The hashtag #whitewashedOUT took over Twitter yesterday (May 3) as many Asian Americans, outraged by two controversial recent instances of White performers being cast in originally Asian roles, called out Hollywood’s historic erasure of Asian and Asian-American characters.
Actress and comedian Margaret Cho teamed up with The Nerds Of Color‘s Keith Chow and We Need Diverse Books‘ Ellen Oh, to launch the hashtag via a Twitter chat. The campaign coincides with the beginning of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Participants are using the hashtag to clap back at recent instances of Asian characters being written out of or minimized in Hollywood plots:
#whitewashedOUT means the continued stereotype of the unattractive Asian male, the submissive Asian woman, the tiger mom, etc.
— Ellen Oh (@ElloEllenOh) May 3, 2016
Not a sidekick. Not a sidechick. #whitewashedOUT
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) May 3, 2016
Was asked to teach white actors how to do "Asian" make-up for a show bc they didn’t cast AAPI. I refused #whitewashedOUT
— Thien-Kim Lam (@thienkim) May 3, 2016
When I look for a movie to watch with the family, I can rarely find any Asian Am characters #whitewashedOUT
— Grace Hwang Lynch (@HapaMamaGrace) May 3, 2016
As an Asian Virginian, I actually wish there were MORE narratives about being AAPI in the South. #whitewashedOUT https://t.co/mK2Z5yZjgY
— Keith Chow (@the_real_chow) May 3, 2016
White actors are not simply better than Minorities. I know so many who should win awards for pretending to like white people #whitewashedOUT
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) May 3, 2016
#whitewashedOUT bc folks are STILL surprised we’re mad they cast Scarlett Johansson & Tilda Swinton in Asian roles just 1 year after Aloha
— Hana Maruyama (@hcmaruyama) May 3, 2016
#ScarJo is playing the Major in Ghost in the Shell. The character’s original name? Motoko Kusanagi #whitewashedOUThttps://t.co/0atGFwhNHZ
— NBC Asian America (@NBCAsianAmerica) May 3, 2016
Two recent examples stood out: Scarlett Johansson’s "Ghost in the Shell" role as an originally Japanese character and Tilda Swinton’s casting in Marvel’s "Doctor Strange" in a role originally written as a Tibetan man (the latter of which George Takei lambasted this weekend).