Hilarious and Uncomfortable: White Actors Asked to 'Act Whiter' (VIDEO)
Pretty much every actor of color has a story about how they showed up for an audition, read for a part, and were then asked to deliver their lines again — only this time as a gross, caricaturized version of people who look like them.
It’s such a regular practice it’s become a joke in its own right. Robert Townsend did an amazing job of mocking this incredibly offensive tendency in the 1987 film Hollywood Shuffle. More recently, comedian Nicole Byer managed to find humor in her experience of being asked to “be blacker” when going out for acting gigs. And Aziz Ansari, who dedicated an entire episode of Master of None to the topic, has publicly declared that he refuses to put on a stereotypical Indian accent, even for a blockbuster film.
But what if the tables were turned? Imagine if we didn’t consider whiteness the default and treated “white roles”—the overwhelming majority of acting roles — the same way. Meaning white actors would routinely be asked to “white it up” in auditions, as if all white people were exactly the same. Or casting directors would ask white actors to transport them to “Caucasialand.” (I promise this will make sense once you watch the video.)
On the video series "Flip the Script," Mic decided to conduct an experiment in which POC ask white actors to be “whiter” to see how that would play out. The hilarious and uncomfortable results are below: