Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 6:43 pm | Fair 66º

 
 
 
 

Michelle Malkin: ‘Mulan’ Meets the Diversity-Mongers

Let’s get down to business. The casting kerfuffle over Disney’s live-action remake of the 1998 animated hit Mulan brings honor to none. It’s a politically correct tempest in a Chinese teapot.

More than 90,000 angry activists have now signed a petition “to tell Disney that we demand to see them cast an Asian Mulan.”

The lead instigator, Michigan children’s librarian Natalie Molnar, vented against the practice of “whitewashing” — that is, employing “white Caucasian actors and actresses in roles originally meant to be characters of color.”

Extreme racial and ethnic bean-counting is necessary, even in the remake of a cartoon, the petitioners argue, because “children benefit from finding themselves represented in fiction.”

Skin color-based casting entitlements and quotas: “for the children.” Of course.

Once again, privileged progressives demonstrate how arbitrary, capricious and ridiculous militant identity politics can be.

Last year, Asian-American leftists attacked director Cameron Crowe for casting Emma Stone as a mixed-race character in the romantic comedy Aloha. It didn’t matter whether Stone pulled off the role. The protesters were too busy administering racial and ethnic litmus tests for employment in the entertainment industry.

This year, grievance-mongers moaned about the casting of mixed-race actress Zoë Saldana as black jazz legend Nina Simone and white actress Scarlett Johansson as a Japanese Manga cartoon figure.

In social justice land, movie-making isn’t about casting the most talented actors, regardless of race or ethnicity. Movie-making isn’t about entertaining customers or making money. Nope.

Movie-making is a never-ending exercise in radical multiculturalism and identity apartheid.

The diversity cops maintain that only the right kind of mixed-race stars should play mixed-race characters. Only the right kind of black actresses should win black roles. And only Asians should be cast in Mulan to maintain ethnic realism.

But there’s no rhyme, reason or logic in their demands for authenticity.

Take Mulan. The original movie was riddled with historical inaccuracies. Based on the legend of teenage warrior Hua Mulan popularized in an ancient Chinese ballad, the heroine disguises herself as a man to take the place of her elderly father in battle — “to defeat the Huns,” as the song from the movie goes.

But the Huns were thousands of miles away sacking Rome and Western Europe. The “Huns” who attacked the legendary Mulan in 6th-century China were mostly likely related to the central Asian Xiongnu tribe in what became Mongolia, which warred with the Han dynasty in the 3rd century.

Movie historian Alex von Tunzelmann notes “that was at least a couple (of) hundred of years before Mulan’s time, and in any case the link between the Xiongnu and the Huns is in dispute.”

Unfortunately for social justice warriors, “Let’s get down to business/to defeat the nomadic tribe that was possibly the Xiongnu in the region of Mongolia before it was known as Mongolia” just doesn’t have the same ring as the Disney tune that’s still stuck in my head after 18 years.

Weirdly, the Asian-American liberal entertainment lobby didn’t have a problem with Filipina musical theater star/actress Lea Salonga singing Chinese Mulan’s parts in the original movie. Which raises my still-unanswered question in these well-worn casting wars:

Why is it that the self-appointed Definers of racial and ethnic Authenticity get to pick and choose which historical inaccuracies and inconsistencies to protest or ignore?

Strangely, some of the minority actors and actresses in the “People of Color” tribe that the Demand-y Demanders want to cast in Mulan are as authentically Asian as Mulan’s Eddie Murphy-voiced annoying dragon sidekick, Mu Shu.

Oliver S. Wang, a Los Angeles-based culture writer, tweeted that “The Rock” (Canadian-American actor Dwayne Johnson of Samoan and Black Nova Scotian heritage) should play the “Mongol villain.”

How do you say “Huh???” in Chinese?

Heidi Yeung, editor for a South China Morning Post-owned website, is pushing for Korean-American Daniel Dae Kim to play the villainous role of Shan Yu — in part because he has “almost identical cheekbones to the animated character.” Diversity!

Additionally, she wants Japanese-American George Takei to play the Chinese Emperor and another Korean American, Margaret Cho, to play the Chinese matchmaker.

So because the diversity-mongers’ choices look more vaguely Asian-ish, never mind the vast differences between their nationalities and heritages, they trump other non-Asian actors and actresses who must all step aside and bow down to the gods of ethnic faux-thenticity.

If “whitewash” is the problem, why is fake yellow wash the solution?

Michelle Malkin is a senior editor at Conservative Review. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >