Hollywood has a consistent habit of giving roles to Caucasian actors for characters meant to play a different race. This is specifically true for Asian roles that are being subject to a term tagged as “whitewashing” — and people are finally starting to get mad about it.

 

Steven Yeun is a Korean-American actor who currently plays the character, Glenn Rhee, on the popular television show, “The Walking Dead.” Yeun has been speaking out against the distinct existence of white supremacy in Hollywood. The actor himself has struggled to find roles for the sole reason that he is an Asian actor.

 

In an interview that Yeun did with “The Wrap,” he described his experience:

“People ask, ‘So, how are the roles now? You must be getting so many.’ And it’s like, I don’t know if you know, but I’m Asian still. It’s not a complaint, that’s just how it is now, and I have to forge my own path through it and see that through. I think that if I had not been Asian, I probably would have a whole plethora of roles, at least to audition for, but it’s just not what has been written.”

 

(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

Though Yeun finds it difficult to find roles for Asian actors, the roles he has played seem to hold specific stereotypes, such as playing Michael Pitt’s nerdy sidekick in the film, “I Origins.” Other examples of Hollywood using Asian cliches include Long Duk Dong in “Sixteen Candles” and  Mr. Yunioshi from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” — who was actually played by Mickey Rooney, a Caucasian actor made up to look of Japanese ethnicity.

 

Stereotypes are essentially unavoidable when a story is being told, like in film. However, the issue isn’t that stereotypes are being used, but that negative Asian stereotypes are basically the only Asian themes Hollywood uses in films and in television.

 

Yeun realizes this, and he has begun to produce his own material in hopes to create better roles for Asian actors. He ended the interview with:

“We’ve been working on some comedy stuff and in cartoon form, as well. And then there are some film ideas that have always been batting around my head. I just want to definitely stretch that muscle, because you can’t just wait for other people to give it to you.”

What do you think about white supremacy in Hollywood? What are some other examples that you know of? Tweet me @julimiller97 with your thoughts!