Whitewashing: A Time-Honored Hollywood Tradition

YOMYOMF’s 10 Hollywood Films Where Asian Characters were ‘Whitewashed’

With recent movies like Marvel’s Doctor Strange and the upcoming live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell catching criticism (and ridicule) for casting white actors as Asian characters, it’s brought a renewed spotlight on the racist, time-honored Hollywood tradition of whitewashing.

Over at YOMYOMF, Phil Chung has compiled an interesting list of 10 Hollywood Films Where Asian Characters were ‘Whitewashed’ — characters that were originally intended to be Asian, but whose identities and backgrounds were scrubbed to be played by non-Asian actors.

In addition to helpfully clarifying the difference between “yellowface” and “whitewashing,” the list includes recent glaring examples that people usually cite when railing against whitewashing, like Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Goku in Dragonball: Evolution, where the characters are Asian in the source material.

But the list also highlights real-life Asians who were magically changed into white people for the movies, like Dr. Yuan-Tsong Chen, the brilliant Taiwanese research doctor who developed the cure for Pompe Disease. In 2010’s Extreme Measures, the character became Dr. Robert Stonewall, played by Harrison Ford. What?

“While it sucks that the film denied giving credit to the real man who created the real cure for a real disease,” Phil notes, “at least Dr. Chen didn’t have to see his name associated with a shitty movie if that’s any consolation.” Well, there’s that.

See the full list at YOMYOMF: 10 Hollywood Films Where Asian Characters were ‘Whitewashed’


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Author: Marcus M. Wise

I love to spend my time online and on some outdoor activities that I like. I spend my weekends by going out with my friends and family. I also love to travel around the world if there a window for monetary budget. I have been into some exciting places and I am surprised to new things I saw.

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