​why is hollywood whitewashing lead asian roles?

Disappointingly, two new releases starring Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton join the Hollywood whitewashing hall of shame.

by Lula Ososki
19 April 2016, 12:59pm

Another week, another example of Hollywood whitewashing. Both Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange have come under fire this week for casting lead Asian roles with white characters. Paramount and DreamWorks released the first stills from their live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell and, surprise surprise, white actress Scarlett Johansson was chosen to play lead character Major Motoko Kusanagi. In addition, Marvel shared the trailer for Doctor Strange, in which Tilda Swinton is cast as a Himalayan sorcerer known as the 'Ancient One.'

It's no secret that Hollywood's history of whitewashing runs deep, as we were reminded in this supercut of white actors playing people of color, but the fact that we are now in 2016 and this is still a major issue is the saddest fact of all. Only last year Emma Stone was cast as a part-Asian Hawaiian woman in Cameron Crowe's Aloha, not to mention this years shockingly un-diverse Oscar nominations.

"It's like, way to reduce race to mere phys[ical] appearance as opposed to say culture, social experience, identity, history," Tweeted Fresh Off the Boat actress Constance Wu in response to Ghost in the Shell. One can only hope that the more these films are called out, the more directors, producers and casting directors will take note and make steps towards filling the representational gaps in the industry, striving towards a fully diverse Hollywood.

Scarlett Johansson
ghost in the shell
Doctor Strange