I’ve received a number of messages telling me (in varying shades of politeness) why the above scene is understandable and/or not racist for these reasons:
- Lucy doesn’t speak Mandarin.
- Lucy panicked and needed to get to a hospital fast and didn’t have the time to come up with a peaceful solution.
- The men could have been bad men who wronged her.
- She was already starting to change and lose her humanity.
- A lot of taxi drivers in Taiwan refuse service to foreigners because it’s troublesome and Lucy just wanted to avoid that.
- I have only seen the trailer so I shouldn’t judge.
I believe that this scene is not okay, even in context for one simple reason.
LUCY IS NOT A REAL PERSON.
Whatever context you place this piece of dialogue in, it’s never okay that scriptwriters thought it would be fine that the killing of a POC (in his own country) came right after a white person, a foreigner, asking “You speak English?” and that POC answering “No.”
There could have been many other ways for Lucy to show how ruthless she was, not speak a word of Mandarin, kill the spare taxi driver, and get to the hospital. For example, the scriptwriters could have made her go up to the first taxi driver and say, “Can you take me to the hospital?” and shoot him when he refuses. She still would have killed a man, but because he refused her and not because he didn’t speak English.
Remember, this is fiction and this scene could have been easily re-written to not include that line.
The purpose of the trailer is to give viewers a positive impression of the film to make them want to go see it. The fact that the people behind this film are proud enough of this scene to put it in the trailer in hopes that it will attract positive attention really says a lot.
The problem is that the scriptwriters did not catch onto how problematic and offensive that line is and even put it in the trailer.
Already, the fact that scriptwriters thought that this line was okay is a sign that they’ve either bought into imperialist ideology, or did not respect (in this case) Taiwanese/Asians enough to take it out.
When I say imperialist ideology, I am referring to the idea that English should be the superior, international language and that white people are superior. This ideology can be traced back to the days when many European countries were colonising, exploiting and trading with other countries. Something interesting to think about is how the typical world map is woefully inaccurate and which countries are shown smaller/larger and why has it not been corrected.
Not only white people buy into this ideology. A problem that many POC deal with, especially those living in a country where they are a minority, is internalised racism where they hate or are ashamed of their own culture/skin colour. This is only furthered by films where people of their race are shown as props, jokes, or villains.
A film that plays into the evil POC trope and has a white character shoot a POC in the trailer for not speaking English is extremely offensive, racist and harmful.
I’m sick and I’m sad and I’m pmsing and I miss my boo.
"Maybe you’re not [heterosexual/homosexual/some kind of allosexual], maybe you’re just [insert love interests name]-sexual"
NO, NO THERE IS AN ACTUAL LEGITIMATE NAME FOR THAT
THERE IS A NAME FOR ONLY BE SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO THOSE YOU HAVE A DEEP EMOTIONAL BOND WITH
I finally watched The Big Bang Theory today.
There was a TV on the wall in this Thai diner, and naturally because of the noise level of the customers, the employees had the audio turned off - but there was closed captioning on, so people could still watch the show.
I was waiting in a rather lengthy line, and sort of became invested in the show within the span of the time that I was standing there, slowly shuffling forward.
I was stunned.