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Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Can you expand on this? Because it looks like you are saying that USA, UK and Sweden have one monoculture and I don't think that's what you are meaning.

    Can you expand on this? I think I understand but I'm not certain and I would not want to misunderstand your meaning.

    I think you misunderstand what I'm confused over, I fully understand that actors may not want to play characters of a certain background and find it objectionable when they are cast for those roles, what I'm confused over is that people consider it something completely wrong that a actor who's parents/grandparents come from one country is playing a character whose parents/grandparents come from another, neighbouring, country if the actor has no problem with it.


    Just wondering, how has it "been particularly weird" since man SW names give you no clue what the person looks like and people can be named after clothing items in non-English, have pun based names or real life ones with a twist.

    I don't feel that Emmanuel sounds more Latino than most -el names (but that's just me), and I would not say that it's more strange than any other time RL-like names are used like Luka, Jack or Lars, but that's just my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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  2. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    No one said it was wrong if the actor is ok with it, that was not something stated on this thread, everyone has said it is complicated and not hard and fast. But for the record I do think it can still be problematic cause the person of that nationality who is now no getting that role has a right to complain, and people of that ethnicity have a right to be miffed that their culture is being worn like a video game skin.

    Also you really are missing the first point colossally, but to put it even more simply, it is the premise of this entire thread: People like myself "ie white people" can pass in just about any place in the UK, US, or Sweden without being treated as an outsider and can easily not face disadvantages based on the color of my skin. I can be Italian, or irish, or French and I would be more or less able to have my culture not be question, and would not be treated as an outsider or commodity the way a lot of minorities feel in these countries. I seriously don't know how much more I can expand on it beyond my prior advice, talk to people of color about their experiences!!

    A French person in the US or Sweden is not treated as a commodity in the way an Asian person is, and it is easier for a French person in those countries to find themselves or their culture represented in media. That cannot be said for someone from say Laos. They see so little representation in general and when there is Asian representation they are thrown into a pot with all the other groups. You could easily assimilate and be accepted in the US, and probably not ever have to explain you are from Sweden unless someone heard your accent; and if people knew you were Swedish you would likely still be treated like any other white person in the community. Having been friends with a Swedish exchange student I can say I didn't think twice about his nationality or feel like he was an outsider.

    This has nothing to do with Sweden, UK, and US being a monolithic culture, you read like only every third word of that quote? It has nothing to do with monoliths, it has to do with assimilation and being able to be treated like you belong. People who came over more recently but are white, are given an easier acceptance than those who may have been in the states for 4 generations.

    You as a Swede in America are not gonna have the same experience someone of Korean decent will. This has NOTHING to do with cultural differences between the UK and Sweden vs Japan and China; you keep bringing it back to that but no one cares about the differences between Sweden and the UK. Swedes have not been freaking pushed into ghettos in Belgium cause the Finish had been buddies with the Nazis. But guess what happened to all Japanese Americans? they got put in camps, and other Asians got treated with suspicion and ridicule.

    You really wanna know the reason why what you mistake as someone describing the UK and US as a monolith is so important to this? My grandfathers both left Italy post Mussolini's rise to power, and shortly after WW2, one of them had family who actually came over during the war to work to make some money before heading back. They got to do that, they did not face hassles. If refugees from China came over as the Japanese that the American public hated so much actually butchered their families, they got treated like trash for being Asian. Despite the fact that the Japanese didn't kill US civilians but they murdered millions of Chinese ones, the American public welcomed Italian civilians during and after the war with open arms. Hell we only had one immigration act for over the first century of our country, literally called the "Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882". This set the form for the "National Origins Formula" which expressly limited immigration from non Northwestern European nations, particularly in Asia given the 1924 Asian Exclusion Act.

    But to my anecdote, my maternal grandfather came over easily from italy, and right away was drafted to fight in Korea. So as one of the "acceptable" immigrants he was made like all the other Americans to do their "civic duty" to die for "us" (us being white americans let's be real about who the US army was meant to serve the interests of) and in the process butcher Asians because they dared be Socialist and dared not follow our interests. So people who are accepted ethnicities went over and caused enough damage that thousands of people who technically were barred from immigrating had to be specially given the chance to come over as refugees since we blew their homes up. And still they faced systemic racism and whatnot.

    It is not about being a monolith, it is that inherently you get welcomed into the bloc even IF you are more different compared to Americans than a Japanese person is culturally, or than a Korean is to a Vietnamese person is. It is almost as if there is a systemic reason as to why people from this very different western cultures accept each other way more than they do people from Asia, or even South America, or even their own citizens with some....difference about them that I just can't put my finger on.

    It is racism: the answer is that is was and is racism. You are more accepted and allowed to retain your Swedish culture at the same time if you came here, but the same is not true for people of color. When there is an attempt at diversity it only allots for limited amounts and lumps them together. You as a Swede do not need to be actively lifted up to be given a fair shot in the US the way people of Asian decent do. They faced centuries of systemic oppression in this country and thus systemic issues that attempt to put them down to this day. Recognizing them is important in a distinct way that is not needed for Swedes or Brits.

    I really don't want to have to explain how Yellow Peril impacted things and still does, we had this argument before.
     
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  3. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Spokesman of SWTV star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Most of your post, but this one in particular, perfectly captured by King of the Hill-

    See Gamiel, the character in question barely has an accent and has lived in America since he was a young adult, but because of the way he looks many white people will question where he's really from, and with the less informed ones they'll especially try to pigeonhole him, rather than just accepting that he's basically American. And that'll be the same for many minorities in predominately white countries. There might be some nuances to cultural acceptance between different white European peoples, but it's really irrelevant to the experience of accepting or not accepting non-whites all over the world.
     
  4. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    That's spooky given Laos has been my running example. There's also that scene in First Avenger that I do kinda dislike cause it lampshades Cap ignoring internment camps, but the "I'm from Toledo" thing was nice
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  5. Blackhole E Snoke

    Blackhole E Snoke Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    In that situation the person who got the role would have almost certainly been chosen because they were the better actor. The worse actor by complaining would be asking to be chosen instead just because they are from the correct country for the role. Would that not be countryist? And in turn racist as white actors are not limited to playing characters from the same country as them, while the asian actor is?
     
  6. Vthuil

    Vthuil Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Uh, apart from anything else, I feel like the "better actor" argument is one that exists a lot more in discussions than in reality.
     
  7. Jeff_Ferguson

    Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 15, 2006
    If "countryist" is a thing, it certainly doesn't mean that.
     
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  8. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Yeah we have pretty roundly dispelled all the "well they are just the best actor for the part" things. Plus this has less to even do with casting itself, and more to do with the general fact that Asian roles are generically Asian or just Chinese or Japanese. There are exceptions, but as some examples in this threat have shown; those come from actors actually asking to have their unique heritage be a part of the character.
     
  9. Blackhole E Snoke

    Blackhole E Snoke Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    It's a slang word for nationality discrimination. It is definitely a thing.
     
  10. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    To the extent "the best actor for the role" means anything real, it's about personality and chemistry and, yes, look, at least as much as it's about basic acting talent. If you're good enough to get into an audition for a mainstream movie or TV role you're almost certainly talented enough to do it--whether you get chosen or not is more about whether they think you "feel" right, and that feeling by definition involves all sorts of unconscious biases. It's a creative field and that's not even entirely unreasonable, but again, if you're going to be making decisions that drastically impact real people's careers there's a responsibility to at least educate yourself about the waters you're swimming in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  11. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    @Daneira did, or at least formulated it in such way that I read it in as such:
    And all the internet discussions about this that I have seen have been about how it is wrong that an actor who's parents/grandparents come from one country is playing a character whose parents/grandparents come from another nearby country, with no comment about what the actor thinks.

    Also it seems that we have been talking over each other since I have been constantly debating from the perspective that the possible actors had no problems with playing a character from a different background - sorry that I was not clear about that, my mistake - while I take it now that you have been debating from the perspective that the possible actors had problems with playing a character from a different background. Am I correct here?


    If that's what you originally meant to say so did you do it in a very round about way to me. And there I think we have the problem with our discussion @vncredleader , I think we are functioning on different wavelength since we seems to be talking above each other and misunderstanding each other. You are writing stuff that I don't understand what you mean and you misunderstand what I'm asking you about since when you try to answer my questions do you talk about the things I have understood.

    I think it best that when we interact from now in discussions that we both are very clear with what we mean so we don't have this frustration from each other when the other one don't understand. What do you think about that?
     
  12. Jeff_Ferguson

    Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 15, 2006
    Do we need to drag this discussion on for another three pages? vnc keeps answering your questions and you keep asking the same questions again with slightly different wording. If you don't understand what he means, there are only so many ways he can explain it. Also regarding actors not having problems with it: I think there are surprisingly few actors who really have the freedom and privilege to refuse roles left and right (and not many of them are Asian-American). I really doubt that Linda Park, for example, had the clout/job security/money to refuse a steady four-year job on Enterprise because her character was Japanese. There's only so far an actor who's hungry for work can fight.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  13. Xammer

    Xammer Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jan 31, 2009
    I guess people tend to think of actors as being financially secure.
     
  14. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    Substantially less so if they're still going to casting calls.
     
  15. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Can't say I'm that interested in it (even if I still feel my original have not really gotten a answer), I probably find it as frustrating as you do that we are misunderstanding each other. I don't find it fun that people misunderstand my questions and explain stuff that I did not ask about, leading me to try to find out where the misunderstanding was created and trying to restating my question in a clearer way (which I seems bad at since I'm still misunderstood).

    You have to remember that English is my second language and despite my overall "mastery" of it when it comes to reading and writing (thank the Force for spell-check programs) do I still miss many subtleties, turn-of-phrases and when people are using words in a different way then the one I have learned they mean,* and I'm an alien to US's cultures and discourses**, for all my attempts to understand it. That if anything lead me be uncertain if I have understood right when we are talking about this kind of thing, which make me asking for clarifications when people are formulating themselves in ways that I can read more than one way. That some of you use universal terminology when you are just talking about US or the Western-world also confuses me. I'm not attempting to be antagonistic or contrarian for contrarian's sake, I'm just trying to understand and ask follow up questions when I'm confused or don't understand and I'm sorry that I don't formulate myself better so people don't misunderstand me [face_peace]
    * my Asperger's probably don't help here
    ** the same goes for UK (even if I feel I understand those ones a bit more) and any other part of the English-speaking world

    But is that not really different things? Just because you have little-to-nothing to say about the character you play don't automatically means that you have problem with the characters origin/background/personality, even if I'm certain that many non-star actors do take roles they don't really like parts of (or even whole) to get by.


    [face_peace]
     
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  16. Lucillalin

    Lucillalin Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Jan 10, 2016
    I'm not even sure how this is relevant in fantasy/scifi movies, but in other genres, we Europeans are not interchangeable, even if rest of the world cannot tell us apart that much. I'm Finnish and if in a Hollywood film a Russian actor was chosen to play a Finnish character, well, that would piss off a lot of Finns. For me it would depend on the character itself, if it was a well done Finnish character I wouldn't really care if the actor was some other heritage. If it was a horribly done stereotype of worst Finnish national traits, played by a Russian actor, I'd definitely not watch the film.

    When living in US for awhile I was asked all the time where I was from. I was -greeted- by "oh hey, so where are you from" when entering places, which at the time I thought was weird as I was a Finnish girl in a town with strong Nordic heritage.

    Later working in tourism industry in London I noticed that different nationalities and cultures have different body language, so the way I entered the building (avoiding eye contact, sneaking by the wall as Finns do not to bother anyone) revealed me as foreigner on the spot, even that I didn't look different.

    For the rest of the world btw all the 'Muricans are the same, I never thought when watching Star Wars back in the day that Han Solo and Lando were that different because of their race. They seemed similar to be. Same in real life when serving American tourists - they come all shades, shapes and sizes but behave in the same way (in a friendly way, I love them!) So I know right now Americans are trying to build whole identities based on race, but for outsiders it doesn't really matter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  17. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Sure, but this is about internal stuff not outsider views. We can so easily see an East Asian character as outsiders and not care, but for someone who never gets represented, for an actor who is never given the chance to play their own nationality, THAT matters. It matters to them, cause the outsider view is not as important as the view of the person who is already disadvantaged in terms of roles and representation
     
  18. CooperTFN

    CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus star 6 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 1999
    I mean, they certainly take different forms in different cultures but I’m pretty sure racial biases aren’t exclusive to America.
     
  19. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    I don't think that @Lucillalin meant that other cultures don't have racial biases.
     
  20. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
     
  21. Blackhole E Snoke

    Blackhole E Snoke Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    @vncredleader :confused:
    What is your point there? Who are you laughing at and why? Kind of childish of you there imo.
    @Gamiel is right, your posts are never easy to understand what you mean.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  22. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    I misread it as he meant other cultures (everyone but America) does not have racial biases. However the laughter still stands to the original point and the defense of it cause......no we are not uniquely obsessed with race. Like the charge that we build whole identities on race is utterly absurd and hollow seeing as Europe has the tendency to be just as if not more fixated on ethnicity and national distinctions.

    Also childish? I have given long post after long post, put all kinds of research in, and all but one or two people don't get it and respond essentially asking irrelevant stuff was already addressed and dismissed by the communities in question. I am not obligated to pander race studies to the mindset of people who consistently ignore the POV of the groups in question or the actual content of everyone's arguments. I mean EVERYONE else understood what my prior posts meant, I often put links and citations. But sure I'm the one who is being childish. Or IDK maybe yinz have a specific understanding of things that you don't wanna diverge from so when asked to approach topics from an outside perspective, the insular one is defaulted back to.

    Europeans attitudes towards other Europeans is so utterly unimportant to the topic of casting for East Asians. They are different beasts and not relevant to one another in this case. That was explained again and again. There is a reason why Jeff keeps responding with a bit of one of my earlier posts, cause there is no point in re litigating what 90% of people here determine to be the consensus about casting and ethnicity.

    There are only so many ways I can say "Europeans being cast as other Europeans does not reflect the same social pressures and realities faced by East Asians being cast as East Asians. This has nothing to do with idiotic broad statements about how Americans view race, mostly cause plenty of people from East Asia are the ones to draw these distinctions in the first place and that's why it is so relevant to their American or UK kin.

    How a Swede feels about a Frenchman being cast as British is not the same as how East Asians feel about the situation of what a Korean actor faces being typecast as Japanese. Not everything is about European POV and finding a white equivalent.
     
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  23. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    I think @Blackhole E Snoke was only referring to your gif post just above as "Kind of childish", not your other posts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  24. Blackhole E Snoke

    Blackhole E Snoke Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    That is correct.
    @vncredleader you have again misunderstood. I did NOT say your written posts are childish. I said they are difficult to understand. If I understood you correctly, you think that say an Austrian actor that gets cast often in hollywood as a German, is not comparable to a Korean actor that gets work playing a Japanese because people in america often automatically see asian people as Chinese or Japanese. Right? Or are you talking about american actors that are asian?

    I don't really see the issue personally. It is an actors job to portray another person, real or fictional, not represent themself and their race or nationality. If a Korean actor wants to play a korean character, they can probably find a job in Korea. It seems bizarre to me, that you think a Korean actor should be entitled to play Korean characters in another country 's movies. And equally strange that a Korean viewer would get angry that a Korean actor had to act as a Japanese to get a part, or that a Japanese viewer would get upset that a Korean actor is playing a Japanese character.
     
  25. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Again these are all just repeated rhetorical questions about concepts that have been explained again and again. If someone is talking about a language with other people who speak it, and you intersect with questions that have to do with the grammatical rules of an entirely different language, then get your reply, and then continue to ask the same questions; that is not the fault of every one else for being hard to understand, it is your own fault. Yinz are more confusing than anyone else here, essentially asking to re-litigate basic principles of this thread that have been aptly put again and again.

    The material conditions are different, the examples are not the same, "it is just acting you are always playing a role" is not an argument, and "but what about white european's feelings" is so not important to this convo. I am so done, I pour my heart into reply after reply, using examples and personal experience and all you can do is essentially make nonsensical responses asking the same question that have just been answered. If you don't agree with the basic concepts of this thread and the idea that Ignorance is indeed bias, fine, but don't act all surprised that some of us don't feel like explaining it to you again and again and again. it is frivolous and hollow. Gbye
     
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