The Big Picture: Skin Deeper

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Malisteen:

Revolutionaryloser:
How are the casting choices racist?

The overwhelming majority of rolls in Hollywood are written explicitly for white people. When the rolls aren't specified, the overwhelming majority of casting goes to white actors exclusively, because of the assumption that the White American 'everyman' viewing public is too racist to identify whith non-white actors. When rolls are specifically written for colored people, the rolls themselves are quite frequently there to play off of and reinforce racist stereotypes, frequently for 'humor'. In other cases, actors of color are cast only when the story is 'about' race in some way, like white is the default normal.

This is an environment of ongoing, self perpetuating, institutionalized racism (and sexism, for that matter). Racism now, not in the past, hobbling the careers of non-white American actors today and perpetuating modern racist stereotypes and racist standards of 'normalcy' or 'beauty' as equivalent to whiteness.

Asian actors are denied meaningful rolls every day because they are asian, relegated to racially stereotyped supporting rolls if anything at all, and in this real world, today, not-ancient-history context putting a white man in the role of an Asian character is denying limited roles to real Asian American actors in a way that casting a Black Woman in the role of a white character does not do for White American actresses.

And for those who have commented that they "don't even see race":

It's easy for white people to say "I don't see race, I'm color blind". But when you do that all you're really doing is averting your eyes and plugging your ears and saying "I choose to ignore racism because acknowledging it and facing up to it would be inconvenient for me".

"Color blindness", as the euphemism for willful ignorance and passive acceptance of the status quo it has become, is itself racist.

Maybe I didn't ask clearly enough. How are the casting choices in this film racist? You should probably check the cast list before answering and note a lot of the actors in the film, especifically a lot of the protagonists, are not white.

Let's go back to my initial comment, which you were responding

Revolutionaryloser:
Maybe I didn't ask clearly enough. How are the casting choices in this film racist? You should probably check the cast list before answering and note a lot of the actors in the film, especifically a lot of the protagonists, are not white.

Let's go back to my original original comment that your question was responding to:

"Why the hell should the fictional context of the films narrative trump the real life context of Hollywood's racist casting choices?"

Here "hollywood's racist casting choices" is referring to the pervasive trends in how colored actors in general, and actors of Asian descent in this case, are and are not cast in Studio productions. Cloud Atlas plays into this pattern by casting white actors in the roles of Asian characters - and the real world context of the Hollywood system that the film exists as a part of makes that decision not at all equivalent to its simultaneous casting of colored actors in white rolls. Doing the latter does not excuse the former, and developing new technology to make 'racebending' easier only makes it easier for the Hollywood system to further marginalize colored actors and minimize real colored representation in the future.

Yes, the cast is more diverse than is typical for a Hollywood production, and that's a good thing, but the primary protagonists in the majority of its segments are still played by white actors, and when the colored actors are playing colored characters, they still fall within the racial stereotypes that colored actors tend to be restricted to in the Hollywood system. Even if part of the point of the film is to criticize these stereotypes, it's still playing into them.

The mistake you're making here, the mistake Bob makes in this video, is pretending this film exists all on its own, an island isolated from the trends and patterns and habits of big budget studio blockbusters. That you can look at the casting of just this film, and ignore the wider context of the society and film making industry of which it is a part. In a world where Asian American actors could play any Hollywood role, in a Hollywood where colored actors weren't overwhelming relegated to racially stereotyped side roles, in a world where casting a white man in the role of an Asian character didn't mean that likely the only asian male protagonists moviegoers might see that year is being played by a white man, in that world there would be no problem with the casting of Cloud Atlas.

But that's not the America we live in, and those aren't the movies we watch. What was Bob's rule again? Context is Everything. And because context is everything, you can't just look at the one film on its own. You have to, if you'll pardon the pun, consider the 'big picture', which includes not just the internal context of the film and its individual production, but also the wider real world context that this film is a part of. And in that real world context, casting white actors in the role of non-white characters just isn't cool.

The Tall Nerd:

Father Time:
So Bob since the past is unchangeable and that historical stigma and blackface will always be around in the past, isn't those double standard justifications going to be eternal?

Seriously how would we know when we can drop the double standard altogether? I really want to know.

The answer's probably going to be more non-white roles but roughly how many do we need?

its gonna be a while, slavery wasn't that long ago, i know that's like 200 or so years, but in comparison to the life span of the planet , and humans, 200 years isn't that long.

and then civil rights, those things still have effects on our culture, like in this case people not liking to cast people with color for lead roles.

until enough time has passed where as the cultural balances can be tipped in a way that non white male can get fair say, you gotta deal with the double standards

Are you seriously comparing human history to astronomical timeframes?

Or is this one of those subtle sarcasm deals that is lost on the internet?

aba1:
People want racism to go away yet everyone keeps insisting on labeling each other like this. Why does it matter what actors got chosen they were obviously the best for their parts. People just need to let this whole race thing drop or it will never go away.

I think the point is that its wonderful to not be racist, that race doesn't matter, that talent is the most important thing. Choosing people who are best for the roles or choosing the best people who audition for those roles is the only correct answer.

Unless they are white, then you obviously white washed the whole thing and are terribly racist, shame on you.

It seems everyone is so butthurt about race. If you all truly want to move on, shrug. Shrug when these things happen. If they shouldn't matter, don't argue and rant that it shouldn't matter. When your girlfriend or boyfriend does something that doesn't matter to you, you don't spend ten minutes crafting an argument on why it doesn't matter to you, shouldn't matter to them and why they should just stop doing that thing.

The more white heterosexual males (and there were enough here to classify themselves at that) wail and fight against the fact that, yeah, people do want to be respected and feel valued in their manner of choosing, the more the other sides are going to feel they need to fight harder to be valued. If you make it a big deal, you make it seem to others that you don't want to because you might not consider it.

A long time ago, I had a girlfriend with body issues. She didn't think she was womanly enough. Eventually, I knew that my words weren't reaching her and that she needed to do like me and find acceptance from within. So I stopped answering her and told her I wasn't going to play that game with her over and over. That I cared about her, and I wouldn't be with her if I wasn't attracted to her. That wasn't enough. She needed to hear the words. I tried to make a stand for her and me, knowing that she needed this validation from within.

I was right, but she still was unhappy. If it truly didn't matter to me, if I wanted the best outcome, I should have smartened up and gave her the temporary thing she needed WHILE working on her esteem from the beginning. Even though I was right and I admittedly did get tired of it, I was wrong by not validating someone I supposedly cared about. If you all want to get over these things, you have to work through it with others instead of just being 'done with it'. You'll create more barriers than break down, and that will leave you dealing with it forever.

Malisteen:
Let's go back to my initial comment, which you were responding

Revolutionaryloser:
Maybe I didn't ask clearly enough. How are the casting choices in this film racist? You should probably check the cast list before answering and note a lot of the actors in the film, especifically a lot of the protagonists, are not white.

Let's go back to my original original comment that your question was responding to:

"Why the hell should the fictional context of the films narrative trump the real life context of Hollywood's racist casting choices?"

Here "hollywood's racist casting choices" is referring to the pervasive trends in how colored actors in general, and actors of Asian descent in this case, are and are not cast in Studio productions. Cloud Atlas plays into this pattern by casting white actors in the roles of Asian characters - and the real world context of the Hollywood system that the film exists as a part of makes that decision not at all equivalent to its simultaneous casting of colored actors in white rolls. Doing the latter does not excuse the former, and developing new technology to make 'racebending' easier only makes it easier for the Hollywood system to further marginalize colored actors and minimize real colored representation in the future.

Yes, the cast is more diverse than is typical for a Hollywood production, and that's a good thing, but the primary protagonists in the majority of its segments are still played by white actors, and when the colored actors are playing colored characters, they still fall within the racial stereotypes that colored actors tend to be restricted to in the Hollywood system. Even if part of the point of the film is to criticize these stereotypes, it's still playing into them.

The mistake you're making here, the mistake Bob makes in this video, is pretending this film exists all on its own, an island isolated from the trends and patterns and habits of big budget studio blockbusters. That you can look at the casting of just this film, and ignore the wider context of the society and film making industry of which it is a part. In a world where Asian American actors could play any Hollywood role, in a Hollywood where colored actors weren't overwhelming relegated to racially stereotyped side roles, in a world where casting a white man in the role of an Asian character didn't mean that likely the only asian male protagonists moviegoers might see that year is being played by a white man, in that world there would be no problem with the casting of Cloud Atlas.

But that's not the America we live in, and those aren't the movies we watch. What was Bob's rule again? Context is Everything. And because context is everything, you can't just look at the one film on its own. You have to, if you'll pardon the pun, consider the 'big picture', which includes not just the internal context of the film and its individual production, but also the wider real world context that this film is a part of. And in that real world context, casting white actors in the role of non-white characters just isn't cool.

I'm not talking about the context of the film. I'm talking about the production of the film which exists in this world and in this industry and has a racially diverse cast.

In your eyes, what more could the film have done towards furthering racial issues than giving roles to a racially diverse cast, giving them well developed characters to play that aren't constructed around bigotted stereotypes and commenting on race issues? Your argument is kind of nonsensical. It's like saying a movie about inner city racial tension is racist because the word nigger is thrown about several times. That isn't racism. That's talking about racism. You can't talk about something without referrencing that something. You can't say racism is bad while ignoring the existence of races because the word racism derives from the word race. Acknowledging race isn't the problem, drawing arbitrary judgements based on that acknowledgement is the problem. Race exists. It exists the same way every gene in our bodies exists. It's a reality. What meaning we give to that is the only important thing.

I think you have some misguided notion that if a film producer saw Cloud Atlas and decided to make a period drama set in China but with all white actors in "yellowface", that would be Cloud Atlas's fault. I think you're wrong about that. Firstly, you're wrong because the kind of racist audience that is pushing ethnic diversity out of Hollywood doesn't want to watch a film about medieval China or watch asian-looking people act on account of how racist they are so there's 0 motivation for anybody to do that. Secondly, you're wrong because you aren't responsible for every bad thing somebody did after decontextualizing something they saw you do. The Bible or the Koran aren't bad books because people claimed that it told them to burn homosexuals alive, enslave other races and systematically torture and dehumanize the female gender. They are a lot of things, for good and for bad. They aren't a reason. They aren't a reason for despicable acts of violence and hatred anymore than the cryptic messages on the back of cereal boxes are. They're an excuse. That's it. Thirdly, the precedents of racebending haven't been exacerbated by Cloud Atlas. In no way has Cloud Atlas contributed to racist depictions of foreigners. On the contrary, it's offering a sharp counterpoint to those depictions and therefore makes it all the more obvious just how racist they were.

The way I see it is there are two diametrically opposed things Cloud Atlas could be working towards. It could be working towards an industry where casting is dictated by xenophobia and racebending is used as another tool for institutionalized oppression and hatemongering, or it could be working towards an industry where casting is diverse and racebending is something nobody gives a shit about because it doesn't matter. I don't really think I need to argue why Cloud Atlas is in the second category

Malisteen:

Revolutionaryloser:
How are the casting choices racist?

The overwhelming majority of rolls in Hollywood are written explicitly for white people.

Now hang on for a moment. Can you give a specific example of a role that was specifically written for a white person? Not one that was specifically written for an actor.

Man, I so wish I could see this movie. Why the FUCK am I being expected to wait until next fucking year?!

theSteamSupported:
I'm getting what you're trying to say, but one has to ask the question: why was the context ignored in the first place?

Because people are stupid. Seriously, that's all there is to it. People LOVE to stir up trouble and kick up a fuss over nothing and they regularly don't even THINK about what they're complaining about.

Malisteen:
As it always is whenever the issue of racial injustice is raised, only for those comfortable in the status quo to shout it down with a message of "I don't need to do anything, I don't even need to think about or acknowledge any racial problem, it's enough for me to just choose to be blind to it".

Or in this case, the message of "stop shouting at me as if I am the problem with the world, and not the person who is ACTUALLY being racist. You know, in the real world, and not in the perpetual-retroactive-butthurt theoretical world.

It's improper for a person to be a dick to another person, full stop. It is immoral to deprive another person of their rights and protections under law, full stop. You seem to think it's racist not to don the Extra-Pious Hat of Racial Indignation whenever someone is being a dick because of another person's skin color. How about if I just don't like the fact that they're being a dick in the first place?

Casting a Korean actor in a Korean Role does not make it ok to cast a white actor in another Korean role.

That's not how the casting of this movie works. People were cast to play a series of overlapping, ambivalent-slash-androgynous roles. In a movie designed to strip away the perceived boundaries of race, gender, status, etc., doesn't it seem like protesting that one sub-role in one sub-story because it is supposed to be a "Korean role"... make you the one peddling race in this situation?

How would you have cast the movie to accommodate your sensibilities? Would you have cast Korean actors for all the roles, so that they would be "properly Korean" when this story was being told? How then would that work when they were all asked to put on negroid makeup and you've suddenly deprived a host of black actors from having proper work in Hollywood?

Suddenly I'm reminded of all the people who think The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is racist.

Father Time:
sniped

*thinks that one instance in one movie defines the movie industry , thinks that i should citate life*

sounds legit

so to answer the least, face-palmy of your statements a while, thats it.

theultimateend:

The Tall Nerd:

Father Time:
So Bob since the past is unchangeable and that historical stigma and blackface will always be around in the past, isn't those double standard justifications going to be eternal?

Seriously how would we know when we can drop the double standard altogether? I really want to know.

The answer's probably going to be more non-white roles but roughly how many do we need?

its gonna be a while, slavery wasn't that long ago, i know that's like 200 or so years, but in comparison to the life span of the planet , and humans, 200 years isn't that long.

and then civil rights, those things still have effects on our culture, like in this case people not liking to cast people with color for lead roles.

until enough time has passed where as the cultural balances can be tipped in a way that non white male can get fair say, you gotta deal with the double standards

Are you seriously comparing human history to astronomical timeframes?

Or is this one of those subtle sarcasm deals that is lost on the internet?

aba1:
People want racism to go away yet everyone keeps insisting on labeling each other like this. Why does it matter what actors got chosen they were obviously the best for their parts. People just need to let this whole race thing drop or it will never go away.

I think the point is that its wonderful to not be racist, that race doesn't matter, that talent is the most important thing. Choosing people who are best for the roles or choosing the best people who audition for those roles is the only correct answer.

Unless they are white, then you obviously white washed the whole thing and are terribly racist, shame on you.

the subtile joke in my comment that was lost because the internet doesn't have inflection technogy yet. was that it was gonna take a while, that was it.

to address you again, that last statement you are... uninformed, because if you think, its just because their white, *sighs* i don't even know where to begin, social psychology?, the gradual de-attraction of none white individuals in the media?, i dunno, or are in some rock somewhere.

Arcane Azmadi:
Man, I so wish I could see this movie. Why the FUCK am I being expected to wait until next fucking year?!

theSteamSupported:
I'm getting what you're trying to say, but one has to ask the question: why was the context ignored in the first place?

Because people are stupid. Seriously, that's all there is to it. People LOVE to stir up trouble and kick up a fuss over nothing and they regularly don't even THINK about what they're complaining about.

because it was done crappy actually

RDJ was in black face the whole of tropic thunder, no one said a word, it looked fantastic and he did a bang up job, the yellow face looked crappy, so it comes of as racist some how.

Revolutionaryloser:

Malisteen:
Let's go back to my initial comment, which you were responding

Revolutionaryloser:
Maybe I didn't ask clearly enough. How are the casting choices in this film racist? You should probably check the cast list before answering and note a lot of the actors in the film, especifically a lot of the protagonists, are not white.

Let's go back to my original original comment that your question was responding to:

"Why the hell should the fictional context of the films narrative trump the real life context of Hollywood's racist casting choices?"

Here "hollywood's racist casting choices" is referring to the pervasive trends in how colored actors in general, and actors of Asian descent in this case, are and are not cast in Studio productions. Cloud Atlas plays into this pattern by casting white actors in the roles of Asian characters - and the real world context of the Hollywood system that the film exists as a part of makes that decision not at all equivalent to its simultaneous casting of colored actors in white rolls. Doing the latter does not excuse the former, and developing new technology to make 'racebending' easier only makes it easier for the Hollywood system to further marginalize colored actors and minimize real colored representation in the future.

Yes, the cast is more diverse than is typical for a Hollywood production, and that's a good thing, but the primary protagonists in the majority of its segments are still played by white actors, and when the colored actors are playing colored characters, they still fall within the racial stereotypes that colored actors tend to be restricted to in the Hollywood system. Even if part of the point of the film is to criticize these stereotypes, it's still playing into them.

The mistake you're making here, the mistake Bob makes in this video, is pretending this film exists all on its own, an island isolated from the trends and patterns and habits of big budget studio blockbusters. That you can look at the casting of just this film, and ignore the wider context of the society and film making industry of which it is a part. In a world where Asian American actors could play any Hollywood role, in a Hollywood where colored actors weren't overwhelming relegated to racially stereotyped side roles, in a world where casting a white man in the role of an Asian character didn't mean that likely the only asian male protagonists moviegoers might see that year is being played by a white man, in that world there would be no problem with the casting of Cloud Atlas.

But that's not the America we live in, and those aren't the movies we watch. What was Bob's rule again? Context is Everything. And because context is everything, you can't just look at the one film on its own. You have to, if you'll pardon the pun, consider the 'big picture', which includes not just the internal context of the film and its individual production, but also the wider real world context that this film is a part of. And in that real world context, casting white actors in the role of non-white characters just isn't cool.

I'm not talking about the context of the film. I'm talking about the production of the film which exists in this world and in this industry and has a racially diverse cast.

In your eyes, what more could the film have done towards furthering racial issues than giving roles to a racially diverse cast, giving them well developed characters to play that aren't constructed around bigotted stereotypes and commenting on race issues? Your argument is kind of nonsensical. It's like saying a movie about inner city racial tension is racist because the word nigger is thrown about several times. That isn't racism. That's talking about racism. You can't talk about something without referrencing that something. You can't say racism is bad while ignoring the existence of races because the word racism derives from the word race. Acknowledging race isn't the problem, drawing arbitrary judgements based on that acknowledgement is the problem. Race exists. It exists the same way every gene in our bodies exists. It's a reality. What meaning we give to that is the only important thing.

I think you have some misguided notion that if a film producer saw Cloud Atlas and decided to make a period drama set in China but with all white actors in "yellowface", that would be Cloud Atlas's fault. I think you're wrong about that. Firstly, you're wrong because the kind of racist audience that is pushing ethnic diversity out of Hollywood doesn't want to watch a film about medieval China or watch asian-looking people act on account of how racist they are so there's 0 motivation for anybody to do that. Secondly, you're wrong because you aren't responsible for every bad thing somebody did after decontextualizing something they saw you do. The Bible or the Koran aren't bad books because people claimed that it told them to burn homosexuals alive, enslave other races and systematically torture and dehumanize the female gender. They are a lot of things, for good and for bad. They aren't a reason. They aren't a reason for despicable acts of violence and hatred anymore than the cryptic messages on the back of cereal boxes are. They're an excuse. That's it. Thirdly, the precedents of racebending haven't been exacerbated by Cloud Atlas. In no way has Cloud Atlas contributed to racist depictions of foreigners. On the contrary, it's offering a sharp counterpoint to those depictions and therefore makes it all the more obvious just how racist they were.

The way I see it is there are two diametrically opposed things Cloud Atlas could be working towards. It could be working towards an industry where casting is dictated by xenophobia and racebending is used as another tool for institutionalized oppression and hatemongering, or it could be working towards an industry where casting is diverse and racebending is something nobody gives a shit about because it doesn't matter. I don't really think I need to argue why Cloud Atlas is in the second category

yes yes delicious truth ^^

you get a m.bison cookie

The Tall Nerd:

Father Time:
sniped

*thinks that one instance in one movie defines the movie industry , thinks that i should citate life*

sounds legit

so to answer the least, face-palmy of your statements a while, thats it.

Yes dodge the question what is a 'fair say' in Hollywood.

I doubt minorities have as much financial stake in Hollywood as whites, so a fair say would still be less than whites wouldn't you say?

SonOfVoorhees:
Did you say its ok for a black person to play a white character, but not the other way round? Look Bob, no one gave a crap that the guy in Thor was played by a black actor, what annoyed them was that the character in the comic was white. These same fans would also complain if you made a Blade movie with a white guy playing Blade.

To be honest, if its original content then who cares what colour the actor is and whom they are playing. Have a black guy made up to look Chinese or a white guy made up to look black. A man in female make up. No one cares. Its just the PC crowd that jump on this stuff and paint it as a racial thing when its not and as usual its aimed more at the white people than other races.

Also as Bob seems to really love the Cloud Atlus movie im guessing the next few Big Pictures will be all about how amazing it is.

Damn straight, saying that we all need to place different ruls on different races so that we can all be equal is retarded.

Father Time:

The Tall Nerd:

Father Time:
sniped

*thinks that one instance in one movie defines the movie industry , thinks that i should citate life*

sounds legit

so to answer the least, face-palmy of your statements a while, thats it.

Yes dodge the question what is a 'fair say' in Hollywood.

I doubt minorities have as much financial stake in Hollywood as whites, so a fair say would still be less than whites wouldn't you say?

it depends on how you view in, the racial scope of the country is changing, and the people doling out money for these movies, wont dole out money for movies where a non white, non will smith, samuel l jackson, Wesley snipes, minority isnt the main characters.

so we can just wait until they learn or wait until they die, because as time goes on more and more , non american white people are gonna take up this population

bunji:

SonOfVoorhees:
Did you say its ok for a black person to play a white character, but not the other way round? Look Bob, no one gave a crap that the guy in Thor was played by a black actor, what annoyed them was that the character in the comic was white. These same fans would also complain if you made a Blade movie with a white guy playing Blade.

To be honest, if its original content then who cares what colour the actor is and whom they are playing. Have a black guy made up to look Chinese or a white guy made up to look black. A man in female make up. No one cares. Its just the PC crowd that jump on this stuff and paint it as a racial thing when its not and as usual its aimed more at the white people than other races.

Also as Bob seems to really love the Cloud Atlus movie im guessing the next few Big Pictures will be all about how amazing it is.

Damn straight, saying that we all need to place different ruls on different races so that we can all be equal is retarded.

i hear you, but when minorities can actually get lead roles in action movies or in other types of films more often, then you can talk. do you know how many stories there are of people not wanting to donate to a project because they didn't think the project would sell well because the main wasn't white, because the audience couldn't "relate", suggesting that everyone can relate to generic in 20-30's white guy but if its anyone else they wouldn't be able to. do you think that dated brand of racism/sexism is gone , god no.

this brand of pc i don't mind, if they wont put it in the movies fairly
shove them the f*** in until they do

The Tall Nerd:

Father Time:

The Tall Nerd:

*thinks that one instance in one movie defines the movie industry , thinks that i should citate life*

sounds legit

so to answer the least, face-palmy of your statements a while, thats it.

Yes dodge the question what is a 'fair say' in Hollywood.

I doubt minorities have as much financial stake in Hollywood as whites, so a fair say would still be less than whites wouldn't you say?

it depends on how you view in, the racial scope of the country is changing, and the people doling out money for these movies, wont dole out money for movies where a non white, non will smith, samuel l jackson, Wesley snipes, minority isnt the main characters.

so we can just wait until they learn or wait until they die, because as time goes on more and more , non american white people are gonna take up this population

So non-white people won't pay to see movies where white people are the protagonist? That's stupid. I doubt very seriously that Die Hard suddenly doesn't become enjoyable knowing the agonizing truth that Bruce Willis is white.

Father Time:

The Tall Nerd:

Father Time:

Yes dodge the question what is a 'fair say' in Hollywood.

I doubt minorities have as much financial stake in Hollywood as whites, so a fair say would still be less than whites wouldn't you say?

it depends on how you view in, the racial scope of the country is changing, and the people doling out money for these movies, wont dole out money for movies where a non white, non will smith, samuel l jackson, Wesley snipes, minority isnt the main characters.

so we can just wait until they learn or wait until they die, because as time goes on more and more , non american white people are gonna take up this population

So non-white people won't pay to see movies where white people are the protagonist? That's stupid. I doubt very seriously that Die Hard suddenly doesn't become enjoyable knowing the agonizing truth that Bruce Willis is white.

it is stupid
but that's how it works, every time some one asks about it, they always say its so they can relate to more people, suggesting that their audience is racist, among other things.

or as is akillies said in assassins creed 3
the way things are and the way things should be are two different things

Malisteen:

One person says "Asian descended actors in America are overwhelmingly rejected from general roles, relegated to racially stereotyped supporting roles if that, and in this environment a white man playing one of the few well rounded Asian characters to show up in a Hollywood production has an entirely different and far more negative real world context than an actor of color playing a white role."

This person isn't demanding that you hate the movie. They might prefer you not support it with your money, but they're not even demanding that. They're asking you to simply be aware of the real world context of institutionalized racism that permeates the bones of Hollywood's studio system. To take it into account and consider it.

And what about those of us that consider it, and don't care? Yes I get it, Asian American men are demasculinize and Asian American women are highly sexulaized for those with some fetish. However, I honestly can't be bothered to care when I see stuff like this in the rest of the world. It really just doesn't compare, and as a result the plight of Asian American actors and actresses isn't something I care a great deal about.

That said, I fully support Asian-Americans when I see the crap that spews from Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s mouth.

Malisteen:

Context counts for a lot, if not everything, but there's more to context than just the internal narrative of a film. The society and system which produced it is also part of its context. The one cannot wipe out the other. The good does not wash away the bad, nor the bad the good. If you can acknowledge the cinematic talent and innovation behind "Triumph of the Will" while still being aware of and denouncing its horrific social context, then you can like Cloud Atlas as a film and still acknowledge that establishing technology for and furthering a precedent of white actors being cast in non-white roles is handing a racist Hollywood system more tools and excuses to marginalize colored actors and genuine colored representation in media.

You can't see the forest through the trees. The whole point of the movie is that a person's identity transcends race and gender, hence Jim Sturgess playing a Korean man and Hugo Weaving playing a English women.

Malisteen:

Responding instead with "Well I don't even see race, any actor should be allowed to play any role", is ignoring the issue that any actor isn't allowed to play any role. That actors of color are attacked for even stating that they would like to play a white role, that scripts are frequently rejected or rewritten when they explicitly call for a colored character in the lead role. That the Hollywood system regularly plays to and reinforces racial stereotypes while delivering a message that white = beautiful, white = good, white = normal. There's racism out there, and by refusing to see race, you're refusing to see the ways in which the race of non-white people is still held against them. It's choosing to not notice and not care because noticing and caring is too inconvenient if it comes between you and your appreciation of a movie. And no, I don't have to show the least respect for that sentiment.

Oh, you have it all wrong. Its not that I don't care because I just want to enjoy the movie, its I don't care for two reasons. One, I don't think its as serious as an issue as something like this in the media, and two, the same people who condemn Cloud Atlas have nothing to say when they see Lucy Liu playing a role of a white Character. Its a double standard and its something that I won't be a part of. You want me to care about Cloud Atlas? Ok, as long as you care about movies like Thor and White Chicks.

Malisteen:

It's a self serving mantra that reaffirms the notion that you don't need to do even consider anything. As if ignoring the issue was enough. What problem ever went away by ignoring it? Racism isn't just something that one actively chooses, like a mustache-twirling villain. It's also something you can passively accept by simply choosing not to see, not to care. "Color blind" is just that - willfully blind to the real world issues faced by colored people. It can be a great moral for teaching kindergartners how the world should be, but once you're past grade school, once your world and your influence stretches past the room you're currently sitting in, once it's time for you to start dealing with how the world is, once reconciling the "is" with the "should be" is your responsibility, it's just not good enough anymore.

Very true, which is why a person must have priorities and why I concern myself more with these kinds of issues concerning the media, than some first world problems like this.

In regards to the discussion about Asian American actors in Hollywood I thought I'd share these two videos. (I think hearing first hand experiences always helps in these types of discussions.)

I'm chiming in super late, but I only just had the time to watch this video today.

So race. It's a funny subject. I don't buy the whole idea that it's politically incorrect to have white people play non white rolls in a movie where non white people play white rolls. It's just nonsense, the whole idea. People cry and stamp their feet because the world isn't fair and equal while in the same breathe arguing that it's fair for non white people to act as white people and not fair for white people to act in roles for non white people. I also don't buy the idea that just because it was wrong 50+ years ago (you know, a time in America when black and white folks had to use separate bathroom, among other things), it is wrong now. My main issue is that we live in a society where no one is allowed to move forward. Because it was negatively racist (as opposed to just racist which means that it's based on race and not particular thoughts or feelings about someone of a particular race) back in the day it is obviously that now.

And as it was pointed out, in the context of this movie, these accusations shouldn't even exist.

In the context of unified, truly progressive (not the political kind of progressive) and positively changing world, these objections are just base. In that kind of world all the people who cry racism on instances like this hold back society from moving on from it's very checkered past. There are things out there that are racist, I'm not saying it doesn't exist. But crying wolf based on the way the world was 50+ years ago is pretty much nonsense.

I take issue with Bob's defense, because it assumes intention and context somehow excuses anything.
Execution is key, and what I see in Cloud Atlas is probably one of the most depressingly crass appropriations of racial struggle I have seen in a long time.
Regardless of intention, the Wachowskis reduced ethnicity to a costume. And that's not something I find myself inclined to celebrate.

Furthermore, I'd argue without a doubt that race is still the single most divisive struggle in the western world. The only difference between now and 30 years ago is that the issue has become more subliminal as the people in possession of privilege attempt to persuade themselves and everyone else that we inhabit a post-racial society.

Helmholtz Watson:
...the same people who condemn Cloud Atlas have nothing to say when they see Lucy Liu playing a role of a white Character. Its a double standard and its something that I won't be a part of.

Are you honestly going to suggest you see no difference between modern characters of colour being cast as white, and a classically white character being repurposed as a woman of colour in a modern adaptation?
Really?
You're just going to ignore the centuries of systematic erasure which characters of colour have gone through? How even today, explicitly non-white characters cannot be guaranteed a faithful representation?
Okay.

LiquidGrape:

Are you honestly going to suggest you see no difference between modern characters of colour being cast as white, and a classically white character being repurposed as a woman of colour in a modern adaptation?

The difference is quite small because the response it garners when a White person plays a role in movies like 21 comes from the same people who would condemn Cloud Atlas. And to be honest, said people have a double standard. They are more than willing to start up a website dedicated to the fact that a certain movie had a Asian character replaced with a White character, but they have nothing but praise for when the reverse happens and an White character is replaced by a Asian character. Its a double standard and it makes their complaints about movies like The Last Air Bender quite hollow.

LiquidGrape:

You're just going to ignore the centuries of systematic erasure which characters of colour have gone through?

Well unless we are living in 1930's Germany and Sippenhaft is in affect, the actions of other people from the past don't qualify as justifications for replacing White characters with non-White characters.

LiquidGrape:

How even today, explicitly non-white characters cannot be guaranteed a faithful representation?

The solution isn't to replace White characters with non-White actors and actresses.

The weirdest thing about this is that Cloud Atlas isn't supposed to be about race at all. It's a story about power and the relationship between the strong and the weak. Almost all of the critical relationships and events in the novel have absolutely nothing to do with racism, real or perceived, and if the film is even halfway faithful to its source material then the same holds true there.

Ethnic tensions play a role in about one and a half stories out of the six. Get over it, people.

Milanezi:

The Gentleman:
I'm surprised you didn't bring up the Mandarin when you were talking about "yellowface" racial acting. Hell, just us responding to that article had an interesting conversation on how to adapt the character to the modern hair-trigger racial response...

Forget the Mandarin dude! We have NICOLAS CAGE playing a "wise" Chinese man in what's supposed to be the biggest movies ever, imagine how that will get people pissed? Ok the movie is called Werewolf Women of the SS (by Rob Zombie) hahaha, Nicolas Cage as that wise china dude looks so damn fun!!!

Wait... Werewolf Women of the SS is actually being made? Wasn't that just a joke trailer? I mean, I know it happened with Hobo With a Shotgun, but I didn't think it would happen to another fake trailer from Grindhouse

Also, unless they changed it from the trailer, that "wise China dude" is Dr. Fu Manchu. Getting a Chinese actor wouldn't make Fu Manchu less racist, so it's probably a good idea to just run with the political-incorrect-ness of him existing in the first place and hope that Cage is crazy enough to overshadow everything else.

Helmholtz Watson:
The difference is quite small because the response it garners when a White person plays a role in movies like 21 comes from the same people who would condemn Cloud Atlas. And to be honest, said people have a double standard. They are more than willing to start up a website dedicated to the fact that a certain movie had a Asian character replaced with a White character, but they have nothing but praise for when the reverse happens and an White character is replaced by a Asian character. Its a double standard and it makes their complaints about movies like The Last Air Bender quite hollow.

It's not a double standard because the racial dynamics and implications are completely different.
How many creative works with overwhelmingly white casts can you call to mind? Probably quite many. Regardless of whether we look at it in a historical or contemporary context, white remains the assumed default, and culture reflects that quite clearly.
Remember how a depressingly large amount of Hunger Games fans cried foul over that one character being cast as a black girl in the film adaptation, even though the book explicitly states that she is, in fact, black? Perfect example of how race factors into our cultural expectations.
Now, comparatively, how many popular creative works with overwhelmingly poc casts can you name? While there are a few examples, I think you'll agree the figure is significantly smaller. Hell, even finding prominent, non-stereotypical or non-exoticised characters of colour is a relative rarity.

So white actors being made up in a way which is historically suspect at the very best, or utterly whitewashing a work renowned for its non-white cast is quite strikingly different from taking a century old character, already duly and frequently accounted for in all his white malehood, and subvert expectations by making him an Asian woman. It contributes diversity and the potential of additional theme to a character and pairing which has been virtually identical for the past 120 years.

As for your other concerns, you don't need to assume responsibility for the actions of previous generations to recognise how their actions have impacted ours. Positively and negatively. Acknowledging the societal privileges and disadvantages it has generated is the very least we can do if you ask me.

LiquidGrape:

It's not a double standard because the racial dynamics and implications are completely different.
How many creative works with overwhelmingly white casts can you call to mind? Probably quite many. Regardless of whether we look at it in a historical or contemporary context, white remains the assumed default, and culture reflects that quite clearly.
Remember how a depressingly large amount of Hunger Games fans cried foul over that one character being cast as a black girl in the film adaptation, even though the book explicitly states that she is, in fact, black? Perfect example of how race factors into our cultural expectations.
Now, comparatively, how many popular creative works with overwhelmingly poc casts can you name? While there are a few examples, I think you'll agree the figure is significantly smaller. Hell, even finding prominent, non-stereotypical or non-exoticised characters of colour is a relative rarity.

That's still a double standard. It doesn't matter how many movies are made with having major poc characters in them, its just as much "racebending" to have Will Smith play the main character off of the book I am Legend, as it is "racebending" to have Casper Van Dien play the main character off of the book Starship Troopers. Equally so, its just as bad for there to be a movie like White Chicks as there is to have a movie like Cloud Atlas.

LiquidGrape:

So white actors being made up in a way which is historically suspect at the very best, or utterly whitewashing a work renowned for its non-white cast is quite strikingly different from taking a century old character, already duly and frequently accounted for in all his white malehood, and subvert expectations by making him an Asian woman. It contributes diversity and the potential of additional theme to a character and pairing which has been virtually identical for the past 120 years.

It also is doing the exact same thing as movies like 21 are doing by replacing the race of a major character with that of a different race.

LiquidGrape:

As for your other concerns, you don't need to assume responsibility for the actions of previous generations to recognise how their actions have impacted ours. Positively and negatively. Acknowledging the societal privileges and disadvantages it has generated is the very least we can do if you ask me.

Again, the actors and actresses of the present don't have to make up for the actions of those of the past.

Therumancer:
Equality actually being a forgone conclusion in most of the western world (despite what politicians and left wingers like to say and believe)

Yeah, no. As an Indian who's lived in Vancouver and visited the Netherlands several times, I can tell you there is a marked difference in the way white people treat others. Heck, forget about them-even the Westerners who live in India look down on Indians. It's quite disgusting.

Helmholtz Watson:
*Snip*

Seeing as you ignore the actual contents of my argument for the benefit of simply reiterating your points with different examples, I'll just step away before I pull my hair out entirely.

Malisteen:

LiquidGrape:
I would also like to chime in with the people who decry "colour blindness" as an unwillingness of, let's face it, white people to acknowledge the systematic privilege they continue to enjoy at the expense of other groups.

a couple comics I like to show the "color blind" crowd who reject any discussion of race based social injustice, as well as those who decry affirmative action as "reverse racism":

http://www.redbubble.com/people/barrydeutsch/works/5562735-how-bob-benefits-from-racism?p=poster

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m5rr52cAlU1r38c2ko1_1280.jpg

I normally don't like these things..
But damn was that blunt and on the nose to a great point.

LiquidGrape:

Helmholtz Watson:
*Snip*

Seeing as you ignore the actual contents of my argument for the benefit of simply reiterating your points with different examples, I'll just step away before I pull my hair out entirely.

I'm not ignoring what you have said, I just don't buy into your ideas of collective guilt and that the sins of the father are passed down to the son in regards to how Hollywood cast parts for movies.

I am curious though, if you didn't like Cloud Atlas because of the use of makeup for a person to appear as another race, did you also not like White Chicks, or is it "different" to you?

Ah Bob just had to bring up the casting in Thor in this.

As for the subject of race...I honestly don't see what the big deal is. I dunno, maybe it's because I live in a country where it's rare for me to meet people of a different race than mine (well that and gypsies, but whatever), and maybe it's because my country also doesn't have a strong history of race-related slavery, but I just don't get what all the damn fuss is about.

"People used to be racist back in the day and they might be racist now." - Yes they were, and yes they are. So?

The way I've seen it, a truly accepting and multicultural society isn't the one that tries to bend over backwards to accommodate everyone's heritage, ideas, beliefs, cultural backgrounds and so on, but one that actually takes all of those and melts them together into something entirely new.

Or in summary - Stop bitching about racism already, just live your lives, let others live their lives and get on with it.

Two things:
1. Am I the only one who upon hearing Bob say racebending thought of it as a type of bending from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra?

2. After I chuckled at the first thought I did think about the racebending in The Last Airbender were white kids were cast to play the good guys and Indian people to play the villains. Besides the other glaring problems with that movie, that was one thing that bothered me most. Anyone who watches that show knows that the characters are of Eastern descent.

Therumancer:

Akio91:
So.....this is the first I've heard of this. Bob, are you making up issues for views? Or is this some Hollywood insider mad that the rest of us have missed out on?

No, he's right, it exists. Bob's own politics and white guilt have predictably slanted it though. The issue isn't quite as mainstream as your used to seeing from other outcries because the basic issue isn't coming from sources the left wing likes to acknowlege existing.

Basically "Cloud Atlas" is a movie that has seriously invoked the ire of so called "reverse racists". Equality actually being a forgone conclusion in most of the western world (despite what politicians and left wingers like to say and believe) your rapidly seeing those that are minorities within the western world embracing a "pro (insert race here)" stance, the old "I'm not anti-white, but am proud to be black" or "I'm pro-black" attitude which is pretty much the same thing as white supremacy conveyed through other words and carefully avoided by the left wing. A lot of the outcry you see here is not so much because of old school comedic "race play" by white actors, but because you have minorities offended by what they see as a lesser people playing them. I ran into this issue not so much as white vs. black as most people like to focus on, but more in terms of white guys playing Koreans in the final sequence, which was seen as an affront to ethnic superiority... as is the entire idea of soul reincarnation which can be an issue to those who see themselves superior for reasons having to do with who or what they are inherantly.

I actually tried to find a link to it again (though I can't, I think it was taken down) I was reading a fairly racist article someone put up ranting pretty much about asian superiority and how offensive this movie was on those levels.

I pretty much take the opposite position from Bob on most of these issues even if it goes to the same place. I believe in human equaliy, but I feel within the western world that's embracing it the current problem is not with the "white majority" which has done a good job of adapting on those principles, but for minorities themselves to adapt to equality, do away with their counter cultures, and desires for social vengeance. Or in simple terms, when dealing with things like the white vs. black conflict, white guys freed blacks and supported all of this civil liberties stuff, it wasn't done to give blacks the tools needed to avenge this injustice, and indeed exactly the kinds of movements and attitudes you see now were exactly what was promised wouldn't happen by the people promoting that equality agenda. Globally I also think the rest of the world is very racist, except it's a situation where whites are one of the smallest minorities there are (ironic on a lot of levels). The eastern world in paticular needs to be given a serious kick in the teeth if we ever plan to see racism dealt with. Bob Chipman style guilt and self-judgement doesn't really solve anything, especially seeing as anything we do is only affecting a relatively small percentage of humanity. When you considered that roughly 1/3rd of the population is in India, 1/3rd is in China, Africa is overcrowded, hundreds of millions of Muslims, etc... you begin to realize that what happens within the borders of the USA or Europe affects a very small percentage of humanity.

As a result I take the opposite track from Bob, rather than being an apologist I believe on brutal crackdowns on minority counter culture, reverse racism, and similar things. Someone who identifies as Pro-Black, Pro-Asian, and says "[insert minority here] Power" is just as bad as a KKK member, they are actually the same thing (especially nowadays where the KKK is itself mostly verbal and political as well) and deserves to be hammered as a divisive influance that is working against tolerance and co-existance. I also believe very much in doing things like forcing information into countries like China through their censorship policies and refusing to help them, or let anyone else help them with censorship. I for example believe a search engine that censors itself for other countries to filter outside political ideals like tolerance needs to itself be on the receiving end of a brutal crackdown.

Or in short I pretty much believe the new motto should be "Live Free Or Die" and acceptance at this point still needs to be fought for. The ideas are out there, but need to be enforced through the barrel of a gun, and the striking surface of a truncheon. Even if unherard of numbers of people die, it's one of those cases where anything worth having comes at a high cost. I think we planted the seeds, but gave up far too soon, and fell into lethargy and hand wringing where we let all the same problems continue, just from the opposite direction they were coming from before. The counter culture that was one a champion of civil liberties as become the enemy of those same civil liberties.

Therumancer, I really have to ask this.

Because I believe we are going to end up locking horns again. You might not quite remember but we have done once before. That time it was because you were preaching... mass murder and potential genocide. This time it is because you are being... predictable. Regardless, I need to ask the following:

Have you ever studied politics or sociology? Maybe even a bit of Philosophy? Perhaps done a short course in Ethics? I just want to know.

Equality actually being a forgone conclusion in most of the western world (despite what politicians and left wingers like to say and believe)

Bullshit. Sure, you will state that I am stating the above because I am left win (Well, I am. Significantly so.) but I am stating the above because... well, there wouldn't be much fucking point in the race relations module of my Sociology course if there was no issue with race relations in the UK! Equality is not a forgone conclusion. Despite the bleatings of the Right, women are still paid less then men (The government is forcing the Public Sector to address this and backdating lost pay over the last 10 years. This decision is costing Birmingham council over 600 million pounds.) and minority communities within the UK are still shat on.

So lets ignore that statement. Because it is quite simply, in-arguably, wrong. You can state that it is your OPINION that equality is a foregone conclusion in the western world but... Well, you are wrong. Academia disagrees with you. Sorry.

the old "I'm not anti-white, but am proud to be black" or "I'm pro-black" attitude which is pretty much the same thing as white supremacy conveyed through other words and carefully avoided by the left wing.

Reclaiming race identity and trying to be proud of who you are in the face of racism is not racist. Your statement is as insane as the logic that a gay man who is proud to be gay is anti strait. Or someone who campaigns for gay rights and an end to discrimination hates strait people. Sorry bro, your statement is wrong. And rather insane. Taken from the perspective that racism exists in the west and equality is not a foregone conclusion, your statement is wrong (Anyone starting to see a trend here?)

Now, if said people were part of, say, a fascist movement, a genuine supremicist movement, then you would have a point. But it is one thing to be proud of who you are, another to think you are above others.

rather than being an apologist I believe on brutal crackdowns on minority counter culture, reverse racism, and similar things.

There is the Therumancer I know and love. Brutal crackdowns, hatred of minorities, Wonderful. Could you do me a favour in your inevitable reply which carefully does not insult me, could you give me your definition of counter culture? Oh, and point to any form of scholarly article affiliated with a prominent theorist within either the fields of Media and Cultural Studies or Sociology that acknowledges the existence of 'Reverse Racism'.

You cannot supress an ideal or way of life through brutal crackdowns. It has never worked (In the long run, at least, usually it has the opposite effect). You want to end these things that you see in society? Education is always the answer. Not war (Which you seem to love), nor brutality. Teach people.

Also, I am quoting this for ironies sake.

When you considered that roughly 1/3rd of the population is in India, 1/3rd is in China, Africa is overcrowded, hundreds of millions of Muslims

Now that it suits you, Muslims are a race! Wonderful.

What exactly do you have against Islam? Seriously? Also are you genuinely of the opinion that there is no such thing as a white Muslim? Bleh. I tire of this already. In passing I would like to point one last thing out. Which is not to be taken as an insult. You have stated that the West is tolerant and that the rest of the world is not, you have once more preached death and destruction. Ser, has it occurred to you that quite often what you write comes accross as paranoid racist drivel?

Just saying, maybe you should address that fact.

It was a nice distraction from the essay I was writing on JS Mill but still, responding to your statements takes it out of me.

On topic, because I fear that reply was incredibly off topic...

I still have not seen cloud atlas and I am looking forward to doing so. Whilst I can see the argument against using white actors in Asian roles, I think that sometimes it can be excused. Pretty much all I had to say on the matter, I cannot even remember how I ended up in the thread, then I saw someone quote Therumancer and thought I would go and read whatever was written.

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