Today, the film adaptation of the hit anime, “Ghost in the Shell” is releasing in theaters, and it seems to have garnered some favorability with critics. However, as a fan of anime and a supporter of minority representation in movies, I am choosing not to see this movie to avoid supporting white washing. Now before, everyone gets on their high horse, I admit that I may have seen films that do involve white actors in roles for PoC. In addition, I personally have some agreements and disagreements with the Nostalgia Critic’s video right here.
He does tend to bring up some good points, but when it comes down to Asian white washing, doing a remake of a live-action film, and doing a straight up adaptation of an original animated project are two different things. Heck, voice acting and real life acting are also quite different. When companies dub anime, they need actors who can sound and act like the character regardless of race. However, that’s not my main point, the main point I am trying to make is that Hollywood whitewashing is still a big problem and Ghost in the Shell is contributing to it.
While I can’t speak for people of color as a white woman, I feel I can agree how whitewashing affects representation in Western films. When you look at most films that feature a character who is written as a person of color, they’re often played by white people. Take for example the film “Aloha.” The character, Allison Ng was written to be 25% Chinese and 25% Native Hawaiian and was played by Emma Stone:
A bit too white to be considered Hawaiian and Chinese isn’t she? Stone may have been cast as Ng due to the fact that she’s a big name in Hollywood. Considering Nostalgia Critic’s video, it seems that the main reason why there is whitewashing in most Hollywood adaptations is for the sake of money. As he stated before, the reason why the Ancient one was whitewashed is partially due to the fact that 18% of Marvel’s movie income stems from China, and Tibet is not in a good relationship with the Chinese. Thus, I can conclude that Scarlet was chosen for two reasons, the first reason was to make money since she’s a big Hollywood actress, the second I feel is because of institutional racism in Hollywood and in our society.
Now before anyone even attempts to label me as an “SJW” or a special snowflake, I am only speaking from a reasonable perspective on how racism still exists in our society, especially in most industries. First off, when you think about it in 2016 the hashtag #oscarssowhite really did bring into question about representation films since there were no nominees that year who were PoC. Compared to 2017, where there was more racial diversity in the nominees and winners. Second, maybe this graph can explain a bit more about racial representation in film.
Yeah, notice that a lot of lead roles go to white people. Since representation matters so much to our growing PoC population, I feel it’s time for Hollywood to start sticking to source materials as opposed to just following money. After all, most high grossing films featured actors we’ve never heard about before.I admit that there are times when I have seen movies, that have done something similar and like the Nostalgia Critic said, I don’t support whitewashing but I am not going to act like I’m not guilty of it. So I am going to start by not seeing any new movies in theaters or any new shows that feature whitewashing and that includes, Ghost in the Shell.