Media · Race · RANTS!

Whitewashing and Representation


So carrying on with the topic of representation, I’d like to talk about media representation of race and whitewashing.

Starting with representation. As I’ve made clear in my post two weeks ago, I don’t care much for representation- that’s in the workplace and also in the media. I grew up around a lot of white people and watched a lot of media containing mostly white people. White people were always the main characters, black people and other races often side characters. Yes, there was an obvious bias, and I’m sure there’s still one now, but it makes sense because I live in the UK and I consume a lot of media from the US, both of which are white majority countries! Imagine going to Nigeria and complaining about how there’s too many black people and not enough white people in Nigerian media. People would laugh at you!

Black people and other minorities are getting a lot more representation now. I’d say it’s a good thing. I think it’s nice to learn about other cultures and sometime it is nice to see your own culture and your own people and laugh about it and point out how true it is.

I don’t really like it when it’s forced though. Sometimes you can sense when it’s shoving diversity down your throat. Now there’s nothing wrong about diversity, but it can’t get in the way of the show (or whatever media) being entertaining. I don’t see this much in tv shows (as I don’t tend to watch tv) but I see it a lot in online media. Webcomics and such.

It also kinda pisses me off. Just a little. It’s like being thrown a bone you never asked for because you are a ‘poor defenceless minority’ who needs the white folk to protect your little fee-fees. I don’t need the representation- I just need the entertainment, thank you very much.

Now onto white washing.

Apparently, there’s more than one definition of whitewashing (I’m talking about those to do with race), but in this post I’m going to take one:

‘White people playing characters ‘of colour’

(I don’t get why people use this phrase- people of colour sounds like ‘coloured people’ which I’m sure is considered racist, or at least politically incorrect. I personally don’t care about either)

Whitewashing is a different issue. This is white people taking a role that was meant for a racial minority. I can see why this is an issue. Some people claim white actors are taking jobs from POC actors who struggle to get roles in the first place. My main issue is that the story is not accurate and I think it’s only fair to follow the original creator’s wishes and cast someone who will greatly resemble that character. It’s even worse when they change aspects of the character to fit in with the fact that they now are white. I believe that unless it’s really hard to find a good actor of that race to play that role, the casting directors are just being lazy.

One case of whitewashing I particularly hate is live action adaptations of anime by the US. America, can you please stop making adaptations of anime? It’s not even so much that it’s ‘whitewashing’, it’s more that it’s ‘westernwashing’. Anime’s kinda sacred to me and I don’t want America ruining it for me. English dubs are bad enough! God I took one look at the Death Note trailer and felt like throwing up. *shivers*

It’s not even close to the series. It’s probably going to brush past all the important things in the anime that made me love it so much. I mean American Light has a female partner in crime. In the original series there is Amane Misa who is sort of like that, but not in the way they’re portraying her. And I think L is black? Like no. Don’t ‘blackwash’ to reach some dumb diversity quota. How about use Japanese actors? Because they are in FUCKING JAPAN (or at least they were supposed to be- it seems this movie is based in the states). At least black L sits like L. They got one thing right at least.

And don’t even get me started on Ryuk! Yes, Ryuk looks pretty scary but he still adds comedy to the series. He’s the easy-going, apple-loving Shinigami we all know and love. The trailer makes him out to be some kind of sewer monster lurking in the background. Light looks like a joke. He’s not the Light I know. I don’t even know if they use the same names tbh.

God the whole thing REEKS Hollywood.

But even though I feel this way, I’m not actually going to try to stop westerners from making adaptations. Rather… I’ll just not watch them. I mean, I’ll look at them and tut, maybe shake my head a little, but that’s just it. It’s not a big deal.

Moving on from anime…

Now there’s also the fact that some adaptation are meant to have a twist, for example, that Annie movie with a black Annie instead of a white Annie. I can accept that. I probably won’t watch or like it (though I did watch and like the Annie remake) but that’s the directors adding their own little touch to it. It’s deliberate and important to the new story…

Even if it is distasteful…

If I’m being honest, I hate remakes like this. I didn’t bother with the new Ghostbusters movie and I’m sure I wouldn’t like the new Lord of the Flies remake with an all female cast. Unless it’s some kind of cringy parody. I don’t mind a little cringe.

So that’s all I have to say about this subject right now. Sorry if this post seems all over the place. Race and whitewashing isn’t something I think of often, but I thought it was a good time to talk about it.

Hope this post was beneficial or entertaining in some way and I’ll see you in the next post.



This is a particularly bad case of whitewashing- even if AtLA was an American show. I mean… Katara is quite dark… so why pick the whitest girl I’ve ever seen??? [Image from this Colourlines Article]




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s