Actor Daniel Wu may not be a household name, but he stars in the seriously cool action series Into the Badlands.
Wu was recently asked if, being Asian, he had any opinion about the recent “whitewashing” outrage involving the Netflix series Iron Fist — which featured a character that was created as a white man — and the film Ghost in the Shell.
Tau: And also the controversy or cultural appropriation issue of how they could have went with an Asian American lead –
Wu: Yeah but you know what, I think that’s people going a little too precocious on that because originally the character was written white — it wasn’t like it was a whitewashing thing. It’s not like you are talking about a Ghost in the Shell issue, right?
And I still don’t actually buy the Ghost in the Shell whitewashing issue either, and I certainly don’t buy into the cultural appropriation bullsh*t because that’s saying [for Iron Fist] that “only Asians are allowed to do martial arts” then that means only black people can play basketball and rap? That means Jeremy Lin shouldn’t be playing basketball? And Eminem shouldn’t be rapping? That’s bullsh*t, you know.
So I know Asian Americans are angry, but they should calm down and choose the correct fight in that case — I agree that Marvel missed the chance of doing something interesting and casting against the race — they could have done that — and that would have given them some credit, but they didn’t, so what are you going to do about it? I think the important thing is that everyone learned a lesson from that — including people that weren’t involved, so I think we just need to move forward, that’s all.
In fairness, casting someone other than a white man might have been an interesting choice for Iron Fist, but I also think casting an Asian in the role wouldn’t have been the best alternative. After all, then you’ve taken a character that rejects the stereotype of “Asian = Martial Arts,” and instead continued the cliche.
By asking activists what they’re going to do about the casting of a white guy to play a white character (THE HORROR!), Wu points out one of the biggest problems with the activists beating this drum: it’s a little late to complain. The casting and filming for Season One is over, and based on the mediocre critical reaction to the series, there’s not likely to be a Season Two for them to gripe about.
And the truth is that accusations of “cultural appropriation” are as racist as it gets, anyway.