The Simpsons says it will stop using white actors to voice non-white characters. The show is being more sensitive, after going under fire concerning the matter of race.
The longest-running American sitcom The Simpsons have been a household name since 1990. People from all around the world hailing it clever with insightful commentary that’s always full of humour. However, the much-loved satirical life is also facing criticism following the wave of anti-racist.
“Moving forward, The Simpsons will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” Fox spokesman Les Eisner said in a brief statement.
The Simpsons will no longer use white actors to voice non-white characters, according to the producer of the show. The statement did not elaborate and specify whether The Simpsons will keep the characters on the series, but this action is clearly followed by many years of pressure on the show’s Indian-American immigrant character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, voiced by Hank Azaria.
Apu is an Indian character and naturalized US citizen. He is a PhD holder in computer science and runs a popular convenience store in the US. It is notorious for its high prices and the poor quality of its merchandise. The most controversial point is Apu voiced by white actor Hank Azaria and played with the thick Indian accent. Many people say Apu is reinforcing racial stereotypes and it is a negative portrayal of Indian-Americans.
In earlier this year, the voice behind Apu, Hank Azaria decided he would stop voicing Apu after 30 years. He also voiced the characters of black police officer Lou, a black power plant employee Carl Carlson and the Mexican-American Bumblebee Man.
The story behind Apu
Previously, many Indians sneered at the character Apu as they believed it is an epitome of racial discrimination against South Asians in American society. The Indian-American comedian Michael Melamedoff specially filmed a documentary The Problem with Apu about racial diversity in 2017. The film explored challenges with negative stereotypes, racial microaggressions and slurs against people of Indian and South Asian heritage through the character. In reality, many Indians have been called ‘Apu’, and this is a discriminatory nickname that can be viewed as racism.
The Simpsons have said they will stop using white actors voice non-white character, yet, there is a number of well-known characters that are actually voiced by white actors. Undoubtedly, people want the characters to be voiced by the actors who are from the same background.
To take a step further, this also brings about the issue of opening up more opportunities for non-white performers in the entertainment industry. While we don’t know whether the characters of colour will be written off the show, or whether The Simpsons intends to simply replace the voice actors with more appropriate choices based on each character. But we can all agree, it’s about time some changes are made.
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