“60 percent of Hawaii’s population is AAPIs (Asian American and Pacific Islander). Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the population, but from watching this film, [Aloha] you’d think they made up 90 percent,” said Guy Aoki, Founding President of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans and a former Hawaii resident, in a statement.
…Then, gradually, criticism sprang up over Emma Stone’s leading role as a mixed-race Asian woman. Stone playing a Hawaiian, Chinese and Swedish fighter pilot named Allison Ng was cited as yet another instance in Hollywood’s long history of misrepresenting people of color on screen.
On June 2, director Cameron Crowe issued an apology over the casting decision. Yet Emma Stone has stayed silent on the issue. Where is her apology? And what responsibility do white actors bear when they accept roles clearly written as people of color?
Over the last decade there has been considerable outcry over the whitewashing of Asian roles in particular — the cast of “21”, the cast of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan in “Star Trek,” and more recently Tilda Swinton’s role as a Tibetan man in the upcoming “Doctor Strange.” “Aloha,” it seems, is a kind of tipping point in the conversation, the casting almost comically clueless.
Cameron Crowe apologized for the casting in ‘Aloha,’ covered in this CS Monitor article: How prevalent is racial ‘whitewashing’? (+video). I am glad to see that we are moving past the point of questioning whether an apology is necessary, because the current mainstream belief and attitude excludes, isolates, violates, and reduces your neighbors, friends, classmates, and countrymen of Asian descent.
Asian erasure is so normalized (and much worse, codified in patterns of professional advancement) that I can’t even get my blood up about the idiocy …The fact is that Hollywood narratives haven’t been able to wrap their minds around the fact that Asian-Americans are multiracial. Id.
Paul Mooney nailed it when he said, in response to “The Last Samurai”:
Hollywood is fucking crazy… First, they have “The Mexican” with Brad Pitt, now they have “The Last Samurai” with Tom Cruise. Well, I’ve written a film, maybe they’ll produce my film.
The Last Nigga on Earth, starring Tom Hanks. How about that?
Full clip of Mooney sketch here: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/8erio6/chappelle-s-show-mooney-on-movies—uncensored
In 2010, there was major backlash against the reality that there is a…. habit, perhaps, of anti-Asian sentiment. Look at the choices for major productions, The Last Samurai and Memoirs of a Geisha come to mind. Hollywood couldn’t wait to show its multicultural literacy in an Asian epic! It’s a story about a white guy who kills a Japanese man who is trying to defend his family. The new “samurai”, Tom Cruise, then moves in with his wife and kid in the Japanese mountain village. “Oh it’s based on a real story,” they’ll tell you but any story with a strong Asian lead ends up getting desexualized or whitewashed. (Look up the real ending to “Romeo Must Die”.)
Years later… Same conversation, same post production and release apology. Go to hell Hollywood, suck a BAP. I don’t believe anything you claim is real.