This is a jar full of major characters
Actually it is a jar full of chocolate covered raisins on top of a dirty TV tray. But pretend the raisins are interesting and well rounded fictional characters with significant roles in their stories.
We’re sharing these raisins at a party for Western Storytelling, so we get out two bowls.
Then we start filling the bowls. And at first we only fill the one on the left.
This doesn’t last forever though. Eventually we do start putting raisins in the bowl on the right. But for every raisin we put in the bowl on the right, we just keep adding to the bowl on the left.
And the thing about these bowls is, they don’t ever reset. We don’t get to empty them and start over. While we might lose some raisins to lost records or the stories becoming unpopular, but we never get to just restart. So even when we start putting raisins in the bowl on the right, we’re still way behind from the bowl on the left.
And time goes on and the bowl on the left gets raisins much faster than the bowl on the right.
Until these are the bowls.
Now you get to move and distribute more raisins. You can add raisins or take away raisins entirely, or you can move them from one bowl to the other.
This is the bowl on the left. I might have changed the number of raisins from one picture to the next. Can you tell me, did I add or remove raisins? How many? Did I leave the number the same?
You can’t tell for certain, can you? Adding or removing a raisin over here doesn’t seem to make much of a change to this bowl.
This is the bowl on the right. I might have changed the number of raisins from one picture to the next. Can you tell me, did I add or remove raisins? How many? Did I leave the number the same?
When there are so few raisins to start, any change made is really easy to spot, and makes a really significant difference.
This is why it is bad, even despicable, to take a character who was originally a character of color and make them white. But why it can be positive to take a character who was originally white and make them a character of color.
The white characters bowl is already so full that any change in number is almost meaningless (and is bound to be undone in mere minutes anyway, with the amount of new story creation going on), while the characters of color bowl changes hugely with each addition or subtraction, and any subtraction is a major loss.
This is also something to take in consideration when creating new characters. When you create a white character you have already, by the context of the larger culture, created a character with at least one feature that is not going to make a difference to the narratives at large. But every time you create a new character of color, you are changing something in our world.
I mean, imagine your party guests arrive
Oh my god they are adorable!
And they see their bowls
But before you hand them out you look right into the little black girls’s eyes and take two of her seven raisins and put them in the little white girl’s bowl.
I think she’d be totally justified in crying or leaving and yelling at you. Because how could you do that to a little girl? You were already giving the white girl so much more, and her so little, why would you do that? How could you justify yourself?
But on the other hand if you took two raisins from the white girl’s bowl and moved them over to the black girl’s bowl and the white girl looked at her bowl still full to the brim and decided your moving those raisins was unfair and she stomped and cried and yelled, well then she is a spoiled and entitled brat.
And if you are adding new raisins, it seems more important to add them to the bowl on the right. I mean, even if we added the both bowls at the same speed from now on (and we don’t) it would still take a long time before the numbers got big enough to make the difference we’ve already established insignificant.
And that’s the difference between whitewashing POC characters and making previously white characters POC. And that’s why every time a character’s race is ambiguous and we make them white, we’ve lost an opportunity.
*goes off to eat her chocolate covered raisins, which are no longer metaphors just snacks*
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME @ THIS RACIST CASTING RIGHT NOW
Wright is planning to create a world that very international and multi-racial, effectively challenging audiences’ preconceived notions of Neverland and reimagining the environment.
Not that I agree with this casting, but let’s wait before pointing fingers.
The article that they also considered Lupita Nyonog’o for the role. Try not to jump to conclusions, yes?
A black woman was “considered”. She didn’t audition, no one gave her a call and somehow that’ a big statement? If you don’t realize that that was just tacked in there to calm the waters, you are incredibly naive. This is a clear cut example of white privilege.
Also minorities/people of color are not interchangeable. You can’t say yes a black woman is the perfect replacement for a native american woman. This is hollywood racism at its finest. Native Americans can’t get any roles unless it’s specifically about their people and now they can’t even get roles that are just caricatures of them and you want people to “not jump to conclusions”.
If you’re not upset about Katniss, Tonto, or Kahn being played by white people, but you are upset about Annie being played by a black girl, you’re probably racist.
And by probably I mean definitely.
Terry Crews ain’t here for Hollywood bullshit
Why are they white! The fuck
I agree with everything you are saying but my point was more on the editing side of things not race in itself.
except it doesn’t work like that. what you do doesn’t exist in a vacuum. your editing experiment ended up having racist implications because you weren’t careful. editing & race have a long, unpleasant history together and that should have been one of the first things you thought of in your experiment. you need to offer up a proper apology for saying and doing something racist, regardless of your intent.
im not necessarily saying blue eyed zayn isnt racist, im just waiting for someone to make a concrete and plausible claim as to why it is racist
people like me have always felt like we’ve needed whiter skin and lighter eyes to feel valuable or to have stature. when someone like Zayn (a Desi, a poc) has his eyes photoshopped into being blue (which is a predominantly white characteristic), there are connotations of a blue eye color being prettier or preferable being solidified. By promoting these edits, you’re promoting the idea that white characteristics are more attractive than supposedly sub-standard brown characteristics. Some desi’s might have light eyes, but this stems from a recessive gene that is EXTREMELY rare. So, blue/gray/green/purple eyes are mainly associated with being white.
poc always have to justify why they aren’t white. we say that our skin is this color because it’s summer but it gets lighter in the winter i swear. we wear colored contact lenses even if they irritate our eyes because who in their right mind wants ‘shit-colored’ eyes? we dye our hair lighter because it’s more ‘beautiful’ than our dark hair. so when you photoshop zayn to have blue eyes you’re essentially saying that what he is isn’t enough. you’re reinforcing all the crap we hear daily and internalize. you’re saying ‘you’re right, being dark is ugly. you would look so much better if you were lighter. whiter.’ whether or not you mean it that way, that’s what every poc sees when you do this. it’s flat out racist and it needs to stop.
speaking of this post and how ppl. think it’s impossible for a biracial WoC to look different/darker than their biracial sibling—
this is (another) picture of Q’orianka Kilcher [half Peruvian Quechua-Huachipaeri, half White] w. her mother, Saskia [Swiss-German desc. American]:
…and this is Q’orianka Kilcher with her brother, Xihuaru Kilcher:
people reeeeeally all about centering Whiteness in any/every way possible
trying to use blondeness or the existence of mixed-race people as a way to justify whitewashing or erasing PoC entirely in media while refusing to acknowledge them irl
nice try, tho
There’s also something else I love about this movie. At the end when she realises he’s alive. They don’t kiss. Every other movie I’ve seen where there’s a boy and a girl and sci fi aliens or monsters, they fall in love. Even if they started out as friends. And in Pacific Rim. There’s still only this friendship or brother/sister relationship. I don’t understand why these feminists wouldn’t see this. (via songofages)
Something strange is going on. Animals are looking at you sideways. Things fall off desks when you walk by. You have a sudden hankering for red meat, and you wake up with muddy feet. Did you recently have a birthday? We bet all this funny business started right after that.
This is hilarious.
“Your world’s looking a little bit…whitewashed.And if you do know someone of color, they likely have skin that one might compare to a cafe au lait, mocha, or other beverage currently sold at Starbucks. “
As white people, we are used to representations of ourselves crowding the covers of magazines, crowning the posters of newly released films. The good guys are white, we have learned, after eons of our faces being plastered under cowboy hats and in impeccable Bond suits. White men are Superman, we have learned. White men are Ethan Hunt and Neo and white men are hobbits. Bad men, we have learned, are black. They’re gang bangers and thugs and talk loud and sometimes deliver funny lines where we laugh at their Otherness. Black men aren’t heroes, we learn. Our imagination and subconscious are so saturated with white supremacist notions of goodness, beauty, and heroism, that when confronted head-on with an image of a black man who is brilliant and kind and normal and who saves the day, we transform into robotic versions of ourselves: Does… not… compute. Hero… must be… white. It’s this line of thinking that turned Disney’s Princess Tiana into an animal for 95 percent of the movie. The collective white imagination had difficulty imagining a black girl as a princess… and so she became a frog.
First they freaked out when Rue was black; this time it’s Beetee.
The next day on the bus, I overheard a young woman and her friends — who had just come from the film, apparently — exchanging their thoughts about what they had just seen, and the young woman said, “I thought it was awesome. Well, except for Beetee. Why the f*ck did they make him black? Beetee wasn’t black.”…. After hearing this young woman’s comment, I jumped on Twitter and searched mentions of Beetee’s name. I came across the usual racist vitriol, but there was the occasional tweet that looked like this:
Like, it’s not the fact that he’s black, IT’S THE FACT THAT HE ISN’T BEETEE.— kitchen sink (@walkinginnuendo) September 7, 2012
I saw more of the same in comment sections on various articles around the web. Never read the comment sections, guys. Really. And it has led me to believe that the problem isn’t that Hunger Games purists who believe that Beetee looked a certain way were disappointed that the film strayed from that representation, it’s that white audiences in America are afflicted with a certain limitation of the imagination when it comes to the representation of characters they are fond of.
I am so angry because people who don’t understand how white washing is a thing and happens so often and yes that character is NOT white, sorry that you keep defaulting characters to being white.
lol at your ‘diverse casting’ where every single poc winds up dead
Honestly, I think I still do it on initial reads a fair amount — I can’t pretend I won’t. I assumed that Daneca in The Curse Workers was white, for example, and I’m pretty sure now that she is not meant to be white at all.
It’s hard to give any sort of advice about it IMO because I think a lot of writers either defer to stereotypes to “hint” that characters are of a certain race or ethnicity without saying it outright, and that is a whole kettle of ugly fish unto itself, because USING those stereotyped “hints” buys into those stereotypes and reinforces them more, which is also problematic.
For the THG characters, and the characters in a lot of dystopian books currently, the ways that the futuristic cultures around them operate can be one way to figure them out — but again, that can also be problematic, because the only reason Katniss’ portrayal isn’t appropriative IS with the assumption that she is a WoC, but then instead of appropriative, it’s fairly stereotypical of “Native American” tropes.
I guess one of the other things is just to think logically about stuff, like — if Frank Zhang is described as a Chinese-Canadian teenager, probably Cory Monteith wasn’t the best fancast for him, being a white guy in his 30s. (Not that Cory wasn’t a lovely person. He just was not Chinese. Or a teenager.) Or that if Carter and Sadie Kane are siblings and biracial, they are /both biracial, not just Carter, duh/. Or that Anubis is literally an Egyptian god; he isn’t going to be a white guy! Cassel’s mother’s maiden name was Singh; etc.
The other thing is just to, when you can, consciously challenge yourself to see characters who are not specifically stated to be white as not white. There aren’t traits that mean a character MUST be white (except being literally labeled as white, like Peeta Mellark, etc). Finnick has green eyes; he is not white. Etienne St. Clair has brown curly hair and brown eyes — he could easily be a PoC. Akiva is the most beautiful male specimen in all of existence, obviously he’s Zayn Malik.
It’s not an easy thing to unlearn. Like, I’m not going to lie to you, I definitely fuck up about it a lot and I have to work hard and reread things and catch myself before I fuck up about it in public. My old fancasts for things are a mess — even when I wasn’t assuming people were white, I was fancasting people as the wrong ethnicity all willy-nilly; it was gross. *I* was gross. But I’m trying to unlearn and relearn, and it’s a process. For everyone! :) It’s a good thing to be working on, even though it’s hard.