When it comes to representation in Hollywood, Asian actors and actresses still make up only one percent of Hollywood’s leading roles. Nuanced, stereotype-busting characters like Lane Kim in Gilmore Girls and Josh Chan in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend stand apart as outliers from the sweeping whitewashing and cliched, damaging portrayals of Asians in Hollywood.
Paste Magazine recently published an article that brought this conversation to the forefront of peoples’ feeds again and included a quote from an anonymous casting director too absurd not to be real:
“I work with a lot of different people, and Asians are a challenge to cast because most casting directors feel as though they’re not very expressive. They’re very shut down in their emotions… If it’s a look thing for business where they come in they’re at a computer or if they’re like a scientist or something like that, they’ll do that; but if it’s something were they really have to act and get some kind of performance out of, it’s a challenge.”
In response to the racist (and, of course, untrue) quote, Twitter users have been taking to the platform with the #ExpressiveAsians hashtag to upload irate selfies, photos of their favorite Asian actors, and gifs showing a full range of emotions — along with their unimpressed response to the casual racism of Hollywood.
Twitter user Maurene Goo lead the charge, calling for a hashtag to combat this harmful stereotype.
The myth that Asians are unexpressive is deeply ingrained in racism and even has ties to World War II methods to dehumanize Japanese Americans in internment camps. Perpetuating that myth in a world in which 77 percent of casting calls specify a white actor is more than harmful — it’s racist. Hollywood needs to do better, and soon.