Whitewashing in Film Industry

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Whitewashing in the Entertainment Industry

Whitewashing is the trend of portraying white actors in positions that are not traditionally suited to them in the entertainment industry. This may be that the director of the film, or the country as a whole, does not like it when white actors play roles in movies. Asians and Caucasians are two of the most underrepresented ethnic groups in Hollywood. Films play an important part in communicating and they are the only medium that can transmit information to a large number of people. The details conveyed in the films have a huge impact on the trajectory of their lives (SU, 2016). Whitewashing is always meant to obscure the roles that either the Caucasians or the Asians would play if given the opportunities to cast their roles in a particular sector in a movie.

Inspiration and Creativity Generated by Whitewashing

However, bad the situation may seem, it draws a lot of inspiration to the audience who are concentrating on that particular film. The notion that most people normally have is that the role of an Asian can best be played by them alone. Changing the tables by putting an American to play the role of the same people and it turns out that the individual playing the role plays it far much better than the person meant for it (SU, 2016). This, in turn, poses a positive feeling of inspiration to those watching and those wishing to join the acting industry. Such inspiration and urge are creative as it encourages the audience to do things in different ways for better results.

Different Approaches to Whitewashing in Mass Media

Movies and other forms of mass media have different approaches towards the same innovational impact. Therefore, presenting the roles that are seemingly for someone else in a better way through a different person leads to a comprehension that may be independent, sensible and unprejudiced in any manner whatsoever. In the same context, there are apparently two forms of whitewashing in the film industry. The producers of a movie may take a gathering or an ethnic individual and use them to cast a white on-screen performer which is the first form. The other type is when a person or groupings of people are given roles to play as whites from a book adapted to a film.

The Persistence of Whitewashing in Hollywood

The matter on whitewashing is not such a new thing to happen in the movie industry. This is because it has been happening from time to time in both the present and the past Hollywood films. Hollywood seems to be at the frontline in the propagation of whitewashing. It has been apparent in the movies that it produces (Jewell, 2016). It, in turn, raises concerns about the manner in which the role allocation is done pertaining to the casts who are supposedly meant to cast in a particular movie. The general reception that the audience has about whitewashing contains elements of impairment owing to the notion that Hollywood movies are outstanding. This makes a significant percentage of those watching the movies not to realize the evil doing of producers.

Impact on Cultural Representation and Diversity

It steals from the real people who are supposed to cast these positions in the play. However, since the actual participants of the parts are not involved in the movie, it gives homage to the whitewasher. Just as anticipations dictate, the public has different tastes and preferences to movies (SU, 2016). There are those who sincerely fancy Hollywood movies while there are those who are in love with Indian movies. This is because the selective movie of their choices helps bring out the best in them. We may decide to whitewash the Indians in an Indian act with a Hollywood actor/actress (Jewell, 2016). The fun that the fan had while watching it before the whitewashing would be lost into thin air.

The Negative Effects of Whitewashing on Asian Communities

Misinterpretation and whitewashing in the movie industry are very inimical to the people of Asian descent. This is because the practices malign the entire groups of Asian origin by generalization and the removal of both their passion and voices from the films. The absence of such crucial culture that is quite popular due to its removal from the common cultural narrative ruins the image of the people from the Asian community. This is not very encouraging since the statistics show a rapid increase in the Asian American population in the United States of America. Barely 1% of this population makes it to Hollywood in cast positions of lead roles in movies (SU, 2016).

The Global Impact and Cultural Appropriation

The scapegoat that most movie producers in Hollywood may argue to save their skins is that they use whitewashing due to the targeted audience in the United States of America (Jewell, 2016). This ay only serves the large population in the US, but then it does not suit the minority groups such as the Asian Americans in the US. Also, the movies are not only limited to the citizens of the US but also the rest of the world. This means that it does not also suit a big percentage of the rest of the world if the interests that are held at heart in their making is that of Americans (SU, 2016). This adversely impacts the culture of the minority groups in the US who try to emulate the American traditions to feature in their movies.


Jewell, R. (2016). “The Shortest and Most Bizarre Period of Studio Ownership in Film Industry History”: The Stolkin Interregnum (1952). In Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures (pp. 138-150). University of California Press.

Su, W. (2016). Artistic and Critical Cinema under a Triple Threat: Marketization, Hollywoodization, and State Censorship. In China's Encounter with Global Hollywood: Cultural Policy and the Film Industry, 1994-2013 (pp. 105-140). University Press of Kentucky.

October 13, 2022




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