March 31, 2015

Whitewashing in Media Made Me Self-Conscious About Being Chinese

Academy Awards Toby Canham via Getty Images

I started to wish I was white. I didn't necessarily want to not be Chinese. I just wanted to look like the celebrities in the movies I watched. The online outrage at the casting of Quvenzhané Wallis in the titular role in Annie, and the simultaneous approval or silent passivity at that of Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead in The Prince of Persia, Rooney Mara as a Native American girl in Pan and Scarlett Johansson as a Japanese woman in Ghost in the Shell teaches people of colour that being white opens doors that'll always be closed to us. While I'm glad to see that people are more outspoken about diversity nowadays, there are bodies like the Academy that continue to try and mute their voices. This is inadequate for our multicultural society.

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