Jun 02, 2015 11:32AM

Emma Stone Is Fab, But She's Definitely Not Eurasian

This should be obvious.

Emma Stone is a super talented, relatable human who we'd all like to BFF. She's also 100% Caucasian, which makes her latest role as a quarter Hawaiian, quarter Chinese woman in Cameron Crowe's Aloha seem a little off at best, and incredibly frustrating at worstCasting Emma Stone as Allison Ng participates in a long history of whitewashing Asian-American roles, and is a sad reminder of how Asian erasure still exists in modern Hollywood. 

After receiving criticism for the film's culturally-insensitive casting choices, Sony released a statement that sorta, kinda addressed the issue, but which also sorta, kinda missed the point entirely:

"While some have been quick to judge a movie they haven't seen and a script they haven't read, the film Aloha respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people. Film-maker Cameron Crowe spent years researching this project and many months on location in Hawaii, cultivating relationships with leading local voices."

Uh-huh. Except Ng's quarter native Hawaiian pedigree is of crucial importance to the film's narrative: she's a Hula dancing expert who sings earnestly about mana (a spiritual islander energy), when she's not trying to save the archipelago from an impending military-industrial complex. Thus, while Crowe's intentions were to honour Hawaiian culture in the film, the choice of a predominantly white cast for a film that is set on the islands and guided by Hawaiian cultural themes is a huge problem. If he wanted to showcase "the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people'" wouldn't casting an Asian American just make more sense?

Sadly, this isn't an isolated incident and brings to mind other baffling casting choices, like that of Rooney Mara in the role of Native American Tiger Lily in the new Peter Pan movie

Last time we checked, cultural appropriation isn't cool. It's a huge bummer. 

Images: Courtesy

Madeleine Woon