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.