Representation of Race in the Media (Whitewashing)

Misrepresentation of Race happens a lot in Hollywood, however, it has now been taken above and beyond with the whitewashing of ethnic characters so they are no longer represented in cinema. The term whitewashing is a casting practice where white actors are cast in historically non-white roles, taking someone else’s history and culture as well as making it inaccurate and usually represent it wrong orientalism has seeped into the media industry. For example in the animated series of Aladdin released by Disney when Aladdin is a poor he is drawn with darker brown skin, he is seen as dirty and shunned and prosecuted however once Aladdin became rich he was drawn lighter, his skin was brighter. As well as Princess Jasmine having a much lighter skin complexion than the other characters in the film because she is a woman of higher class and wealth. Because of this, it paints a further divide because of whitewashing that should be a different ethnicity to show the superiority of power through imagery.

More examples of whitewashing within film often in comic books and Asian Manga adaptation to the cinematic screen. After the Ghost in a Shells trailer came out early this year fans and critics left bad reviews at the film due to the fact it was so badly whitewashed. With the original story set in Japan and the majority of the cast being white they chose actors with more marketability and hype surrounded around them which was why Scarlett Johansson was cast to play the main character. There is a lack of A-List Asian celebrities in Hollywood because they aren’t cast as often as they should be meaning different races and ethnicities aren’t being represented even when it’s their culture.

Another film that took a hit for being whitewashed is The Great Wall starring Matt Damon, the critics were so bad that even the Guardian wrote an article expressing how whitewashing the media effects race representation. The movie takes place on the Great Wall of China where the soldiers are fighting off fantasy beings, however, the saviour and hero of the movie is one white guy. Many people have taken offence to this, saying that this doesn’t represent what the heroes of China look like, once again painting the white man as superior a repeatedly implied racist notion. Because of this people’s role models are now the white man and don’t represent the minority. In conclusion, Hollywood and the movie industry are guilty of Whitewashing content, representing race wrongly and unjustly

In conclusion, Hollywood and the movie industry are guilty of Whitewashing content, representing race wrongly and unjustly. Taking the histories and cultures of others and spinning them for profit.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jul/29/the-great-wall-china-film-matt-damon-whitewashed

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