Ghost in the Shell: Hollywood is Back at it Again with the Whitewashing

Alexsenia Ralat

Oh Hollywood, there you go again with your favorite hobby! Whitewashing! Paramount is now under fire for casting white actress Scarlett Johansson in the main role of the remake of a Japanese anime called “Ghost in the Shell.” The anime follows the members of Public Security Section 9, a special operations task force based in New Port City as they take on terrorism and political affairs. Fans were originally outraged in 2015, when Johansson’s casting was announced. I honestly just heard about it thanks to the recent outrage over a picture released that shows Johansson in character.

Hollywood, was it really that hard to find a Japanese actress, or even someone who looks Japanese? Do you guys really think it is okay to take something that is a part of a different culture and make it your own? Oh wait. You do. Casting white people in canonically Asian roles in movies such as “The Last Airbender,” and “Doctor Strange” didn’t seem to get so much attention. Why is that? Is the American people becoming more politically correct? Are they actually realizing that, hey, it’s not cool to whitewash?

Whitewashing literally pushes other cultures and races out of the picture. Do I need to mention the train wreck that was “Exodus: Gods and Kings?” When it comes to that specific movie, Hollywood is furthering the assumption that Egypt is filled with white people. Which, surprise, it’s not. Yes, most countries do have white populations because it is wrong to bar people from places due to their race, sexual orientation, or gender. But Egypt is in Northeast Africa. An area that is predominantly filled with people who do not define themselves as “white”.

The same goes for Hollywood’s newest venture into whitewashing, why erase a people’s culture? Showing Japanese actors and actresses in films that depict aspects of Japanese culture can help educate the people who watch them. This could help erase some of the stereotypes about Asian cultures and peoples. Instead of seeing Asian women as some sort of sexual fantasy, people would see them as rounded characters and therefore begin to drop that viewpoint that Asian women are “exotic” and only meant to be naughty school girls.

I have nothing against Scarlet Johansson, but the fact that she accepted/auditioned for a role that is meant to depict a Japanese person kind of irks me. In doing so, she is using Hollywood’s whitewashing to her advantage. No matter what, people are going to watch this movie. People are probably going to like this movie. Johansson is going to make money off of this movie.

In a study done by the University of Southern California, the university analyzed more than 21,000 characters and behind-the-scenes employees in more than 400 films and TV shows that were released between September 2014 and August 2015. 50 percent of the productions analyzed had absolutely no Asian speaking characters. Also, only about 28 percent of speaking characters were from non-white racial groups. It’s been proven. Hollywood needs to fix its diversity and whitewashing problem or else it is going to continue to lose money and gain hatred from minority groups across the U.S. Hollywood needs to stop feeding ignorance and stereotypes and start feeding more culture and diversity.

I am tired of seeing Hispanics as drug dealers and maids and promiscuous men and women. I am tired of seeing Asian women as “sexy fantasies.” I am tired of seeing African-American men and women depicted as violent and uneducated. The audience sees white people in all types of roles. So why can’t people who are not white get their chance?