From Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" back in 1961 to Tilda Swinton in "Doctor Strange" and Scarlett Johansson in "Ghost in the Shell" today, Asians have been erased from the film industry since its inception. They call it whitewashing, and now — thanks to decades of bullshit erasure combined with the informative power of social media — people of Asian descent, both famous and not, are publicly fighting back like never before.
"So let me get this straight. You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales ... in Asia?" "Star Trek" legend George Takei wrote on Facebook, in a heartbreaking-slash-necessary call-out of Swinton playing a "Doctor Strange" character who was written as Tibetan. "This backpedaling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting. Marvel must think we’re all idiots."
To fight back against garbage like this, the site Nerds of Color coined the hashtag #WhiteWashedOUT, in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Comedian Margaret Cho will join the site for a Twitter chat, but that's not all — they're encouraging regular folk who have felt the pain of a century of pop culture erasure to chime in with their stories, to hopefully stop Hollywood studios from perpetuating racism, and white actors from stealing their roles.
Here's a small example of what they had to say, and be sure to check out #WhiteWashedOUT yourself to hear the brutal truth: