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When Marvel Studios began working on their upcoming "Doctor Strange" movie, the creators found themselves in a bit of a pickle.

See, the character of Dr. Strange as he was originally created involves a once-arrogant surgeon who shatters his hands in an accident then travels to Tibet and learns magic from someone called The Ancient One and becomes the planet's "Sorcerer Supreme."


GIF from "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Doctor Strange." Kind of.

That's all good and well and comic book-y, but it also reeks of the whole "white savior" trope, which is, erm, kinda really colonialist in a way that may have been overlooked 50 years ago when the character debuted.

But not so much in 2016.

Mind=BLOWN. GIF from "Doctor Strange."

Which makes their casting decision for the role of a Tibetan magic man even more puzzling.

According to the movie's screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, the filmmakers were concerned that acknowledging the Tibetan aspects of the story would anger China, the second largest movie market in the world, to the point of banning the film. And casting the part with a non-Tibetan Asian actor could, itself, be seen as cultural erasure.

Hence, the pickle.

In the end, the filmmakers made the choice that was best for their bottom line.

GIF from "Only Lovers Left Alive."

While the blow was somewhat softened by casting a woman — specifically the amazing Tilda Swinton — the decision also highlighted another glaring, grievous Hollywood problem.

Quite frankly, there aren't a lot of parts for Asians. In fact, there were no Asian actors in 40 of the 100 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2014. At all.

The roles that are available are already extremely limited, often to stereotypes or minor roles. The number of leading roles for Asian actors has actually shrunk over the years because the roles are whitewashed instead and given to marquee actors.

And don't even get me started on this:


GIF from "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

The reaction to the casting was swift and forceful. Prominent Asian entertainers like George Takei and Margaret Cho took to Twitter, where the hashtag #whitewashedOUT gained fast prominence.

"So let me get this straight. You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales … in Asia?" Takei wrote on Facebook. "This backpedaling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting. Marvel must think we’re all idiots."

"We have been invisible for so long we don't even know what we can do," Cho told IndieWire.

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GIF from the Webby Awards.

Marvel Studio and the "Doctor Strange" creative team tried several times to double-down, but the hole just keep getting deeper — until director Scott Derrickson issued his own response:

Certainly Marvel has and continues to make tremendous strides in the diversity department — heck, they cast Chiwetel Ejiofor as the Transylvanian Baron Mordo in "Doctor Strange." Would they have consciously participated in the whitewashing of Asian culture if not for those perceived political-economic pressures? Who knows.

The simple truth is that there's no magic that can change the multilayered oppressions of the past. There's not necessarily one "right choice" in these situations, but that's because it's not a zero-sum game.

It's not a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenario because the damning has already been done throughout history.

All there's left to do is help in righting the course of the culture.

GIF from "Doctor Strange."

Derrickson's simple statement is a humbling acknowledgement that sometimes when you screw up, all you can do is learn, move forward, and do better next time.

After all, that's basically how the arrogant Dr. Stephen Strange becomes the Sorcerer Supreme.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Grab your boost of serotonin here.

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Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Holy moly—it's fall, y'all!

As pumpkin spice swoops in and we start unpacking our cozy sweaters and cute boots, we can practically taste the seasonal change in the air. Fall is filled with so many small joys—the fresh, crisp smell of apples, the beauty of the leaves as they shift from greens to yellows, oranges and reds, the way the world gets wrapped in a warm glow even as the air grows cooler.

Part of what makes the beauty of fall unique is that it's fleeting. Mother Nature puts on a vibrant show as she sheds what no longer serves her, inviting us to revel in her purposeful self-destruction. It's a gorgeous example of not only embracing change, but celebrating it.

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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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