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re: James Hong, J Carrol Naish, and the TV Series Incident
Last Edit: WaymanWong 04:13 pm EST 01/27/22
Posted by: WaymanWong 04:04 pm EST 01/27/22
In reply to: James Hong, J Carroll Naish, and the TV Series Incident - BroadwayTonyJ 11:11 am EST 01/27/22

''I don't think racism had anything to do with it. ''

Hong quotes Naish as saying: ''What is this, a school for Chinese actors?'' ... If Naish wanted to insult Hong for what he believed was Hong's deficiency as a professional, he easily could've said: ''What is this, a school for amateurs?'' But no, he pointedly felt it necessary to condemn Hong by citing his ethnicity. That kind of mentality probably wasn't uncommon for its time. Minority actors were considered inferior, and it was part of Hollywood's systemic racism. Just look at ''Charlie Chan.'' White actors, like Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, Roland Winters and Naish, got to play the starring role of Chan, while Asian-American actors were relegated to the smaller, supporting parts, like Chan's sons.

Asian-American actors were caught in a Catch-22. Hollywood wouldn't cast them as leads because they lacked the box office draw, but Asian-Americans couldn't become stars because they didn't get cast as leads. When leading Asian roles came, they went to white actors, and there's such an extensive history of yellowface: John Wayne as Genghis Khan in ''The Conqueror.'' Katharine Hepburn as Jade Tan in ''Dragon Seed.'' Luise Rainier as O-lan and Paul Muni as Wang in ''The Good Earth.'' As the Thai ruler says in ''The King and I,'' ''Et cetera, et cetera.''



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