Matt Damon, The Great Wall, and the so-called Whitewashing

NE2gJB9KB7cQ57_1_bI can’t describe this feeling but while I agree that Hollywood should stop perpetuating the “white savior complex” in movies, I am pleased that more discussion is generated about how this is tiring. Asian Americans are having more of a voice as time goes on and it’s very refreshing to see. I disagree with some Asian activists at times on certain topics, but I am with them on this issue. And despite whether I am agreeing here or disagreeing there, I am happy that Asian Americans such as Constance Wu are speaking up and hope to see more of it.

Growing up in America, I can honestly say that the media has had an effect on me, especially the way I viewed my race and ethnicity. Whenever I thought of an executive, I thought of a white man. Whenever I thought of a hero, I thought of a white man. Whenever I thought of a romantic lead, I thought of anything but an Asian man. And when I did think of an Asian man, I would think to myself, “No that is weird.” So how do those thoughts connect to Matt’s film? For one, the director is Chinese. I doubt he knows about race relations in America, particularly concerning Asian Americans. So when he said something along the lines of “I’m just respecting Hollywood” that tells me that he subconsciously thinks that a Caucasian actor ideal out of all the other races. Another, Matt is put in a lead role where he is defending Ancient China. I understand if this was England or Scottland, but ancient China? I’m sorry, I can’t cosign.

I’ve come to a point where I am above what media influences. So like I’ve expressed in this post, I am grateful that Asian Americans are speaking up and I hope in the future, I do see Asians represented in positive and major roles (along with other minorities). Despite all that is going on, we have to be the ones who build the self-esteem of our minority children at the end of the day. We need to show them that they are as valuable despite being surrounded by Eurocentric beauty standards that subliminally tell us that white is the ideal standard. Don’t me wrong, white is beautiful, but so is every other color and we need our external forces such as media telling our nonwhite children that.

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