An Open Letter to Racebending.com Detractors
By Michael Le
If 55% of movie tickets are being bought by women now, even when films are hardly marketed to them, how much money could Hollywood make if they started focusing more on this demographic?
And just as Hollywood holds onto this bias toward male movie-goers, so too are they stuck on this notion that actors of color can’t carry film. The television industry is catching up: look at the big-hitters recently. You have successful programs like Lost, Glee, and Community with very diverse casts. You have children’s programming like Ni Hao Kai Lan and Dora the Explorer.
And when audiences have a choice of who they want to watch? You only have to look at the success of Asian American performers in reality television like America’s Best Dance Crew. On YouTube, the single most successful star is Japanese American. When audiences have a choice and a vote and a say in what they want to watch–they’re just as happy to choose Asian American as white American.
So the message to Hollywood is: we know that you’ve always used Caucasian actors for almost every big role. You’re used to it. But the Western world is changing. We have a biracial African American president and a Muslim Miss USA.
To production companies out there: tap into the audiences that your competitors are ignoring! Americans care about seeing media that reflects the world we truly live in. Half of Racebending.com supporters are Caucasian–because audiences can relate to transforming robots, giant blue aliens, kung fu pandas. And yes, even to Asian faces.
Michael was too polite to say it, but I'm not. Hollywood isn't casting white actors because they're marketable or profitable. It's casting them because the system is racially biased.
For more on casting and The Last Airbender, see Minorities Aren't Quite American and Dismissing the Pro-Airbender Arguments. For more on casting in general, see Hollywood's Cultural Conservatism and Indians Hold Steady at 0.3%.
Below: It's considered one of the worst movies ever, but it stars white people, so it's okay. When it flops, Hollywood's response is to do more of the same, not to try movies starring minorities.