|Chinese-American actress Chloe Bennet. [File Photo]|
Hollywood's only Chinese-American superhero has stirred up heated debate on social media after she spoke out against discrimination in American show business.
Chloe Bennet, a Chinese-American actress who stars in Marvel's trending TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., explained on social media why she changed her last name from Wong to Bennet, arguing that Hollywood is "racist" and wouldn't cast her with a last name that made them "uncomfortable."
"Changing my last name doesn't change the fact that my BLOOD is half Chinese, that I lived in China, speak Mandarin, or that I was culturally raised both American and Chinese," replied Bennet.
Bennet's remarks come after Ed Skrein stepped down from his role as Major Ben Daimion in the upcoming Hellboy movie for fear that his participation would be "whitewashing" a character of Asian descent.
Racial barriers have been a crucial problem in Hollywood. According to research conducted by the University of Southern California in 2015, nearly three-quarters of all characters in the top 100 films of 2014 were white, while only 5.3 percent of Asian artists can share the same privilege. In another report released in 2017, only 3.4 percent of over 1,000 surveyed films had an Asian director.
"Asian artists can hardly stand out in Hollywood. Most roles starred by Asians are fixed and stereotyped, as if all Asians are good at math and martial arts. There is an invisible discrimination lurking in show business, as the difference of your skin color may bring disparity in your income and opportunities," said Alex She, a New York-based Chinese-American photographer and movie maker.
Bennet's experience has led to heated debate on both Chinese and foreign social media. As of press time, over 17 million netizens have viewed the hashtag WangKeYing (Chloe's Chinese name) on Sina Weibo, leaving over 14,000 comments supporting the actress.
"It's understandable that Wong is forced to abide by the rules made by white society. However, I'm tired of Hollywood movies depicting Chinese as either martial masters or nerds. We need more good Asian artists to reshape Chinese people's images among foreign audiences, changing their biased view of us," wrote a netizen.
In response to the public concern, Bennet told fans that she will do everything she can to make sure "no one has to change their name again, just so they can get work."
(Source: People's Daily Online)
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