Mr. Yunioshi and Lucy

Mickey Rooney as ‘Mr. Yunioshi’ in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Recently, Hollywood comedian, actor and legend to many, Mickey Rooney passed away at the age of 93. I thought long and hard about posting part of an article about his death on this blog. However, I had reservations about this one. Rooney may be loved in Hollywood and fans alike, but there’s one thing that sours his legacy, in my humble opinion, and that is role in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s playing a racist Asian caricature named Mr. I. Y. Yunioshi.

Rooney’s yellow face role in the movie was incredibly offensive to Asians and Asian Americans. It was released when racism in America was in-your-face and – like today – unapologetic. Rooney has long since defended his role until a few years ago where he expressed some “regrets”. What made him come back to Earth from the planet of white privilege? Who knows?

Hollywood’s liberal definition of “progression” means placing a few people of color (POC) here and there in their films, almost as if they have some sort of color quota to fill. POC are like pegs that are fitted into holes made by Hollywood big wigs. If they fit, then the role is filled no matter how shallow and narrow the holes are. Asian actors only have a few roles, and like we’ve seen with Mickey Rooney, sometimes they don’t want Asians to play Asians. In Hollywood, white people are the pegs that fit in all the holes.

Speaking of white people, Hollywood, Asians and racism, there’s a new film coming soon called Lucy. The title character is played by Scarlett Johansson – of course, it’s gonna be a white woman – who, according to the trailer, is kidnapped by an Asian mob who surgically implants a bag of drugs inside her stomach. She manages to escape due to her ability to use untapped brain power use to the drugs leaking out. She becomes smarter, faster and stronger, almost godlike. And so, she sets out to save the world, or something. Basically, it’s white power versus Asian villainy in a nutshell, another Holly-white fantasy.

White people will flock to the theaters to see Johansson kick ass. White feminists will wet themselves seeing a white woman become a super white woman. And Hollywood will make another several million dollars using a trope that’s been to death and beyond.

Though some people will argue that it is nothing more than “entertaining” and that racism was not intended, the results cancel out all excuses. As Hollywood’s racism will be on the big screen, it will rake in big bucks for the big wigs in Tinsel Town. As long as there is buying power, we will see more abominations where POC are either stereotyped for laughs are demonized for fear, in the name of white entertainment.

21 thoughts on “Mr. Yunioshi and Lucy

  1. It is sad Mickey Rooney died. All the classic actors are dying off and we are stuck with medicore actors. Btw Hollywood will never give up on it’s racism.

  2. I remember Mickey Rooney in “Breakfast at Tiffiny’s” and i thought “damn seriously” Hollywood just won’t let go of that racial garbage. But remember the times that film was made in. They did that in those “Charley Chan” movies stereotyping Asians and using a white man in the character.

      1. Casting Whites to play POC is nothing new to Hollywood. Whenever a character is supposed to be a POC, they would cast a White actor or actress instead and make them look like whatever POC they were portraying. I have seen in Westerns White people portraying Native Americans while wearing “red face” and straight, black wigs.
        And I have seen White people playing characters “pasing for White” instead of Hollywood actually casting mixed race actors and actresses of White appearance.
        Now, they just whitewash the character entirely.

        They cast Renee Zellweger as Ruby in “Cold Mountain”. In the book, Ruby was mulatto. And let’s not forget David Carradine as Caine in “Kung Fu”. They might as well put up signs in Hollywood saying “No POC need apply.”

      2. Wasn’t the character Michelle Pfeiffer played in “Dangerous Minds” originally a Latino teacher, not a white one? I read that somewhere.

  3. I used to love Shirley Temple movies as a kid, it was one of those movies “The Little Colonel” where they blacked faced, Shirley Temple and used the word “picanniny ” to describe the little black kids in the film. Hollywood is racist as hell.

  4. Rest in peace, Mr. Rooney. That being said, I must say that the portrayal of the racist, Asian stereotype is one of the most ridiculous things to show up in a Holly-weird film-and as we know, that’s just one of the many things that’s wrong with the U.S. movie industry! I just watched the trailer for “Lucy”, and surprise, surprise the majority of the Asians in it are perceived as bad guys, while lil’ miss Scarlett all of sudden develops a super-brain (just because she had a bag of drugs stuffed in, and thought of a way to escape?) lol Anyone catch how she had the nerve to tell Morgan Freeman (a professor in the movie) how his article needed improvement(?) HA! On a side note though, in my opinion it is high-time for Mr. Freeman to enjoy the money he during his career, and let Someone else grace the screen for once!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s