These Asian-Americans Made A Powerful Video About The Effects Of Whitewashing In "Ghost In The Shell"

"Movies aren't real, but they affect real people."

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Ever since Scarlett Johansson was announced as the lead in Paramount Pictures' live-action adaption of the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell, a lot of people have accused the studio of whitewashing by casting a white woman as a beloved Japanese character.

Paramount Pictures

Both the director and producer of the film defended the casting decision, as did Johansson, who recently came under fire for saying that her decision to take the role was about feminism and not race.

Last week, two Asian-American stand-up comics from New York released a video titled "Ghost in the Shell PSA," which they say aims to show the effects of whitewashing people of color out of their own stories.

View this video on YouTube

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In the video, created by 26-year-old Jes Tom and 28-year-old Chewy May, a young Asian girl is seen entering a comic shop and rifling through the piles of comic books, but none of the lead characters are women of color.

Tom – who appears in the video as the older version of the young girl – told BuzzFeed News that the video was inspired by a Facebook post Tom wrote about the consequences of whitewashing people of color out of their own stories after watching the Ghost in the Shell teaser last year.

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May then saw the post and reached out with the idea of a short film "about a young Asian girl yearning to see herself represented in media, and having that representation taken away from her."

"Whitewashing a superhero character tells little girls of color that they cannot be superheroes, and it hurts," May told BuzzFeed News.

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"Whitewashing Asian people out of stories created for and by and about us makes it hard for other people to see us as full, dimensional people," Tom added.

Kassy Cho is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Kassy Cho at kassy.cho@buzzfeed.com.

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