Listen Infernal Devices Fandom. I usually like you. Really. I usually do!
I mean, bar all the JEM NEEDS TO DIE bullshit I’ve seen in the Will tags, I haven’t had a lot of qualms with the ID fandom, which makes me love and appreciate you all the more. You’re pretty cool about things.
BUT THIS THING YOU HAVE WITH WHITE-WASHING JEM CARSTAIRS? I AM NOT OKAY WITH THAT. AT ALL. AT. ALL.
HE IS HALF CHINESE. HALF CHINESE. ERGO, I WILL NEVER BE OKAY WITH YOU GUYS DREAMCASTING A CAUCASIAN MALE FOR HIM. MITCH HEWER WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER BE MY JEM CARSTAIRS and HONESTLY he shouldn’t be yours either, if you plan to be faithful to the books.
Though he is incredibly pale and colored silver, it is only because of the drug draining his colorings.
He is SAID to appear Asian! BECAUSE HE IS. He has a curve to his eyes and angular features and GOD YOU GUYS HE IS HALF-ASIAN STOP THIS WHITE WASHING STUFF.
I love people for making graphics, I DO because it makes me quite happy, but can we PLEASE at least fancast him with someone who is Asian or half-Asian? HONESTLY I don’t even care if you cast Korean or Japanese over Chinese because at least he’d be ASIAN.
BUT WHITE WASHING A CHARACTER WHO IS /NOT/ CAUCASIAN IS NOT OKAY. IT’S NOT. :|
Even Cassandra Clare has pointed out time after time on both twitter AND tumblr that he is Asian and he LOOKS Asian.
And I’m not saying you need to use someone fully Asian, either. After all, Lee Hyun Jae is three quarters Korean and one quarter English, and he would work. (Okay, when his hair is shorter, obviously.)
You can TELL that he has Asian in him, even if he’s not FULLY.
SO WHAT I ASK OF YOU, INFERNAL DEVICES FANDOM, IS THAT WE STOP WHITEWASHING JEM. BECAUSE HE’S NOT. HE’S NOT FULLY CAUCASIAN. AND HONESTLY. HIS FATHER IS ONLY SAID TO BE BRITISH. HE DIDN’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE CAUCASIAN.
So many people have started using Asians in their graphics and it makes me INCREDIBLY happy, but by the angel, can we please just acknowledge that he is Asian and stop using Mitch Hewer for him? :|
I’ve always intended to edit this post, especially since Cassie has linked to it, because I realize this isn’t the most explanatory post, is it? I tell you NOT to white-wash, but not why.
Here’s the thing. Think about Hollywood and think of all the characters played by POC. Now compare it to the characters played by white people. Think of the stereotypes, think of the ways these characters are utilized. Not often as characters but for comedic relief or some ridiculous stereotype.
There are so few roles out there for POC. And when you fancast a white person for an Asian, for an Indian, for a Native American, for a Latino, for someone who is Black, you are saying Your race is not important to this role, it doesn’t matter if we have people of different races in this movie, we can use a white person instead, a white person is better.
And that is NOT cool. You are saying these POC are NOT important in any way - and that is REALLY not cool, guys.
I have a few POC friends who have talked about what it’s like to be a child and look for yourself on tv - for the Latina girl who isn’t “spicy”, for the black guy who ISN’T a thug, for the Indian man who DOESN’T own a gas station, for the Asian kid who isn’t a super genius with super strict parents. Do you see where this is going? White people HAVE people to watch. We always do. We always HAVE. But we don’t live in a primarily white world. I can’t really speak from experience, but here’s a good post that highlights the importance of POC on the screen.
Jem Carstairs is Chinese. You can’t get around that. It’s disheartening to see people who cannot read say things like, “I didn’t know Jem was Asian!” It’s worse to see them say “WHY does Jem have to be Asian?” What the hell is so wrong with Asian? There are a lot of beautiful Asians, just the same way there are beautiful people every race, color, culture, etc. And there’s a lot of ugly people, too - like the people who dismiss a character instantly for his race.
You can’t put a white actor in the role of Jem, though, because that dismisses his character entirely. As a boy born in China, he was raised with distinct beliefs that come from Buddhist beliefs. As a boy who is half-Chinese, he is faced with a lot of reluctant acceptance - if any at all. In Clockwork Angel it is noted that the English don’t quite accept him because he looks foreign if not entirely. That is a huge character impact! Think about how impacting it is that, though Jem lives this way now, he still remains essentially good to people.
But if you put a white person in Jem’s role, you have essentially said, “I know you’re Chinese but I’m going to stick a white person in your role because he’s better.” And even if you didn’t intend that - you basically did. And don’t give me things about how “I don’t know any Chinese actors” or “All I know are white actors” because that is just lazy. We are on a thing called the internet - it’s used for researching things as well as lecturing people on their white-washing.
Maybe it’s due to ignorance that you don’t know, but white-washing is never cool It’s never right. It’s actually pretty racist, whether you think you intend it or not.
So, stop white washing. Seriously! Read your books more thoroughly if you’re one of those people who somehow missed that Jem (and Mangus Bane) are Asian.
AND FOR THE LOVE OF SHADOW HUNTERS, DON’T BE ONE OF THOSE GROSS PEOPLE WHO SAYS BULLSHIT ABOUT, “WHY DOES JEM/MANGUS HAVE TO BE ASIAN????”
That is gross, rude, disgusting, horrifying, and nasty racist. Don’t be that person. Don’t go passing on those nasty habits. Jem is Asian because he was born to a Chinese mother. Why do you have to be white, brown, black, yellow, red, etc???
A lot of people make up this world - and that’s what makes it beautiful. What makes the world ugly are the people who question why a POC is a POC in literature or media, as if this makes them ugly or degrades their character.
So tl;dr: Don’t be a racist asshole, don’t white-wash POC characters, read your books better so you don’t get surprised a character has all along been someone other than white, and DON’T BE A RACIST ASSHOLE.
P.S: You guys should really start looking into more Chinese kids for Jem. I’ve yet to find a Chinese guy who works perfectly for my personal view of Jem: the ones I know all look a little too old or too strong. But that doesn’t mean I won’t stop looking! I know I’ve listed Lee Hyun Jae up there, but he was an example of half-Asian men. I’ve since stopped searching in Koreans and Japanese for a Jem (and you should, too!), because Jem is Chinese. And Asians are not interchangeable.
So, I’m really really pleased people have been looking at Asians now! But let’s take it that last step and narrow our searches to Chinese guys! Korean =/= Chinese and to interchange them like that is actually pretty rude and, once more, dismissive of who they are
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