It’s not as noticeable as a seen actor, but as somebody who have a strong attraction to auditory input, I can’t help but notice that a lot of characters of colour are voiced by white people, and as always, it’s rarely the other way around.
I started thinking about this while browsing the cast list for Avatar: The Last Airbender, which as tumblr is likely well aware, was adapted into The Last Airbender, which got a lot of flack for whitewashing all three members of the main cast. But there are also very few people of colour voicing these characters on the original cartoon. Indeed, Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph, Ozai, Mai, Ty Lee, Azula, and Iroh’s second voice actor are all white, or white-appearing if heritage information could not be found. (I apologize if any of them identify as another race; some had very little information available save for a picture). Which leaves Suki, Zuko, and Iroh’s first voice actor as the only PoC on the main cast.
Other recurring characters had about the same numbers. Zhao was even voiced by one of my favourite actors, Jason Isaacs (whom you might know as Lucius Malfoy, from the Harry Potter films). Though hard to confirm information on all of the voice actors, the only two minor recurring characters with voice actors of colour I could find were Monk Gyatso’s and the Cabbage Merchant’s. Yes, the dude with the cabbages. Jet and Yue’s voice actors both seem to be white. The rest I can’t confirm. And, presuming the main cast of Korra consists of Tenzin, Korra, Mako, and Bolin, the same seems to be true of the sequel series, Legend of Korra.
It’s the same in other mediums. More with Asian characters, but I’ve seen black characters voiced by white actors more than a few times, enough times to warrant a raised eyebrow. Maybe I’m just noticing nothing. Maybe it’s not important. Maybe I’m just a weirdo with an audio fetish. But I’d like to know if anyone else finds this a little less than perfect.
Why is a movie (or book, or tv show) free of all blame if you hate it or feel bad because of it, but worthy of infinite praise if it makes you feel better?
I follow waltdisneyconfessions, which is an amusing blog for Disney fans, but there are occasionally confessions that twist me the wrong way, and they are generally the ones directed at fellow ‘confessors’. In a broader sense, several confessors say things like: “[disney character] makes me feel better about my race/hair colour/forehead size/whatever” or “the lack of disney characters of my race/body size/hair colour/style makes me feel worse”. To the first one, most people are positive. Those negative tend to say something like “you shouldn’t need a movie/tv show to validate some aspect of your personality or appearance”, but they are generally the minority and are generally received with mixed response (though there are a fair few who seem to see nothing wrong with every princess being white, skinny, blonde, and perfect - problematic in itself, but not the topic of my unpopular opinion).
It’s the latter’s response that bothers me. Well, it’s the same response. You don’t need a movie to validate X, Y, Z, blah, blah, blah. But it’s the response to those that seems problematic. To take a recent example from waltdisneyconfessions, this post from a fat person confesses that they find the beauty of the disney princesses to be a reflection of their inner beauty, and they are fond of that, and it makes them sad that some people (other posters who are upset at the lack of a fat princess, presumably) don’t get that same message. The response has mostly been “fucking finally! someone smart! someone who doesn’t blame the media for how they perceive themselves!”
Another confession recently said something similar to that response: people who get depressed because of Disney movies, feel worse about themselves because of Disney movies, etc., etc. are petty, or take things too seriously. That getting a strong negative reaction from media is something dumb, something to blame the confessor for and something that they should just be able to ‘get over’. But if somebody feels better for themselves because of Disney, is made happier because of Disney, these people are to be lauded, hugged, appreciated. Disney is a hero!
This is broader than Disney of course, I merely use the example because of its prominence on the aforementioned tumblr. Media, in general. It’s okay for a movie to be something you love passionately, something that changed your life for the better, something that made you appreciate yourself, your body, your culture, whatever it may be. Something touching. But if somebody viscerally hates something, with all the passion of a hardcore fan, or if somebody feels worse about themselves because of a movie, people will tell them: “it’s just a movie, get over it.”
This idea that anyone who hates on media, feels bad because of media, becomes depressed because of media is a sad, pathetic individual while anyone who gets an equally strong, positive reaction from it is proof of the fantasticness of the media and worthy of fandom affection just genuinely bothers me. It’s going to sound harsh, but if you think that anybody who felt seriously depressed or god-forbid suicidal as a result of a book or a film is ‘sad’ or ‘pathetic’, then anyone who changed their lives, kept themselves from committing suicide, etc. as a result of a book or film is just as ‘sad’ or ‘pathetic’. I don’t think either group is. I think media is an important and often times omnipresent part of our lives. But to hold positivity on a pedestal and negativity under your boot with their face in the mud is just… it’s disgusting. It’s cruel to those people who have equally valid feelings about The Little Mermaid or whatever it is you don’t want to think of in a bad light.
I don’t know, I just read a lot of these confessions blogs and I hate this attitude.