Whitewashing in movies

casting practice in the film industry in which white actors are cast in non-white roles

Whitewashing, in movies, is when a white actor plays a character who isn't white, when a character's race is changed to white from something else, or when someone changes a story so that people who are not white seem less important.[1][2]

  • In the 2013 movie The Lone Ranger, white actor Johnny Depp played an American Indian character.
  • In the 2016 movie Doctor Strange, the character "The Ancient One" was changed from Asian to white so Tilda Swinton could play her.
  • Many 20th century movies about cowboys show only white men. In real life, many cowboys were black or Latino.


  1. Claire Gillespie (June 1, 2021). "What Is Whitewashing, and Why Is It Harmful? Here's What Experts Say". LA Times. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  2. Jeremy Helligar (May 14, 2021). "This Is What Whitewashing Really Means—And Why It's a Problem". RD.com. Retrieved August 8, 2021.