Talking Points: should all films be required to be more culturally diverse and include actors of different ethnic backgrounds?

Talking Points: should all films be required to be more culturally diverse and include actors of different ethnic backgrounds?

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

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Donnie Yen (Left) and Felicity Jones in Rogue One (2016), which was praised for casting women of colour, ethnic minorities and people of colour.
Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

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The Fast and the Furious movies are some of the most culturally diverse and financially successful franchises in the world.

Leung Hau-ying, 14, Tin Shui Wai Methodist College

Yes, definitely. Every actor is shaped by their cultural experiences, and brings their own talents and uniqueness to the roles they play. Why shouldn’t a studio cast actors from many different backgrounds in major blockbusters?


Saanchi Shah, 14, King George V School

We all know the influence the film industry can have on society. Imagine if it was compulsory to include actors from different ethnic backgrounds in all Hollywood films. I think we’d become a more inclusive and open-minded society. This is why I think that films should be required to include actors from different ethnic backgrounds.


Carol Heung Yat-tung, 13, King Ling College

This is a great idea! I don’t think there should be racial discrimination in any industry. Having actors of different cultures in one film would be great, because the story of a character might have to change to reflect the actor’s background. It would be great to put the spotlight on little-known cultures in films and even TV shows.


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Kevin Mo Ka-hoi, 12, King Ling College

Yes, I agree. This is because there are many roles that require specific experiences of different cultures. I also think a character of a certain nationality should be played by an actor of the same nationality. This is because when they speak in their native language, they would sound very natural, compared to an actor from a different nationality.


Fung Lok-fung, 16, Sing Yin Secondary School

It’s a great idea, but it’s not always necessary. Ethnicity is only one of the elements that helps to build a character. There are many other factors at play, such as gender, age, appearance, and personality. I think all of this makes for a good film, along with acting ability, camerawork, music, and the plot. The plot is very important; it has to inspire the audience and make them think. A film is not only about putting actors of various nationalities together.


Chong Shu-ki, 12, King Ling College

I think we should have actors of all ethnic backgrounds in films. Diversity in the workplace makes actors perform better because they’re acting against more. It would add something different to productions, as actors from different ethnic backgrounds would bring their own ways of completing a scene. Making the film industry as multicultural as possible is good, as it shows other people it doesn’t discriminate based on race. We’ve started to see this in Hollywood, where Chinese actors are being given more roles.


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Chung Kiu-yu, 15, Tin Shui Wai Methodist College

I think don’t think so. We all want racial equality, but there are some films that simply won’t work with actors cast from different ethnic backgrounds. If we have a historical film about China, for example, we can’t cast people from different races in it.


Sue Lam, 16, St. Rose of Lima’s College

It depends. Films help convey important messages. Sometimes, the ethnic background of the actors can help to underline and emphasise a story’s theme. Some films need actors from a specific race or ethnicity to make it more realistic. But I think, no matter what a person’s background is, we shouldn’t discriminate – that includes choosing people based on their race. When it comes to films that don’t require actors with specific ethnic backgrounds, the director should be hiring people based on their talent, not their appearance.


Vivien Wai Sin-ling, 13, King Ling College

All films should include actors from different ethnic backgrounds because it would prove there is no discrimination in the world. Actors from different races would get to learn from each other’s cultures. People would see that others from different countries also have the same experiences they do. I also think more films would be popular around the world, and not just in one or two countries. 


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Karen Ho Ka-man, 16, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

I don’t think this is a good idea. The ability to act doesn’t depend on a person’s ethnic background. How is it fair if a film casts a person just because of their background and not because of their acting? I think we should treat everyone equally, but that doesn’t mean they should automatically be included in a film. What we should do instead is respect one another in real life, and make equality happen there, not just in films.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss: 

An American teenager received both criticism and support from internet users last week for wearing a traditional Chinese dress to her school dance. Is wearing clothes from a different culture appreciation or appropriation?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to yp@scmp.com by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Edited by Ginny Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Should all films be required to include actors of different ethnic backgrounds?

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