Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Ray » Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:41 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilnG3trW9Cc

I was going to put this on the Superhero thread, but I felt it is a lot more relevant here. Iron Fist is the first Marvel Property Movie, Netflix, TV or otherwise, to ever get a not-fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 9% last I checked. NINE PERCENT.

But the one thing all of these reviews have in common. They aren't focusing on the acting and saying it's terrible, they aren't focusing on the production value, the story, or how it ties in to the other Marvel Movies and Netflix shows. The major reason Rotten Tomatoes is aggregating the majority of these reviews as 'negative'. Is because the overwhelming majority of the critics BASHING the show is due to the criticism of Danny Rand being a white guy in an Asian Setting.

The actor playing Iron Fist confronted the people who were outright attacking him for taking the role, and the backlash was enough to make him quit twitter.

http://www.polygon.com/tv/2017/3/6/1483 ... ng-twitter

I myself had criticisms about this when it was announced, and I KNEW there would be Backlash against them doing this. I was hoping Marvel would take a stand and cast an Asian guy as Danny Rand so they could avoid the bad publicity. Having said that, I was planning to give the series a fair shot despite this. . . as long as it's not outright offensive in it's portrayal of the Asian people in the supporting cast.

The thing is though, Marvel doesn't need this show to be a critical darling. Iron Fist will probably be to the Defenders what the Hulk is to the Avengers movies. They'll take what works about the character and the show and ignore the issues in future installments.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:05 am

If it takes a series as dumb-sounding & racially stupid as IRON FIST to make people realize* these Marvel+Netflix shows are for the most part garbage then it is doing a very fine thing.

Of course the critical drubbing they'll receive for IRON FIST means Marvel is going to heavily push how progressive they are with CAPTAIN MARVEL (a female lead & it only took.... 11 years & 20 movies) & BLACK PANTHER having a predominantly black cast (this will be the only one to do so) while still relegating Latinos & Asians to thinly sketched sidekick roles.

*People won't realize this. They'll still waste days of their lives watching uninteresting characters do uninteresting things in poorly written stories that are grossly stretched with poor editing & repetition, repetition, & repetition to fill 13 hour long episodes.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:33 am

If there's one thing that, more consistently than not, annoys me about "progressivism" it's the whole marketing stigma of it all, starting with the labeling of something as progressive. Movies are now toted as "progressive," and at time marketed entirely on how progressive they are, regardless of whether or not the film itself has anything to say about race or gender politics. I remember the whole "BLACK MAN IN A LEADING ROLE!!!" think-pieces peddled all over the Internet in regard to Star Wars The Force Awakens, only to watch the movie and not have it say anything about that fact. After audiences saw that the film made no remark on race politics with their casting of John Boyega, the think-pieces peddled took on the tone of "the lack of remark about race politics is one of the more remarkable things about casting a black man as the lead!"

It's not that I don't want to deeply think about the social and political implications of films and entertainment, or even watch films that intentionally tacking social and political issues, but when it's used as shallow marketing I tend to reject even the labeling of progressive ideologies and "progressive." I can very rarely relate to the term outside of how it is used to generate word-of-mouth about products that don't always contribute as strongly to the conversation as it was implied.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Bagheera » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:59 pm

View Original PostGendo'sPapa wrote:If it takes a series as dumb-sounding & racially stupid as IRON FIST to make people realize* these Marvel+Netflix shows are for the most part garbage then it is doing a very fine thing.


They are all flawed, but calling them garbage is hyperbolic and smacks of "these shows are popular so I must dump on them" syndrome.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:20 pm

Daredevil is aimless garbage that is so heavy handed in its Catholic guilt it feels like it was written by a 12 year old who just discovered masturbation and feels bad for it. The evil Ninjas story is nonsense & every scene drags on three or four minutes too long. Doesn't help that Foggy is a bore.
Jessica Jones has it's thematically interesting core that helps it be the best of the bunch but it too is weighed down by pointless side characters, scenes that drag on too long, a pitiful final three episodes and a loss of direction as it goes on.
Daredevil Season 2 should have just focused on The Punisher, not because the character is interesting but because Jon Bernthal has the goods and made every scene work.
Luke Cage is an awful show that marketed itself as an important series of the now - A brother in a hoodie who gets shot but remains standing - and instead is an aimless mess that wastes the strongest aspect of the show (Mahershala Ali who was phenomenal as Cottonmouth) only to replace it with another "doppleganger of the hero" badguy. It doesn't help that for a show about a black hero in America race is barely touched in the show - all three lead villains are black - and the issue of cop on black violence isn't touched at all.

I've watched the shows. From start to finish. Part of it was for work, part of it was for nerdy interest - I want them all to be good - and part of it was simply so I could talk to some of my fellow peers who worked on the shows and wanted to hear what I thought of them. I choose my words carefully when it comes to criticism. When I say I find the Marvel Netflix shows to be "for the most part garbage" I am not being hyperbolic. That's how I feel. The few good things they do - spot on casting, a nice fight scene here & there - is completely demolished by everything they do poorly. They're a hot mess & if they didn't have the Marvel tagline I don't think any of them would be a third as popular as they are now.

But I don't begrudge people who enjoy them. I just think they're boring. And I will be not be watching Iron Fist, The Punisher or The Defenders when they get released later this year. But I'm not gonna get in a discussion about their quality. I mainly wanted to snark on them & share my two cents for what it is worth. And my opinion really matters to no one but myself.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Bagheera » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:19 pm

I agree with your sentiments about the shows' strengths, and even about their failings, but I think you're emphasizing the latter far too much. This is particularly true given the praise heaped upon Deadpool and Logan, which are essentially the same thing -- well-cast shows with aimless plots and lackluster villains that you watch because you just really love these takes on the characters and because there are certain scenes throughout that make it all worth it. None of them are great works of art (the very notion that DP or Logan were even entertained for BP is absolutely laughable), but they stand out because they do get certain things right, and that's saying a lot for TV and film in general (to say nothing of supers pieces in particular).
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Ray » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:05 pm

Back on topic. . .Mamoru Oshii came out and commented on the whitewashing controversy again. Only this time he poured gas on the Fire.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/m ... itewashing

I recommend you read the whole article to get the context behind it, as he didn't say it with any overt racist intent. but this particular line made a lot of people genuinely mad. It's currently trending on all of the major social media websites.

Basically towards the start of the conversation he repeats the argument he's had before that basically " the major is a robot she can make her body look like whatever she wants it to be." Which well I don't agree with it I can at least respect.

But then he jumped off the slippery slope and pissed a lot of people off.

“In the movies, John Wayne can play Genghis Khan, and Omar Sharif, an Arab, can play Doctor Zhivago, a Slav. It’s all just cinematic conventions, If that’s not allowed, then Darth Vader probably shouldn’t speak English, either. 



Look far be it from me to judge him, he's far more successful than I likely ever be. But it's clear he's totally ignorant of the history of Oppression and marginalizing of non whites in Hollywood. As a lot of Japanese people are.

When a white actor takes a role for a person of color it's taking away a opportunity most of them don't usually get in Hollywood. When you give a typically white role to a non-white after its opening an opportunity that they otherwise would not get. It's not always a guarantee they'll do the role well but I can at least applaud the intent. I still think it was pretty cool how Josh trank gave Johnny Storm to Michael B Jordan, even if the movie itself was garbage.

Edit: Okay, maybe I didn't think this point through.

I do agree with him that political correctness in the Arts has gone a bit too far but just because whitewashing argument has kind of been hijacked by political extremists doesn't mean the argument shouldn't happen, which seems to be what he's been implying here in this article.
Last edited by Ray on Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:38 pm

As far as I'm concerned, the whole "White-Washing" argument with GitS is stretched thin, overworked, and grasping for straws. Sure, we can discuss why the filmmakers needed to make that decision, but that conversation is best left after a proper viewing of the movie. "Because the 'original' did it one way and that's the way it should be forever and always," isn't a good enough argument on its own. It needs to be supported by how the newer version is inferior, which cannot be done until the newer version is examined. To attempt to discuss in-depth that which had not been examined to the best of our abilities is to be willfully close-minded and venomously ignorant. If I end up not seeing the movie, it will result in me not having a detailed opinion of it, including within terms of how it deals with race politics, which will weaken any argument I could make regarding any aspect of that film.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Sachi » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:28 am

I must say, without having read the article, and only having read what Ray provided within his post, I got to agree with Oshii. :shrug: Just saying.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Reichu » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:25 am

Reading the actual article is probably a good thing to do before commenting on it...
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby NemZ » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:12 pm

View Original PostRay wrote: When a white actor takes a role for a person of color it's taking away a opportunity most of them don't usually get in Hollywood. When you give a typically white role to a non-white after its opening an opportunity that they otherwise would not get. It's not always a guarantee they'll do the role well but I can at least applaud the intent. I still think it was pretty cool how Josh trank gave Johnny Storm to Michael B Jordan, even if the movie itself was garbage.


So roles suited to people of color should be reserved for similarly ethnic actors, but you think it's "pretty cool" to assign minority actors to roles of established white characters? You can't have it both ways, hypocrite.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Ray » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:25 pm

So roles suited to people of color should be reserved for similarly ethnic actors, but you think it's "pretty cool" to assign minority actors to roles of established white characters?


Depends on the context. Each case is different, and there are always exceptions to every rule . . . though personally I don't think Scarjo playing Kusanagi should be.

Elaborate? Where does my fallacy lie? Casting a white role with an ethnic actor doesn't screw an ethnic actor out of a role. The opposite does. If a white actor doesn't get a role. there are more opportunities for them. There aren't that many for Asian actors.

I understand Equality of opportunity doesn't always mean equality of outcome. But there isn't an equality of opportunity for ethnic actors, especially the Asian American community to get lead roles in Hollywood.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby NemZ » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:39 pm

It's a blatant double standard that undermines the validity of both arguments. If anybody can be cast in roles regardless of race then you can't complain about minority roles going to whites. If those roles are sacred cows to be protected then you can't celebrate diversity hires taking roles of traditionally white characters. Trying to argue both points simultaneously reduces any influence you might have had to just whining without any basis other than some fairytale quota.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Snow » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:50 pm

View Original PostNemZ wrote:So roles suited to people of color should be reserved for similarly ethnic actors, but you think it's "pretty cool" to assign minority actors to roles of established white characters? You can't have it both ways, hypocrite.


I think this is the main point that is not mentioned quite often in public discussion, the fact that many seems to think nothing counts as harming something of white people, was this careers and opportunities in general. Personally i think race and sex of the character in movie adaptations should always follow the original, without forced diversity. Of course, asking the creators opinion on unclear cases (as it is often with Anime, many characters have western looking facial features) also qualifies. I am not against a diverse cast of characters, on the contrary, but i do detest it being forced into something with diversifying being the sole intent.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby pwhodges » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:18 pm

This is the contentious issue known as positive discrimination - trying to restore balance after historical imbalance by having a period of a bit of the opposite imbalance. You'll never get complete agreement over whether or when it might be justified.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Reichu » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:43 pm

There's also the whole fact that stories are memetic entities that should be allowed to replicate, mutate, and adapt, rather than be pickled and used as false idols.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:54 pm

The Beauty and the Beast, while French in origin, is literally a tale as old as time. Staples of the used tropes go all the way back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. Heck, even the Twilight Saga could be considered an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. The story in its most basic form is simply a collection of tropes that is accepting of all races and culture types. No need for gate keeping, no need for protocols to statistical adherence.

Film used to be very, very localized. (We're talking about film during the silent era.) There wasn't a centralized hub for filmmaking in America in the conventional sense until around the 1920's. With this centralization of media came the decrease of localized filmmaking. With that centralization came the general idea that that "All Americans look like white guys and behave in this way." As a result the diversity of was ignored in our entertainment. Different parts of America still operate very differently from one another, with different racial majorities, customs, and traditions. I wonder if the Internet can grow the awareness of localized media in a more substantial way.

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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby NemZ » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:27 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:There's also the whole fact that stories are memetic entities that should be allowed to replicate, mutate, and adapt, rather than be pickled and used as false idols.


If identity matters it is wrong to arbitrarily change it. If it doesn't matter then there's no reason it needs to change anyway. Either way, leave it alone.
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby Reichu » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:18 pm

The change isn't "arbitrary", though. This is in response to shifts in cultural mores and the desire to appeal to new demographics. If all the big IP holders are going to continue to exploit the shit out of their properties, including the ones that started when it was White Dudes all the time and everyone else was either some token or nonexistent, then of course they're going to make changes like switching some of the endless numbers of white dudes to something that's not a white dude. It's only logical. Not to mention that, done with competency, it can inject new life into something that's gone stagnant. Alternate POVs are useful; ethnicity is one way to achieve that.

The alternative, of course, would be just leave the properties alone and stop trying to update them, even if it means they stop being relevant. My preferred option would be for them to just go into the public domain already
so that anyone can "legitimately" make the story their own, any fucking way they want -- pffft, like that'll ever happen!
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Re: Whitewashing And Diversity In Hollywood?

Postby NemZ » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:27 pm

I meant in terms of the story, not marketing. If you're making substantive changes to the story by changing the ethnicity of the role then how is it the same story? Call it an homage and change the name if you're messing with the formula.

I'd prefer in most cases that NEW ideas were developed rather than endless remakes and sequels.
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