In the news post that Ben Daimio was being recast as Daniel Dae Kim, I saw a lot of people in the notes saying it’s still bad because the actor should have been Japanese-American too.
As a Japanese-American myself, I think that objection is short-sighted. I didn’t mind John Cho playing Sulu in the Star Trek reboot and I’m absolutely fucking THRILLED that Daniel Dae Kim is getting such a good movie role after the fiasco of Hawaii 5-0 ending like it did.
I don’t think it’s productive for us to demand that all actors of color only ever play their own ethnicity within their own race. This isn’t a standard applied to white actors! White actors constantly play other ethnicities and nationalities! Look at Thor movies, for example. Brits and Aussies playing Scandinavians all over the place and nobody cares… as long as they’re white actors, that is.
I’m not saying that all cross-ethnic casting is benign. There are issues with more represented ethnicities taking roles from less-represented ethnicities—SE Asians, for example, are even less represented than E Asian ethnicities—but in this Hellboy case, that kind of power differential doesn’t apply. Cross-ethnic casting can be neutral as well, and benign when it comes to the trajectory of an acting career. Actors of color are never going to build up followings unless they have a greater pool of roles to choose from, and that pool is already limited because they’re locked out of so many white roles due to Hollywood racism.
And for those Asians saying “this just reinforces that we’re all the same,” I totally understand and empathize with your reservations… but I disagree with them. White people and other people influenced by anti-E/SE/Asian racism are going to say we’re “all the same” anyway. Why worry about catering to racists who hate us? We should cater to ourselves above all. And by “ourselves,” I mean diaspora Asians who support each other.
Finally, we haven’t seen the movie yet so maybe his ethnicity will actually be incorporated in a good way. There are many Japanese-Americans who also have Korean ancestry! Here’s a great personal article about one such family: http://kore.am/february-issue-i-am-zainichi/. While it’s important for non E/SE-Asians to know that we’re very different culturally and linguistically and so on, let’s not go too far in the other direction and pretend we’re totally isolated and different and have never had any cross-cultural communication that doesn’t involve white people.
We did this in 2015.
And in 2016.
Now it’s 2017 and I’ve got at least four different posts on racebending under my belt because nerds still don’t know how to behave.
This is an ongoing project looking at the continuing state of fandom’s reaction to racebending following my first piece on how badly comic fans respond to racebending in the works that they love and three years in, people are still cutting up about racebending while claiming not to be racist.
They’re not racist, they claim in comment sections across the internet, but the idea of Black women being cast as aliens, goddesses, and the iconic love interest of the Fastest Man Alive, still sends them into literal conniptions. They assume that racebending is Social Justice Gone Wild, not the best actor/actress being chosen for the role. At multiple points, I’ve seen them claim that white redheads are being erased from popular culture.
Of course, these same people screaming about authenticity and sticking to the source material stay silent in the face of whitewashing (as in the case of Deadpool actor Ed Skrein initially being tapped to play a Japanese character in the upcoming Hellboy remake).
Dear Comic Fans, Guess What: You’re Still Not Handling Racebending and Diverse Casting Very Well!
Every year, I hope that my fellow nerds will realize that racebending isn’t an attempt to steal the game from white fans, but to level a historically uneven playing field. Every year, I try to imagine what the internet would look like if nerds didn’t accuse Hollywood of “blackwashing” or of “redhead erasure” every time a Black person is cast as their favorite white redhead. Every year, I wonder what it would feel like to make my way through nerdy websites without seeing Black people insulted or blamed for destroying nerdy media around the world.
And every year I’m disappointed.
I don’t want to make another post pointing out how comic fans around the world are still racist babies about racebending next year, but we’re three for three and as more casting announcements come out for comic adaptations, I’m assuming that this absolutely fake outrage will only increase.
Don’t they have anything better to do than get angry over casting news on the internet?
I mean… it’s just a comic book character casting. It’s not that serious.
Here’s hoping that this time next year, nerds will be a little less racist about racebending. I doubt it, but I have to stay hopeful. Also, this post is a little over three thousand words long. Geez.
This piece is available in three different formats and for the next two weeks, patrons are the only people that’ll see it.
Okay we need to talk about the whitewashing of Gal Gadot.
One of my few issues with the movie Wonder Woman is that they really do lighten Gal’s skin.
I see it a lot happening a lot in photos of her that are from magazines, promotional stuff, and even in fan edits.
Now seeing photos of her with Eugene Brave Rock and Saïd Taghmaoui from the set you can see just how much they have lightened her skin.
Because those photos are not promotional ones and rather they were taken for fun so they were not edited and touched up.
Here is a image of her in the film
She is pale here and look at these photos and you will see how much they changed her skin tone
(Gal Gadot and Saïd Taghmaoui)
(Eugene Brave Rock and Gal Gadot)
And looking at the Justice League stuff they have done it again with the lightening of her skin as well as doing the same to Ezra Miller which they lightened considerably more the Gal Gadot.
But either way they shouldn’t being doing it all.
It is really upsetting that they are doing this.
As I have pointed out before here we have two Jewish actors that look distinctively ethnically Jewish, but are literally whitewashed so they don’t look that way.
I have mixed feelings about this post. One the one hand, yes I agree that lightening actors’ skin tones to make them more “attractive” is always disgusting because it reinforces white supremacist standards of beauty. That being said, Gal Gadot IS Ashkenazi. Her parents were light-skinned German (and Dutch, Australia, etc.) Jews who changed their last name to be more Hebrew. I don’t want to even touch the “Are Ashkenazim white?” debate, but I’m hesitant to apply the term “white-washing” to us, at least in terms of skin color.
Whether or not Gal Gadot is white, she DOES have white skin. She lived in Israel her entire life so she has a solid tan, but that doesn’t necessarily make her “of color.” If the movie producers decided to make white skin look a little more white, that DOES reinforces white supremacy, but is NOT the same as if they literally white-washed someone like Eugene Brave Rock (or the countless Black models who appear nearly white on magazine covers).
HOWEVER, I’m not saying white-washing can never be applied to Ashkenazim! If, for example, Gal had an aquiline nose that was SFX’d to look smaller, or she had tight curly hair that she was forced to straighten, that WOULD be white-washing of Jewish features, because it would be making her look more Goyische. But that’s not what they did. In fact, not only did they let her keep her Israeli accent, but they used it as a base from which they modeled the accents of ALL the Amazons, and personally I think that’s really cool???
Lastly you have to look at the photos from a design perspective. The setting of the first one is under cloud cover, in No Man’s Land, which has a very cool, muted pallette. EVERYTHING looks pale in that lighting. The second is inside a cave(?) with bright sunlight outside. Since the subjects aren’t silhouettes and the sunlight isn’t blinding, that means that the photographer either used a warm-toned flash or did some serious light editing in Photoshop to make them visible (or most likely, they did both). The third photo is at dawn, which gives EVERYTHING a soft warm glow. In short, the three photos simply aren’t comparable. Now, if you showed me a shot of Gal from the set of Themyscira side-by-side with a movie still from the same set, and in the movie still she was considerably lighter, then I’d consider whether she was white-washed, and what that means for a light-skinned Jewish person. Just from these photos, though, I’m not convinced they even did that.
Thank you for making this post, because it’s important to stay vigilant, protect what little representation in media we have, and hold it to high standards, but I’m not sure it’s as bad as you make it out to be. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on what I’ve brought up!
Ok so this has actually been bothering me for the last couple of days.
It has been like this itch under my skin that I can’t get too and I can’t ignore so I’m gonna respond.
First of please look at other photos from the film, also promotional material for the film as well as promotional material for anything that has her or a magazine photo of her and you will see again the whitening of her skin.
Gal does have a pretty heavy accent so it makes sense for them to go with her accent for the Amazonians also this will allow her accent to stand out from the other characters because why would Diana have an English accent or american or french.
Also I have pointed out that Ezra Miller also has been severally whitewashed.
Also just because her parents are light skinned doesn’t mean anything.
Both my parents are light skinned but that doesn’t mean anything. Like if I was comfortable posting photos of my family I would show a photo of me with my sisters and you will see that one of my sisters is brown.
Like people have thought she was latnix, native american, black, and pacific island even though she is not and we don’t have any of those genes in my family genetic makeup.
So the idea that just because her parents are light skinned automatically means their child is, is ridiculous and false.
Also if her parents lived in germany does not make them ethnically german or have german genetics.
Why is her parents changing their last name to a Hebrew one being used as a way to disprove anything.
What does her last name have to do with anything. Also knowing the history of how Ashkenazi Jews got their last names I wouldn’t blame any Jewish person for changing their last name to a Hebrew one.
I would like to change my last name to a Hebrew one.
And I honestly do not understand why people keep bringing up the changing of the last name at all. Seriously what the fuck does it have to do with anything.
Just because you don’t want to say that Jews can’t be whitewashed doesn’t mean that it is not a thing that happens.
Also I flat out stated that it is not as bad as it could be but the fact is that it happened at all.
Also I again want to bring up Ezra Miller.
They are turned him white as like milk.
Also I have seen so many fan edits of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman where she too is given skin the color of like milk.
It is whitewashing plain and simple.
Taking a Jewish person and whitening/lightening their skin is whitewashing plain and simple even if they are light skinned.
While the film didn’t lighten her skin as drastically as say Justice League did with Ezra Miller that fact is they did it all.
It is wrong and it is antisemitic.
[character] x Reader fan fiction pieces are a notoriously thorny minefield for readers of color because, unless we write these stories ourselves, we’re always left out when it comes to descriptions of pale white skin and blonde hair. (To say nothing about how for all members of fandom who aren’t thin/able-bodied/cis, those stories basically don’t do anything good for them in terms of in-fandom rep unless… they write it themselves.)
But this is an especially messed up case because the writer of that story could’ve just made up a random witch to ship with 1920s!Colin Farrell. Giving Seraphina Picquery a sister just to add plot relevancy and then whitewashing her is just…
Mind boggling because I don’t get how you can whitewash your own character that is related to a Black character in canon.
I’m assuming that once we get Zoë Kravitz’s Leta Lestrange in person, fandom’s going to do the same to her and give her loads of whitewashed siblings to ship all the white characters with.
When the director of The Ghost in the Shell calls Scarlett Johansson “the best of her generation” what he actually means is she’s the most popular.
Only white actresses were considered for The Ancient One.
A Chinese actor with 15 years of martial arts experience auditioned for Iron First and was told he had to be the villain to a white hero.
An Indigenous actress was told to her face that she couldn’t audition for Tiger Lily because they didn’t want the character to be Native anymore.
So until Hollywood stops discriminating at casting calls and allows people of color their fair shot in this business I don’t want to see anymore white people being held up as the best in the business in defense of whitewashing.
putting this all under one roof so if I’m asked why I stopped interacting with the community out of concern of my own health and happiness yall understand why
I’m p sure he was casually mentioned as romani (w the g-slur of course yikes @ that) in the novelization of Greg Rucka’s NML that came out in 2000, shortly before Devin Grayson’s run? Either way, thanks to the retcon and the hashtag confirmed-as-textual-romani in rebirth, dick’s been a romani char since I started reading comics in 2006 and I’ve read him as romani since day 1 so it’s all good here 😎 💁🏽
Sorry to get a bit preachy on your post, FYDG, but I have THOUGHTS spiraling off of yours:
A reminder to folks and followers that wanting BETTER representation for Romani people and proper acknowledgment of Dick’s heritage and ethnicity in the wake of Devin Grayson’s writing over a decade a go is completely reasonable.
Dick is one of a handful of textually and explicitly Romani characters in comics and unfortunately, his heritage hasn’t been handled well or developed beyond throwaway lines. Fighting or demanding that DC do better makes sense and can help bring visibility and increase representation for a marginalized community.
Demanding that his Romani heritage be erased entirely or saying that it doesn’t matter because it’s such a “small” part of his history or because it hasn’t been handled well? Not so much.
Dick is Romani in canon. It was never retconned and survived the two soft-reboots that led to the character’s current incarnation. If you have beef with how Devin Grayson portrayed that (her use of the g-slur for one), take it up with her… But it’s been a decade or more since she last wrote for DC so… Good luck with that.
But there are other writers out there who have brought Dick’s heritage into his current canon(s).
At this point, what fandom should be fighting for is more recognition of this heritage into canon. They should be fighting for Dick’s actor in the eventually upcoming Nightwing movie to be played by an actor of Romani descent. They should be trying to get Romani creators on a Nghtwing book and talking about the potential the character has.
Not demanding that Dick be read as white because a) they’ve held a grudge against Devin Grayson from before they could even read her comics (again, made a DECADE ago) or b) because they hate racebending and think that whiteness is in anyway inherent or integral to comic characters that aren’t white supremacists.
The former, is an honest attempt at trying to get representation done right.
Is an attempt at erasure, plain and simple.