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How do we feel about actors playing characters of other races?

IDKFA

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First, I understand this topic may seem controversial. I am not here to stir the pot. I would like an adult and rational conversation about the issue if possible, but I understand the subject matter may be difficult to discuss.

Today, while eating my breakfast, I came across this article.


As you can see, Jodie Turner-Smith is a black actress, but she is taking on the role of Anne Boleyn, who was the white wife of 16th century English king, Henry VIII.

Now, I personally want to see a world where nobody is judged by their skin colour and we're all treated equally as humans, yet I know for sure that if this was the other way around, for example a white/Asian person playing the role of a historical black person, then this would be deemed as totally unacceptable and racist.

This seems odd to me. It seems that if the person of history is white, then anybody of any race can play them. However, if that person from history is any other race beside white, then only a person of the same race can portray the individual.

Does that not seem wrong to you? It does to me because it is not treating everyone equally.

However, I did also remember how the situation has taken a bizarre turn recently.

Last year, Will Smith landed the role of Richard Williams (Father of Serena and Venus Williams), but there was backlash to this casting.

Yes, both Will Smith and Richard Williams are black, but according to some people, Will Smith should not have been given the role because his skin is too light. They called it an example of Colourism.


This seems equally bizarre to me. Both are black. Yeah, Will Smith may have lighter skin than Richard Williams, but they are both black men.

One hand, we're saying Will Smith isn't black enough to play Richard Williams, but on the other end, we're saying it's totally fine for people of any race to portray historical white people?

I'm not sure where I stand with any of it. I think that we need to either go beyond race and let any actor play any historical person, even if the race of the actor and historical figure is totally different. Or we go the complete opposite direction, but we can't have one rule for some races and different rules for other races as that for me is discrimination.

Discuss
 
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INC

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If its a white person playing a black person, grab your pitch forks

But its if a black person playing a white person, that's progress

See how it works now

Remember it cant be racist or culturally inappropriate if you're black, thats reserved for white people
 

IDKFA

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If its a white person playing a black person, grab your pitch forks

But its if a black person playing a white person, that's progress

See how it works now

Remember it cant be racist or culturally inappropriate if you're black, thats reserved for white people

But this is wrong, well at least my mind tells me it is.

Some would call me racist for speaking out, but surly it's racist to say what white people cannot play historical figures who are a different race, but non-white people are absolutely allowed to portray historical white people? Isn't that a form of discrimination?
 

Stiflers Mom

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I want movies that look accurate. And that's for both sides.

I don't want black actors playing guards in medieval towns like in Witcher.
I don't want white actors playing black people.

I think black/white/yellow/red face is okay when done for artistic reasons like in "Tropic Thunder".

It's interesting that this discussion about shades of black skin colour is happening.
 
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GreyHorace

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If its a white person playing a black person, grab your pitch forks

But its if a black person playing a white person, that's progress

See how it works now

Remember it cant be racist or culturally inappropriate if you're black, thats reserved for white people

This. I hate that black people and other minorities get a pass but white people have these draconian rules placed upon them. If a black actress is good enough for Anne Boleyn, then a white actor should be free to play Martin Luther King.

I don't want black actors playing guards in medieval towns like in Witcher.

Lol I love how The Witcher Netflix series creator Lauren Hissrich claimed that the Slavic spirit of these Polish books had 'nothing to do with skin color.' Since when did Poland have a sizable black population? It's the same bullshit game 'journalists' pulled with Kingdom Come Deliverance.
 
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teezzy

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It's cultural context. It's really hard not to see a white person with their face painted black in the US and not think of a minstrel show.

I can't speak for other parts of the world. They typically smell like cheese, I've heard.
 

Stiflers Mom

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Lol I love how The Witcher Netflix series creator Lauren Hissrich claimed that the Slavic spirit of these Polish books had 'nothing to do with skin color.' Since when did Poland have a sizable black population? It's the same bullshit game 'journalists' pulled with Kingdom Come Deliverance.
I mean, I don't say there were no black people at all in medieval Europe. It's just they certainly were an oddity, and should be a stand out in how they are treated by the general population. A run of the mill member of the guard that just happens to be black feels so stupid in a way. You cannot tell me this doesn't happen because of woke reasons.

add/edit: on the contrary, I don't have that huge a problem with those wizards being of different skin colours. These are certainly standout individuals, and it would not be out of the ordinary these might be from all over the world. Not sure how this is described in the books, though. But village guard #17 with the crossbow being black is just silly, sorry.

That's like they'd remake Shaka Zulu, and there is one whitey within the ranks of Zulu warriors just for the sake of it.
 
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GreyHorace

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It's cultural context. It's really hard not to see a white person with their face painted black in the US and not think of a minstrel show.

I can't speak for other parts of the world. They typically smell like cheese, I've heard.

Sure. A minstrel show is grossly insensitive and they were right to end the practice.

But isn't a black actress playing a white historical figure by the same token also in bad taste?



You can't excuse one act of racism and allow the other.
 

teezzy

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Sure. A minstrel show is grossly insensitive and they were right to end the practice.

But isn't a black actress playing a white historical figure by the same token also in bad taste?



You can't excuse one act of racism and allow the other.

I think this is one instance where they're both dumb but one is tied to a very dark time in my country's history so people would rather not see it out in the open in 2020.

But yeah, that's dumb too.
 
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GreyHorace

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I think this is one instance where they're both dumb but one is tied to a very dark time in my country's history so people would rather not see it out in the open in 2020.

But yeah, that's dumb too.

That's the thing. It's history. It happened in the past. Things weren't good for some races then, and that's sad. But you know what? We've gone through thousands of years of history to reach this point where most people at least can look beyond skin color and treat other with respect.

It's these goddamn SJWs who embrace this IdPol ideology that are the problem. They want to drag all these racial tensions from the past in some misguided attempt to virtue signal. Morgan Freeman said it best with regards to racism and history.

 

teezzy

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Yes, black history is American history. That's why most people have the common sense not to confront others with that imagery unprovoked.

You do you though. Have fun explaining your logic to your coworkers why you decided to dress up as Buckwheat for Halloween next year lmao

 
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Kimahri

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I get really annoyed by these things. I like some form of historical accuracy. Time periods, demographics, technological progress,etc etc. I like it when things make some form of sense.

These things do not. You just shove the token black guy in there. And let's be honest, most of the timr it's black guy. How often is it an asian, american native, aboriginal etc? Hardly ever.

But yeah, this is fine, progressive, but go the other way and you're white washing.

It's ridiculous. Also, black face is not really a thing outside the us. Everyone has to be told what it is cause there's no historical context for it.

I always thought black pete was black cause he's covered in soot. That's what I was told as a kid at least. He climed chimneys.

But last year I was informed, by americans, that it's black face.
 

BaneIsPain

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I’d rather historical character accurate as possible and for fiction, go nuts with any race. I laughed at the outrage on Ghost in the Shell live action.
 

INC

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Theres only 1 white actor who got away with trying to be black, and if you have an issue with this, just stfu, Oldman is a legend and deserves all the respect


 
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Dunki

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I honestly do not care at all. Only when people try to argue that a white person can not play a black person for example. Either EVERYONE can play EVERYONE or black people can only play black people, white only white or women only women etc.
 

Stilton Disco

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It depends on scale and context.

Small productions, theatre shows, children's TV, anything that's not going for accurate portrayals of history, that's fine.

Anything with a decent budget and that is trying to be a serious work and portraying real people and events, then that really shouldn't be casting people who are completely different than what the role is meant to be. Black Anne Boleynn just looks laughably stupid.

The exception to this would be portrayals of real people, who are alive, and can choose who plays them. If a Japanese woman wants Scarlett Johansson to play her in a biopic, then that's who should be cast.

Fiction is tricky. Suspension of disbelief is a finicky thing to maintain, and so as such, having black people in medieval northern Europe, or a ginger in an 11th century Indian village, is going to just be distracting, reminding you you're watching a bunch of poncy actors running about playing pretend.

If you've got wizards running around with teleportation, dragons and demons though, then trying to keep to a basic grounding of 'people from a hot sunny places are darker skinned, while people from cold dark places are lighter skinned' helps, but isn't a deal breaker IMO.

Race swapping established characters, like many comic book adaptations do, seems completely arbitrary to me, but not anything I'm against on principle.

I just don't trust the reasoning behind the decisions to not be made out of racism. The weird anti ginger trend of making redheaded characters black, is certainly too consistent to not be deliberate, and born out of some form of malice and racial bias, for instance.

All of that is kind of moot though. The current fetishisation media types have for black people is driving most of the race swapping and race baiting casting decisions now, both out of hatred of white people and contempt for black people. It's pure virtue signalling, causing resentment and division and yes, it's inarguably hypocritical.
 

Stilton Disco

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White Jesus is still ok tho

Go figure

I mean so is black Jesus, Asian Jesus and any other depiction of the guy.

I think getting caught up on appearences, in regards to the man spreading the message of unconditional love and unity to all gods children, is somewhat missing the point.
 

INC

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I mean so is black Jesus, Asian Jesus and any other depiction of the guy.

I think getting caught up on appearences, in regards to the man spreading the message of unconditional love and unity to all gods children, is somewhat missing the point.


So Jesus is now culturally inappropriate to all races

What a guy
 

Hudo

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I don't have a problem with that. But what I do have a problem with is if the color of one's skin or sexual preference/orientation is made into a gimmick defining a character. Like that recent thread that stated that Marvel decided to make Star Lord bisexual. To me, that feels like a gimmick. Is Star Lord such an uninteresting and bland character that he needs a gimmick like that to make him interesting? Most media incorporate skin color/sexual orientation just as a gimmick, not really central to the main story or the character's main motivations; it's an afterthought so the marketing team can be "hip".
 

billyxci

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doesn't bother me. if the actor/actress is the best person for the role they should get it regardless of their skin colour. i'm all for diversity and representation but it shouldn't be discriminatory or done for "points". I mean if there is a casting call and a white/black person gets it instead of a black/white person even though they performed better in the audition or if they are straight up just refusing to cast any white or black people then that's not right.

exceptions would be if the character someone is portraying is explicitly stated as being a specific race in its source then you should get a person of that race to play them. as for historic/living people who are being portrayed you would obviously get someone to match their race. i'd hope that goes without saying but you never know.
 
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Majmun

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Historical characters shouldn't be raceswapped, it's ridiculous.

Exactly.

When it comes to fiction, I don't care who plays who - it's fiction. I really love Halle as the new Disney Mermaid for instance. She looks beautiful and very Disney.

But race swapping historical characters or real people? Nope. That's literally race erasure.

Letting Justin Bieber play Jimmy in the Jimmy Hendrix biopic, or John Boyega play Napoleon Bonaparte is just ridiculous. But I'm sure the former would get more hate lol.
 
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