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WHITEWASHING

What Does Whitewashing Mean?

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Whitewashing refers to the painting of walls or fences with a cheap white paint (a mixture of chalked lime and water) that covers up dirt and other marks.

Whitewashing is used as an idiom with a number of meanings, including: glossing over bad conduct, dishonesty, or other misdeeds; casting a white actor to play a character of color; and editing images to make skin appear lighter.

Here is more information about each of these definitions of whitewashing.

Glossing Over Bad Conduct, Dishonesty, or Other Misdeeds

In general speech, the term whitewashing is widely used to refer to the practice of glossing over bad conduct, dishonesty, or other misdeeds (e.g., Russian state media reporting on the war in Ukraine, western media's failure to report on Ukrainian war crimes).

Casting a White Actor to Play a Character of Color

In film and television, whitewashing is the practice of casting white actors in non-white roles. A famous example is that of Johnny Depp playing a native American in the film The Lone Ranger.

Editing Images to Make Skin Appear Lighter

Whitewashing is also used to refer to the editing of images to make the subject's skin look lighter. This is a common practice among fans of K-Pop and other genres of Asian pop music. Whitewashing of this type is even done by some western celebrities of color (or their publicists).

The most famous example of this sort of whitewashing is probably the steps taken by singer Michael Jackson to actually change his skin tone to a lighter color.

Image for Whitewashing

When I write Whitewashing, I mean this:

meaning of Whitewashing

"Glossing Over Bad Conduct, Dishonesty, or Other Misdeeds"

Summary of Key Points for the First Definition

"Glossing Over Bad Conduct, Dishonesty, or Other Misdeeds" is the most common definition for Whitewashing on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Whitewashing
Definition:Glossing Over Bad Conduct, Dishonesty, or Other Misdeeds
Type:Word
Guessability:guessability level 2

2: Quite easy to guess

Typical Users:typical user
Adults and Teenagers

Summary of Key Points for the Second Definition

"Casting a White Actor to Play a Character of Color" is another common definition for Whitewashing.
Whitewashing
Definition:Casting a White Actor to Play a Character of Color
Type:Word
Guessability:guessability level 4

4: Difficult to guess

Typical Users:typical user
Adults and Teenagers

Summary of Key Points for the Third Definition

Whitewashing also means "Editing Images to Make Skin Appear Lighter."
Whitewashing
Definition:Editing Images to Make Skin Appear Lighter
Type:Word
Guessability:guessability level 4

4: Difficult to guess

Typical Users:typical user
Adults and Teenagers

Example of Whitewashing Used in a Text

Whitewashing
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