'Cloud Atlas' Casting Choices Blasted As Anti-Asian

'Cloud Atlas' Casting Choices Blasted As Anti-Asian

If I had a dollar for every time some group blasted someone as racist these days … well I wouldn’t be writing this. I’d be living on a beach laughing at how little I care.

This is not the 1950s. Blatant segregation is mostly a thing of the past, and the majority of Americans could care less if you are Asian, African American, whatever. It matters so little to most people, that these groups that supposedly “fight” racism in the media and the world make sure these racial lines will never be conquered.

Real racists now get little focus because the world spends so much time blasting people they claim are “racist” or “sexist” for as little as a trumped up “dog whistle” comment. You want real racism? Get a history book.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (imagine that job) has blasted the new, ambitious film “Cloud Atlas” for being anti-Asian. In the film, multiple roles of Asians are portrayed by white and African American actors in apparently pretty poor make-up:

“It appears that to turn white and black actors into Asian characters, the make-up artists believed theyonly had to change their eyes, not their facial structure andcomplexion,” said Guy Aoki, MANAA’s founding president.

The directors have dutifully explained they cast a group of actors in multiple roles through the centuries in order to convey the continuity of souls. Groups like MANAA have no time for artistic conversations. In fact, Aoka claims there was a double standard when it came to the treatment of Asians versus African Americans:

“You have to ask yourself: Would the directors have used black face on awhite actor to play Gyasi’s role?” asked Aoki, referring to David Gyasi,the freed slave in the film. “I don’t think so: That would haveoutraged African American viewers. But badly done yellowface is stillOK.” 

Maybe he has a point. I have not seen the film, so I cannot comment on the merit of certain actors playing certain roles. In “Cloud Atlas,” Jim Sturgess portrays a heroic role where he is meant to be Asian. This was the main role that MANAA took concern with:

Cloud Atlas missed a great opportunity. The Korea story’sprotagonist is an Asian man–an action hero who defies the odds andholds off armies of attackers,” Mr. Aoki said. “He’s the one who liberates [a clone played by actress] Doona Baefrom her repressive life and encourages her to join the resistanceagainst the government. It would have been a great, stereotype-bustingrole for an Asian-American actor to play, as Asian-American men aren’tallowed to be dynamic or heroic very often.”

Again, I will not defend the film’s use of a white actor nor will I discount it.

But I will discount pretty much anything a group like MANAA says for this reason: There is not a large part of me that will simply accept that the Wachowski siblings, Tom Twyker, the producers of “Atlas” or the film’s stars are somehow bigoted or racist towards Asian-American actors. They obviously saw artistic merit in what they were doing, so why can’t it be left at that? 

By so often accusing others of racism in this country, we have diminished the very meaning of the word. How about we start focusing on the true racists and hateful people in this country? Instead, we end up focusing on well-intentioned filmmakers who have to apologize for absolutely anything and everything certain groups “claim” is offensive, racist, etc. Hence why this country will never move beyond true bigotry and racism. It’s political correctness, people. It’s here to stay. 

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