11.06.2010

Asian Folks...Stop Claiming Keanu Reeves (Updated)

He ain't nobody to be proud of. 'Cause when he did Street Kings (which I'm watching for the first time right now...yes, I know...behind the times...whateva), he seriously needed bitch-slapped.

A long time ago, in an Asian forum far, far away, I read a post by an Asian-American actress talking about how she was going to pass on an audition for a film with Keanu Reeves.  Thankfully, she also emailed Angry Asian Man, thus preserving her post for posterity:
...There's also a part of dialogue where Reeves' character greets the korean guys with 'konichiwa.' The Korean guys in turn tell him that phrase is Japanese and insulting to Koreans but Reeves says that he can't tell the difference. Then Reeves' character responds, "It means you got eyes like apostrophes, dress white, talk black and drive Jew. So how'm I supposed to know what kind of zipperhead-dog-munching dinks you are if you don't?"
Aw...hell naw.

I always wondered what happened to that film.  Like if folks changed their minds, if Keanu backed out, or if there was a script change (hey...a pygmy can dream), but alas...'twas not meant to be.
Ludlow [Reeves] is a racist cop, a renegade cop, a vigilante cop. We know this because next he wantonly massacres a bunch of Korean bad guys and makes it look like they shot one another. Then, when he's confronted by his African-American ex-partner, Terrence Washington (Terry Crews), he yells, "I'm racist!" In response, Washington calls him a "white boy." This seems especially odd because the Chinese-Hawaiian-Caucasian Reeves is, ancestrally speaking, roughly as white as Barack Obama.

This is the set-up for "Street Kings," which immediately forgets it ever brought up all that racial stuff, anyway. Almost as quickly, it loses interest in its main character's alcoholism. Then it raises the idea that Ludlow may still be in pain over his wife's death, but instantly ignores that, too, turning its deficit of attention to the killing of a police officer. The murder investigation leads the bull-headed Ludlow -- who, mind you, does not play by the rules! - along a twisted trail of corruption that leads all the way to the highest levels of the LAPD. Yeah, I know. Who could have anticipated that? ~ Roger Ebert
Asians, we're all family here. So let's talk family business: Keanu deserves to be treated by Asians the way Tiger Woods gets treated by black folks.  I am sick to death of these POC who try to passe blanc or play up the "bi/multiracial" angle to get ahead and make some money.  And they always try to justify their behavior with the money.  "Wouldn't you do it for my kind of money?"

Honestly...hell naw.

This is selfish thinking.  It sends a message that not only can POC be bought and sold, we want to be.  We're willing to be.  We'll deny who we are, spit on who we are, and we'll do it with either a smile or a straight face - you know...whichever Massa says.

It also says that other POC need to "fall in line" if they want to make that money and get that fame.  And if we're too dark or our features are too distinct, then we need to just go on ahead and resign ourselves to a lifetime being second-class pariahs.

No...I'm not done.  I am sick of movies like Street Kings.   I'm sick this "white guy who's not perfect but underneath it all he's a good guy so quit bitching about his racism because look, he's trying to avenge his black partner who conveniently got shot on his watch - and see?  Their black boss doesn't care, so why do you?  And oh yeah...didn't he save those Asian chicks in that cage?  And how can Keanu be racist?  Isn't Keanu himself, like, one-nineteenth Asian or something?"  Mind you, they bring this up when Keanu himself is NOT accused of being racist, just his character.  The rationale is that if a person of color utters something racist, especially in character, the actor's being of color somehow magically negates the racism.  You know...Hollywood logic.

Which brings us to the part I almost loathe the most.  You know...when celebrities like these fuck up in some way, get some negative press, and then come crawling back to "their people" or have the balls to go grinning to the press saying some bullshit like, "I'm a proud POC.  I'm not racist.  This isn't about race.  This is about art.  Besides, how can a POC be racist?"  Once again, they haven't been accused of being racist themselves - just their goddamn character.

Um...first of all, POC can be racist as hell.  Second of all...you're a POC now?  And acknowledging that ish?  In public?  When did that happen?  And why should we give two shits?

'Cause I'll admit it: I was a fan.  How could I not be?  Keanu was fine - emphasis on the term was.  Shit ain't looking like it used it to, feel me? (Courtesy of a drinking problem, hear tell.)  But boy was he lunchable back in the day; I had a major crush on his ass and tried to see all his films as soon as they came out so I could watch that on the big screen.  And make no mistake: Keanu was fine because of his ancestry, not despite it.  That's right - I said itThis motherfucker is worth somewhere in the ballpark of $350 - 400 million and he acquired all of that loot by not looking like a run-of-the-mill white dude from the West.

Swallow that, bitches.

But I am a fan no more.  It's about to be a new damn decade in a this new century of ours, and we can no longer tolerate this type of backstabbing bullshit from kinfolk.  Keanu had some balls doing a film like this with absolutely nothing to fall back on - no rippling muscles, no bad-ass moves, no boyish good looks, no acting ability - nothing!
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*twitch*  Naomie-friggin'-Harris, Forest Whitaker, and Hugh Laurie were all in this piece of shit as well.  *double twitch*

As some of you can see, I had to add a few unnecessary lines because some people have insisted upon being illiterate while skimming this post...then writing novels comments based on what they deliberately misread.

33 comments:

  1. I always DID have a strange feeling about Keanu Reeves...to tell you the truth, when I was younger, I considered him a White guy, and left it alone haha.

    And NAOMIE HARRIS???? A part of this SHITE? You are surely SHITTIN me. A little part of me just died inside.

    And as for our Asian brothers and sisters still claiming asswipes like Keanu? They need to quit letting other people talk shit and let them go with a "slap on the wrist." They need to go off like we do: either disown that person&make him NO answer when he/she comes crawling back (aka Tiger Whore-biscuit Woods), or they need to turn that wrist slappin to some major ass kickin.

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  2. So it sounds like the movie isn't about racism and trying to say something deep about racism and racists in general. It's just a regular ol' movie? Why would he take this part? I can't imagine Denzel taking a part like this unless the movie was specifically about racism, and a man coming to terms with his race-related self-hatred, and how he grows and transforms as a person, etc. But since Keanu can "play white", I guess he does what he feels he needs to do to get along (I guess).

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  3. Woah harries AND whitaker?! I guess I'll have to check this one out because I too used to be a fan of reeves because I thought he was way sexy (especially in Constantine)

    Wait he's got Asian acestry?! O.0
    I missed something..

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  4. @ Kenji - Yea, his father is Chinese/Hawaiian.

    As for Harris and Whittaker, I'll dig out my old excuse for when my favourite actors star in crap films - The rent/mortgage isn't going to pay itself. :D

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  5. I've seen the movie, it sucks. Don't watch it, you'll never get those 2 hours back.

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  6. 1. Street Kings was based on a script by James Ellroy, who is known to be extremely politically incorrect in his writing. Racism was one of the big things. His characters were often racist, sexist, and downright unpleasant people.

    2. How does it make Keanu racist just because he plays a character who happens to be? Lots of actors out there play bad characters, and they have lots of reasons for doing so. It says nothing of their own integrity as a person. Just because someone plays a murderer for instance doesn't mean that they condone murder in real life. Keanu openly acknowledged in interviews that Ludlow isn't meant to be a nice guy; he has a dark side, and the racism is part of that. He's a screwed up, messed up character, and that is part of what attracted Keanu to the role: he wanted to explore that.

    In the case of the film, that particular bit you quoted was intentionally meant to feel ironic because of Keanu's own race. It was meant to jar.

    3. Keanu playing white characters is not completely his fault. Partly, yes, it's often the only way he can get a job (he had a lot of trouble getting hired in the early 80s because of his race), and he can't be faulted for Hollywood's lack of POC roles. He's just a pawn in the system, and that's not his fault.

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  7. Street Kings was based on a script by James Ellroy, who is known to be extremely politically incorrect in his writing.

    Uh-huh. Like Tarantino, and Clint Eastwood, and whichever other fuckwad white writer/director you want to name who find any possible excuse to justify putting racism onscreen, racism which is - always and conveniently - leveled at POC and non-POC Jews. And they always fall back on the "politically incorrect/controversial/free speech" defense. And then they wonder why the racial/religious status quo in America doesn't change...unless it's worsening.

    How does it make Keanu racist just because he plays a character who happens to be?

    I never said the man himself was racist. I just said he took a shit role, and when POC-descended actors like him do this ish, people always fall back on the same tired, fallacious, knee-jerk arguments about how a POC can't be racist.

    Keanu playing white characters is not completely his fault. Partly, yes, it's often the only way he can get a job ...and he can't be faulted for Hollywood's lack of POC roles. He's just a pawn in the system, and that's not his fault.

    If you're a willing pawn, then yes, it's your fault and you need to take some fucking responsibility.

    Let's recap, shall we? Hollywood has a distinct lack of good POC roles. Meanwhile, white writers and directors are finding every possible excuse to show white people hurling racial slurs at the few POC that actually are in films. And instead of working to change and improve this scenario, these people actually fight, argue, and defend bullshit reasons to ensure things stay the same.

    What self-respecting POC wants to be a part of that system?

    Furthermore, people like Tiger, Keanu, and other rolling-in-dough folks have no excuse. They have the money now. Collectively, POC athletes, musicians, actors, and moguls in America are worth billions, and have been for a while. You're telling me they can't pull their massive resources together and establish their own damn industry? Plenty of great films, high-grossing films have been made for less than $30-$40 million. Keanu alone has a net worth of $350-$400 million.

    What the fuck are people like him waiting for, exactly?

    When Filippino-American director Gene Cajayon was trying raise money to film The Debut, he was appalled at the lack of support from the wealthier end of the Asian-American community. WTF?

    Justin Lin had to film Better Luck Tomorrow on a bunch of credit cards and $100,000 wired in - at the last minute - from friggin' MC Hammer. WTF?

    Danny Cho and company created Ktown Cowboys - a work of sheer genuis, by the way - and they had to film on a budget of about oh, I dunno, zero, and then release that ish for free over the net. WTF?

    Big Phony is an exceptionally gifted and blindingly brilliant Korean-American singer/songwriter. His friend filmed an entire music video for him on a damn iPhone. Why is Big Phony doing a couch tour and scraping to fund his next album? WTF?

    Is the white influence in the industry hindering POC? Yes. But we can't blame them for that anymore, not when we could easily establish our industry at this point. 88% of humans are POC. That's a huge, perfectly willing market to satisfy, and we are capable of doing that now. So let's just do that already! Ain't none of us gettin' any younger!

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  8. I guess I'm not done.

    I think what I'm saying is, I'm tired of the POC-in-the-industry-are-helpless argument.

    Do you realize what would happen right now in America if every actor, athlete, writer, model, news caster, game show host, reality TV star, fashion designer and musician of color went on strike? How long do you think white America and its fetishism-ridden ass would survive if we granted them their supposedly fondest wish of all - to be able turn on their TVs or go to a movie theater and see nothing but other white Americans? How long do you think they'd be able to function sanely if we withheld our (*retch*) diversity? Let white America go a year - a full year - without POC in the public eye, without our cuisine, without any of our fashion ideas or musical influence.

    See what the fuck happens then.

    Individually, some of our famous POC may understand this, but we need them all to understand it collectively...and then act upon it.

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  9. I never said that POC can't be racist. Of course they can. But playing a character acknowledged to be racist and not a nice person is different from playing a character in a world where racism is deemed perfectly normal and okay. It's not even about being a willing pawn, any more than an actor who plays, say, a rapist is condoning the practice even implicitly.

    You're asking Keanu and other POC actors to define themselves by their race, which I don't think is a good idea. Isn't this a step backwards? Why not define them by their work instead and have it such that the first thing that comes to mind regarding a POC actor isn't their race? Which I think now happens in the case of Keanu, and which is a big accomplishment. He's a POC whose race isn't a big deal. He's treated like any other actor.

    Why not aim for an industry in which POC actors can play 'white' roles as well as white actors, and by so doing make them cease to be white roles and challenge that status quo?

    I'm a writer, and Chinese, and I know that I don't want all my work to either fit some pre-existing exotic stereotype or start a completely new genre that is defined primarily by my race. I want - and have the right to - write in genres primarily established and filled by white authors, not because I'm pandering to them or because they were established by white people, but because I enjoy those genres (as I do others) and don't see why I should be disallowed from them. And if more POC do the same, then those genres would cease to be white-dominated areas. Neither do I see why I should be disallowed from, say, writing a racist character or someone who is otherwise unpleasant, and not hiding the fact that yes, this character is racist and not nice.

    Likewise, I think the same goes for actors. The very act of POC actors playing 'white' roles is already an act of subversion, and one which would have not been possible several decades ago. It's showing that these roles don't need to be white; if a POC actor can play it just as well, or better, then such roles and others like them could just as well be written for POC in the future. It's the first step.

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  10. Amen to that. That's why I fucks with Angela Basset because she always stays dignified and reps her people. I understand how hard it is for up and coming people, but once you are established you don't need to prostitute yourself for Hollywackassshit. I think that it was just arrogance, greed, and an error of judgement on his part. Just like the entire cast of Crash. UGH! Hated that fucking movie.

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  11. I never said that POC can't be racist.

    Didn't say you did. You're committing the classic troll mistake by deliberately misreading so you can make point which I'm clearly uninterested in.

    You're asking Keanu and other POC actors to define themselves by their race, which I don't think is a good idea. Isn't this a step backwards? Why not define them by their work instead and have it such that the first thing that comes to mind regarding a POC actor isn't their race?

    This sounds like a similar argument used in "Avatar: The Last Racebender" - wait, I meant, "Airbender". The old "Why do we have to bring up race? Can't it just be about the best actor for the role? Can't we just celebrate art?" A very white/house Negro sentiment, since it's always used to defend flicks like these.

    America is a racist country. POC get shafted at every level. You yourself stated Hollywood screws over POC in terms of roles. Now you're suddenly defending these roles and insisting we judge actors of color who play these shit roles by the quality of...what exactly?

    The very act of POC actors playing 'white' roles is already an act of subversion

    This is a delusional argument. We want to see more POC in film and TV. We don't want to see POC in white-face or pulling a passe blanc. We want to see dark chocolate women with curly hair, Asians without eye surgery, and an abundance of undiluted Native Americans in stories which take place after the 19th century for a change. We want to see people who like us, and wanting to be represented abundantly and positively is not irrational, or backward, or racist. And as long as we live in white-privileged society which works to screw up the self-esteem and confidence of children of color from the get-go, our celebrities of color need to represent. If it's such a huuuuuuuge burden and resisting the 30 coins of silver is just sooooo hard, then maybe they don't belong in showbiz.

    After all, Avery Sisko says no to bullshit roles. Angela Bassett does it. The young Asian actress mentioned in the beginning - who isn't famous and isn't raking in the dough - had the backbone to up and walk away from "Street Kings" in 2007, while Keanu - who was already worth $350 by 2005 - somehow felt "compelled" to do this horrendous piece of shit.

    You have your right to your opinions, as I do mine, but your arguments are tired, white, and counterproductive to POC. We want actual progress in the 21st century, not POC tripping over their own feet and crying helpless.

    "Street Kings" sucked. Keanu committed a major fail taking the role. So no...he gets neither compassion nor commendation, and defending this role and movie is the most intelligent way to go.

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  12. *isn't the most intelligent way to go.

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  13. Keanu didn't feel compelled to take the role; he read the script and thought it was an interesting and flawed character that he would like to explore through acting. He's played similarly dark characters in the past - a serial killer, a wife beater, a drug addict... It's part of what acting is about. Exploring different sides of humanity. Including its bad ones.

    You thought the movie sucked, but there are lots of people who didn't, and some who thought it among his best performances to date. This kind of thing is subjective, and so to say that you didn't like the movie therefore it is a horrible movie therefore Keanu shouldn't have taken the role is just bad reasoning.

    I am on your side regarding Airbender, because in that case the characters started out as Asian and then got cast with majority white actors, and that was definitely problematic because there is already a dearth of POC roles out there. And actors like Keanu are basically reversing this trend. In Airbender, POC roles were given to white people. In Keanu's case, white people's roles are being given to POC. Which I see as a good thing precisely because what happened with Airbender was a bad thing, and this is the opposite of that. It's not the ideal situation, sure, but I'd far rather have POC playing white roles than whites playing POC roles.

    I guess I didn't state my argument clearly regarding the point of how this is subversive: basically, if a writer creates a role for, say, an executive named Mr. Smith, intending it to be filled by a white actor, and a POC plays it instead and does it well, then it sends a message to the industry that executives don't need to be white because POCs can play them just as well. Which might then lead to future scripts with similar characters now given POC names instead and thus turned into POC roles.

    Because just asking for more POC roles isn't going to help; Hollywood might provide them, but they would probably just be more of the usual stereotypical tropes because that's all that Hollywood is convinced POC actors are able to play. But when they take on white roles, it shows that they're capable of those type of characters as well, and I think this would encourage a shift in the mindset that POC are only good for playing certain stereotypes. If, in the meantime, this means them having to play characters with white names and who do explicitly white things, then so be it; and I think the very act of this will cause audiences to notice the issue. This very blog post is an example of that. A POC actor playing a racist white character jars, and sparks discussion about the state of POC in Hollywood, and when there's discussion, good things could come out of it.

    You pointed out earlier that 88% of the world's population is POC. However, this isn't the case in America, where POCs are still a minority, and Hollywood caters first and foremost to American audiences. A large part of that 88% (including me: I live in Asia) has their own local media which people of their race control and produce. India has Bollywood, for instance, with films filled overwhelmingly with Indian actors and with perhaps a token white guy somewhere. Geographical context has to be taken into account when using stats as an argument.

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  14. (cont'd)
    "our celebrities of color need to represent"

    And I find this problematic too, because it assumes among other things that all celebrities of color find their race to be the most important or one of the most important things about them. But people are more complicated than that; they might have other marginalised groups they just as strongly - or more strongly - identify with, and be more concerned about in terms of representation or whatever. For instance, a lesbian POC actor might be more concerned about increasing the number of LGBT characters in film, and have this be of higher importance for her than race. Which shouldn't be a bad thing, because it's not just POC who are discriminated against by the kyriarchy.

    Specifically regarding Keanu, I don't know how you can say that he was doing it for the money, because his career choices have plainly showed that money is of no concern to him. He turned down The Fly II for Dangerous Liaisons, which paid him one tenth as much. He turned down $11 million - the most he would have been paid to date - for Speed 2, choosing instead to play Hamlet in a small Canadian theatre for $8,000. He took a paycut of $1 million for The Devil's Advocate so the studio could afford Al Pacino. He gave up 90% of his pay for The Replacements so that studio could afford Gene Hackman. He donated $38 million towards the Matrix sequels when they went over-budget so that the costume and special effects departments could afford to finish the films. And there are many, many other tales of staggering acts of generosity on Keanu's part from people who worked with him.

    Keanu doesn't do films for money. He doesn't need it; he's said that he could live off what he's earned for centuries, and he donates to a lot of charities (quietly, which is one of the things I admire about him: he doesn't splash his philantrophy everywhere for attention) and cancer research. He picks the scripts that he wants to do, which he thinks has good stories and interesting characters. Some people think Street Kings was a good example, others (like you) don't, but again, this is a matter of opinion, as is Student of the World's opinion on Crash, which I personally liked (and got a really high rating of 8.0 on IMDb). Keanu does the scripts he wants to do. He doesn't sell himself out. And he's also reported to be an extremely humble guy, so the accusations of arrogance seem off-base.

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  15. *rubs temples*

    I really should've checked this before writing all those replies.

    *shudders*

    Seriously creepy, y'all.

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  16. Keanu? Meh. He can't really act to me, so I can take him or leave him.

    Not about Keanu:
    I don't understand why POC are required to disrespect ourselves (and other POC in the process) just so we can get the respect that we rightfully deserve and that white actors get naturally? Why are we required to lower ourselves in such a way, but white people aren't? We're always expected to shuck and jive and just "get along" until white folks feel a burning desire to do the right thing and change their minds about the inequality they've been dishing out. Which history shows they don't do unless they absolutely feel they have no choice.

    History has also shown that there is another way that POC can get change--we can demand it. Martin Luther King Jr. did it, Malcom X did it, Medgar Evers did it, the Lovings did it, just to name a few. And judging by the visceral and hateful ugliness that's come out since President Obama got elected, we're going to have to keep on demanding it because it doesn't look like white folks are willing to give up their privilege just yet. Hell, they're willing to subvert national security just to hold onto it. They won't voluntarily hand change and equality over...they never do.

    They don't play fair and they don't respond to being asked nicely. Slavery, Jim Crow, women's rights, voting rights, gay rights (which is still a work in progress)...none of those were achieved by asking nicely. They were achieved by demand and follow through. Change takes longevity, heavy commitment and great sacrifce, and unfortunately, in this microwave society and anti-intellectual environment, I'm not sure if people are ready to do what it takes to make it happen.

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  17. @ cinnamon

    What you're saying is actually the very heart of this post.

    I don't understand why POC are required to disrespect ourselves (and other POC in the process) just so we can get the respect that we rightfully deserve and that white actors get naturally? Why are we required to lower ourselves in such a way, but white people aren't? We're always expected to shuck and jive and just "get along" until white folks feel a burning desire to do the right thing and change their minds about the inequality they've been dishing out. Which history shows they don't do unless they absolutely feel they have no choice.

    Ding ding ding ding ding - we have a winner!

    History has also shown that there is another way that POC can get change--we can demand it...They don't play fair and they don't respond to being asked nicely. Slavery, Jim Crow, women's rights, voting rights, gay rights (which is still a work in progress)...none of those were achieved by asking nicely. They were achieved by demand and follow through.

    Precisely.

    Here's what I'm seeing. Once a upon a time (and now, in other parts of the world) whites tried to make POC keep to their place through violence, by force. That didn't always work, and even when it did, it didn't last forever.

    There's a saying that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Hollywood isn't going to always going to bar POC from starring in films, not to keep them in their place. Not when Hollywood can pay them to keep to their place, and if they passe blanc, even better...Hollywood pays them to maintain the status quo.

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  18. @ Kenji

    Thank you...that's another thing. Most people don't know Keanu's father is Asian. And when you tell them, a lot either simply don't believe you until given proof, or continue to disbelieve it even after you've provided proof. And not just white folks do this - POC do it as well.

    So people can talk "subversion" and all that bull, but the people watching can't tell the difference and don't want him. White folks claim Keanu, and since they're paying his bills, I don't foresee him taking a film role to radically change this view once and for all.

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  19. I read this post a few days ago and have gone back and forth trying to think if I should give my opinion or not. I happen to be Japanese/Caucasian, a big fan of Keanu, and actually really liked the Street Kings movie. I do believe there was a reason for Ludlow's comments to the Korean guys and Washington.

    In Street Kings, Keanua plays a white cop (I'm assuming his character is just Caucasian) and says a negative thing about Asians--I don't see how that makes Keanu a racist or prejudiced. It's called acting. Did he make these kinds of comments in an interview or in public? No. Actors have the choice to take a stand on something by not accepting a role or even speaking up about not liking something in the script, but I don't think that's necessary for a one-liner that was negative about Asians. By the way, it wasn't really a comment about Asians in general, he was trying to insult THESE criminal guys.

    Ludlow is a cop and knows these guys are scum (because they're criminals, nothing to do with ethnicity). He had a machine gun in the trunk that was too big to take out right there, a tracking device on the car already...this was part of his plan for them to take the car. He might've wanted to piss them off because he didn't like them, but I also believe it was like he wanted to "TROLL" them. You know how people on the internet say racist/prejudiced things even if they don't mean/believe it, just to get a rise out of people? Ludlow drinks on duty and has a "I don't give a f---" personality; this makes me think he's the type of person who isn't "politically correct" and would like to "troll" others to annoy them, like criminals.

    When Washington told Ludlow that the Korean guys Ludlow had shot up in the house were "victims," Ludlow was pissed off. Since Washington used to be partners with Ludlow, he was probably aware that Ludlow went in the house without a search warrant, opened fire on unarmed (at the time) guys, and just went on a shooting spree. Washington was in the mindset of Ludlow not following the rules. Ludlow was still in the mindset of their criminal activity and the raping of the kidnapped girls, so for Ludlow to be told that the criminals are victims and have rights, it wasnt what he needed or wanted to hear at that time. Ludlow was pissed off already and Washington kept badgering him (didn't Washington stop Ludlow from walking away by grabbing his arm?). Obviously, they both disagree about the situation and wouldn't stop to say the other person is right. Ludlow also seemed to feel that Washington thinks he's a racist anyway and the only way to end the conversation and to have Washington leave him alone was Ludlow's trolling technique and his temper. Ludlow telling him, "Because I'm a racist!" seemed like he also meant "Isn't that what you wanted to hear?" I always took his outburst as being sarcastic, never literal and I've watched the movie many times.

    Ludlow's boss is African-american and I don't see Ludlow treating Wander (Wonder? Don't know the spelling) in a specific way because of his ethnicity. Didn't Ludlow go to Wander's house in the middle of the night, to get Wander's opinions about things going on? Seemed like he thought of Wander as not only a boss he could trust and confide in, but even a friend.

    I don't know if Roger Ebert saying Ludlow being a "racist cop" is his opinion or if it was actual verified information like officially from the movie writer/company/whatever but I never took Ludlow OR Keanu Reeves as being a racist.

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  20. A fellow blogger wanted to add their opinion on your entry but had internet browser problems so I was asked to submit their comment for them. The comment:
    ================================================


    I read that excerpt of the script at the IMDb forums long ago and it made me raise an eyebrow , then saw the movie and it all fell into place.
    Context, people, context.
    That is actually the opening scene of the movie. It's the first time we hear the character speak; the first time we see him 'in action'. But it's not what it looks like, to quote Ludlow himself. It's an act. Sort of. It's Ludlow trying to rile up the two Asians so they'd drive straight to their 'den'. Or maybe he just feels like sh*t and is looking for a fight.
    And then... then we have the scene with Washington.
    Tom Ludlow: Now that you're all militant, why don't you just say it? You think I'm a racist.
    Detective Terrence Washington: You have another explanation?
    Tom Ludlow: No I don't. Because if I roll and determine the suspects are black, yellow or brown, I'll blow 'em out of their socks. But if they're white, I'll give 'em a ride home. You know why? 'Cause I'm a racist. Fuck you.

    Terrence was Ludlow's friend, and their friendship fell apart not because of race, but because of different opinions regarding corruption. Ludlow's personal god is -oh, the horror!- a BLACK officer. Ludlow's girlfriend is Latina. Yeah, he's a racist alright.

    and Reeves' gonna play the 'half-breed' , denied samurai recognition and basically any form of respect, in 47 Ronin.

    Hollywood, it seems, is not without a sense of irony ;) :D

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  21. @ everyone

    By the way...with The Debut, Better Luck Tomorrow, Ktown Cowboys, and West 32nd (just for good measure) - each one written, directed, and casted by Asian-Americans, and in which they had complete say over every aspect of their films - do you guys notice anything special about the primary cast?

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  22. Ankhesen Mié said...
    "White folks claim Keanu, and since they're paying his bills, I don't foresee him taking a film role to radically change this view once and for all."

    What about "Little Buddha"? He played an Indian. Or "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues"? He played a native American in that one. And he'll play a European-Japanese half-breed slave in the upcoming "47 Ronin"

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  23. Keanu playing a Native American is NOT an example of how not racist he is.

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  24. People really need to start reading more carefully before they comment. That's going to become part of policy if this continues.

    AGAIN, here's what I said:

    White folks claim Keanu, and since they're paying his bills, I don't foresee him taking a film role to radically change this view once and for all

    Keanu Reeves has at least 69 titles to his name, and of those 69, he's played a POC twice since he began acting in 1985, and intends to play one again. Hence the statement of "radically change...once and for all."

    Playing a mixed-blooded samurai will not RADICALLY CHANGE the "white" view of Reeves, unless he keeps playing POC from hereon out. Which he will not.

    If he does, I will gladly lend my support. I have every intention of seeing 47 Ronin - thank you folks for bringing this film to my attention. I'm genuinely excited. But three films doesn't trump the fact he's played mostly white guys for 25 years now, he is NOT a good "actor", and - I hate to have to keeping pointing this out - he doesn't have his looks anymore. So Reeves needs to be a lot more careful about the roles he chooses in the future, and HOPEFULLY, 47 Ronin is a sign he's aware of this and doing so.

    Because it is way past time. And it's not like he's been powerless. Women have worshiped him for years, were willing to see him in pretty much any film, and if he'd played more Asian and Native American roles in years past, who knows what he could've accomplished on behalf of POC by representing POC.

    By the way, am I the only one disturbed by the pervasive complacency with the racist setup of Hollywood? There's an awful lot of apologism going on here.

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  25. By the way...remember when I mentioned "seriously creepy"? See what I mean about "worship"?

    I just... argh. left a comment. don't think it would help.

    It really didn't.

    ...crap. should have mentioned I'm Chinese or else they'd just accuse me of whitesplaining.

    That's not...exactly what I was thinking....

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  26. @Ankhesen

    I've decided that the Apocolypse is the day that people wake up and pull their heads out of their asses. I'm beginning to wonder if there is actually any hope that people will learn to read in context or at least focus on the damned topic at hand without running off half-cocked.

    Naomie-friggin'-Harris, Forest Whitaker, and Hugh Laurie were all in this piece of shit as well.

    Hollywood tries, but will continue to fail in this area. Just casting POCs in crappy roles isn't enough to get me to fork over my easily-earned money and I sure as hell won't be satisfied. They expect me to watch a movie about a racist cop, starring Keanu and a whole bunch of POCs who need to pay the rent? Well, hell, I need to pay my mortgage, too. Shockingly, I can do that and give significant proceeds to charity.

    I've got to give you props for even acknowledging those who cannot read with basic understanding. This must become a RULE. The ability to read and to respond logically and rationally in context is a MUST. Those who cannot do so must get the hell off the premises.

    @Modest-Goddess

    Thanks for the heads up. Any two hours in my lifetime is precious. I won't even illegally download this crap.

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  27. "Get the hell off the premises".

    Hmmmm...I think I'll add that to the rule.

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  28. In addition to the films I listed earlier, I should also tack on Face, The Motel, and Saving Face.

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  29. See? This is why I never claim being a "fan" of anybody or anything because "fans" scare the living crap out of me. You can't even JOKE about their favorite actor, singer, songwriter, etc without them getting their panties in a twist.

    I'll admit that some of her - his/it's - points I agreed with (partly the whole, POC playing roles that are considered "white" to get more roles for POC and for those roles to be considered more for the best actor to play them and not viewed through the lens of race), but then again, I am naive and still think of butterflies and rainbows and buckets full of gold (okay, me and the fiance have a nine-month-old and I'm watching Dragon Tales with her, and sorry, but sometimes that ish is Da Bomb). But for rest...she can have it.

    I believe (because I like being thorough before I open my mouth - my momma always told me to back my words up with facts) that she/he/it already stated that they were Chinese and that doesn't make a damn bit of difference because in dealing with the Chinese community here in GA, they are some DELUSIONAL people, let me tell you! Just because you are a POC doesn't mean that you don't have blinders on and can't see where you may be wrong, and her blog post and the comments from the other "fans" are very condescending and uninformed. THey didn't come to this blog and look at its context, they came because their fearless leader (i.e. Keanu Reeves) was being "attacked". Seriously? I've NEVER heard him acknowledge that he was POC-ish and, by the by, I had to sit through that crappy Little Buddah when I was a kid, and even at seven I was going, "They couldn't have gotten a REAL Indian to play Siddarta? Isn't that guy white? And when the HELL did the Dalai Lama EVER get reincarnated into a little white kid? WTF?" So, please.

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  30. and even at seven I was going, "They couldn't have gotten a REAL Indian to play Siddarta? Isn't that guy white?"

    THIS. My first reaction as well.

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  31. Hmmm..I didn't know that Siddartha was made into a picture. I loved the story,but I do agree, they should have gotten an Indian man to play that role of him.

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