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​this depressing supercut reminds us how often white actors are cast as people of colour

An Unfortunate History of White Actors Playing Other Races makes for miserable viewing.

by Ryan White
|
03 February 2016, 4:37pm

The fan made 'supercut' usually belongs to a corner of the Internet reserved for celebration. However, every once in a while a video surfaces reminding us that, amongst the aesthetically pleasing shots and visceral uses of colour employed by our favourite directors, there's also a exists a long legacy of racial bias.

Not too long ago a compilation of every time a person of colour spoke in a Wes Anderson film did the rounds. Tragically, the video did not last long -- just 10 seconds in fact. In a similar vein, a new video has surfaced that shines a light on the repeated casting of white actors as non-white characters. Tragically, this one does last for quite a long time, collecting decades' worth of examples of whitewashing.

Perhaps motivated by the #OscarsSoWhite scandal dominating the film press in January, not to mention the recent backlash surrounding the casting of Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in an upcoming comedy, the video comes at a time when the world's frustration with racial prejudice in Hollywood has reached boiling point.

As Viola Davis said when she became the first black woman to win the Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role award at the Emmys in September last year, "The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there". Giving the few roles that are written for characters who are people of colour to white actors is definitely not helping.