Sacha Baron Cohen's new role as a fictional Middle Eastern tyrant in his movie "The Dictator" is causing plenty of controversy.
Commentators like Dean Obeidallah have criticized the actor, who is not of Middle Eastern descent, for portraying an Arab man, especially since the character is intended to reflect stereotypes.
Actor and comedian Aasif Mandvi of "The Daily Show" talked to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux about what he sees as Hollywood's "whitewashing," or casting white actors in ethnic roles. In the video above, Mandvi gives his take on why he thinks "whitewashing" persists, even in an ever-growing multicultural society.
What do you think? Is Mandvi right? Leave your comments below.
Hollywood is our Best hope.
Hollywood does more good than all the other Industry combined.
I agree with Aasif, but ironically he was in the movie "The Last Airbender" which had the most white-washing than any other movie to date!
If you are blind to white washing you are a closing your eyes.
Keanu as Buddha.
John wayne playing a ghengis khan.!
It happens albeit way less today. Ad when browns are in a role it's usually to fill a stereotype anyways. like outsourced.
Karl penn rocks. He played a stoner regular dude and his ethnicity wasn't important.
If we whitewashed the sept 11 highjackers the towers would still be standing. Because no white person would believe in that gutter religion called islam
Hes mad he didn't get the role...
Here's the thing though-Sacha Baron Cohen is of Mizrahi Jewish descen(the MIzrahi are Jews from North Africa, other Arab countriesand Iran, and are essentially Arabs or Persians who are culturally Jewish(Sacha Baron Cohen's OWN family emigrated to Britain from Iraq in the 1940's). Therefore, Sacha Baron Cohen IS of "Middle Eastern" descent.
Gee, let's have a real Arab portray himself as a Middle Eastern dictator or terrorist. Yeah "no whitewashing" there. How about stereotyping? So it's an absurd complaint if you asked me. If you have real Arabs, they will be slammed for stereotyping. The whole point of Cohen's comedies is to be politically INCORRECT.
Who cares? It's a stupid movie. Stupider than Borat. Send Sasha a message: do not go to see his movie. Best way to let him know he SUCKS.
Okay, Aasif, then why didn't you come up with this idea and play the part yourself? Surprised you're crying about this; I thought you were both smarter, more evolved, and had a better sense of humor.
I totally agree with Aasif...sick and tired of Arab stereotypes ALWAYS being portrayed...how refreshing it would be to actually see REAL Arabs on screen. The day an Arab plays the part of a Jew, I'll be the first one here writing (like folks above), " "hey, its only acting for c sake".
Ppl complained when they found out depp was going to play tonto. It's just acting for c sake.
i second that
Give me a break... if that guy wants to make a movie about a comedic terrorist, starring an actual Arab, nobody is stopping him. I love these backseat quarterbacks who only pipe up once someone else took the initiative to create something first.
Wasn't The Hunger Games an example of Hollywood averting whitewashing? Significant characters like Cinna and Rue were played by Blacks.
As for The Dictator, it's a project that was shepherded by Sacha Baron Cohen. The character was never going to be portrayed by anyone but himself, as his comic persona is integral to the film's appeal. Whitewashing is still certainly a problem in some respects today but I don't think these two films are anywhere near the best examples.
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