Guest Post by Joseph Shoji Lachman
A comparison of lead actor and Benehakaka Kanahele, the man he is portraying. The resemblance is lacking, to say the least. (Via Shutterstock and Hawaii Reporter)
According to Deadline, Zach McGowan will star in the historical film Ni'ihau, directed by Gabriel Robertson and set in Hawaii during World War II. He will portray Benehakaka Kanahele, a native Hawaiian who received the Medal for Merit and Purple Heart for his part in killing the pilot of a downed Imperial Japanese plane in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
You'll probably notice that Zach McGowan doesn't bear much of a resemblance to Kanahele, and it's even more of a stretch than casting Emma Stone as part Hawaiian in Aloha. Once again, members of the API community will watch as they are portrayed in media by white replacements. At this point, we are frustrated, but hardly surprised when this happens. Pacific Islanders have been abused throughout the U.S.'s history, and this appears to be just another manifestation of that shameful legacy.
To our surprise, however, this may not even be the worst of it.
What is disturbing here is the historical denialism bubbling up from under the surface.
Take a look at this quotation from the Deadline article: