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Date: 2009-01-18 03:32 am (UTC)
Ah, I'm glad you brought up representation, because I think that's exactly what's at stake here. The issue of representation here I think lies at the very heart of both sides of this argument, right? On the one hand, they're asking non-Asian actors to represent ostensibly Asian characters (because I still do not identify the characters themselves as any specific race or ethnicity, but whatever), which denies Asian actors the right to self-representation. On the other hand, if Asians were to take these roles, they still wouldn't be representing Asians, but rather a fictionalized version of Asians. It's like the controversy over the casting of a white actor in yellowface as the Asian male lead in Miss Saigon: their complaints lay with the fact that Asians were not allowed to represent themselves, and not with the actual racist content of the play itself. Only once they were allowed to play themselves did they begin to realize the problems in prescribing to that inaccurate representation.

That's the same thing I think is at stake here, the difference being: the precedence has already been set. I think we should be analyzing why these (again ostensibly) Asian roles would not necessarily allow Asians true self-representation.

Of course I think Asians should be cast in more leading roles and in more productions. That's not what I think the issue here. Rather, I think the issue is what roles Asian actors should be taking, and personally I don't think these roles are right.
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