Whitewashing the Movies: Asian Erasure and White Subjectivity in U.S. Film Culture
by David C Oh
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-1-9788-0863-8 | Paper: 978-1-9788-0862-1 | eISBN: 978-1-9788-0865-2

Whitewashing the Movies addresses the popular practice of excluding Asian actors from playing Asian characters in film. Media activists and critics have denounced contemporary decisions to cast White actors to play Asians and Asian Americans in movies such as Ghost in the Shell and Aloha. The purpose of this book is to apply the concept of “whitewashing” in stories that privilege White identities at the expense of Asian/American stories and characters. To understand whitewashing across various contexts, the book analyzes films produced in Hollywood, Asian American independent production, and US-China co-productions. Through the analysis, the book examines the ways in which whitewashing matters in the project of Whiteness and White racial hegemony. The book contributes to contemporary understanding of mediated representations of race by theorizing whitewashing, contributing to studies of Whiteness in media studies, and producing a counter-imagination of Asian/American representation in Asian-centered stories.

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