Old habits die hard. That’s a polite way of saying that Hollywood — even in the face of continued calls to diversify the faces we see on-screen — hasn’t really changed at all. Whitewashing is an issue that seems to pop up one or twice a year (see the chatter surrounding Emma Stone in “Aloha” last summer), and DreamWorks and Paramount are currently battling bad buzz about the decision to cast Scarlett Johansson in the lead role in their live-action remake of the anime “Ghost In The Shell.” And while this might seem like a passing controversy, when it comes casting white actors in Asian roles, it’s practically a tradition in the industry.
As this video essay reveals, Hollywood has been casting white actors in Asian roles for decades. And yes, while some of this happened during less progressive times, there are many contemporary examples where the practice continues. But most importantly, the video points out the anger directed at “Ghost In The Shell” isn’t just about one movie, but is a result of continuing frustration and outrage that nothing is changing, and that this outdated custom is still routine.
Take a look at the video, and let us know what you think in the comments section below.