Here is an EXCELLENT piece I first read on Oh No They Didn't.
Original source here: On Marvel, Mandarin, and Marginalization by Marrisa Lee - from Racebending.com:
At ComicCon 2012, Marvel Studios announced that Sir Ben Kingsley will be playing a version of The Mandarin, Tony Stark’s traditional yellow peril arch-nemesis, in Iron Man 3. The announcement was a sudden about-turn from previous statements the Iron Man directors have made about the Fu Manchu-inspired villain.....
Kingsley’s casting has made some waves; he is a British actor of partial South Asian descent while the Mandarin was originally of Chinese descent in the comics. It’s complicated by the fact that the Chinese government is virtually co-financing and co-producing Iron 3 through DMG film group; China likely had a say in the depiction of The Mandarin in Iron Man 3. [A stamp of approval from the Chinese government doesn't mean much given Asian Americans who live in the United States as a minority group are arguably more strongly affected by sinophobia and stereotypes than the people of China or the Chinese government. (eg. Han Chinese people living in China have access to unlimited representation of themselves in their domestic entertainment industries; Asian Americans do not.)]Does the casting of Kingsley serve to perpetuate the stereotype that all Asian ethnic groups are interchangeable? Or does it simply cement Marvel Studios’ decision to shift the stereotypical bad guys of the comics from “yellow peril” to “Middle Eastern/South Asian terrorism”? (The first Iron Man film had the Ten Rings bad guy Raza, played by South Asian American actor Faran Tahir.) Rather than debating among ourselves about which Asian American or Asian actor should have the sad privilege to continue the legacy of the reviled Fu Manchu-esque Mandarin, or hand wringing about how Asian Americans don’t have much say in how to reinvent or salvage unforgivable stereotypes that have caused great harm to our communities, there are more pertinent questions we need to lob at Marvel.
Questions like: How did we end up with The Mandarin in a Marvel Studios movie before any Asian American lead heroes?
Or even just: Why isn’t Marvel really utilizing it’s pantheon of women heroes or characters of color?