in movies

Diving deeper into ‘Ghost in the Shell’

I wanted to share a few more pieces about Ghost in the Shell (aside from the one I posted the other day) that I’ve found to be particularly helpful in shaping a productive debate on the new film:

  • Peter Hart

    I have a question.

    Asians are 6% of the population, so by demanding that Ghost In The Shell have an Asian cast, you are demanding that the casting directors reduce the pool of potential actors that they are choosing from by 94%. My question is, why should they impose such a massive limitation on themselves?

    Also, that calculation assumes that the percentage of actors that are Asian is proportional to their percentage of the US population, which there’s no reason to believe. Think about it. There are only two things that could explain Asian under representation in film:

    1) Discrimination

    2) Asians being less likely to become actors for whatever reason

    Discrimination can’t explain the under representation, because black people face more
    discrimination than Asians, yet there are about twice as man black people in movies as Asians when taking into account their percentage of the population. That only leaves one plausible explanation.

    https://www.sagaftra.org/files/sag/documents/CastingDataReport.pdf

    Why is everyone blaming movie studios for not casting enough Asians when it seems like no one has even checked to see if the percentage of actors that are Asian is equal to their percentage of the general population?

    • Peter,

      Your comment reduces a pretty complex situation into one that only has two extremely simplistic causes. There are a few logical jumps you make that are flawed. Suffice it to say I think saying “Since black people have more discrimination, then discrimination is not the reason, and therefore Asians are just less likely to be actors” is fallacious, and I think discrimination IS a huge factor. It just might not be discrimination that you see on the nightly news.

      More reading here:
      https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/29/movies/asian-american-actors-are-fighting-for-visibility-they-will-not-be-ignored.html?_r=0

      • Peter Hart

        I’m not trying to overlook the complexities of the issue. For instance, it could be that Asians are less likely to become actors because of socialization that results from racism in our culture, in much the same way that a large portion of the wage gap results from women being socialized into choosing different careers. However, I’m just saying that you can’t assume that differences in representation are necessarily the result of overt discrimination. It may be that Asians under representation in film is “indirectly” the result of racism — because of things like socialization — rather than “direct” racism.

      • Peter Hart

        I’m not trying to overlook the complexities of the issue. For
        instance, it could be that Asians are less likely to become actors
        because they are socialized by white supremacy into going into stereotypically asian careers, in much the same way that a large portion of the wage gap results from women being socialized into going into stereotypically feminine careers. I’m just saying that you can’t assume that differences in representation are necessarily the result of overt discrimination. It may be that Asian under representation in film is “indirectly” the result of racism — because of things like socialization — rather than “direct” racism — meaning discrimination. It may seem like I’m being semantic, but I think it’s an important distinction, because indirect and direct racism are two different problems that require different solutions.

        You’re right that I shouldn’t be so sure based on the comparison of black
        actors vs. Asian actors, but I still think it calls the overt
        discrimination explanation into question, even though it’s still a
        possible one.