Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by JulieYBM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:24 pm

Super Sonic wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:45 pm
WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:36 pm
By the way, what’s the stance on men voicing women?
If it works. And I'm not just talking about crossdressers. Ed Asner as Granny Goodness was pretty good casting.
A cross-dressing woman would be me, a woman, wearing a tuxedo. A cross-dressing man would be a man wearing a dress (or something typically associated with being 'mens' clothing').

Anyway, if we're going to touch up on Ed Asner's Granny Goodness in general, I think it's a pretty yikes depiction bordering on an offensive trans stereotype.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:24 pm

Locust wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:16 pm
FireFly wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:11 pm
Agreed. But to pretend that Asian and black actors don't even get auditions at all is a bit dishonest imo.
I don't have stats for voice acting in particular, but it's pretty well known that people with "ethnic", "Black", etc sounding names - that can affect whether or not they even get a job interview, due to racial biases
"White" sounding names were vastly prefered by interviewers

The book Freakonomics went into this some, and if you google around, you'll find quite a lot of articles about this
Sadly, it's quite true that Asian, black, and even Latino actors don't even get certain auditions. I think we're going to see that start to change, but that has been the case thus far. You won't find "stats" on that because people don't keep stats of people they don't use. That said, you'll find plenty of first and second-hand accounts from both actors and casting directors that this is the case. I won't name this casting director because I don't believe in dragging people into a debate that they weren't originally involved with, but here's a Facebook post from a friend of mine who is both a voice actor and a casting director...

A VO casting director's Facebook post wrote: I just wrote a long post on a friend's page in regards to Mike Henry stepping down from voicing the role of Cleveland on Family Guy/The Cleveland show after 20 years. If you don't watch those shows (I don't, don't @ me), you might not know he's a white dude voicing a Black character. There have been a few other instances of actors stepping down from roles that might be better suited to authentic casting, including Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell who both play mixed race characters on more recent popular shows that were created by their friends. The internet is angry about this. If *you* are angry about this, please consider the below.

---

I would ask yourself why this bothers you. If you enjoy Mike Henry's work in this role and you'll be sad to see him go after 20 years, that's totally fair. You'll miss him. But 20 years is a long run, and it's perfectly fine to pass the torch for any reason, and it's perfectly fine to be sad about that ending.

If you're irritated because they'll replace him with a Black actor, that's something to do some thinking on.

As someone who works in the world of voiceover on both the acting and casting/production sides of the glass, I can tell you that there's a large issue of uneven opportunities in this industry. White is often considered the default for a character, and many of my friends who are BIPOC don't always get the opportunities sent their way. Let's take the ethnicity of the character away for the moment and make it a fuzzy animal for a kid's show. If we're casting a cute cartoon kitten, there's no reason that only white actors should read on that gray stripey kitten. But sometimes, that exactly happens. I've seen it multiple times when I'm wearing my casting hat.

Often, if a character's race isn't specified, I will only get white actors from an agency that I know reps incredible people of many backgrounds. I've contacted multiple agents in the past year asking for a perfect-for-this-role actor who happens to be Black or Asian to please submit an audition. It's eye-opening that some of my most talented friends who have agents at the best agencies are often overlooked by the very person who should be fighting for them. All because the agent's implicit bias was that we only wanted white voices because we didn't specifically say "please send me your Black actors for this exact role" even though the audition request asked for diverse options. And you know what? More than once, that actor I've hunted down and requested a read from has booked the job.

In a perfect future world where opportunities are equal and all talented people get to read on all roles that suit them, this might become less of an issue. But when most roles are white by default or specified as Caucasian, I personally have more opportunities than friends of mine who are Black who are similar to me vocally, because they're only getting sent the Black roles. Which, I promise you are not numerous in quality. I know this because I see it when casting, I see it in the sides, and I hear the stories from peers that I speak with regularly about this very topic.

So should white actors not submit on characters of color? It's a personal choice, but, I pass on those roles. I don't feel like those are my stories to tell, especially if the character's culture is part of the story. But more than that, I have plenty of other opportunities in my inbox without taking up the *one* Black role a friend of mine might receive that week. I don't have a very high powered agent, so if my small number of auditions at a tiny agency are more numerous than what my equally talented, equally experienced friend at a larger agency receives just because they're Black, well, that feels pretty crummy to me. So I pass on those in hopes the production casts authentically.

20 years ago, no one in the casting room for Family Guy/Cleveland Show was thinking "hey, maybe we should give a Black actor an opportunities to voice this Black character." But by stepping down, Mike Henry is saying, "hey, we should make more room at the table for other actors." And that's what an ally does. It's never too late to show up for equality, so rather than admonish anyone in production there for not doing that 20 years ago, I'm hopeful that this means we'll seeing more inclusivity in casting in general.

I'm not expecting to change your feelings on this issue, but I wanted to give you some perspective about what this could mean to a Black actor who hasn't seen any auditions for 3 weeks while their white friend has gotten to read on 6 video games and 4 cartoons. Representation matters, and this is just one more step towards seeing it.

Thanks for reading.

[EDIT: I want to make an addendum that I didn't know that Mike Henry created the character before I wrote this. Some related things in the comments.]

I would also note, since we're talking about Mike Henry and Cleveland, Phil LaMar recently said on Crispin Freeman's podcast that he wasn't even asked to audition for Cleveland despite being on the show.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:25 pm

As a general rule, if you know a black guy in a professional field who goes strictly by an initial, chances are he had to shorten his actual name because he noticed he finally started getting callbacks when his name wasn't as black sounding!

And as far as live action acting, I think Latino actors might have it even rougher - 90% of the time they don't even cast actual Latinos, just Italians and middle Easterners who look the part and then proceed to speak in laughably inaccurate Spanish dialects.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:29 pm

MyVisionity wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:06 pm

It seems like there's much to consider racially speaking, when so many manga/anime characters tend to be drawn with Caucasian features to begin with, regardless of any intended ethnicity. There's also the differences between anime that take place in a fantasy world versus anime that take place in the real world.

As for the actors involved, I think the issue may be less of whether non-Asian actors should be cast and more about hiring a larger number of Asian talent.
I understand that. I’ve got no problem with more people of color getting roles. I just don’t think that people like Hank Azaria and Mike Henry dropping out of their roles really accomplished much of anything, other than inciting this victim mentality among the people I’ve already mentioned. Besides, neither Family Guy nor The Simpsons are the least bit relevant anymore, and I doubt there are very many black actors who are clamoring for the chance to voice Cleveland.

Apart from that, I also found Allison Brie apologizing for voicing a Vietnamese character on Bojack Horseman to be ridiculous for a variety of reasons. For starters, that show already ended, so unless she plans on giving up all the money she earned from the show, it’s a completely meaningless gesture.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:32 pm

jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:25 pm
And as far as live action acting, I think Latino actors might have it even rougher - 90% of the time they don't even cast actual Latinos, just Italians and middle Easterners who look the part and then proceed to speak in laughably inaccurate Spanish dialects.
I’ve definitely seen more actors of Latino descent in movies than I’ve seen Middle Eastern actors.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by eledoremassis02 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:33 pm

MyVisionity wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:06 pm
Did not know this about Peter Kelamis and wonder what it was all about. This is a whole other topic, but the nudity in Dragon Ball is one of my favorite things about the series and plays an important role in my view, so that's interesting. (Also odd that the actor who seemed to "get" Goku the most would have an issue with his nudity.)
*correction* I found the interview (From Dragon Ball Uncensored)
Q: What do you think of all the censoring and editing done in the English version? How do you feel about the fact that you have to say "next dimension" instead of "die"? Do you think the alterations are warranted or do the censors go too far?
A: I think what is considered taboo in the Japanese culture and what is taboo in North America are two completely different sets of rules. Yes, the censorship is necessary. I have seen footage of Goku's bare ass, penises, and all sorts of things that you would obviously not see on North American television. As for saying "next dimension" instead of "die" I don't think that would really bother anyone. Bare asses, yes. Next dimension, no.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:34 pm

WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:32 pm
jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:25 pm
And as far as live action acting, I think Latino actors might have it even rougher - 90% of the time they don't even cast actual Latinos, just Italians and middle Easterners who look the part and then proceed to speak in laughably inaccurate Spanish dialects.
I’ve definitely seen more actors of Latino descent in movies than I’ve seen Middle Eastern actors.
Middle Eastern is a pretty broad spectrum and includes a lot of white passing ethnicities as well.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
Cold World
"They say assholes grow on trees/But I'm just here to trim the leaves"
"If a girl is over 35 and not married, then she must be nuttier than squirrel shit." - Reverend Pastor Father Uncle Ruckus (no relation)

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:40 pm

jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:34 pm
WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:32 pm
jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:25 pm
And as far as live action acting, I think Latino actors might have it even rougher - 90% of the time they don't even cast actual Latinos, just Italians and middle Easterners who look the part and then proceed to speak in laughably inaccurate Spanish dialects.
I’ve definitely seen more actors of Latino descent in movies than I’ve seen Middle Eastern actors.
Middle Eastern is a pretty broad spectrum and includes a lot of white passing ethnicities as well.
In terms of people such as Arabs and Iranians, you don’t see a lot of those in English language movies. Even the Aladdin remake cast a non-Arab actress as Jasmine, and that’s live action.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:41 pm

WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:29 pm
MyVisionity wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:06 pm

It seems like there's much to consider racially speaking, when so many manga/anime characters tend to be drawn with Caucasian features to begin with, regardless of any intended ethnicity. There's also the differences between anime that take place in a fantasy world versus anime that take place in the real world.

As for the actors involved, I think the issue may be less of whether non-Asian actors should be cast and more about hiring a larger number of Asian talent.
I understand that. I’ve got no problem with more people of color getting roles. I just don’t think that people like Hank Azaria and Mike Henry dropping out of their roles really accomplished much of anything, other than inciting this victim mentality among the people I’ve already mentioned. Besides, neither Family Guy nor The Simpsons are the least bit relevant anymore, and I doubt there are very many black actors who are clamoring for the chance to voice Cleveland.

Apart from that, I also found Allison Brie apologizing for voicing a Vietnamese character on Bojack Horseman to be ridiculous for a variety of reasons. For starters, that show already ended, so unless she plans on giving up all the money she earned from the show, it’s a completely meaningless gesture.
I mean at the end of the day, who really cares about what some whiny whiteboys think?

You also shouldn't be asking "what will/did this accomplish?" Being an ally is about doing the little things that minimize white supremacy, recognizing your pass errors and then striving to do better. Now if Alison Brie continues to voice minority characters then yeah, it's an empty gesture.

"Course, I do think there is a line. Like when people got mad at Bryan Cranston for playing a paraplegic last year. Now that's dumb outrage.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
Cold World
"They say assholes grow on trees/But I'm just here to trim the leaves"
"If a girl is over 35 and not married, then she must be nuttier than squirrel shit." - Reverend Pastor Father Uncle Ruckus (no relation)

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by ABED » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:50 pm

Thoughts on shows scrubbing potentially offensive scenes and entire episodes off streaming sites?
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by WittyUsername » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:53 pm

jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:41 pm
WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:29 pm
MyVisionity wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:06 pm

It seems like there's much to consider racially speaking, when so many manga/anime characters tend to be drawn with Caucasian features to begin with, regardless of any intended ethnicity. There's also the differences between anime that take place in a fantasy world versus anime that take place in the real world.

As for the actors involved, I think the issue may be less of whether non-Asian actors should be cast and more about hiring a larger number of Asian talent.
I understand that. I’ve got no problem with more people of color getting roles. I just don’t think that people like Hank Azaria and Mike Henry dropping out of their roles really accomplished much of anything, other than inciting this victim mentality among the people I’ve already mentioned. Besides, neither Family Guy nor The Simpsons are the least bit relevant anymore, and I doubt there are very many black actors who are clamoring for the chance to voice Cleveland.

Apart from that, I also found Allison Brie apologizing for voicing a Vietnamese character on Bojack Horseman to be ridiculous for a variety of reasons. For starters, that show already ended, so unless she plans on giving up all the money she earned from the show, it’s a completely meaningless gesture.
I mean at the end of the day, who really cares about what some whiny whiteboys think?

You also shouldn't be asking "what will/did this accomplish?" Being an ally is about doing the little things that minimize white supremacy, recognizing your pass errors and then striving to do better. Now if Alison Brie continues to voice minority characters then yeah, it's an empty gesture.

"Course, I do think there is a line. Like when people got mad at Bryan Cranston for playing a paraplegic last year. Now that's dumb outrage.
It’s not that I care about what they think, but those people often have some influence in the online world. I know Locust suggested going through the effort of countering and debunking their narratives, but I personally am in no position to do that. I don’t have any sort of following. I’m just an anonymous rando.
Thoughts on shows scrubbing potentially offensive scenes and entire episodes off streaming sites?
Whoopi Goldberg summed that up best.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCT1clqci3I

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by Locust » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:00 pm

WittyUsername wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:53 pm
It’s not that I care about what they think, but those people often have some influence in the online world. I know Locust suggested going through the effort of countering and debunking their narratives, but I personally am in no position to do that. I don’t have any sort of following. I’m just an anonymous rando.
For that, this is more - if you see a friend maybe starting to believe some of these lies, you can be like "hey, no, this isn't right, here's a link with correct info" etc etc

I generally think talking directly to these anti-SJW types is an exercise in futility - they don't want to listen or change
Though sometimes people, particularly on twitter, will leave information debunking them, and other people will retweet that and the message is spread

But even doing the above suggested, the talking to a friend - even little things like this can help in big ways
Last edited by Locust on Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by JulieYBM » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:01 pm

Going to have to put my foot down when it comes to ablism. Discrimination against the disabled is very real and that includes those with both visible and invisible disabilities. Stunt-casting a wealthy, abled cishet White man to play a person who uses a wheelchair is worthy of criticism, too, especially since anyone can be disabled.

Other than being disabled myself and knowing others with disabilities, I learned a lot about disabilities (and ablism) from this video with Riley J. Dennis and Andrea Lausell.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:02 pm

ABED wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:50 pm
Thoughts on shows scrubbing potentially offensive scenes and entire episodes off streaming sites?
We should acknowledge the flaws of the past, but not try to scrub them from history either. We shouldn't judge the social sensitivity of past stuff from a modern lens, just do better in the future. If somebody doesn't want to watch something, they can just not watch it.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
Cold World
"They say assholes grow on trees/But I'm just here to trim the leaves"
"If a girl is over 35 and not married, then she must be nuttier than squirrel shit." - Reverend Pastor Father Uncle Ruckus (no relation)

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by ABED » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:05 pm

I like the idea of putting a disclaimer up front.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:12 pm

ABED wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:05 pm
I like the idea of putting a disclaimer up front.
Yup, that's where I stand.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
Cold World
"They say assholes grow on trees/But I'm just here to trim the leaves"
"If a girl is over 35 and not married, then she must be nuttier than squirrel shit." - Reverend Pastor Father Uncle Ruckus (no relation)

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by MasenkoHA » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:15 pm

I’m at least somewhat surprised Funimation hasn’t made some sort of disclaimer in light of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, Roshi’s sexual lechery and Mr.Popo’s whole character (in the Japanese version in particular) is pretty yikes. Obviously Dragon Ball shouldn’t be censored but some sort of disclaimer acknowledging the problematic content.

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by TheBlackPaladin » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:23 pm

jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:12 pm
ABED wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:05 pm
I like the idea of putting a disclaimer up front.
Yup, that's where I stand.
HBO-MAX took down Gone With The Wind not too long ago, only to put it up a few days later with a disclaimer by black film scholar Jacqueline Stewart. If you have HBO-MAX (or can find an upload of the disclaimer on YouTube), watch it: she freaking nailed the disclaimer. She perfectly contextualized how the film should be interpreted in this generation given the attitudes toward black people during the time of its production, while also noting the importance of the film's availability for the purposes of reflection on it in modern times.
Last edited by TheBlackPaladin on Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:30 pm

TheBlackPaladin wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:23 pm
jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:12 pm
ABED wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:05 pm
I like the idea of putting a disclaimer up front.
Yup, that's where I stand.
HBO-MAX took down Gone With The Wind not too long ago, only to put it up a few days later with a disclaimer by black film scholar Jacqueline Stewart. If you have HBO-MAX (or can find an upload of the disclaimer on YouTube), watch it: she freaking nailed the disclaimer. She perfectly contextualized how the film should be interpreted in this generation given the attitudes toward black people during the time of its production.
Just looked it up. Yeah, that's fantastic, 100% on the money.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
Cold World
"They say assholes grow on trees/But I'm just here to trim the leaves"
"If a girl is over 35 and not married, then she must be nuttier than squirrel shit." - Reverend Pastor Father Uncle Ruckus (no relation)

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Re: Minority representation for minority characters in Voice acting

Post by MyVisionity » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:33 pm

Yeah I don't like episodes being pulled and the like. Aside from hiding the truth about race and society, it also leaves the viewers with a misrepresented version of the shows they are watching.

I'm also not a fan of stuff like editing out Popo's lips and so forth.

jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:02 pm
ABED wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:50 pm
Thoughts on shows scrubbing potentially offensive scenes and entire episodes off streaming sites?
We should acknowledge the flaws of the past, but not try to scrub them from history either. We shouldn't judge the social sensitivity of past stuff from a modern lens, just do better in the future. If somebody doesn't want to watch something, they can just not watch it.
I disagree about not judging the past with a modern lens. We absolutely *should* judge the past with a modern lens if we are to understand it and identify it for what it is. The past should not be forgotten, but it also, in this case, should not be forgiven either. It was wrong then and it's wrong now.

Also it's never as simple as "someone don't want to watch, then don't watch". It's not about an individual or individuals choosing whether to watch something or not, it's about a whole society consuming racist messages through media.

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