Baltimore Insider

Taking on Asian representation in the media with #whitewashedOUT

Our weekly digest This Week in Black Twitter details the happenings on Black Twitter and cultural conversations on the Web. Today, we have a special edition, focusing on Asian representation in Hollywood. 

When was the last time you saw a movie with a prominent Asian lead? How often do you see Asians cast in a sidekick type role? Do you know of any books with Asians as main characters?


It's questions like these that were discussed on Twitter on Tuesday. With May being Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, online blog The Nerds of Color teamed up with actress Margaret Cho, among others, to lead a discussion about the lack for Asian representation in Hollywood with #WhiteWashedOUT.

The conversation comes as several films have casted white actors to play Asian characters, which has been called out as yellowface when features are altered.
Some Marvel fans were outraged when Tilda Swinton was cast to play The Ancient One in upcoming film "Doctor Strange." Scarlett Johansson landed a role as a Japanese anime character in "Ghost in the Shell.” And not to mention Emma Stone's role in Cameron Crowe's "Aloha."
When reports have concluded that diversity sells, it's puzzling to some why Hollywood would consistently choose to go this route.
According to The Nerds of Color's blog post, "whitewashed films" won't be tolerated.
"Because there already isn’t enough Asian representation in films to begin with, we cannot allow the few roles that do exist go to white actors. We’re tired of Hollywood acting as though Asian Americans don’t exist, and want to let them know that we aren’t watching these whitewashed movies."
Their message was received loud and clear through Twitter.

Some aimed to derail the conversation.

One user argued that women in general make for bad superheroes.


But, as you can probably imagine, he got shut down pretty quickly.

Writers also chimed in to discuss how this issue affects their work and their lives.