Summary: Birdman, or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, a film winning multiple academy awards and being hailed as one of the best films of the decade by critics and the general public is rife with instances of anti-Asian racism for no apparent reason. These instances serve zero relevance to any plot or character arcs. Asian actors act as one dimensional stereotypes and the film’s characters and narration outright degrades and insults Asians.
Characters and cast members:
Riggan Thomson/Birdman played by Michael Keaton
Sam (Daughter of Riggan) played by Emma Stone
Asian reporter played by Keenan Shimizu
The three instances of racism against Asians are as follows.
During the opening scene of the movie, the main protagonist (Riggan Thomson) video calls his daughter Sam while she’s at a flower shop trying to purchase flowers. Sam is arguing with the Korean shop owner during the call and proclaims that ‘everything smells like fucking kimchi’ when asked what the flowers smell like by the main protagonist.
Shortly after, the main protagonist is interviewed by a Japanese journalist. This interview prompts the Japanese journalist to exclaim “Birdman 4? You do Birdman 4?” in broken English with a thick Japanese accent and a star struck expression.
In the final instance, the main protagonist wakes up after a drunken stupor and hears his inner narration tell him that he looks terrible, followed by stating “you get that mongoloid look when you’re hung over, don’t you?”
Birdman, or the Unexpected Virtue of Racism showcases casual racism against East-Asians which is commonplace throughout Hollywood. Although a brilliant piece of contemporary cinema, Birdman uses to stereotypes, mockery, and hostility towards Asians for no apparent reason. Not to advance any plot or character development. References towards Asians in this movie serve only as vehicles for low blows and racist jokes.