Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

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Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#1  Postby Ironclad » Aug 03, 2018 4:23 pm

Seems not a week goes by when there's an outrage directed at some actor or movie, regarding whitewashing in particular. Scarlett Johansson, a white American woman, played the lead role in Ghost in the Shell and this received criticism from some quarters. Ghost in the Shell is a Japanese cartoon. Apparently this role could have gone to an Asian actor.
Tilda Swinton was criticised for her role in Dr Strange, she played a male cartoon character 'born' in the Himalayas; apparently this role should have gone to an Asian (male?) actor.
Another Japanese cartoon soon to arrive is Alita: Battle Angel. No criticism yet I've read; the lead role has gone to a Cuban female.
Idris Elba received some criticism for playing Heimdell, a north European deity, though this was dismissed by him as "a sign of the times", and "a good thing". I presume he's giving diversity a thumbs up here.
The BBC recently created the terrible Troy: Fall of a City. In this TV adaptation of Homer's tale one black actor plays Zeus, another plays bisexual, cousin fucking, Achilles. Traditional European figures and these castings received criticism. Hakeem (Zeus) said of the whining, “There is a deep level of racism, whether it is open or subtle, that permeates throughout our society and in the arts". He, one presumes, believes an actor is just that and could and should play any role he or she is suited for. "Diversity is at the heart of our casting", claimed the producer, Wax.
I see actors getting much of the brunt.
Here and there, on YouTube especially, I see white students being criticised or even attacked for their fashion choices. I saw on kid getting merry hell by a black female (with straight hair) for wearing dreadlocks, which are only for blacks, apparently. Dreadlocks, sported by Jamaican Rastafarians, are worn by black males I doubt are of that faith. Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but dreadlocks are a Celtic design, and straight hair was an Egyptian invention.
So, what's with this inconsistency I feel that I am seeing? If it's a white person doing a job, it's whitewashing. If it's a black person, it's diversity.
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#2  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 03, 2018 4:38 pm

"Positive" discrimination only perpetuates the idea (and the associated fallout) that "race" is important. There's a fantastic morgan freeman quote around here somewhere about this...it's in a thread which I started where everyone here called me a fruity loop as usual. :roll:
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#3  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 03, 2018 4:42 pm

ETA Black Panther had tar thrown all over it.
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#4  Postby purplerat » Aug 03, 2018 4:44 pm

I think there are two distinct topics here; hiring practices in film/tv and cultural appropriation.

As to the hiring of actors, I think the inconsistency you point out is a matter of a historical power imbalance in the tv/film industry. It's a business controlled by white men for the benefit of white men. Or at least that's the way it's historically been. That's why seeing a minority or woman get a leg up is seen as a positive move while the continuing dominance of white men not so much.

That said, I do think a lot of the criticism and claims of whitewashing completely misses the spot. The internet outrage machine screeching "WHITEWASHING" and "RACISM" at every turn ultimately undermines the larger goal of equality but those are the times we live in.


As for "cultural appropriation", well that's just a stupid concept on the whole. All culture is appropriated. That's what culture is. Sometimes the mocking of other cultures gets conflated with cultural appropriation but the two aren't the same.
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#5  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 03, 2018 4:55 pm

Where's White Rhino eh?! :mob:
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#6  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 03, 2018 5:02 pm

Asian Elephant?
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#7  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 03, 2018 5:02 pm

purplerat wrote:
As to the hiring of actors, I think the inconsistency you point out is a matter of a historical power imbalance in the tv/film industry. It's a business controlled by white men for the benefit of white men. Or at least that's the way it's historically been. That's why seeing a minority or woman get a leg up is seen as a positive move while the continuing dominance of white men not so much.


Whoever gets a leg up is going to have to be a ruthless bastard. I don't see any reason why women and non-white people of any stripe should not have an equal chance at being ruthless bastards and making whatever they can of it.

purplerat wrote:The internet outrage machine ... ultimately undermines the larger goal of equality...


Ruthless bastards do not give a fuck about equality. Regardless of rhetoric they generate or that is generated for them, they are not representing their ethnic and/or gender categories in their quest for the top, whatever that means for them. If you think spreading that kind of privilege around is a manifestation of equality, then you're as racist or sexist as anyone in the internet outrage machine.

What really undermines the larger goal of equality is unbridled ruthless bastard-ism. Them that has, shall get... And it still is news. In this case, we support equal opportunity, don't we? Don't we just fucking support equal opportunity?
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#8  Postby surreptitious57 » Aug 03, 2018 5:56 pm

Internet outrage is the new anger. The machine has a relentless appetite and must be satisfied at every available opportunity
And like Pandoras Box once opened it can never be shut again. Its not really about who is right or wrong anymore rather how much rage can be generated each day to satisfy the insatiable. The abyss is staring right back at us and most of us dont even know it. Emotional detachment is the only sane response to such madness
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#9  Postby Ironclad » Aug 03, 2018 6:42 pm

Keep It Real wrote:"Positive" discrimination only perpetuates the idea (and the associated fallout) that "race" is important. There's a fantastic morgan freeman quote around here somewhere about this...it's in a thread which I started where everyone here called me a fruity loop as usual. :roll:
He said, "stop calling me a black man" or something like that, when asked about a special day for black people. "I am a man".
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#10  Postby surreptitious57 » Aug 03, 2018 7:09 pm

White people wearing dreadlocks may be an example of cultural appropriation but you should have
the freedom to do whatever you what with your own body. It is after all your hair not anyone elses

Why does no one ever claim white rock music is cultural appropriation because it took so heavily from the blues
All of the great white English guitar players from the Sixties took directly from the great bluesmen of the Fifties
A more obvious example would be hard to find. I think it may be because they did so with respect and therefore
did not try to claim the blues as their own while at the same time taking it to another level
Half of the original founders of rock and roll were also black [ Chuck Berry / Little Richard ]

I think that its different for music because music transcends racial boundaries and indeed all boundaries
Many white people love jazz and soul as well as blues and no one accuses them of cultural appropriation

It seems to apply more to fashion than it does to music for some bizarre reason
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#11  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 03, 2018 7:15 pm

Never heard of the MOBO awards sur? Of course it's a load of old tosh in my book and basically stupid racism and I'm sorry to say it's alive and well despite the fact probably all of the equipment used to make said music was invented by white people etc ad nauseum.
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#12  Postby purplerat » Aug 03, 2018 7:18 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
It seems to apply more to fashion than it does to music for some bizarre reason

The reason isn't all that bizarre. It's simply shortsightedness/ignorance. The people complaining about "cultural appropriation" are likely clueless about the history of rock music. On the other hand, they see things like dreadlocks as being a "black thing" and therefore must have always been a "black thing".
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#13  Postby surreptitious57 » Aug 03, 2018 7:22 pm

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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#14  Postby Thommo » Aug 03, 2018 7:31 pm

I liked the OP, interesting.

I think in terms of the responses the actors give it's probably pretty simple, people are turning to the easiest and most relevant justifications they can find. In terms of the criticism of the actors it will be a mixed bag, there will be some individuals who are consistent and prefer (to some level of insistence that might be slight or might be obnoxiously loud) that casting fits the original context as well as possible and other consistent individuals who think that all that matters is the talent of the actor.

There will also be hypocrites and people who are trying to make a living out of being controversial in the media or on twitter, and the best thing we can do is tune those people out.

Ultimately, for me, I guess most of this is just so much noise. I heard Ghost in the Shell wasn't very good and didn't watch it. Any whitewashing (or not) was thus completely irrelevant to me. I guess I do have some concern that I want to see good actors get opportunities and a fair shake regardless of their background, but until I see evidence about that one way or the other I have no strong feelings based on it.
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#15  Postby surreptitious57 » Aug 03, 2018 7:36 pm

Keep It Real wrote:
Never heard of the MOBO awards sur ? Of course it is a load of old tosh in my book and basically stupid racism

Many genres of music are predominantly black or of black origin : blues / soul / jazz / funk / gospel / reggae / hip hop
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#16  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 03, 2018 7:42 pm

:doh: music has no colour for starters, the influences that form a genre have no colour, everybody's brain is the same colour, it's not a good idea to chop the human race up into sub-catagories of race etc etc etc and just basically durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr sur :doh:
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#17  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 03, 2018 7:43 pm

Architecture Of White Origin tm etc etc etc durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#18  Postby purplerat » Aug 03, 2018 7:43 pm

This story just happened to catch my eye and seems to fit with this thread.

http://www.tmz.com/2018/08/01/good-boys ... -williams/
The filmmakers behind an upcoming comedy used makeup to darken the face of a child actor's stand-in -- a la "blackface" -- but the film's production company says it's common practice.

Sources connected to the film, "Good Boys" -- produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg -- tell TMZ ... 11-year-old Keith L. Williams' stand-in was on set last week in Vancouver, and wearing dark brown makeup on his face.

We're told the stand-in was also rocking an afro wig and fitted in a fat suit. Williams was on a break at the time, but our sources say the sight of his stand-in was upsetting to at least one person on set.


So apparently people are outraged because a black standin wore makeup to more closely resemble the black actor he was standing in for, comparing it to blackface.
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#19  Postby Thommo » Aug 03, 2018 7:46 pm

Yeah, for some reason blackface and blacking up have been conflated in many areas of public consciousness despite their pathologically different origins, contexts and connotations.
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Re: Whitewashing, Cultural Appropriation, and Diversity

#20  Postby surreptitious57 » Aug 03, 2018 7:58 pm

Keep It Real wrote:
the influences that form a genre have no color

Do you think the blues has got nothing to do with being black ?
Do you think it could just as easily have been a white mans genre ?

Do you think the fact that Motown was a black label is also coincidental ?
Do you think it would have been just as successful if it had been a white label ?

Do you think that the experiences of black people is not at all reflected in their music ?
Do you think that music exists in a cultural vacuum unaffected by what is happening at the time ?
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