Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the shell Anime In Ghost in the Shell ( 2017) (1995)
Due to the sad reality that Hollywood is at times in terms of casting there are mishaps in having usually White people play the role of a person of color. In these roles people are in a position of power like the director Rupert Sanders could have easily held casting for Asian women or specifically Japanese women to play this iconic Japanese character. Ghost in the Shell adaptation had given a lot of people hope to see Asian American women are in a feature-length film here in America. Scarlett Johansson is a white A-list actress she has the position to make he stance or voice clear about cultural appropriation and whitewashing in Hollywood. Even the production team have stated they would edit Johansson to appear more Asian (Berman). Ghost in the shell started off as a popular Japanese manga series and had an animated adaptation that was in Japanese and featured the original Japanese characters. The American film adaptation was meant with rage as the casting came as a shock to many to see a white woman getting the role of a Japanese superhero. When Hollywood does do the right thing in terms of such as Claudia Kim as Helen Cho a super intelligent scientist from South Korea in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) there is a celebration. I feel that many times whitewashing and the two yellow face examples of Mr. Yunioshi and Apu are examples of a huge racial issue in Hollywood.
Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in “Breakfast at the Tiffany” (1961)
There is nothing new about the discrimination Asians have often been subjected to in playing supporting roles filled or with stereotypes such as Apu in the Simpsons. The worst to me is when the yellow face is considered ok like Mickey Rooney portrayal of a Japanese landlord in Breakfast at the Tiffany. Rooney role in such a classic film has to be one of the worst aspects of the film the man literally adorns buck teeth, squints his eyes, and has his skin darkened. Rooney has no regrets over the role and even states in an article that “”Never in all the more than 40 years after we made it — not one complaint. Every place I’ve gone in the world people say, ‘ … you were so funny.’ Asians and Chinese come up to me and say, ‘Mickey you were out of this world.'”(Magagnini).
Apu voice actor Hank Azaria in “The Simpsons” (1989-now)
Apu is voiced in the animated series the Simpsons by actor Hank Azaria. In his interview on “the late show” with host Stephen Colbert Azaria says he has remorse over the negativity that his character Apu has caused others. Due to the character having so many negative aspects such as being greedy, stingy, and in an article by Matt Morrison of screen Rant there has been many who have faced racism or been marginalized due to the character Apu (Morrison).
Taylor Swift dressed up as Rapper in her “Shake It off ” Music Video (2014)
My opinion correlates with an excerpt from a selection from Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, & the Commodification of Difference by Deborah Root (1996). In this reading, the author writes how capitalizing can be a driving force for constant cultural appropriation in order to draw more audiences. I believe these people do not want to actually give jobs of significant characters like Motoko to the right actor due to bias and racism but also so they can draw in bigger crowds due to the fame of Johannson name. The actors can either feel remorse in these roles or feel like Rooney that the made people laugh at there wasn’t anything wrong with it because of the critical acclaim of their portrayal. However, everything that is shown in media from White girls dresses as hip-hop Stars like Taylor Swift shake it off or Kim Kardashian accrediting Bo Derek a white woman for her hairstyle cornrows from her film “10” on her snapchat, even though both are part of African American culture. To the those who appropriate may pretend they are just not educated enough will have to realize that with power comes influence and what they do no matter how small will an effect on someone.
Kim Kardashians Snapchat (2018) vs Bo Derek in “10” (1979)
Berman, Eliza. “Ghost in the Shell 2017 Controversy: A Comprehensive Guide.” Time, Time, 29 Mar. 2017, time.com/4714367/ghost-in-the-shell-controversy-scarlett-johansson/.
Magagnini, Stephen. “Mickey Rooney Upset at Racism Allegations.” DeseretNews.com, Deseret News, 7 Sept. 2008, www.deseretnews.com/article/700256494/Mickey-Rooney-upset-at-racism-allegations.html.
Morrison, Matt. “The Simpsons Has No Plans to Retire or Recast Apu.” Screen Rant, Screen Rant, 29 July 2018, screenrant.com/simpsons-apu-retire-recast-no-plans-matt-groening/.
Root, Deborah. “: Cannibal Culture: Art, Appropriation, and the Commodification of Difference.” American Anthropologist, vol. 98, no. 4, 8 Feb. 1996, pp. 920–921., doi:10.1525/aa.1996.98.4.02a00670.