- White People: It shouldn't matter what color the characters are, the story is what's really important.
- Rich People: It shouldn't matter how much money you make, enjoying whatever you have is what's really important.
- Het People: It shouldn't matter whether or not you can get married, just being with the one you love is what's really important.
This post is not really a type of subject I usually talk about on my blog, but there is something that has been really bothering me lately, and it’s the overly dramatic concern over the act of “white-washing”. Yes, I understand that so-and-so was this ethnicity so the actor or…
I really understand your points, and I’m not trying to make arguments, all I want is to understand why it’s so offensive to people. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of talented ethnic actors in this world, but what I’m saying is, if the main purpose of Hollywood films is to entertain and make a profit, unknown actors will not help because most people, again I’m not saying all, but most people watch a movie because of a specific actor/actress which in turns generates profit for the director, cast, etc.
I do recognize your points though. “why can’t poc be in hollywood films? why can’t they be in ENTERTAINING media. why must their presence only be required in documentaries? are poc not entertaining enough to be in hollywood films then?” I also have these questions, but instead of adding more why’s, we should try to “accept”. Like you, I would much rather watch a movie on Persian princes that actually feature Persian people, but films with unknown artists don’t make it big, or they go straight to DVD or t.v. and no one seems to recognize that people do actually make these accurate movies. Instead of making fuss on popular movies, people should try and promote the less known movies.
and “it’s a legitimate problem and if people need to be overly dramatic about it in order for things to change, then people have every right to do so.” Yes, people have every right to voice their opinion, but if a “White” person tries to add their opinion on this topic, more than often are they usually not taken seriously and labeled by “white privileged” etc.
“why does hollywood white-wash what little of poc characters there are? why does hollywood make it seem as if the only capable actors are white?” If I knew the answers to these questions, I would tell the world, but I don’t and I can’t even contemplate a plausible answer. Maybe the “other” person just wasn’t cut out for the role etc. etc. There can be so many different explanations or excuses but I and no one else can say what that answer is because there will always be some sort of racial prejudice against the person.
Every story out there is about an ethnic person, so if every movie featuring these ethnic actors was made accurately, what would “White” people be left to. Maybe if people actually got rid of the world “White” can the issue be solved? I don’t know. It seems that the United States, Britain, and other “white” countries have this problem. There is no such term as “white” in other languages. What and who decides who is and who isn’t “white”?
If “white” was erased, actors and actresses would have their true identity back. Behind the term “white” is an ethnic person. Taking Jake Gyllenhaal again for example, is Jewish/Swedish, but because of his appearance he was labeled “white” and was stripped of his ethnic background by what we call “society”.
I really hate this issue because people don’t even know where the term “white’ originated from. No other country in the world uses “white” to describe a person of a different ethnic background.
the fact that using a non-white person is a risk in this country’s movie industry says a lot. the fact that a white face sells more, is safer in order to attract a larger audience, demonstrates that there is a clear preference in american society for anything with a pale face.
and in the prince of persia case, it was based on a video game. the majority of people who went to go see the movie were fans of the video game or at least heard of it. they would have went to see the film regardless of poc casting or not.
i will never accept the fact that poc “don’t make it big.” in a country where we pride ourselves on “equality,” poc should have just as much of a right to succeed in hollywood as someone who is white.
and simply saying “there will always be some sort of racial prejudice against [a] person” just shows a lack of responsibility to help stop racism. there is an answer and that answer is that people in hollywood not only continues to prescribe to the idea of white supremacy, but also encourages it.
and yes, there are ethnic stories but when a white person stars as the protagonist it strips away the cultural values that the story original has. it basically says, oh this story is okay but now it is more legitimate and appropriate for the public to view now since a white man is telling it. and to answer your question, according to the 2000 U.S. consensus white referred to as anyone “people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.” this definition is highly contested by people who wish to affirm their arab ancestry (like yours truly), so those of european descent are most commonly referred to as white.
and i could answer the rest of the argument but, ultimately, the rest of your points attempt to create sympathy for white people which is just plain ironic. people like gyllenhaal are not suffering because of their history or their ethnicity. they’re not being marginalized every day. the issue of white-washing is not one that affects WHITE PEOPLE but POC.
as for white people who try to comment on the topic of white privilege, they usually are only doing so bc of guilt, denial, or defensiveness, which in itself is racist behavior.
“Stay Away From My Elves”: Racism in Epic Fantasy Fandoms-Damned if you Do, Damned if You Don’t.
Like I said before, I think adding poc into things JUST for the purpose of inclusion is just as bad. But I don’t think adding them in to a fantasy story that has been around for decades with a very strong and dedicated following is the right way to do it. This isn’t about racism, this is about fucking with my fandom.
Stay away from my elves.
I’m all for being happy that a black person wrote a fantasy book with black protagonists, just as themselves, largely (though not entirely) away from any color related power struggles, letting them exist on their own merit and showing the obvious fact that fantasy characters don’t all have to be pale.
It would be nice if the responses weren’t “FUCK YEAR! FINALLY A BOOK FOR US! TAKE THAT YOU HORRIBLE, BORING WHITEYS”.
However I do fail to see how ‘race isn’t a conflict’ as someone (I think) mentioned above, when it’s really just about black supremacy, not white supremacy. BUT HEY DON’T MIND ME. I prefer not to read fantasy with an agenda, even if it’s in my favor.
I’ll reserve my adulation for a black writer who is above being racist entirely. I do not withhold judgment based on skin color.
You know, I kinda have a problem with this, as well. I’m white, but one thing I’ve made a major point in my life is to never see skin color. If you had told me this book was part of a wonderful fantasy series that would have been fine. If you had told me the protagonists were people of color and the antagonists where white: still fine. But you had to drive home the thought that it’s so superior just for those reasons, and that’s unsettling.
I mean seriously, you SJS Skidmarks whine and bitch about how authors don’t include enough “non-white” characters in their books. Then when an author DOES do so, you whine and bitch because they aren’t the star or the main character. And when an author makes one a pretty important character you complain about THAT.
Seriously, kindly write “racist” on a club and beat yourself to death with it. It’s what you want, anyways, but no one would likely care enough to humor you. You can make the club any color you want, though I think we can all guess what color it’d be. Funny thing is, regardless of that? It’d still be stupid and incredibly ironic.
“Naturally Thresh would be a black man,” tweeted someone who called herself @lovelyplease.
“I was pumped about the Hunger Games. Until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue,” wrote @JohnnyKnoxIV.
“Why is Rue a little black girl?” @FrankeeFresh demanded to know. (she appended her tweet with the hashtag admonishment #sticktothebookDUDE.)
“Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you picture,”@sw4q
“Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad,” wrote @JashperParas
But wait! Let’s not forget the Fan-made movie that was uploaded and waddled its way around the internet well before the ACTUAL film came out, which has OVER 3 MILLION VIEWS AND FEATURES A BLONDE, WHITE RUE, AS WELL AS DOZENS OF COMMENTS REGARDING HOW MUCH “BETTER” IT IS THAN THE ACTUAL HOLLYWOOD MOVIE
According to the filmmaker:
I know that Rue is described as being dark skinned in the book, but I wanted to show Savanna’s acting. I think she would make a good Prim though.
Everytime I watch this, I always think it was so much better than the movie. This vid is just epic. It captures the whole feeling of the book. It’s realistic, and for that reason it’s completely awesome.
The color we believe ancient Egyptians were in a society that tells us only white people can be innovative vs. the actual color of ancient Egyptians
What needs to stop is this whitewashing apologism
there are a lot of these messages in the divergent fandom. i’m going to be nice about it.
Please everyone, stop getting into fights about the races of the characters. Who cares if Tobias is a mixed race? who cares if Christina is black? seriously guys.
even if a character ends up being a different race than described in the book, they were chosen for that part because they were good actors. Not because they looked the part.
And everyone who posting messages like this, you’re not being very nice either. calling everyone who is fancasting stupid and stuff.
Please people, stop this nonsense and just bring the fandom back to the way it was. The movie news is tearing us apart.
They are fancasts for a reason.
Lots of people care.
Because it’s important. They care a great deal. Lots of people, though obviously not you, have had to grow up in a world where they hardly ever get see any significant or positive representations of people who look like they do.
How can you, who has never ever ever ever been deprived of representation like that, brush it off like it’s trivial? How can you even pretend to know how important it is, ought to be, can be, to someone, just because it doesn’t matter to you?
And now you want to deny other people what you have always had, what you apparently assume is just your natural right to have unquestioned.
I have a hard time believing the bullshit about it only being based on talent, when they don’t appear to have considered anyone who wasn’t white in the first place. Did you notice how nobody rushed to defend Idris Elba for the part of James Bond because of talent? But that it’s the first thing people throw out in the reverse situation. And no one bothers to back it up either, it’s just like, Weeellll, I’m sure they got chosen because of talent!
Why are you so sure? Because otherwise you’d have to contemplate the uncomfortable reality that Hollywood just might prejudiced? And that this has harmful effects on some of your fellow human beings?
And then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your movie without completely ignoring the parts of it that are actively hurting other people. Poor you.
And I mean, are you really saying you don’t think there are any PoC actors within the ranks of “Most Talented?” And how is it, that even white actors who give bad performances keep getting work as long as they have a certain look? And why does every casting call leaked in situations like this turn out to have specifically asked for white people?
Let’s face it, they are casting for appearance, and they are casting for the wrong appearance. You apparently don’t even think that’s a bad thing, so I don’t know why you are bothering to make up excuses for them.
And re:fancasts, do you know what really isn’t nice? Erasing the PoC identities of characters and doing and saying things that imply PoC aren’t attractive or suitable enough to even represent themselves. That, is really fucking not nice.
Seriously wtf was up with that “a”? Like it’s a noun or something. That’s really fucking rude.
Today is 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and seems like a good time to dispel some common historical myths:
Myth: The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery and freed all Black people who were enslaved
Truth: The Emancipation Proclamation signed on January 1st, 1963 stated that slaves were to be freed in rebellion states. The proclamation did not address slavery in the Border States that did not secede from the union. Although, the proclamation went into effect on January 1st, it was largely unenforceable and many millions of Black people were still in bondage. In fact, in the state of Texas, Black people were still enslaved until June 19th, 1865, a full two and half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Myth: Abraham Lincoln was an abolitionist or an anti-racist.
Truth: In 1858 Lincoln said the following: “I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
He also said this:
“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”
Myth: After the Emancipation Proclamation and the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment, Black people were given the right to freedom, right to citizenship, and the right to vote.
Truth: After the passage of 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment, states and localities passed heinous laws to not only restrict and prevent Black people from exercising their right to vote or enjoy the rights of full citizenship, but they even passed laws to legally re-enslave Black people. The 13th amendment does not outright end slavery it states that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
So in addition to the horrible practice of sharecropping, states passed laws to convict and arrest Black people of all kinds of ridiculous violations such as “selling cotton after sunset” and then placed steep fines for the crimes. (Read “Slavery by Another Name” by Douglas A. Blackmon) If they couldn’t pay the fine, they were sold leased to private businesses as laborers (i.e. slaves). This practice of convict leasing persisted until the 1940s and 1950s. I would also like to remind people that the current, racist criminal justice system as Michelle Alexander writes in her book “The New Jim Crow” is creating a literal caste system in the United States in which Black and Brown youth are being arrested at extraordinarily high rates and placed in a permanent underclass. Most shockingly, there are currently more Black people in the criminal justice system then were enslaved during the height of slavery in the United States.
Counterarguing the iffy portrayals in Rise of the Guardians
Getting a lot of submissions/asks defending how two characters are portrayed in Rise of the Guardians based on posts from earlier this week (see our tag). The two most common explanations given to defend the depictions of these characters are not true, according to the “The Art of Rise of the Guardians” book I skimmed today at the bookstore.
“The book about the tooth fairy just came out so the filmmakers did not know she was South Asian when they were making the movie.”
Not true. The filmmakers knew that Tooth was supposed to be South and Southeast Asian. According to the book, her design was “inspired by the half bird, half human gods of ancient Buddhist and Hindu cultures.” She is inspired by the Thai mythical creature called the kinnaris. Her headpiece is also inspired by birds in Buddhist artwork.
Based on the book, it seems like every color was considered for the character’s skin tone before they settled for the final pale white tone—every color except for brown! In discussing how they settled upon Tooth’s skin color: “We experimented with a variety of colors and shapes. We couldn’t make her skin too bluish or greenish…yellow would be too much like a canary and blue would remind viewers of Mystique or the Navi.”
The book also says that the Tooth Palace is based on Chinese mountains and Indian and Thai architecture. It states, “although they movie doesn’t delve into the fairy’s parentage, some of the images (in the palace) hint at a romantic love between an Indian maharaja and a magical bird.”
“The markings on the Bunny are Easter egg markings, not based on aboriginal markings.”
The book says nothing about Easter egg markings. Instead it says, “We also added some tribal-motif patterns on his body to emphasize the general timeless aura about him.”
The book states that the Easter Bunny’s design is a “mixture of Australian and Japanese influences.” Initially conceptualized as a professorial British scientist, the casting of Hugh Jackman led the design team to make him an “Austalian Ranger who uses magical boomerangs as weapons.”
One of the greatest gifts racists give to each other is the eraser. The eraser comes in a few different forms but the most common are the dismissal and the exclusion.
You’ve just pointed out the racist thing that was said and it get’s an immediate response of “Why is that racist?” or “You think everything is racist.” You see, if you answer that first question, the question of “Why” it allows the racist to derail the subject and make it about them. I am certain that if you’ve ever been in this situation you know how they love to make it about them. The other response or anything similar is a more basic dismissive statement. It’s that all encompassing umbrella of you are wrong and I am right without reason, logic or explanation.
The second and more terrifying, is the exclusion. The exclusion from history books. The exclusion from media. The exclusion from life.
This one, is far more evil. It can be done under the guise of “Helping the Negro.” Remember a few years ago when they wanted to take the word nigger out of Huckleberry Finn? That was for us…right? Wrong. That was to erase the nature of the story. To make the word itself disappear as though it was never harmful or hate fueled. If that word is erased from all it’s evil forms, racist will be allowed to say it. It will suddenly be okay. There will be no proof that it was ever used in a hurtful way. The worst part is that some of the arguments made were very convincing. There are some very smart evil people in this world. They will having black people fooled and fighting right along with them.
Slavery is the next and biggest step. The white washing of slavery (which I will be addressing in a later post) isn’t enough. They want it gone. Totally gone. They want it to be an allegation not a state of fact. Think I’m kidding? Currently, the Tennessee Tea Party is demanding the removal of slavery from textbooks. The reason? QUOTE-“Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”
My favorite part is “The truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”
This is what an eraser looks like. Slavery wasn’t REALLY that bad, let’s take it out. If we take it out we can focus on the IMPORTANT stuff. Like, our founding fathers were kind people looking to make America a great Christian nation.
If they win, if it get’s taken out, they will keep wanting more. They will keep going until slavery is erased completely. Then, it will all be in our minds. Not everyone’s mind, black people’s minds. If we continue to make it small, make it less important or make it disappear completely, racists will get to say, your ancestors were lazy. It’s your fault the system is set up this way. It’s your fault I don’t like or respect you.
Don’t let yourself be erased.
It’s like those gif sets where it’s all 9/11 = Remember! The Shoah = NEVER FORGET! Slavery = It Wasn’t That Bad, Amerindigenous Genocide = Who?
There’s a ‘Never Forget’ because there are Holocaust Deniers. But somehow 500 years of enslavement and oppression deniers get a pass.
A great solution to this would be not using a racist caricature as the villain. >
In the Iron Man comic books, The Mandarin is a Chinese exile bent on revenge. In Iron Man 3, he’s Ben Kingsley — decidedly not Chinese. “It’s less about his specific ethnicity than the symbolism of various cultures and iconography that he perverts for his own end,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says.
Here’s a first look at the character — thoughts?
On the one hand, I like the acknowledgement that this character specifically perverts iconography and that’s part of the reason why he’s a bad dude. But this also kind of smacks of classic Orientalism, which is way less than cool.
my initial reaction is pretty viscerally negative, just based on casting.
the only way this might be anything like alright is if they overtly acknowledge it within the movie:
Mandarin, being an Asian villain from comics’ Golden Age, is a horrendous racist characature. They’re possibly trying to avoid this by casting a non-Asian actor, buuuut this could still be pretty awful.
there’s ways it might not be awful, but you know, probably not.
Funny how that thought never seems to cross the mind
Why is Ben Kingsley all the Asians?
But Hollywood has no trouble hiring darker complexioned actors when they need villains tho…
The author of the award-winning play Clybourne Park has refused permission to a Berlin theatre company to perform the play after learning that a lead character would appear blacked up.
Managers at the Deutsches Theatre said a female African-American character in the play was being performed by a white actress and producers would “experiment with make-up”.
In a letter to the Dramatists Guild, US playwright Bruce Norris said he was taking a “zero tolerance position” on what he termed an “asinine tradition”.
“Normally I don’t meddle in the cultural politics of other countries,” wrote Norris “but when my work and the work of my colleagues — other playwrights — is misrepresented, I do. A zero-tolerance position is the only position to take.”"
But wait, they left out the best quote! “The theatre group vehemently denied claims of racism, saying they could not find “an elderly black actor” who could fulfil the role. Schendel also claimed that ‘blackface is part of a theatre tradition’ in Germany.” What. What. What.
The claim that they can’t find an Afro German actress to fill this role is blowing my mind. I lived in Germany for years, & the Afro German theatre scene is huge & overflowing with talented actors who are struggling to get major roles. There’s no excuse for this theater to still be using blackface in 2012.
1. Ororo Munroe (comics) 2. Ororo Munroe (film portrayed by Halle Berry)
3. Angel Salvadore (comics) 4. Angel Salvadore (film portrayed by Zoe Kravitz)
I don’t know why this was on my mind. Hopefully people can spot the problem. I’ve seen few people address the Zoe one.
When white actors get roles intended for non-white actors…
Liam Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. His name in Arabic has been translated in the comics as “The Demon’s Head”. Ra’s Al Ghul is born to a tribe of nomads in a desert somewhere in Arabia, near a city whose inhabitants’ ancestors have journeyed to the Arabian Peninsula from China.
Marion Cotillard as Talia Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. The graphic novel “Batman: Birth of the Demon” explains how she was of mixed Chinese and Arab descent.
Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Bane is Hispanic. There is no getting around it. He was born in the fictional Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca, in a prison called Peña Dura, and speaks Spanish as his first language. Bane is a person of color.