The Important Reason People Are Tweeting #WhiteWashedOUT

May 3rd 2016

Kyle Jaeger

In the midst of a debate over racial inequality that played out on Twitter on Tuesday, a meme appeared that perfectly captures Hollywood's diversity problem.

The idea here is not entirely novel, as numerous celebrities and industry figures have called attention to Hollywood's diversity model — which critics say appears content to cast a limited number of minority characters in hopes of achieving "diverse" status.

Most recently, actor George Takei blasted the "cringeworthy" casting decision made by Marvel, which opted for a white actress over an Asian woman to play a Tibetan character in the production company's upcoming film, "Doctor Strange."

"[T]here has been a long standing practice of taking roles that were originally Asian and rewriting them for white actors to play, leaving Asians invisible on the screen and underemployed as actors," Takei wrote on Facebook. "This is a very real problem, not an abstract one. It is not about political correctness, it is about correcting systemic exclusion."

Takei's post sparked a conversation on Twitter on Tuesday, marked by the hashtag #whitewashedOUT.

Twitter users listed all of the ways that industries — from Hollywood to academia — exclude and/or marginalize minorities. Although some argue that the entertainment industry's diversity problem is the product of market trends (i.e. that tickets sell better with white actors in lead roles), Twitter users pushed back, faulting executives for maintaining the status quo when it comes to casting.

Part of the problem could come down to the fact that white men are disproportionately represented in executive entertainment positions. A 2015 study from UCLA reported that film studio heads were 94 percent white and 100 percent male in 2012 and 2013, which could serve as an explanation for the sustained whitewashing of Hollywood, as ATTN: previously reported.

RELATED: George Takei Slammed Hollywood's Latest Whitewashing Of an Asian Character