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#1
Aziz Ansari wrote this NYT piece today on ethnicity and representation in the film/tv:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/arts/television/aziz-ansari-on-acting-race-and-hollywood.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

tldr: Hollywood needs to cast actors who are native to the ethnicity they're portraying.

Do you think it's important that they do this?

Before you say yes, consider the following comments from the article which I think have some merit:

Mr. Ansari finds it offensive for an Indian role to be played by a white actor. I understand that when people pretend to be a minority, offense is taken (except straight people in gay roles and healthy people in impaired roles).

He’s arguing that most "white" characters can just as easily be portrayed by an Indian (or other) actor, while revealing that he “had to cast an Asian actor” for a part. Why didn’t he cast Salma Hayek in that role? Does the interchangeability philosophy only apply to “white” characters? It seems offensive now to say a role was written as white, but if it’s for any other group it’s not only acceptable, but ONLY a person in that group can play it.

Another point made is that white people, who comprise the majority of our population, are over-represented. But if you watch TV in India or most other countries, you will see that the VAST majority of roles are played by their largest group. Only in the U.S. is there a clamoring to equally represent everyone. If a particular demographic comprises 1% of our population, what percent of roles should they play?

People argue that casting doesn’t matter because an actor's appearance, ethnicity, and gender are irrelevant, but only, it seems, for a traditionally “white male” role. A black James Bond is long overdue, but the reverse scenario stirs outrage; imagine Brad Pitt cast as Shaft?

I know we like to hold ourselves to a higher standard in the U.S. but it seems that it's often a double standard.


Love this guy's work. But the gray areas in his argument leave today's most culturally sensitive actors vulnerable to being (gently) ambushed by former admirers in 30 years. Can a Mexican actor play a Nicaraguan character? Can an atheist play a Muslim? Can a black French person play a black Brit? Can Charlize Theron play someone physically hideous? Can a child of Hollywood A-listers play someone who grew up dirt poor? There are countless other problematic examples, and I doubt today's answers are the same as the ones we'll have reached in 2045.


acting is about portraying a character who is necessarily different from you, the actor, in some or many ways.

why is race/ethnicity off limits?

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#2
oh god
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#3
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Aziz Ansari
That name reminds me of Asari from Mass Effect.
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#4
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oh god

indeed
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#5
Why does there need to be a black James Bond? Just make a new character.
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#6
after watching the first season of master of none (aziz ansari directed)

i'd say yes, the Indian characters play the "Indian bros" well, same with "old Asian" characters having a thick accent.

stereotypes prevail in most roles

but it's not necessary for all roles, like a super hero can be played by any person, because the character's skin color or ethnicity doesn't matter as long as they portray the character the same way (black super man same as a white super man)
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#7
"Thank you very much".
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#8
ffs aziz, he literally just did a whole episode about this with his new show, now he's just trying to milk what little time he has left in the spotlight.
#9
Quote by k.lainad
stereotypes prevail in most roles

uh... sure.

but it's not necessary for all roles, like a super hero can be played by any person, because the character's skin color or ethnicity doesn't matter as long as they portray the character the same way (black super man same as a white super man)

this though, I personally see this as best sense
A poem.
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#10
when a white person plays a role like Pocahontas my eyes roll into the back of my skull

when people take issue with a white dude replacing someone who is, in a novel, arbitrarily black, it's a bit different to that, and lacks historical significance in regards to plot. There, it's an issue of representation and I think that to dismiss it as synonymous with acting's inherent, well, falsity, is childish and myopic.

but when forced representation (tokenism) takes place it doesn't exactly sit well with me. idk, where I am, there are a lot of POC around. It's kinda meh to turn on the tv and see like 1, maybe 2 in 20 people being black. Lord knows how it is for a marginalised group who are looking for people to identify with on a more traditional cultural level. I find it a slippery slope to say "BUT WHAT IF AN ATH WANTS TO PLAY A CHRISTIAN", and wouldn't think highly of someone with such lax critical thought.

tl;dr only that first quoted comment has any historically/socially aware thought behind it.
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#11
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Why does there need to be a black James Bond? Just make a new character.
That and making Link a female in the Zelda series annoy me to no end. There's already several badass female characters in the series, why not emphasize them? Why not make a movie for Felix in 007 now that he's established as a black CIA agent and friend of Bond in the Craig series?
#12
Quote by Joshua Garcia
That name reminds me of Asari from Mass Effect.
Oh yah Josh that WAS a good game. But tali was objectively best girl.
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You lost me at "Lubricate."

I'm raw, like nature. Nature boy. Big jungle leaves are my cum rags.

Sometimes I fuck a bamboo shoot.


There's nothing left here to be saved
Just barreling dogs and barking trains
Another year lost to the blue line
#13
Why is all of this stupid bullshit suddenly appearing on UG now?

I didn't think it was culturally inappropriate for a person to represent a character of a different race in a film/media production until this article told me it was, apparently.

Does this mean that the Lion King that's been running for years in London's west end (amazing show btw) is now banned because it's culturally inappropriate for humans to dress up like lions and lionesses? Where do these SJW's draw the line and why?
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#14
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Oh yah Josh that WAS a good game. But tali was objectively best girl.

Dem feels when your actions result in the annihilation of her species and she jumps of a cliff

Liara tho
Last edited by ultimate-slash at Nov 11, 2015,
#15


I think Hamilton is a great example of this. Despite the fact that the people being portrayed were all white, the multi-ethnic cast adds to the musical rather than taking away from it.
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#16
Quote by ultimate-slash
Dem feels when your actions result in the annihilation of her species and she jumps of a cliff

Liara tho
LOL that was HILLARIOUS.

Or how about that time in the first one where you like totally put a few round in Rex and he just drops like SPLAT AHA LOL.
Quote by snipelfritz
You lost me at "Lubricate."

I'm raw, like nature. Nature boy. Big jungle leaves are my cum rags.

Sometimes I fuck a bamboo shoot.


There's nothing left here to be saved
Just barreling dogs and barking trains
Another year lost to the blue line
#17
Quote by Joshua Garcia
LOL that was HILLARIOUS.

Or how about that time in the first one where you like totally put a few round in Rex and he just drops like SPLAT AHA LOL.

#18
Quote by Joshua Garcia
LOL that was HILLARIOUS.

Or how about that time in the first one where you like totally put a few round in Rex and he just drops like SPLAT AHA LOL.

Wrex is, objectively, THE BEST CHARACTER IN MASS EFFECT.
#19
Funniest part was when I was constantly chatting up Jack throughout ME2, and then just before we went into the final battle, while she was ready to get frisky, I said "lol, never mind" and she died a few minutes after
#20
Quote by ultimate-slash
Funniest part was when I was constantly chatting up Jack throughout ME2, and then just before we went into the final battle, while she was ready to get frisky, I said "lol, never mind" and she died a few minutes after

Smooooooth.
#22
Mr. Ansari finds it offensive for an Indian role to be played by a white actor. I understand that when people pretend to be a minority, offense is taken (except straight people in gay roles and healthy people in impaired roles).

He’s arguing that most "white" characters can just as easily be portrayed by an Indian (or other) actor, while revealing that he “had to cast an Asian actor” for a part. Why didn’t he cast Salma Hayek in that role? Does the interchangeability philosophy only apply to “white” characters? It seems offensive now to say a role was written as white, but if it’s for any other group it’s not only acceptable, but ONLY a person in that group can play it.

Another point made is that white people, who comprise the majority of our population, are over-represented. But if you watch TV in India or most other countries, you will see that the VAST majority of roles are played by their largest group. Only in the U.S. is there a clamoring to equally represent everyone. If a particular demographic comprises 1% of our population, what percent of roles should they play?

People argue that casting doesn’t matter because an actor's appearance, ethnicity, and gender are irrelevant, but only, it seems, for a traditionally “white male” role. A black James Bond is long overdue, but the reverse scenario stirs outrage; imagine Brad Pitt cast as Shaft?

I know we like to hold ourselves to a higher standard in the U.S. but it seems that it's often a double standard.


Good lord, is this really your example of a meritorious comment? Did this dude really bring up Indian TV? Like the actual country to talk about an Indian American actor's views?

Good god.
Last edited by ali.guitarkid7 at Nov 11, 2015,
#23
Quote by slapsymcdougal
Wrex is, objectively, THE BEST CHARACTER IN MASS EFFECT.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKY7ravKgLw
Quote by snipelfritz
You lost me at "Lubricate."

I'm raw, like nature. Nature boy. Big jungle leaves are my cum rags.

Sometimes I fuck a bamboo shoot.


There's nothing left here to be saved
Just barreling dogs and barking trains
Another year lost to the blue line
#24
idk how this issue is hard

when experience of some culture/ethnicity/race/etc etc is central to a character, it'd prob be a good idea to cast someone who has close ties to this experience. done. what is there to argue about.
#25
Can Charlize Theron play someone physically hideous?


Well yeah, she did Monster.



Also best ME character is Conrad Verner.
o()o

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#26
It entirely depends on the movie whether it is appropriate or not.

Maybe off topic, but I do think leads are waaay too often white people though.
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#27
Hollywood needs to cast actors who are native to the ethnicity they're portraying


Yes. This means people like James Bond have to stay white and we shouldn't have black people playing white characters. Or John Wayne portraying Genghis Khan


Also this quote is stupid and the percentages listed are meaningless
the percentage of minorities playing lead roles is still painfully low


He's basically said minorities are minorities...which figures, because they're fucking minorities

Sounds like this guy is one of those muppets who want minorities to make up 50% of everything in the name of diversity
I have nothing important to say
#28
Quote by JackSaints
He's basically said minorities are minorities...which figures, because they're fucking minorities

Sounds like this guy is one of those muppets who want minorities to make up 50% of everything in the name of diversity

Not at all. If 20% of the people in the population are black, then you'd expect 20% playing the leads.
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#29
Quote by Xiaoxi
tldr: Hollywood needs to cast actors who are native to the ethnicity they're portraying

Are we sure they're not referring to casting actors of people native to their ethnicity?



Cos I take serious issue with that too.
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#30
Quote by Neo Evil11 at #33677380
Not at all. If 20% of the people in the population are black, then you'd expect 20% playing the leads.


I think you pick the best person for the role, so if that works out as less than 20% of them being black, so be it. People are too obssessed with statistics and numbers these days. Things don't have to add up perfectly.
I have nothing important to say
#31
Quote by Neo Evil11
Not at all. If 20% of the people in the population are black, then you'd expect 20% playing the leads.

#32
Quote by JackSaints
I think you pick the best person for the role, so if that works out as less than 20% of them being black, so be it. People are too obssessed with statistics and numbers these days. Things don't have to add up perfectly.

if 1 person in the world is offended by something dumb, then that's only less than 99% of the global population.
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#33
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I think you pick the best person for the role, so if that works out as less than 20% of them being black, so be it. People are too obssessed with statistics and numbers these days. Things don't have to add up perfectly.

They don't. Yet if they don't it is a clear indication that the movie industry is not reflecting our society. It means we are not at all exposed to the perspective of black people in our society.

And you can act like it is because white actors are simply better, but it is simply an archaic institution that has yet to catch up to 2015.
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#34
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Please enlighten me with your arguments why it is not a problem that the industry does not match our society at all?
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#35
Quote by Neo Evil11
Please enlighten me with your arguments why it is not a problem that the industry does not match our society at all?

It's not the industry that's the problem.

As in professions like medicine, minorities may be under-represented by population, but appropriatyely represented by qualification. Until the underlying inequality causing the disparity between population and qualification is addressed, assigning a proportion of lead roles to ethnicities in this fashion about as useful as a sticking plaster to a traumatic amputation.
#36
Quote by Neo Evil11
Please enlighten me with your arguments why it is not a problem that the industry does not match our society at all?

JackSaints had a point when he said that "things don't have to add up perfectly". That route only leads to like, racial quotas and shit. You have to have non-white ethnicities, as opposed to you have to stop considering non-white ethnicities as potentially damaging to viewers/sales. You have to stop seeing colored or gay people or women as a niche.

The problem with Hollywood is much harder to define than just demographic alignment. Again, I don't disagree with you, the problem's quite clearly there but racial quotas are pretty dumb and are what led us here ("you gotta have one black guy in a group so you're not called racist" or w/e)
#37
Quote by ali.guitarkid7
The problem with Hollywood is much harder to define than just demographic alignment. Again, I don't disagree with you, the problem's quite clearly there but racial quotas are pretty dumb and are what led us here ("you gotta have one black guy in a group so you're not called racist" or w/e)

I am not calling for racial quotas at all, nor for sticking black guys in groups. We were specifically talking about leads here. Assuming that the movie is written for leads here, given the ethnicity of the lead, the entire movie should change. Life for a black guy is not the same as life for a white guy. If we don't get to see movies about the lifes of black people, then we are not exposed to what a large share of our population is going through. I'd consider that to be a problem.
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#38
That's another problem altogether, is that black people are mostly called into lead roles when it's a "black film" about "black perspectives" or civil rights or slavery. There's little normative depictions. There's little middle ground, it's either the plight of the black man or nothing.
#39
I think it's stupid that people think that everything should be mixed up for diversity's sake, like having a black Bond.

I would like to see Don Glover as Spiderman though, because I think he'd fit the role well and be entertaining to watch.

It might sound contradictory, but it's the difference of "he'd fit well in that part" vs "It's about time we had a black guy do this, which one can we choose?"

Theatre is different, you're expected to use your imagination so that's fine if anyone plays any role.

But in cinema, it's stupid. I wouldn't find it "offensive" if someone did black face or brown face, but it is ******ed.

If there is an Indian lead role, why would you cast it to a white man? Give the role to an Indian actor. If you find the perfect Caucasian actor for the part, then change the character, don't do brown face.

It's not as if they'd white face Don Glover if he played Spiderman.
#40
Idris Elba would make a great Bond though. I'd say it's pretty much down to him, Henry Cavill or Tom Hardy when Daniel Craig packs it in.
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