"I'm fortunately at a point in my career now where ... I can call it out and say, this isn't cool."
Alec Mapa is opening up about his experiences with racism in both Hollywood and the LGBTQ+ community.
During an interview with TooFab, the multi-hyphenate talent started off by discussing his latest endeavor, the podcast "Hot Mess," which covers mental health and wellness -- topics Mapa said are dear to him.
"Now I'm not a qualified therapist, but I do have a lot of experience with toxic relationships, codependency, substance abuse -- Um, what else? Alcoholism, shame, anxiety."
"See, it's getting funner by the second," he quipped. "And I'm not afraid to talk about these issues."
Mapa explained how he is joined by psychotherapist Matthew Dempsey each episode to cover those challenges -- as well as body image, authenticity, aging and more. "We kind of break down solutions for a happier and a somewhat happier life," he added.
As the nation grapples with a pandemic and growing protests over racial injustice, the "Ugly Betty" star said he believes now is the time to confront our "uncomfortable feelings."
"Especially right now in this time of uncertainty where people are afraid and they don't know what to expect," he explained. "Everybody's experiencing fear, everybody's experienced anxiety."
"And there's so much to talk about right now with the Black Lives Matter movement and Black Trans Lives Matter movement," he continued, "Our platform as people who have the microphone is so powerful."
After discussing the concerns he has for his 15-year-old Black son in today's climate, Mapa also touched upon the racism he has dealt with in Hollywood as an actor of Filipino descent.
"My first jobs out of the gate were what we in the Asian community would call kind of 'ching-chong' roles that were Asian roles written by a white person," he detailed.
The roles, according to Mapa, were delivery boys, exchange students and nerds with accents.
"I just kind of felt like these aren't whole people. We were always kind of like punchlines or the button to a scene -- 'Oh, there's an Asian guy,'" he explained. "I'm fortunately at a point in my career now where I can be a little more choosy, I can call it out and say, this isn't cool."
He added, "It's changing little by little -- and I think people are getting a little more woke. But, you know, the main point is when you have a diverse cast, diverse crew, diverse set -- it's harder for people to be bigots."
Mapa also went on to discuss racism in the LGBTQ+ community, calling it "prevalent."
"You know, white supremacy is so ingrained in part of our culture that it's even part of the gay culture," he explained. "I grew up in San Francisco and there were bars in the Castro that used to discriminate against people of color. There were bars in West Hollywood that did not welcome people of color."
"If you were a person of color, you weren't necessarily welcomed in a predominantly white space in West Hollywood, and you know what -- I'm invisible," he said. "You know, it's like as a little Asian man, in those spaces, I'm kind of like -- I can observe so I can see what people are up to."