“Is To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before just a tale of white worship?”
“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”, the bestselling book turned Netflix movie is facing backlash from the online community for its white worshipping. The movie centers around half Korean, half white Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, who’s love interests are four white guys and one black guy. In the book all five of her love interests are white.
Jenny Han, the author of the book was asked by producers to turn the protagonist, Lara Jean into a white girl but she refused. She wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times that states,
“I ended up deciding to work with the only production company that agreed the main character would be played by an Asian actress. No one else was willing to do it. Still, I was holding my breath all the way up until shooting began because I was scared they would change their minds. They didn’t.”
When the movie was being made questions arose about Lara having all white male love interests. They ultimately decided to change one of the guys into a black male. Jenny had no problem with changing minor characters into another race but this brought up questions on why one of the love interests couldn’t be an Asian male.
In an interview with IndieWire, writer Hanh Nguyen asked her about this and Jenny said,
“I understand the frustration and I share the frustration of wanting to see more Asian-American men in media. For this, all I can say is this is the story that I wrote.”
Hanh Nguyen writes,
“That’s why it’s discouraging to see an Asian author perpetuate the narrative of only white men being attractive, and by exclusion, that Asian men are not. Of course, the onus isn’t and shouldn’t be completely on Han to represent all Asians.”
Further riling up the internet was when Lana Condor gave an interview to The Cut. In the interview she said,
“We tried to stay really close to the book and they weren’t written that way. If Jenny was telling a different story, we would tell it. But I will say this: My boyfriend in real life is Cuban but he is very light-skinned. There are times when people online will say, “Of course she’s with a white guy.” Oh, so Asian people can only love Asian people? I can only be with my race?
You are being racist unknowingly and continuing to put us in a box that we don’t need to be in. It’s really unfair. People should be able to love who they want to love. It’s offensive to me — you’re continuing to promote tribalism. So I can’t be with who I want to be with? These are probably the same people who have an issue with the LGBT community. It’s the same thing — you telling me who I can love is unfair.”
This brought a rebuttal from @kasiefiles
@siushi shared his thoughts
In addition, a scene in the movie really upset some people. It shows Lana showing Peter one of her favorite movies, Sixteen Candles. While they both acknowledge the racist aspects of Long Duk Dong she forgives it because the white male is so hot.
And to top it off, one of the stars of “To All The Boy’s I’ve Ever Loved Before”, Israel Broussard got in some heat when old offensive tweets surfaced. One made fun of the victims of 2011 Japanese Tsunami.
He has since apologized as reported by the Daily Beast.
Many people have been asking Jenny Han to respond to the criticism but she has stayed silent