Emma Stone isn’t part Asian. She’s not remotely Asian as far as I can tell. A trip to Wikipedia informs me that Stone is in fact of Swedish, Dutch (German), English, Scottish, and Irish descent. In other words, Emma is about as European as the Euro Cup.
Why on Earth would Director Cameron Crowe look at this whiter than white actress and say, “I need a part-Asian lead opposite Bradley Cooper in Aloha. You’ll do fine!” Crowe’s decision to try to pass off Emma Stone as of Asian descent rather than casting an Asian or part-Asian actress in her role has caused tremendous controversy. The “Emma Stone as an Asian” backlash is only the tip of the racist iceberg that is Aloha.
Aloha and Emma Stone are part of a systematic problem in Hollywood. That problem is the blatant erasure of people of color from roles and even the background scenery of movies — all to cater to a false reality where practically everyone is white. To do this in Hawaii, where the majority of the population does not identify as of European descent, is shockingly inappropriate.
Media Action Network for Asian Americans President Guy Aoki harshly criticized the Cameron Crowe flick.
“Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the [Hawaiian] population.” said Aoki, “[From] watching this film, you’d think they made up 99 percent!”
“In a Twitter chat with IMDb, Aloha writer/director Cameron Crowe said he had ‘family roots in Hawaii’ and that ‘I wanted to dig deeper into the real story of Hawaii.’
‘Yet somehow, in the end,’ Aoki points out. ‘Crowe hired at least 30 white actors, 5 actors to play Afghans, and the biggest roles for APIs were ‘Indian pedestrian,’ ‘upscale Japanese tourist,’ and ‘upscale restaurant guests.’
They didn’t even have names.
How can you educate your audience to the ‘rich history’ of Hawaii by using mostly white people and excluding the majority of the people who live there, [the Asian American/Pacific Islanders] who helped build that history?”
What’s so educational about trying to pretend that Emma Stone is an Asian woman? There are so few roles for Asians and other non-white actors and actresses as it is. Would it really have hurt Aloha to cast a non-white woman as a lead? Apparently white-washing didn’t help the Cameron Crowe movie at all. It’s been widely panned and earned an abysmal 18 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) May 29, 2015
Perhaps someday Crowe will reflect casting Emma Stone as part-Asian and his decision to whitewash Hawaii and apologize for this movie. We can only hope the continued failure of tone-deaf, racially problematic movies like this will help certain people in Hollywood get the message: People are no longer tolerant of blatantly racist movies and unapologetic white-washing.
Have you seen Aloha? What did you think of the decision to cast Emma Stone as a part-Asian woman? Share your sentiments below!
[Image Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]