Is White Washing Really Still a Thing?

It’s uncomfortable, but everyone’s been talking about it. Is this really a bigger problem then we originally thought?

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About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. This one’s gonna be a doozy….

    • Good editorial, Doug.

      I always felt the casting of Scarlett Johanson as Major Kusanagi was more of a need for a famous leading lady rather than a race issue since most people still don’t realize anime is still a niche market and studios are going to need all the money they can get to sell Ghost in the Shell to a wide audience.

      I’m Mexican, so my idols growing up were Cheech Marin and Antonio Banderas, and they’ve had quite a prominence in Hollywood, so I’m not complaining about the lack of my ethnicity being misrepresented. My girlfriend is white so ethnic issues coming from both sides of the family have come up more than we’ve wanted.

      There’s an old saying that goes “Hollywood is a town run by rich white men for rich white men.”. However, America is known for it’s diversity, so this saying may not hold much water nowadays.

      • Right; some properties are popular enough that they don’t need a leading actor to make money. Ghost in the Shell isn’t one of them. But just because that’s true doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem; it just means its a harder problem to solve. Because it still isn’t good that a large percentage of the population isn’t being represented, and that minority actors are so limited in the roles they get (kind of a tangeant, but people miss the point when they say that Japanese people don’t care about Scarlett Johanson in GitS; Japanese people living in Japan see themselves represented all the time; their actors get lots of leading roles. The people we should be asking are Japanese-Americans). On the other hand, movies are a business, and lots of people’s salaries depend on them succeeding. The question is, how do we get minority actors to become big enough names to draw audiences, when they don’t get roles because they’re not big enough?

        • I would have loved to see some fantastic Japanese actresses like Minae Noji and Rinko Kikuchi be cast as Kusanagi and they definitely should have more starring roles. If Lucy Liu can be a lead actress, they can too.

          The best solution is having unknowns be the leads in big franchises where the franchise name alone is what sells like John Boyega and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars.

          • Yeah, I agree! The second point is especially good, and that seems to be what’s actually starting to happen.

      • I agree that they probably needed big name people to play parts in GitS to get the movie made and to get a wide audience as anime is still a fairly niche thing. I would have love a Japanese or Japanese American actress to play the Major but Scarlett Johansson is big now, and should fit the role fairly well other wise, I think.

        In universe they maybe able to ‘white wash’ over the whole Motoko Kusanagi being a white chick by saying she switched bodies at some point for some reason.

        One last thing, sometimes anime characters are a race of their own, not Asian or white or anything else. At that point you could just choose whom ever to play them.

        • With a name like Motoko Kusanagi, I would expect her to be Japanese.

          Spike Spiegel could literally be American, European, etc and Goku…. well, he’s an Alien.

          • Except he bring important point.. Maior is a cyborg. We know that she was a dude in one point of her carrier so fact that now she is white don’t mean much here. She simply could back from some mission in Europe and stay in that body because why bother to change it?

      • Regarding the whole Ghost in the Shell thing, this personally really bothers me because the original anime is perfect as it exists. Remaking it in live action with white actors in no way improves upon what they were trying to convey originally. The only purpose of doing it that I can see is to pander to people who are too close minded to appreciate Japanese animation, and to guarantee a return on your investment because, GitS is a previously established franchise. Throw in Scarlett Johanssen, hollywood megastar, and you have a blockbuster hit on your hands. It just seems more like a financial decision than anything else, which irks me to no end.

        • I’m a huge GitS fan of the original movie and TV series and I actually hope this is done well enough so we can get GOOD anime adaptations into films.

          I know James Cameron will make a kickass Battle Angel after he does his 20 Avatar sequels.

          • That’s cool if you want to see anime adapted to live action, but my point is it’s kind of unnecessary. Some things work best in the medium they were originally created for, in this case hand drawn animation.

          • last I read Cameron is no longer directing Battle Angel, but he will be Executive Producer

        • Yes, I feel the same. In the end, it’s going to be a rehash of a movie already perfect. I think it’s one thing to do a remake on a movie that has a lot of problems, but a movie that is just spectacular….I get bad joo joo feelings….well in any case, i won’t go see it……

    • Snorgatch Pandalume

      Regarding GitS, anime is its own thing and anime characters rarely look Japanese anyway (how many Japanese have blonde hair and/or blue eyes?). In fact, the Japanese girl in the video pointed out that it looks more like anime if the actor ISN’T Japanese. So I don’t have a problem with that.
      As for Tylda Swinton as the Ancient One, eh, NBD. The Ancient One could be anyone, they just have to be wise and a master of the mystic arts. The character was created in the early 1960s, when Asian = exotic, and his purpose was to connect Dr. Strange (an American) to an exotic tradition of eastern mysticism that most Americans at that time knew very little about. If you’re going to get upset about the Ancient One being played by a British woman, you might as well get upset about an American (Strange) being played by a Brit (Cumberbatch). Besides, the Ancient One could probably make him/herself look like anyone, so we have no way of knowing if that’s his/her true appearance. He/She might not even be human.
      There’s another reason why (almost) nobody got upset about Fury, Kingpin, or Johnny Storm being played by black actors–the race of those characters isn’t an integral part of them. Making them black changes nothing of importance.
      Now, if you want a real example of whitewashing to get upset about, take Princess Tigerlily in Pan being played by a white girl. Granted, Tigerlily belongs to a tribe in an imaginary land that is more like a 19th century European’s stereotypical idea of a Native American tribe than a real one, but that doesn’t change the fact that she IS still supposed to be a Native American. There was absolutely no reason to have her played by a white girl, especially when roles for actual Native Americans are so scarce, except WHITE PEOPLE!

      • Looks aren’t the issue in anime. Ethnicities in anime don’t look like the real thing. The issue is that the character is Japanese, no matter how she looks. She still even has a Japanese name.

        • And she is also a cyborg spymaster who was a Arabic dude in one point of her carrier. She is Japanese but she can be played even by Arnold Schwarzenegger so that is why that don’t matter.

        • I think part of the question is whether it’s a straight adaptation or an American adaptation. Like Doug said, if they made a Superman movie in Japan, we’d expect a Japanese actor. Likewise, we had a Japanese Spider-Man and two American Godzillas. Quality notwithstanding, no one objected to a Godzilla attacking New York instead of Tokyo.

          Famous plays are performed around the world in hundreds of languages by primarily local casts. Should Grease only be cast with American teenagers where it’s played? Should Les Miserables only have French? Danes only do Hamlet? Intent has to be taken into account.

          For example, the image of Peter Sellers in Murder By Death that was in the editorial is a mistake. The film is a parody of old detective movies and one of the things being parodied was the obvious casting of Charlie Chan with English actors while his son was always played by an Asian American. The parody wouldn’t have worked. Likewise, James Coco playing the Hercule Poirot parody in the same film was the same thing.

    • You lost me when you were talking about voice acting. Movies and TV are a VISUAL medium. Of course nobody is going to complain if you hire a white person to voice act as an Asian character. That’s because they don’t SEE the voice actor with their EYES. We’ve had black people voice white characters, Asian people voice white characters, and vice versa. I was never angry at the actor for playing Samurai Jack because he was black. Samurai Jack as far as I could tell, was Japanese because I could SEE that he was Japanese.

      And then there’s the bit about blind people playing as blind people. Again. Movies are a VISUAL media. You don’t need to have somebody be blind to play as a blind guy. That would be like having a character losing a limb and then needing a limbless actor to play the character after the character lost a limb. People aren’t concerned who’s playing what, so long as the visual representation stays consistent with the source.

      The whole reason you have people that whine about the X-Men wearing black leather in the movies instead of colorful costumes like their counterpart is because they wanted what was in the comic to be on the big screen, because again. It’s a part of the character’s visual perception. So of course people are going to be upset when they change the Major’s race by hiring a mainstream popular actress. And of course people are going to be upset with Marvel changing a Tibetan monk, because it’s a visual misrepresentation of the character.

      • Woops. This message was meant for Doug Walker, not as a reply. Ugh. I wish they’d make the comment box on this site a little more intuitive.

      • I agree, though, he lost me there, too. Because it kind of implies that the way we speak is a matter of skin colour, which it really isn’t, it is a matter of environment. It doesn’t matter how an actor looks like, it matters how he or she speaks.

        In addition, there is this weird double standard in animation, that stereotypes are bad…unless they are European Stereotypes. Then they are suddenly totally okay. If there is something to complain about concerning Beauty and the Beast, it is not that the voice actors are American, but that there is a random French accent thrown in for the womanizing character (Lumiere).

        • Actually, you’d be surprised at how many people talk about the Beauty and the Beast thing you mentioned. Mostly in academic circles, but still. It’s definitely not something that’s gone unnoticed.

  2. In case of Ancient One being white woman in upcoming Doctor Strange movie it was because of CCP. You see in comics books Ancient One is old Tibetian man but him being Tibetian is that problem in eyes of CCP. So they changed to in order to have change for that movie to be excepted to Chinese market considering how little western movies are allowed to be shown there. Thing about Major from GitS is that since she is cyborg she can literally have any cyborg body she needs and she can even be man if if needed like in GitS Arise were she told that she during one mission she used several different bodies. So I feel like not having Japanese actress or even any Asian actress in that role is not really that big of deal even if it was nice that Hollywood would give Asian actress opportunity like that.

    • But that thing about the ancient one makes no sense. The CCP has no problem with the idea that Tibet EXISTS, anymore than there’s a problem for you to acknowledge that Texas exists, there’s only a problem if you make it political and try to claim that it is or should be an independent sovereign nation (as opposed to a region of China).

      • Real simple solution to not irritating bigoted Chinese officials is to just cast someone Chinese. Or, of course, ANY Asian would be a better choice than the direction they did. Even going Hispanic or Arabic or Indian or Roma, or ANYTHING ELSE NOT CODED WHITE, would’ve been a better answer. Sure, a non-Asian ethnicity is still erasure there, which is a persistent endemic problem, but it would still be greater diversity in the MCU and Hollywood in general!

        Only two things that can remotely make up for it at this point: Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One dies in the film and the next one has an Asian replacement, or she’s explicitly queer, which we still need ANY rep for in the movies.

        • Snorgatch Pandalume

          In the comics the Ancient One DID die (though he came back as a ghost). As for sexuality, the Ancient One was beyond such earthly concerns.

        • Explain to me, what is the problem with being white? While I think they should have stayed true to the character, the actor should be judged on their performance not their skin color. This type of mentality that says we’ve had too many white people or straight people in media, with the express purpose to replace them with different races and sexuality is exclusionary rather than inclusionary. In the end, you are judging someone by their race, gender, or sexuality.

          • The issue is not being white per-se. It’s the strange problem of trying to satisfy all kind of complains and thus creating even bigger problems. No one would have had a problem with the ancient one being white if they would have gone… lets say the route of the Dr. Strange TV Movie and turned him into Merlin/Lindmer or some such and set his Monastery in Ireland or Scotland. Though comic book purists would have had a bit of a fit, it could have worked. But Marvel wanted to go with eastern mysticism as the power source of Dr. Strange and that is where the whole thing breaks apart. One of the reasons to change the Ancient One’s ethnicity was to shy away from the trope of the „magic Asian“ (to the people complain about that trope I say, go and watch a bunch of Wuxia flicks and series. Magic Asians abound… right out of Asia itself.) and introduced a far more problematic trope, „mighty whitey“. We now have a whitewashed Ancient One who’s better at Asian mysticism than other Asians, operates out of an Asian monastery and does Kung Fu. Marvel, congrats for making it even worse than what would have happened if you just would have gone for an Asian actor, even a female one. In fact I like the gender ambiguity of the Ancient One in the movie but that could have been done with an Asian actress too. In fact, get Brigitte Lin to do it, she already played a gender ambiguous character in the Swordsman trilogy.

            That said, I’m sure Tilda will be awesome as the Ancient One, she’s a superb actress.

            So to sum it up, being white is not the issue, but playing a character with a strong Asian cultural background in all but the skin color, that is.

        • Erick_The_Redd

          See the problem here is they can’t win. If they had just cast a Chinese person in the role, they would have been accused of being insensitive to the fact that not all Asians are the same. On your side you’d be saying yeah but its better than white, but on someone else’s side they’d be screaming racism and a lack of individual identity. AND if they changed the story to represent specifically a Chinese person as the character, they’d then get flack for not sticking to the source material, as the Ancient One is Tibetan, NOT Chinese. People will always be pissed about something.

          • The problem with the Ancient One i find is that their choice just makes no sense in any context. Let’s say okay fine they want to have the character be white and celtic (I’d rather they have an actual Asian character but then I don’t run Marvel). But if they want to go down the Celtic root then go set the movie in scotland or something and have the white celtic character actually seem to make sense in the setting.

            By setting it in Nepal the criticisms you’ve just mentioned would still apply (not that they don’t seem to care) and the character will seem massively out of place. Personally i think Marvel’s trying to have their cake and eat it by having a white character but still seeming all the exoticism of Asia.

          • *Keeping all the exoticism of Asia

  3. Oh no, sorry, little people wouldn’t work as dwarf in typical fantasy setting. They would for even smaller races like hobbits, or gnomes from warcraft, but dwarfs? Wide muscular mountain mining badasses? Sorry, wrong body structure. Also, on whitewashing. Don’t support it. Also, don’t support blackwashing, asianwashing and whatever washing. I want my character portrayed as he was created. I am for creating more diversity in media, cos how many times can you watch brunette 30 y old male? But you do that by creating new characters, not trying to change old ones by getting different race or gender actor. Every character deserve proper portrayal.

    Also, it’s more important in old things like comic books, to stick to the gender/race/etc. One, becos that how it goes, but other is for those minorities. Becos that show they importance, even if audience doesn’t know them as good as others. You can have no knowledge of Black Panther, but if you were watching Earth mightiest heroes, you would already understand one important fact. He is a black skinned avenger, i don’t have as good of aknowledge as Linkara, but he might have been first black skinned hero in Avenger team. And this goes for all the other characters from minorities, you see them amongs all the white characters, and you understand the change they brought with them. But in avengers, if Stark was mexican, Hawkeye jamaican, Wasp asian, then Panther wouldn’t make any significant impression. Yeah, you may think that it doesnt matter in movies cos you knwo the comics, but not everyone. Some people don’t have the comic knowledge, and they might just leave with what knowledge they got from movies and tv shows. It doesn’t matter how white a cinematic universe will get, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just how it started, and then how it changed, people saw that change with Panther in civil war. And hey, all those white characters, doesn’t matter how many of them are, are not just for flooding the media with whites cos evul racist money grabbing racist business overlords. They are they own, and they are they creators, precious little gems. Like other characters, no matter they race/sex/gender/orientation. Cos in the end, final decision will always lie with the creator himself, if Rowling says she is fine with Hermiona being imagined as black girl, than thast how it is. And no racist problems need to be attached to it.

    • MountCDOSgamer

      Oh, I’m sorry. Was Doug showing clips of dwarves instead of hobbits when he was talking about acting opportunities for little people? I must have missed that part.

      • Yeah, you kind of did, since he did showed dwarfes from Hobbit. Also, nice douchy attitude, i guess some people are still unable to discuss minority topics without that.

    • So Mandarin should be a racially offensive, Fu Man Chu stereotype like he is in the comics?

      • I think it’s safe to assume, even without vast comic knowledge, that Mandaris has evolved past that in comic, as in other medias. You have Mandarin from that Iron-man cartoon for example. Doubt that if there is a character who started as stereotype, and had more than one appear, wasn’t already changed into something more acceptable.

      • Point is that what matter is the point. If character is specific nationality then you keep that, but in both cases of Ancient One and Maior internet exaggerate as both characters can be anything.. one is a cyborg who already was a Arabic male in past and other is who know what?

    • He wasn’t talking about dwarves, he was talking about hobbits. He showed clips of hobbits, talked about Elijah Wood (who played a hobbit), and mentioned that little people only played hobbits when filmed from the back.

  4. Oddworld Inhabitant

    You lied to me, Tom Sawyer! This discussion was not as lighthearted and fun as you had previously indicated!

  5. I thought it was called Race Lift. By that same logic, should animals be played by animals? If we use animals for entertainment, everyone says we’re torturing them. Voice actors have it easier. Couldn’t you also say that a ghost should be played by someone who believes in ghosts? It doesn’t really mean anything there.

    • Animals don’t need jobs or have artistic aspirations. But when you look at the history of Hollywood there’s a long history of non-white people being blocked from starring in anything but small roles, not based on their talent, but simply because they thought Asians or black people weren’t fit for the job. Blackface would be an older, more obvious example of non-whites not being allowed to even star in their own stories, but even in more recent times like the 70’s, despite people loving kung fu, the role of Caine was given to David Carradine, despite Bruce Lee being the one who helped come up with the concept. Even in the last few years, there was stuff like the movie 21 (where most of the characters were Asian in real life but made white in the movie) or Last Airbender (characters were meant to be East Asian, but they made all the heroes white and all the villains Indian).
      Ultimately the idea that you should only give big roles to famous actors (who in the majority “just happen” to be white) is circular logic: Asian actors aren’t given big roles because they aren’t famous, and they never become famous because no one ever gave them big roles. One good way to break the vicious circle would be to give Asian culture influenced roles to Asian actors.

      • Don’t forget we also need to normalize Asian roles in other, “standard” places.

        Quick tangent: there’s a small bit of concern in the comic book industry over ghettoization with female creators. If you look at the Big Two, there are a number of very solid titles with female creators writing and/or drawing, and many good books with good leads. But it’s a tad odd how much that coincides. Of any male-led books (this counts teams with any men) coming out within the next three months, all of ONE is written by a woman, and I can’t think of any that are pencilled by a woman. You can see some of this happen in other places too, like Dynamite. Men can tell men’s stories, men can tell women’s stories, women can tell women’s stories…women can’t tell men’s stories? While I didn’t want to read Superman under Gene Luen Yang (though I normally like him) given the stupid event comics it’s constantly in, I was thrilled to see a Chinese writer get to write an extremely high-profile character that’s normally coded white. We need more of this.

        We do need more authentic faces and voices to represent characters and stories that deviate from the Hollywood norm. But we also need them to represent said norm, so they don’t appear to be “the other”.

    • Race Lift is a TV Tropes term, and it apparently is not just about white people. It’s any race change from one adaptation to another.

      This makes sense, since Tropes Are Not Bad. So they obviously want something that could be bad or good.

  6. I’m putting this in because to me, I like it. There was a japanese Spiderman show and Spiderman had a Megazord. A MEGAZORD! Suck it, Big Voltronimus Prime-O!! just kidding. XD

    • Except he is a different person then Peter Parker.. in fact including manga there is few of them and fun fact! All of them currently are Marvel canon!

  7. If Idris Elba ends up playing James Bond, what do we call that?

    • Theory proven.

      There is a fan theory that James Bond and 007 are both codenames given to different operatives. And as current James Bond either retires or more likely dies it given to the next operative that replaces him.

      It’s goes into why so many different actors play him and why he is so casual about giving out his name when he is supposed to be a spy. Why should he care that his cover identity is known? They can only trace it back to a fake identity not to the real him.

  8. Heart-Lightning

    With Scarlett Johansson and Motoko Kusanagi, the manga/movie/anime feature Motoko Kusanagi as a Japanese woman, living in Japan and works for Section 9 which is a Japanese government organization. There is no excuse for this due to all the material portraying Motoko Kusanagi as a Japanese woman. It’s made even worse when they say there is no good Asian female actresses despite Rinko Kikuchi and Lucy Liu already showing they can do good Japanese characters in Pacific Rim and Kill Bill Volume 1.

    However, Marvel can get away with this more because of how comic books tend to change around continuity constantly. Remember when Nick Fury was white dude with brown hair? It wasn’t until the Ultimate Universe that remade Nick Fury into Samuel Jackson inspired bald black guy. Samuel Jackson DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THIS WAS A THING. It wasn’t until he spotted a Ultimate Marvel comic book that just happened to have his Nick Fury on the comic cover that he was shocked to see this. Samuel Jackson called Marvel and wanted to play Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    • Rinko Kikuchi would be perfect for the role. Not as buff as the movie-Major but still 🙂

    • While I think it would have been good to have a Japanese [or Japanese-American] actress playing the part [not Lucy Liu though, she’s really not very good,] I think the clip Doug showed of the Japanese interviews pointed out something important but he didn’t focus on it.

      One of the People asked said it was good because it would look more anime like. The moment I saw that I thought the same and realised why I haven’t enjoyed many of the Japanese live action anime films as much as I thought I would.

      The reason being that it’s extremely rare for an anime character to even remotely look Japanese, they almost universally look white. It’s so strange to watch attack on titan, or Death note and get used to how the characters are drawn and then to see them acted out by Japanese actors… simply because they just do not look like the characters.

      • A Full Metal Alchemist Live action movie was just announced today, and it really fits into this whole situation. The entire cast will be Japanese and will be filmed in Italy, but not a single person in that show is Japanese. Some Chinese, yes, but no Japanese. Mostly European. Same thing with the Attack on Titan live action movie. THe only character in the anime was Mikasa, but with every actor being Japanese in the movie it really detracts from the fact that Mikasa was the only Japanese person there.

      • Yeah, no. They do not look “white”. They look like anime characters. With huge eyes and features that doesn’t fit ant real-life ethnicity. The only thing that looks remotely “white” about most anime characters is their skin tone, which tends to be pretty light, but Japanese people have pretty light skin as well. The most distinguishing feature about an anime character is usually their hairstyle.

        The reason you think anime characters look European is because you are projecting onto them, which is a big part of the problem. We have been conditioned to think of white people as the norm for so long that we don’t bat an eye at white people taking PoC roles.

        • So you are saying that characters in anime that have what is supposed to be natural blonde hair and blue eyes don’t look white? Cause they sure as hell do to Japanese people. Heck it’s typically a thing in more slice of life anime that characters with those features are thought of as foreigners. Heck just look at Kodoka from Haganai and he only has blonde hair because he’s half-british.

          In real life people in some areas of Japan will actually stare if they see people with blonde hair because it is just not a color that happens among the full Japanese populous.

          • I’m living in Japan and I can assure you that none of my elementary and JHS kids ever show me one of their manga and say “he looks like you!” This idea that manga/anime characters are supposed to be Westerners is indeed mostly projection by Westerners. I have seen *actual* Westerners in anime, and they are portrayed with thick American or European accents, they have absolutely different characteristics than your typical anime character that are CLEARLY Western, and they have Western mannerisms. Unlike your typical blond/red/pink/blue haired blue/red/purple/gold eyed mange/anime character who speak perfect unaccented Japanese, have Japanese mannerisms, and oh…yeah….generally they also have Japanese names and live in Japan. There’s that as well.

            Manga/anime is fantasy, but it’s inherently *Japanese* fantasy. Stuff like FMA may very well include characters that are inspired by Western fantasy, living in a land that blends elements of both Eastern and Western fantasy, and having names that appear to be quite European. However, the fact remains these character still *act* Japanese, they still *speak* Japanese, and they are still often *identified as* Japanese (the exceptions are probably the Armstrongs). Colonel Mustang is clearly Japanese. The Elric brothers are clearly half Japanese (because without spoiling it, their father is…well let’s just say not Japanese). Despite their names and their looks and the locations, these characters are actually meant to be Japanese. Sorry.

            Have a watch through Samurai Shamploo and note when the Americans show up how they look, act, and sound different. Note how Alexander Anderson in Hellsing looks, acts, and sounds. These are Westerners.

          • Blond hair and blue eyes are not exclusively European traits, though they are far less common in non-Europeans/non-white people. That specific combination is also used occasionally as a shorthand for Europeans in anime, but not always, and it is definitely projection on your point to say that ALL anime characters look European. Most of them don’t have blond hair and blue eyes you know. They tend to have really outlandish combinations like blue hair and purple eyes, which isn’t natural for ANY ethnicity. These features are different from the norm in Japan, but they are not there to mark the character as non-Japanese, they are there to mark them as a main character.

        • The 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist series revealed in the end that–spoilers, by the by–the world of the anime was a parallel world to the world we live in, and the people who live in Amestris (the country where everything takes place) are, in fact, European. And even if you point out the 2003 series isn’t canon, the manga also has obvious real-world substitutes: Amestris is obviously Germany, Xing is obviously China, Xerxes seems to be Persia, Ishval is the Middle East, Aerugo is Italy, Drachma is Russia, and Creta is very possibly the United States.

    • You do realize that Lucy Liu is Chinese not Japanese right? Honestly if the Japanese were taking any offense to this at all they would take far more offense to having someone who is Chinese play a Japanese roll, simply for the fact that they need to look the part. Especially since this would send the message that people think all asians are the same/look alike.

      • Heart-Lightning

        But Lucy Liu played a Japanese mob boss O-Ren Isshi and said main villain of Kill Bill Volume 1. Nobody was offended by that, so Lucy Lui playing Motoko Kusangi would be fine.

    • Monsieur Safior

      Ans since then Nick Fury Jr ruin ruin the marvel universe.

  9. Emperor.Hampton

    I think that when it comes to this topic, it really does depend on the specific role and actor in question. With Ghost in the Shell, I don’t think it’s that big an issue because the character and actress look very similar. Anime in general emphasizes large, expressive eyes, and, well, at the risk of sounding really racially iffy, Japanese people, generally speaking, don’t. I’m not trying to sound racist or anything, but it is true. Furthermore, from what I understand of the anime, the main character of Ghost in the Shell isn’t bound to her physical body anyway. Uploading of consciousness is a major facet of that universe, thus physical identifier are less important. Almost by design, race is a useless concept for a world in which people can change bodies and even become incorporeal data at will.

    With the Tibetan character in Dr. Strange, I understand why they changed it, as the growing Chinese market is very lucrative and losing access to it would be a major hit to the profitability, but at the same time, confronting the Chinese government over their horrific treatment of Tibet is something very few in positions of power in the West actually do. Politicians and such may pay lip service to the issue, but very rarely do they actually do anything about it.

    A third example one could raise in relation to the Chinese issue is the use, or rather the deliberate disuse, of the swastika in works related to the Second World War so as to not lose access to the valuable German market, where display of the swastika outside of a specifically educational or religious context is strictly prohibited. Thus, especially in games, the swastika is often replaced by the Iron Cross, even when it is far more accurate than the Iron Cross as a symbol of the Nazi regime. Ignoring the facts of history is another form of whitewashing, just see the lambasting Disney’s Pocahontas faced for its flagrant inaccuracies.

    • But how does simply portraying a Tibetan character in aaa very apolitical way implies “showing the horrific treatment of the Tibet”? The Chinese aren’t offended by the idea that the Tibetan people exist, they just want them to remain a part of China…

    • The really interesting thing that everyone disregards with Dr. Strange is there’s definitely no political agenda going on. They though Tilda Swinton was a good choice to be this mythical being. Just like they thought Chiwetel Ejiofor was great for the role of Baron Mordo, a white guy. All in the same movie.

      • Except, as Doug established, that’s not true at all.The agenda is to avoid problems with the CCP. They thought she was a good choice because they already decided they weren’t going to try for a Tibetan.

    • wait, Iron Sky had swastikas everywhere,and that was a German movie. It opened in Berlin.

    • The reason the swastika is prohibited in most mainstream media in germany is not to “ignore the facts of history”
      It is to prevent it from being taken to lightly and from becoming popular and glorified again.
      It is actually used a lot in educational material and serious documentarys.

  10. There’s another group of people that didn’t care much about Scarlett Johansson playing Major Kusanagi… The actual fans of the show. People who know who the character is.
    As in… a spirit in a fully synthesized body (hence: Ghost in the shell). That body can look like anything: Caucasian, Asian, African, Martian, anything. And if you look at every different incarnation of the character, you notice the body of the major is actually different. Especially when comparing to the fellow characters of Batou and Togusa.
    No, don’t shoot me. I am against whitewashing and I’m of the opinion that Asian actors should get more opportunities to become stars. But in the Hollywood we know today, movies like Ghost in the Shell cannot be made without a huge Hollywood actor backing it: Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow, or SJ in Ghost in the Shell. Today a big anime movie made in America but with main characters being Asian is just as likely to happen as a Japanese Live Action adaption of an anime that stars Caucasian actors (cough*Attack on Titan*cough).
    I hope that can all change in the future; but at this moment I’m just glad if a decent Worldwide remake is done of the source material.
    But as Doug said. Keep calling it out to Hollywood that you don’t like whitewashing. Maybe someday they will listen…

  11. As far as Ghost in The Shell goes it really is a who cares situation and shows how fucking sensitive Americans are, seriously look at how anime characters are drawn and tell me they look Asian, unless they are drawn Asian they don’t look it and are only considered so because of name and the fact they are in Japan. Besides not like Scarlet Jo’s character in the movie is actually called Kusunagi, she’s only referred to as The Major

  12. The real problem are SJW and the poison they bring and infect onto the world

    • Emperor.Hampton

      The second anyone uses the word “SJW,” I tune out. There are people who fit the stereotype, but the word has become so overused by assholes who see any move towards diversity as a threat to them somehow.

      There is issues with regards to representation in media, and combating that is not a “poison.” Are there small but vocal groups that look for anything to be offended about, even when it isn’t an issue? Yes. But to bash anyone asking for more diversity is just as bad as those who are constantly offended.

      • ThatManWithTheHeadband12

        The ones who are constantly offended ARE the people bashing those who seek diversity

        • Emperor.Hampton

          There are people overly offended on both sides. There are the tumblr drama nuts, who see any form of white actor as racist, and there’s the GamerGate, MRA crazies who see any attempt at diversity as an attack on them.

          Being offended over nothing has become one of the Internet’s favorite pastimes, along with porn, cat videos, and “creative” interpretations of spelling, grammar, and syntax.

          • well to be fair GamerGate was an attack on gamer culture by feminist and SJW along with corrupted games journalists

          • PixiekillerEin

            um sorry no, the GamerGate movement was founded by 4Chan trolls who surrounded themselves with people with legitimate concerns on ethics in games journalism in order to get away with being pieces of shit. Sure many gamergaters believed that they where fighting for ethics in games journalism and whatever other issues they stood for, but the whole GamerGate community was about attacking female members of the gaming community and causing general chaos

          • No it wasn’t it started when it was brought to the attention of everyone a female indie dev slept with people in the games media who would later on give her game attention to which a whole shitstorm spawned out of. With games journalist even going on to attack gamers and the bitch who started it trying to warp the narrative in her favor.

          • Emperor.Hampton

            GamerGate was started by one jealous man trying to get revenge on his ex-girlfriend by claiming she slept around for good reviews for her game. It then expanded to attack anyone who dared criticize discredited tropes that are still played straight in far too many games.

            It was a reaction by a very vocal minority who hate any form of change in their perfect little world or new people coming into their “No Girls Allowed” Treehouse. Gamer as an identity has become meaningless, as it is an activity and medium participated in by most people. We don’t have “TVers” or “Bookians” or “Radio-ers”, because those mediums have spread throughout the culture. Gaming has become the same way, and is the better for it. Different points of view, different worldviews, different ideas have enriched TV, literature, radio, paintings, sculpture, comics. It is going to happen to games, and games will be the better for it.

          • PixiekillerEin

            The guy who Zoey Quinn slept with never actually published a review of her game. On top of that sleeping with people to get media attention is maybe going a BIT far for a game that you’ve put on steam to be played FOR FREE.
            Whether you believe her actions where correct or not, you can;t possibly justify members of the gamergate community leaking personal information of multiple female indie devs.

          • Emperor.Hampton

            Do you have any actual proof that the indie developer in question did this, besides the word of her ex-boyfriend who is clearly biased based on his past relationship and thus must not be considered a reliable witness? Any actual EVIDENCE? No.

            And your clear anger over this non-scandal, calling the woman in question a “bitch” for no other reason than you don’t like her is frankly repulsive. As for journalists “attacking” the people who put out her personal information and slandered a person with no evidence? Yeah, they should be pointing out the lack of evidence! It’s wrong in the extreme what was going on, and they felt that they had a duty to speak up against harassment.

          • @ Emperor.Hampton Well considering as soon as word got out large groups of games journalist got super defensive about it and then attacking gamers, the actions speak for themselves and you know for a guy who wants me to bring evidence to support the claims that she was sleeping with games journalist yet you want to blindly claim that gamers organized together to leak out her personal info online with no proof. Also tell me this how does harassing a community of people because someone else is getting harassed any better? Now I’m a big enough man to admit that things went ugly in that shit and some of the things that was said and done by GamerGaters was uncalled for but God she is no saint either and has done some pretty nasty shit herself.

            Also yeah I called a woman I don’t like a bitch much like I would call a guy I don’t like an asshole now if that makes me repulsive than I rather be repulsive because the alternative is a pussy. Plus I am not angry, don’t see how you are getting that from these, I feel nothing for Zoey because her 5 minutes of fame came and went and while I don’t know her personally to say I don’t like her character I can however say I don’t like what she stands for. People like her are over privileged whiners who ruin everything they touch who are not above scare tactics and bullying to get what they want all the while playing the victims to gain sympathy of ignorant morons who only see just another damsel in distress who needs a white knight to come and save the day.

            P.S. the end there it might sound like I’m only pointing fingers at women but rest assured the same apply to black kids who think they are owed something cause their grand daddies didn’t have it so good like they do now.

      • if it’s been overused it’s because those rascally SJW been up to naughty things. The only problem I see with representation in media is just how people react to it, like black Johhny Storm or white Scarlet Jo in Ghost in The Shell but I don’t see anyone putting on literal black face on screen and call themselves Bojangles. I believe in casting the best man for the job, SJW however just want to cast the non white man because he’s not white

        • Emperor.Hampton

          Or perhaps it’s overused because it’s become a buzzword for “people who disagree with me” in certain sectors of the internet. There is nothing wrong with more representation across the board, as long as the quality of the product doesn’t decline. But to claim there isn’t a disparity when 83.3% of leading roles go to white actors, while the percentage of white people in America is 63%, is laughable on it’s face.

          • Look I don’t work in Hollywood and know the process of hiring people but like I said I just go with who ever does the best job, Fant4Stic is a prime example. I don’t care about black Johnny being black because Michael B is damn good (only good thing about the movie) but for Ghost in The Shell I say those are the SJW at work because they take issue with the movie pretty much being Americanized, not white washed but Americanized. They call it white washing when Americans play roles of japanese anime characters yet when Japan makes live action versions of anime characters who are from different races guess what they are Japanese yet no one calls it yellow washing.

            Attack on Titan for example, in the lore itself Mikasa is the only japanese person in the world but in the movie nope everyone is japanese. Diversification is some times cool but the threat of the SJW is real and we must be always vigilant

          • I love when bigots refuse to acknowledge the fact that GITS takes place in Japan and there are japanese-american actors ine xistence.

      • That’s funny. The second I hear anyone talking like an SJW is when I tune out.

        It’s the name of a group. A very loud group that gets offended by EVERYTHING, so unfortunately it applies often. I’d get used to hearing it if I was you. As long as they keep whining, people are gonna keep calling them what they are.

        • PixiekillerEin

          it’s not the name of a group, it;s the name given to anyone who dares push for diversity and change by the alt right on the internet in order to discredit anything they say

          • You’re right, it’s not the name of a group. It’s the name given to the activists in the non-legal parts of the social justice movement. Common attributes of an SJW are contempt for the idea of free speech, treating people differently based on race, gender, sexual orientation etc then claiming it’s not racism or sexism because they subscribe to a different definition of those words (Prejudice + power, because only oppressors can be racist/sexist apparently) and having a cultural Marxist viewpoint that divides people into oppressed and oppressor classes with no overlap, and with the understanding that the oppressed must fight the oppressors.

            Compare this with that attorney who appeared on Adam Ruins Everything, who is working to get Jim Crow era racist disenfranchisement laws repealed. He describes himself as an advocate for social justice, and I agree wholly with what he is doing.

            Social Justice can be done right. SJWs are the people doing it wrong.

          • Except none of that describes the huge section of the world now labeled SJW, and really doesn’t describe anyone. It’s a strawman version of what people actually believe.

            I know a lot of people who have been called SJWs. Not a single one of them thinks races should not mix. I don’t know anyone who claims to be pro-social justice who thinks that.

            Cultural Marxism describes someone who thinks that socialists should be more revolutionary. It has nothing at all to do with “identity politics”–yet another term made up that ignores what it’s supposed proponents are actually saying.

            Social justice is not even a legal concept. It can show up in legal contexts, but it’s a cultural idea.

            And, for fuck’s sake, no one is trying to take away your freedom of speech because they call you out for saying shitty things. Freedom of speech means I can tell you that you shouldn’t say certain things. Being an asshole has consequences.

        • So basically you condone a buzzword, zardone. How cowardly.

    • Yes, please tell me how there is a particular type of person who is inhrently poinson and should be removed from the world.

    • Says the bigoted sociopath

  13. Interesting video Doug, lot’s to think about.

    With regards to the Trans issue (be they cross-dressed or fully transitioned), my thought is why should they be pigeon-holed?
    Yes, if there is a Trans role out there that are interested in playing, then they certainly should not be excluded from the process but should that be all they can/should do?

    No, they should be able to play any role they are right for and want to do
    I once heard the term Trans-misogynistic levied at David Duchovny for his role as Agent Dennis/Denise Bryson in Twin Peaks, a character who is still cited as one of the most positive transvestite portrayals of the time and today. Just a nice professional woman who does her job and is treated with respect by her peers. DD was getting cussed out for it because this person thought a Transvestite actor should have played the role. quick questions, how is that David’s fault, and who would you suggest? I think the only Out TV actor at the time was Eddie Izzard, just.

    Same with differently abled actors/roles. I believe anyone with the talent and determination should be given the opportunity to shine. What ever that opportunity is.

    I feel that the path to true equality is everyone having the chance to do what ever they want and not be pigeon-holed into one area.

    Not “this person should do this role because reasons!” unless one of the reasons is, that person wants that job.

    Thanks for reading


  14. This reminds me of an episode of Psych. The boys met a white man that spoke in a Chinese accent. They were very quick to call him racist, but he explains he grew up in China with Chinese parents. I don’t know the actor’s real circumstances, but I’d like to ask something.

    Does a voice or accent have a race or nationality? Frankly, I’d say no.

    • Interesting question, I’m a British person and I have seen post about how none Brits ‘love the British accent’ to which others have replied ‘Which one?’ and then post a map of all the different regions with their respective named dialect/inflections.

      I’m from the south east, 30 minute outside London, I would say my natural voice is somewhat bellow “Posh” but nowhere near Cockney or North London.

      If I were to affect a more Scouse or Geordie inflection then I would considerer myself to be doing a different accent.

      A voice or accent does not have nationality because a single nation could have many accents.


  15. The issue with pointing out what Japanese people in Japan think completely ignores the trouble Asian Americans deal with when whitewashing comes. Japanese people in Japan grow up with Japanese heroes. Asian Americans grow up with whitewashing.

    Also, just for context for Cowboy Bebop, Spike Spiegel’s ethnicity is debatable. His mannerisms are based upon a Japanese actor, but many fans believe him to be a Jewish character, which is why people didn’t mind the idea Keanu Reeves playing him.

    And for Japanese productions recasting non-Japanese characters as Japanese, the issue is that ethnically non-Japanese actors are genuinely in short supply in Japan, making up less than a percent. It’d be difficult to find a great cast of European-ethnic actors for the recent Attack on Titan movies. The U.S. doesn’t have that issue in the slightest. Remember the Sony email hacks? One of the emails specifically talked about how they didn’t want to hire Denzel Washington for projects because they perceived that potential worldwide racism would hurt their bottom dollar. Every decision made in casting has a lot of thought put into it. It’s not accidental.

    Thank you for covering this topic! 🙂

    • Good points.

      The fact that Japan is so ethnically/racially monotone is a fact that people tend to ignore. They have to make those kinds of compromises or they wouldn’t be able to make movies in settings aside from Japan. Rather than the US which has some ethnically appropriate actors and a more complicated history with actors using black/yellow face to portray other races.

      Japan is not the US, and Japanese people there do not share a world view with people of Asian descent in the US.

    • Your first point is the one I was going to make–until Doug made it in the video.

      Also, Keanu Reeves is half Asian.


    I don’t mind Scarlett Johansan being Motoko Kusanagi. I don’t give a frak that the Ancient One is a white woman because I never read Dr Strange but I’ll still go see the movie. Would I care if Bond was a black man, well? if it’s not canon with the previous Bond movies maybe? FYI I feel like I have to say this because I need to know peoples reactions and they’ll probably think I’m an idiot but I don’t watch GOT because I tried it and what turned me away from it was the uncomfortable gay sex, incest and rape. Not to mention I feel like the characters are all unlikable jerks. I mean I know it’s suppose to be how people actually were in a real life time that represented GOT but I still feel uncomfortable and yet with all that said I love the LOTR trilogy and half the Hobbit Trilogy but I feel like I’m not suppose too if I don’t like GOT. It’s like saying I love Star Wars but hate Star Trek or vice versa. That plus GOTs is a very long running tv series and while I do sometimes are able to get through some as long as they haven’t been on for very e.g. I gave Arrow a try when it started it’s 3rd alongside Flash’s 1st Season (love that show by the way) and the ME series is only 6 movies and I feel like I can get through a long movie series a lot more than a tv series that’s lasted as long as GOTs.

    • ThatManWithTheHeadband12

      Why does 007 have to be white if James Bond is just a code name?

      • I think they tried casting Idris Elba but the author said that Elba was ‘too street’ 😀

      • Because James Bond is a person and his codename is 007. If someone else were to be 007 (particularly a non-white), short of having the same name, they would not be “James Bond”. The fan theory about passing the name is bunk. He’s just a timeless character played by many actors across a long canon. This is how you from Lazenby being widowed one film to Connery seeking revenge a single film later only to become Moore who does most of the grieving. Besides, no one had a problem with Felix Lieter changing faces with two exceptions.

        • PixiekillerEin

          In Flemming’s books, Bond is never explicitley described as white (though, to be fair he is said to be half swiss, half scottish. Both very white countries). On top of that everyone shat themselves when Daniel Craig was announced, because he is blonde and Bond ain’t blonde. I don’t think that keeping explicitly to the book’s description is necessary anymore, hell only Connery relayed the Scottish aspect of the character and thank god modern bond is a hell of a lot less of a mysoginist. Idris Elba is a fantastic actor and would make a perfect modern bond. Too bad word is that they’re going the gender bent route instead.

          • The books also said he had a comma of hair on his forehead (doesn’t seem a trait of black hair) and particularly that he looked a lot like Hoagy Carmichael. Also, Bond only became half Scott because Fleming was impressed by Connery’s performance. There’s actually a composite sketch based on everything described about Bond’s appearance.

            Just because someone is awesome doesn’t mean they’d be great to have in the part. Based on the current trend of the franchise, it would just be Luther. And to the other thing…eww.

          • Snorgatch Pandalume

            I remember all the Bond purists bitching about Craig’s hair when Casino Royale came out (yes, Mr. Blond, they expect you to dye). I’d love to see how they’d react to a black Bond. “OK, his hair is black! HAPPY NOW?”

    • Are you a Twitter AI that have been corrupted by 4Chan?

  17. As a die-hard anime/manga fan, I don’t have a problem with Scarlett Johansson not being Asian. I have a problem with her typecasting as the go-to action heroine because her role in GitS increasingly feels as another Black Widow on screen. It was the same in Lucy, where she seemed generic and bland, instead of complicated or tormented (given her newly acquired powers in the movie).
    In GitS (movies) Motoko is puppet-like, muscled and unnerving, yet deeply philosophical and conflicted. Yes, I point out her body because her perfectly crafted mechanical body is part of her existential turmoil – is she still human despite being literally made like a tool or a machine?
    In the manga, she’s drawn a bit slender, but made to have a bit of a rebellious personality- she’s foul-mouthed, chatty, talks back to her superiors, horny even… as in, she takes part in virtual orgies.
    None of these versions relate to Scarlett Johansson’s range, in my opinion. I loved her in Vicky, Christina, Barcelona and in Under the Skin, and I loved her as the opposite of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon; she’s talented, indeed. But much like casting Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider, or in Whickerman (the bees!!), or Jon Travolta in Battlefield Earth, or everyone in Alexander and in BloodRayne (you get the idea) , this seems to me like a case of good actor and a bad casting decision. I don’t think that she will do the character justice :/

  18. The reason why people were okay with Keanu Reeves playing Spike Speagle was because the character was American, so there was no race issue there. Even Dragon Ball Evolution got backlash for casting a white actor as Goku, even though Goku was technically an alien and not really an Asian.

    • PixiekillerEin

      In defence of Cowboy bebop, that anime is set in a post collonalisation solar system, you could probs assume that spike is a mongrel, as is probably any character (aside from Faye). The culture of Bebop is clearly meant to be a homogenous mixture of all worldly cultures.

      Contrast with Dragonball, which is heavily based on eastern mysticism (the journey to the west; Sun Wukong = Son Goku) and asian culture, having the main character be white is maybe a bit far. His Saiyan ancestry is irrelevant because A) that was made up for Z in order to make adult goku more like superman to attract a wider audience and B) I don’t think Bulma, Chichi, Krillin or anyone commented on him not looking like he was from their part of the world, with his only exceptional feature being his tail, suggesting that he was asian looking at least.

      • Race was never brought up in Dragonball because they live in a fictional world where people with 3 eyes or people that lack noses don’t even register as strange. In the beginning they even had animal people walking around everywhere. The cases where a certain ethnie was hinted at by the design of a character where very few.
        Toriyama mostlikely didn’t bother to think about how his world works enough to specify certain regions an ethnical goups. Even in their universe japanese is pretty much the only spoken language, let alone having different cultures and languages on earth.

        So it really dosn’t matter what race Goku would be in a reallife movie. Still that dosn’t change the fact, that Dragonball Evolution was shit.

  19. Yes, lesbians must always be played by lesbians, Asians by Asians, and killer robots by killer robots. Duh.

  20. Thoughtful, level-headed, reasonable points made. And quite a few perspectives I hadn’t considered myself. Good work, Doug.

  21. Wow, I often watch this or his vlogs and think, “Doug can be really dumb.” But then he does something like this which takes a deep dive into something racially complex and handles it with a deft enough hand that I can appreciate the intelligence that went into it.

    But maybe that is only because I spent a lot of my own time writing out my thoughts on the topic last month and did see a lot of the nuance after I sat down and gave it the time it needed to simmer in my own mind. People who haven’t done that recently might have the knee jerk “jump to the comments” Doug pointed out in the video. Hopefully not.

  22. a “Celtic woman” that’s not a thing. Gobshite.

    • Are you saying Women do not exist? People of Celtic heritage are not a thing? Or that there are no women of Celtic heritage?

      Because you would be wrong on any of those three.

      • Thank you Rocketboy, I wanted to respond but wasn’t sure how to without referencing to my late Grandmother, who was Irish, r any of my Scottish family.

      • “Celtic” is not an ethnicity. I’mm not some internet bullshitter or anything. I studied the Celts in college for three years and I’m born and raised in Irish. “Celtic” isn’t a thing. Irish, Welsh, Breton, that’s all grand, but #”Celtic”? Not for AT LEAST 500 years and even then it’s arguable. Unless since she’s the Ancient One she’s supposed to be from Gaul or something.

        • Emperor.Hampton

          She IS the Ancient One.

        • There are women living today with Celtic ancestry who refer to themselves as “Celtic”. Personally I know two such women, both of whom are professional geneaologists, with degrees in History and Cultural Anthropology (respectively).

        • Celtic is as much a catch all term for the groups you mentioned as “Slavic” would be for many other sub groups. As would “Nordic”. Or “Mediterranean”, “Hispanic”, “Pacific Islander”, or any of the trillions of different groups that can be split into smaller groups.

          The idea that a group does not exist because it can be further subdivided into smaller distinct groups is just not true.

  23. Blaze The Movie Fan

    Great video as usual.

  24. Transgender people not transgenders.

  25. My only problem with whitewashing is not changing a character’s ethnicity in the story itself, like so many American adaptations from foreign works, let’s say in the US version of the Ring, the characters are American and therefore played by white actors.

    What bothers me is when a character that is obviously non-white is played by a white actor, like Kyo Kusanagi in the KOF movie. I mean here’s an adaptation where the majority of the characters are Japanese and played by Asian actors, except for the one I mentioned, where he’s played by a white actor and then saying he’s half-Japanese. Like Spoony said: “Yeah, half white and the other half also white.” Maybe Major Kusanagi in the Ghost in the Shell adaptation will be a western character or because her body is artificial, she simply looks western.

    But perhaps the major issue is not whitewashing non-white roles. Is the fact that a great majority of actors that appear in movies and TV are white, regardless of the role they’re playing. Yes, there are a few roles where the ethnicity matters, but there are many where it doesn’t and these roles are usually played by white actors. I don’t want to say that there’s racism in casting roles, but sometimes one wonders.

    • well, take in consideration that a TEENY TINY MINUSCULE percentage of the american population is black. Seens like there is more, but trust me, barely 15% are black in USA. Over 70% are white, the rest you can do the math. And Hollywood is in USA. Our biggest source of actors is USA and Europe. At least, the big stars. Not ot mention that actors have their schedule. Sometimes you want an actor of specific ethnicity, but the only ones you can find that are fit to the role are already busy with their own jobs.

      • Dialogue for ‘The Simpsons tapped out…

        Akira: I think I saw an alien while I was out. He was actually a pretty nice guy/thing. Turned out, we both really like raw dolphin meat. By the way, where are all the Asian people. Are they all crammed into the Buddhist monastery, burning offerings to their ancestors? That is a good time.
        Lisa: Yeah…Asian people…Comic Book Guy now has a Japanese wife. (sic)

        Quimby: Hear me out in full. The 2010 Census says that 5.6% of the US population is Asian. By my count, we have more than 150 possible individuals in Springfield, not including outfits-
        Akira: How many of those individuals speak? I bet you’re counting pets!
        Quimby: Limiting to only those who have said things, we have over 100 men, women, children and whoozits like that. Counting you, Kumiko, and Nasapota….the Apus, we have an almost 5% Asian population. Demographically, we’re pretty on par with the country. Additionally, three quarters of Asian-Americans are concentrated in 10 states. Perhaps Springfield isn’t in one of those states. We might be a little more diverse than you give us credit for…speaking relative only to the least diverse part of America.

        The game now has around 170 characters including Cookie Kwan and additions to Apu’s family.

        I found that piece of dialogue interesting, and hopefully relevant to this convo. 🙂


        • While not directly relevant to casting someone of one race with another, it does have some relevance to primarily casting whites in roles that aren’t innately race specific. For better or worse, even in major cities, we still tend to live in ethnic population clusters. The pool of white actors in the U.S. is greater than for other races A film or TV series set in the deep south probably wouldn’t make sense.

          Look at your own life. Does your circle of friends correspond to the percentages of ethnicities in the population of your city/town? Take a show like How I Met Your Mother, with five main characters. Strictly by population numbers, there would probably be one African American character. However, that would be viewed as tokenism.

      • 15% is not a teeny amount. It’s about 1 in 7 people. And white people are 63%, which is more like four of those seven people.

    • My annoyance concerning the Major is that they basically took an Asian character design and stuck it on a white woman; it’s basically just a step above yellowface. That, and denying all the numerous Asian-American female actors who’d deserve to have a great role on the limelight that chance of gaining star power.

      • PixiekillerEin

        but the style in which manga is drawn, DOES make everyone look….of ambiguous ethnicity

        • Only if you’re reading as a white person. To the Japanese they look — Japanese. And a lot of the stylicised expressions used in manga-style art, such as the ^_^-smile, are based on specifically expressions typical to the Asian facial structure.

          Unfortunately the character design makes Scarlett Johansen look like a white person wearing an Asian-person wig. It’s not very flattering and comes off as pretty cringeworthy. But that’s secondary to the fact that there are plenty of talented Asian-American actresses out there who’d be practically made for the job, but they were passed by and denied potential stardom yet again.

  26. Well, to be fair, in Spike Spiegel’s case, its not exactly clear what race he’s supposed to be. Its probably pretty likely that most of the characters (certainly not all) are supposed to be white, if we’re considering appearances and names. Matoko is supposed to be Japanese, its part of the story, and in a country that’s considered ‘the great melting pot’ we should have more variation in lead roles. People just want more representation in general, but it gets extra irritating in cases like this where Asian roles are given to white actors. There aren’t enough roles for non-white actors in general, so when characters that are written to be non-white are rewritten to be white, it is beyond irritating and I can definitely understand the concern.

  27. I’m pretty sure that the reason because they made the Ancient One a white woman, is because later in the movie, they are gonna reveal that she is Moondragon. Would not be the first time a superhero movie makes one character out of two from the comics. Look by example Ajax in Deadpool. He was at the same time Dr. Killbrew.

  28. *hollywood replaces white characters with black/indian/chinese actors*
    “oh, they are just trying to be more diverse”
    *hollywood replaces non-white character with white actor*

    Seriously, there are two good reasons for a character being portrayed by an actor of different ethnicity:
    1 – the role was written with the actor clear in the writer’s mind, all lines and scenes written over the specific actor’s style, voice and appearance.
    2 – they couldn’t find the actor with the right ethnicity avaible. Even when we have enough of those actors, you have to take in consideration their schedule as well.

    I take both these in consideration of Gods of Egypt. I mean, the villain was portrayed by Russel Crowe. Who else would you cast to portray the megalomaniac, egotistical, sellfish god of all evil aside from Russel crowe xD? (besides, the movie wasn’t that good anyway)

  29. As a gay man I don’t really mind if a gay character is played by a straight actor, since there’s not a physical difference between a gay or a straight person. What I do not like to see would be a gay character made straight into the movie.

    I think the controversy in these cases isn’t about hiring actors to play a character from a group that they don’t belong, I think it’s about changing change the character traits, in the case of white washing this becomes really obvious because of the physical differences between different ethnicities. When a character from a minority is changed is kind of insulting to the people of that minority, but also to the people that don’t belong to that minority, It’s like they’re implying that general audiences wouldn’t be able to relate to a character that doesn’t belong to the same demographic group.

    On the other hand, I also understand your point, I wouldn’t like that actors who belong to a minority would be more limited to play a wide variety of roles.

    This is a controversial subject and I am really glad that you are brave enough to talk about it, keep up with your awesome work.

    And, I’m SO sorry for my english, it’s not my first language, I’m in the learning process and i Know that i probably made a lot of mistakes.

    • If it helps you feel better, Falsa, I found your English perfectly understandable. Whoever you are learning from, or however you are learning, you are clearly doing well at it. Trust me. When you’re so self-conscious about this stuff, you don’t always take the risks you need to in order to grow as a speaker/writer/reader in a foreign language. I know as a student of Japanese.

    • I have to agree with you on that point. I also don’t mind LGBT characters being portrayed by straight actors, but what I really hate is that there are so few LGBT main characters in film in general.

  30. TooMuchFreeTime

    Keanu Reaves as…no. Nonononononono! Are you kidding me? I got nothing against the guy and the show is hardly something sacred to me but…AGH! Wrong! And that hair…PLEASE tell me that was just a crappy photo-shop.

    I know I know of everything to zero in on I chose that. Sue me. 😛

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