attention that Asians are rarely shown in the hollywood industry. The population of Asians in the United States cover 5.6 %. What I don’t understand is why the media afraid to show off the Asian culture. Asians are commonly well known and are seen everywhere. This has caught my attention and I wanted to go more into depth to find more research about it.
My first curiosity started when I was first watched my two favorite anime series that was turned into a movie, Dragon Ball Z and Avatar: The Last Airbender. While watching the films, what I realized is that both movies have Caucasian actors casted as Asian characters. The movies had one to two actors that were actually Asian. The discrimination from the films have created a bad image of the two animes, causing to receive bad reviews from critics and online blogs. I disliked and felt uncomfortable after watching both of the films. As an Asian American, I feel self conscious because I felt like Asians weren’t appreciated, especially since the characters were Asian themselves. It’s as if the white culture has inherit the Asian culture and calling it theirs.
THE HISTORY OF YELLOW FACE
Racial issues in the entertainment industry is a big subject in the hollywood world. The outcome of Racial issues in the industry was treated like it was not a concern. The history of Racial issues started when Caucasian actors would intimidate a race by wearing skin colors of an immigrant, as a prop. Caucasian actors would paint their face which specific ethnicity they want and make a mocking play or a movie about the skin color they are. Examples of what they would paint their skin were like brown representing the Mexicans, black representing the African Americans, and yellow representing the Asians. In this essay, I am addressing the issues of “Yellow Face” and the representation of Asian Americans have in the hollywood industry. The media should allow Asian Americans to participate in major hollywood films and TV shows because the lack of Asian diversity in the industry. Asian Americans don’t receive enough credit when they are on the spotlight, nor having a chance to be in a big role in a major film.
Yellow face was introduced in the film industry in the early 1900s, but the significant upbringing didn’t happen until the classic movie, Breakfast At Tiffany’s. The movie had introduced a character, who was a Japanese elder named, Mr. Yunioshi. In the film, Mr. Yunioshi was portrayed by Mickey Rooney, a caucasian actor. His interpretation of the character was racially offensive, creating a wave of upset Asians. The racial discrimination still existed into the 21st century. In today’s modern society, Caucasian actors and actresses are still being cast for Asian-based characters or movies. Due to the latest current technology, rather than using make up and painting their skin of the race, they use photoshop to portray the race they are cast as. An example of a movie that uses photoshop would be the upcoming film, Ghost In The Shell. In the movie, the protagonist is an Asian female who protects the city by fighting crime. The producers, and directors for the film decides to cast Scarlett Johansson, an award winning actress, as the protagonist in the film. The decision of the casting made Ghost In The Shell fans upset but more specifically the Asian Americans.
WHY IS THIS STILL HAPPENING?
People complain that there are a lot of Asian American actors, who can portray character better than Scarlett Johannson. So, why was Scarlett chosen and not Asians? Why don’t they cast Asians that can fit the role better for the character? This question has been brought up many times. People have made their own theories to what they believe is the right reason why this topic exist. The first theory is that Asian Americans prefer to have a stable job that can give a beneficial future, like being a technician or an engineer. The second theory is that there aren’t many asians are in the hollywood industry. So when they cast actors or actresses, they want A-list celebrities they can gain more attraction to the film. Which means that producers and directors only want in for the money rather than being true to the quality of the entertainment. Although these are theories, there isn’t a true reason why the media wouldn’t allow Asians to be casted in major films.
According to Constance Wu, stated in the NYTIMES article of “Asian-American Actors Are Fighting for Visibility. They Will Not Be Ignored.” by Amanda Hess, Wu claims that “An Asian person who is competing against white people, for an audience of white people, has to train for that opportunity likes its the Olympics.” Constance Wu is addressing that Asian actors have to train hard like an athlete who is training for the Olympics, while Caucasians don’t have need that ability because they are able to get the role easily. The competition for film roles between a Caucasian and an Asian is treated differently and unfair.
In the next article from the NYTIMES, according to Keith Chow, “Why Won’t Hollywood Cast Asian Actors?” Chow argues, “Why is erasure of Asians still an acceptable practice in Hollywood? It’s not that people don’t notice (…)” Keith Chow is explaining that Asians do notice when they cast non Asians into films that are meant to have an asian role. The media expects the Asian community to be fine with the discrimination. Although, in reality Asians are upset and not satisfied with the actions the media has been producing.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP!
After introducing the issue on the representation of Asian Americans in the entertainment industry, there are ways you can help support. The first way is by joining organizations, there are clubs that help support Asian Americans reach their full potential goal in the hollywood world. Whether if it’s singing, dancing, or acting. Examples of Organizations are CAPEUSA.org, and MAANA.org. These organizations will help you work your way to be accepted into the industry. Another option is by joining social media. Expressing your advocacy towards Asian Americans in the industry can help create awareness into the world. An example would be using the hashtag WHITEWASHEDOUT, you can help create a movement. Out of all social network platforms, Youtube can help you out in a long term, whether if you want your voice to be heard or you, yourself wanting to be a actor or actress. You can gain experience from it. An example is that there are a few aspiring actors and actresses that are becoming pretty big in the hollywood world. They have been introduced to YouTube for about five years and they have over five million subscribers. A outcome for most of these youtubers is that they are actually getting cast in major films or creating their own film and being show on the big screen.
Chow, Keith. “Why Won’t Hollywood Cast Asian Actors?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 2016. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.
Hess, Amanda. “Asian-American Actors Are Fighting for Visibility. They Will Not Be Ignored.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 2016. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.