Dear Hollywood, Please Stop White Washing

6 August 2015

Dear Hollywood,

I've been watching your films since I was a child. Captivated from the age of five, I've appreciated the art work and cinematography embedded in your feature film productions that inspired a generation. I fell in love with your storylines that taught me emotional integrity, and the appreciation of a good - and terrible - battle scene. I invested into characters' personalities and lives - all created by the talent behind the neon lights. Oh Hollywood, you made me fall in love with the endless possibilities of fiction and inspired me to use my imagination, when the world told me to believe in realistic cynicism.

But you have also caused me great disappointment as well. As a British Asian, I have felt neglected by your films. The very source of my admiration of storytelling has disappointed me, because you deny me - and the so many millions of people out there - a voice, a chance to be represented. I'm tired of seeing characters that originated from other parts of the world, some how seem to be anything but authentically real. Mulan - a Chinese born character whitewashed. Tiger Lily - a Native Indian whitewashed again. Please - don't mistake what I'm saying. Acting is a hard profession, and talent to embody a character is key to casting. This I understand. But please don't use this as an excuse to not explore other cultures and ethnicities outside of the mainstream. Racial equality is something I expect in the 21st century, where society is progressing at great lengths, technologically and digitally.

We live in a world where chaos is amongst us. This is true. It's not easy to guarantee success in the industry, where the interest of the audiences seem to be so random and unpredictable. So you stick to what you know - old fashioned comedies, good old action movies with explosive sequences and choreography. The world is changing though Hollywood. It's time to adapt. So why not break the stereotypical norms? Why is it that Indian males in films and television are either taxi drivers or nerdy smart guys with no game? Why is it that Chinese actresses need to talk in a non-English speaking accent, or play the 'hot' girl with no substance? Why is the Middle East represented as technologically in-advanced, with direct references relating to terrorism.

How come you've decided to take stories originating from other cultures and deny the existence of it's origins by casting actors not authentic to their stories? Why do you continue play and rehash these archetypes, when there is so much diversity available on this wonderful planet? Why should people be defined by these misconceived labels - when half of them don't even apply to majority of the population?

In my life, I've come to realize that life isn't fair in so many ways. But here's the thing. I have a voice - I have the ability to make an impact, and I shall by telling you how I feel. Maybe this is something that will resonate with future filmmakers as they continue their path in life. But change is possible Hollywood, I believe that. So why not start rethinking things today? I believe the industry that inspired me to create still has the ability to evolve and become so much more than it is. Revolutionize the system - as the most powerful stories have. Please start by giving individuals of different diverse backgrounds a voice.

As Emma Watson famously said in her speech, if not now, when? If not us, then who? The time is now. Make the decision to impact the future generation and cause change.

What do you say Hollywood? What do you want to see in the future of Hollywood, film fans?

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