Bee Vang, star of Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, spoke out against his use of anti-Asian slurs, which he says “embody anti-Asian racism.”

One of the stars of the 2008 film Gran torino regrets his frequent use of anti-Asian slurs, which he claimed made anti-Asian racism more common. Directed by Clint Eastwood, who also plays the film’s lead, Walt Kowalski, Gran torino follows a widowed Korean War veteran who is separated from his family. Walt is also a curmudgeonly racist who directs his anger at his Hmong-American neighbors and says to them: “Get off my lawn. “

However, at the end of the film, Walt eventually forms an unlikely connection with one of his neighbors, a young Hmong teenager played by actor Bee Vang, and the film leans heavily towards the theme of people overcoming their differences. In 2008, the film was a box office success, grossing $ 148 million in the US and $ 270 million worldwide, and made history as the first mainstream American film to star Hmong-Americans. However, since its release, the film has come under fire for its use of racial slurs, and now one of its stars is speaking out.

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In an opinion piece for NBC News, Vang spoke out against the racist language used by Eastwood’s main character. While Vang acknowledges that Gran torino Greater Asian-American representation, he also believes the film helped make anti-Asian racism more common. In his essay written 13 years after the film’s release, Vang writes:

At the time, there was a lot of discussion about whether the insults in the movie were insensitive and gratuitous or just “harmless jokes.” I found the laughter provoked by the insults in theaters with a predominantly white audience disconcerting. And it was always the white people who said, “Can’t you take a joke?”

Vang cites the coronavirus pandemic as his reason for speaking out now. “Anti-Asian racism that was once disguised in a good mood has been revealed for what it is, thanks to Covid-19., “he writes. Throughout his essay, Vang seems to disagree with the audience’s reactions to Gran torino, more than the movie itself. While Vang says the film helped make anti-Asian sentiment more common, it is the “joy of white audiences“What is it”obsessed” for.

While it may be debated whether Gran torino is the story of a man who overcomes extreme prejudice or actually encourages anti-Asian racism, Vang is brave to speak. Gran torino was well received among the Hmong community at the time of its release, but it is possible that some were afraid to speak up, and perhaps Vang’s essay will inspire others to do the same and spark a wider conversation about the description of the race on film. Vang’s essay also makes a clever point about how current events, such as the coronavirus pandemic, can alter our view of the past and reshape our interpretation of cinema.

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Source: NBC News

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