Hollywood Mindset: You Need a White Guy

According to Deadline, Warner Bros. have acquired a script for a story called The Outsider, about an American, Caucasian dude who joins the Yakuza. Also known as the Japanese mafia.

I’m annoyed. I’m not annoyed because I think it’s inaccurate, it’s not. I’ve done quite a bit of research on the Yakuza, since I’ve chosen to write about them in some of my Anthropology classes. They do in fact recruit non-Japanese members into their ranks, from the US, Australia, and other Asian countries.

No, I’m annoyed that the Yakuza has existed this long and the only time Hollywood decided to pick up on a film about them, it had to star a non-Japanese person. Not even an Asian person at all, but a white guy.

Might I digress to say something about Yakuza and mafia films in general.

People enjoy crime stories, especially the world of organized crime which has been glamorized for film over and over again. In Japan there are genres known as Ninkyo eiga

and Jitsuroku eiga, which is basically just films about and surrounding the Yakuza. Warner Bros. isn’t really doing anything new or exciting in that sense.

That being said, this goes back to my entry about super heroines and the mindset in Hollywood that women and people of color can’t “carry a film” or “appeal to a mass audience”, which I think is bullshit. You insult the intelligence of your audience when you make decisions like that for them, and keep people ignorant by coddling their delicate sensibilities.

Not to mention that with that method, you’re hardly understanding the actual intent of the focus of the film. No, you’re getting a canned up, semi-understood from the perspective of one outsider view. And while that may be compelling every once in awhile, it doesn’t need to be every single film involving non-white people or non-western culture.

Dances with Wolves is the perfect example of that. It may have started as a good idea, until you realize the entire 175 minutes of it is just this soldier endlessly rambling about what he THINKS is going on from his totally uninformed view of the Native Americans he encounters. Why not just show the story from the Natives side? Wouldn’t that be so much easier?

Apparently not, because Hollywood thinks you need a white savior/tour guide to bring you safely into this territory as not to scare you with all the strange and exotic things you might see! Mon dieu!

And if I began to count all of the movies that fall into this category? We would be here all day.

So what I’m saying is, I just want to see a film about a group of people (non-white and non-western culture) actually told from the perspective of someone IN that group. Is that so much to ask?

This is where the “unpopular opinion” portion comes in, because I can already hear a chorus of people putting me down for it (mostly people who fall into the party I’m about the speak of) but I think these movies get made for the dudebro legion with yellow fever, and most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. The badass white (sometimes black) hero who simultaneously kicks ass and takes name, while seducing the overly sexualized “dragon lady” stereotype. I can almost GUARANTEE “the outsider” will feed into this in some way, as well.

And no, this isn’t an aversion or dislike of interracial relationships (which would be stupid, because I’m in one) but a dislike of certain individuals who worship/fetishize a race based upon outdated and offensive views of said race. So there.

If you asked me, I would love to see a film adaption of the memoir Yakuza Moon by Shoko Tendo, about a woman raised within the Yakuza world and how it affected her life. She’s considered one of the first and only women to speak out about the harsh lives of women in the Yakuza.

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