Photoshop Whitewashing has been going on since fashion


Photoshop have become one
of the fashion industry’s worst habits. Differentiating between what is real
and what isn’t in the fashion industry is hard, it becomes even harder when majority
of the images you come across are far from racially, ethnically or culturally
sensitive. Minorities are still underrepresented and often times left out in
the fashion industry, the idea that you can find crossover success with blacks,
Asians and Latinos is something that stylists, producers and directors have
given up on.

            When the Knoll brother’s released the first version of Photoshop
in the late 1980s, the goal was to recreate the image the eyes were seeing but
the camera technology back then couldn’t capture. Fast forward to the 21st
century, and Photoshop is doing so much more than displaying grayscale images or
recreating what the eyes see as it was in the 80s. Today Photoshop can be used
to remove freckles, blemishes and even to entirely change the figure of a
model, photo-shopping has become a modern day norm. Whitewashing has been going
on since fashion magazines were in black in white. “The simplest example of
whitewashing is when a pre-existing non-white character (or even a real
person!) Is replaced with a white character in an adaptation. So, whitewashing
is taking a pre-existing character or person of color and making them white”. Another
form of whitewashing is having a white person pretend to be a person of color.
Using a white person to portray a person of color or any minority is the industry’s
century long practice and subpar attempt to try and bridge the race gap. They’ll
use yellowface, brownface and blackface, which is the practice of donning
makeup to either look Asian, Indian and or black, this is usually accompanied
with an appalling and racist accent. Whitewashing can also be classified using
the narrative trope of the “white savior”, which is simply when the well-intentioned,
generous, messianic white person comes and saves the poor, needy people of
color from their plight. This fits a widely accepted notion that ‘White’ is the
default race, that whites are more superior when compared to other race. “The
‘White Saviour’ has long been a vehicle for celebrities in Hollywood film. From
Lawrence of Arabia (dir. Lean 1962) to Blood Diamond (dir. Zwick 2006), from
the Indiana Jones franchise that began in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark
(dir. Spielberg) to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (dir. West 2001), actors perform roles
as heroes who save the day against all odds and thwart dark and ominous adversaries
(Shohat 1991; Shome 1996; Dyer 1997). Pop stars take on characters and ‘exotic’
identities as well, from the heroic, virginal, and steadfast, to the sexy, bad
and ‘ethnic,’ as with Madonna’s Geisha, Evita or Indian summer personas”
(Fouz-Hernández 2004).

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The ‘White Savior’ obsession
has created racial inequality in media. Its created confusion and lead to the unwillingness
to find out what people of color can bring to the table, which then leads to them
being overwritten with whites, and completely erasing them from the narrative that
inherently belongs to the black culture. Overlooking and erasing the
achievements and cultural milestones made by minorities not only leads to whitewashing
but also culture appropriation. Although some may see no wrongdoing in mimicking
of other cultures by designers, artist, actors and many more, the underlying
message reflects something far more disturbing. The conveying message here is
that it’s not only acceptable to steal the works of people of color in the name
of art, and entertainment, but that it is also okay to erase and reduce other
peoples a culture.  

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