This is a really deep subject that’s has a lot of built in baggage to it like just about anything related to entertainment that’s been around for a long time.
Full disclosure, I’m an independent voice actor myself (and a cis white guy) so I’m sure I have biases I’m not fully aware of.
I think voice acting has a lot of grey areas when it comes to performing certain archetypes. I think there is a thin line between “doing a type of voice” and “being racist”, but it’s razor thin and depends on a lot of subjective factors.
The biggest instance I’m sure lots of folks have on their minds is Laura Bailey (a white woman) playing a black character in Uncharted 4. On the surface it seems like a major fuckup, but then we find out the decision to make the character black came after Laura had recorded and motion captured her performance. There’s also the fact that lots of listings for characters will not specifiy a characters’ full appearance on an audition slide and the actor might not know what they’re getting into. Of course that doesn’t absolve an actor from any ignorance, but I hope y’know what I mean.
In the US I think there are a lot of opportunities for people to get into acting, but I believe a lot of it is also about being privileged enough to have that be an option beyond church and school plays. If you want reoccurring work, you’ve got to have the means to live where the work is and that’s expensive as hell. I can’t do it myself that’s for sure. To top it off, like major movie roles, I’m sure there is whitewashing and tokenism in voice acting to from some casting directors. A black voice actor might be seen as really good at doing a “black voice” and not much else and might get passed over.
Dubbing anime and games I think is a little different in that it used to be so much smaller than it is now. Everybody who’s paid attention to it knows who Steve Blum or Nolan North is because they were cast in so much. People will stick with who they know will do a great job and are dependable and pleasant to work with so that’s why a lot of these casts tend to appear in multiple projects. I think it is encouraging that companies like funimation have greatly expanded their casts for anime recently. They already had quite a few Latinx actors who worked regularly and shows like Machiko and Hachin have a majority POC cast if I recall correctly.
Ugh, I hope I’ve made some lick of sense with that text wall.
I’m hopeful we have smaller creatives like MidBoss lead the way when it comes to this. When I read for characters in Read Only Memories they were very determined to cast actors who could speak truth into the cast full of diverse characters of race, gender and orientation and not just a “good voice” and I think it worked out pretty well for the game as a whole.