When minor characters who are also ethnic minorities start talking among themselves in their native tongues, they sometimes take advantage of their invisibility to say things. Sometimes they break the Fourth Wall and start ranting about the movie director. Sometimes, they spout random obscenities or natter about their lousy lunch. It’s all in not-English, so whatever they say doesn’t matter! And the actual translations of their lines can be a secret source of hilarity in films where actors are instructed to use a Gratuitous Foreign Language (GFL) in order to make a scene sound more authentic. When some Native Americans cast in Westerns were told to speak their own language to add some authenticity, these actors took the opportunity to crudely editorialize about their director, which allegedly resulted in Native American audiences (in)explicably cracking up laughing during scenes that were meant to be dramatic.
in the original Star Wars one of the “alien languages” that the rebels used was actually Swahili. My dad watched Return of the Jedi in Nairobi in a packed theater and during a space battle shot some nameless extra shouts “this is not my watermelon!” in swahili and the entire theater exploded into a mixture of laughing and cheering
I wonder if this is why Joss Whedon didn’t cast any Asian people in Firefly