I am a lot of things, but complacent isn’t one of them.
As a child, I liked watching Japanese anime. I was introduced to them by my uncle and started out with the standard 90’s anime that played on Cartoon Network and Toonami like Inuyasha, Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, and so on. However, considering the new trend of Hollywood and popular media wanting to make adaptations of these childhood classics, there becomes an issue with casting.
Ghost in the Shell, an amazing anime that has remained a cult classic to this day, was picked up to have an American adaptation and, unfortunately, they casted a majority white cast. This is wrong on so many levels because, not only was the actual anime Japanese, based in Japan, about a Japanese police force in a futuristic Tokyo, Japan. With all of this information, I do not believe that it was a good choice to cast it like they did. Scarlett Johansson is a great actress in Avengers movies, however this is a movie that could have been skipped for her. Along with the rest of the cast, I think that if they couldn’t find Japanese actors, they should have left the project alone. Making her character, Major Kusanagi, a white android, and white washing the team of scientists that made her, furthers the erasure of Japanese people and their stories. Ghost in the Shell dealt with uniquely Japanese problems based in both their culture and their international affairs. Bleaching this story is not appropriate.
Along with this, Netflix has recently announced that they are dropping a live action version of another popular Japanese anime called Death Note. Not only did they also white wash this, they also changed the names of the characters and, given our country’s current political state, they are sending a very dangerous message to their viewers. The main character was a sociopath who enjoyed killing anyone who he deemed a threat or a criminal. He ends up going crazy and pronouncing himself as a god. Making this character white and putting him into modern America, furthers the rhetoric that white people feel as though they can get away with anything, including murder, with little to no consequences. In modern Trump America, we cannot afford to popularize a story like this, given the amount of entitlement and privilege that countless white Americans exude daily.
I feel like it is time for Hollywood and popular media to open up to casting different people. We need to let Asians play Asians, Blacks play Blacks, and so on and so forth. White has been the default for too long and it has brought our society nothing but grief. The white washing of media should not be happening in 2017 because we should be better than that by now. Bleach doesn’t cleanse, it strips, and I don’t want to live in a society that is okay with striping people of quality representation and equal oppertunities. This ties into feminism because it is a multiethnic, multicultural issue that Hollywood needs to be called out for. I honestly hope that these movies tank. Hopefully, if that happens, Hollywood, along with other media outlets, will think twice about erasing someone else’s culture and presence and throw away the bleach.