The Martian is another space exploration movie as title suggests, a mission to Mars, however as soon as there was an East Asian male on screen, he was belittled and turned into a scapegoat should anything turn sour.
A team was sent on an exploration mission to Mars, and whilst they were there, a storm erupted, causing disastrous consequences and the dire need to evacuate their mission. During the storm, Matt Damon’s character (known as Mark Watney) is struck leading the other members of the team to believe he is dead, and they leave him there without proper confirmation.
A good few days pass by, and after Mark communicates with NASA space government agency, an immediate action plan is being discussed.
During the meeting with Bruce Ng (played by Asian Male Benedict Wong) of the propulsion team and director of NASA Teddy Sanders (played by white male Jeff Daniels) Bruce is belittled and where Bruce was clearly stating a certain timescale for the project to be completed, Teddy would cut the actual required time by half whilst not truly understanding the difficulty of the works involved.
Teddy also pushes all responsibility to Bruce should anything fail, putting enormous pressure onto Bruce, something along the lines of: “If Mark dies, it’s on you”. This enforces a stereotype subservient role for the Asian male where Teddy would receive full credit for successfully rescuing Mark and nil mention if it fails since he will pass the blame onto Bruce.
Later, the China National Space Agency (CNSA) gave NASA a lifeline: a classified booster rocket that can reach Mars and save Mark.
Here you see Mitch Henderson (played by White male Sean Bean) an advisory NASA flight director in China’s equivalent of NASA tell a Chinese Scientist/Engineer a brief but demeaning talk: “You must understand, we haven’t done this since Apollo 9” which implies that inferior China is stuck on outdated space faring technology from some 46 years ago.
After the successful rescue, it’s USA that gains all the credit and glory whilst little to no mention was given to China. The Martian excludes Asian Males from any credit, instead portraying them as obedient and submissive.
The film director Ridley Scott has also been criticised for casting different characters for various roles instead of using Asian American Actors. Firstly Dr. Venkat Kapoor who is supposed to be Asian Indian is replaced with a Black Actor, and the character’s name changed to Vincent Kapoor. Another character is Mindy Park who is supposed to be played by a Korean American woman is replaced with a white Actress. There’s a very long history of this racist behavior and its roots are far less benign than “oh, it doesn’t matter”. It certainly matters.
“…the racially-determined, and extremely distorted view of history that Hollywood has been pushing for the past hundred years, especially given that it is a view that serves to reinforce the prevailing cultural idea of white superiority.”
Here’s an entire site dedicated to hollywood’s whitewashing of roles http://www.racebending.com/v4/tag/whitewashing/
Dr. Kapoor (left) and Dr. Park (right)
According to Hollywood, the blond woman above is a full-blooded Korean. Therefore, the Dr. Park(s) below must all be imposters.
The whitewashing of roles is one of many racist barriers setup by hollywood to prevent talented Asian Actors/Actress from getting exposure. This racist treatment needs to end.