And it's not like The Wiz (Musical Wizard of Oz in an inner city urban setting) where the whole cast was Black. Nowadays it's only the one of the main characters and even the main antagonist like Kang in the MCU gets race swapped.
I still believe that Dementia Joe has gotta go. He should be tried for treason.
Well.. I can't change my name for 30 days (I think that is what the message said). So maybe I'll change it back after that and then when *it* is out of office then I'll change it. I was trying to think of something very obscure but I couldn't come up with anything.
Because non-white people have been (and in many cases continue to be) underrepresented in media, and only recently has the industry made steps to correct that.
Also, given the propensity of studio executives to constantly revive old IP's instead of making anything new, that's why you see this trend of traditionally white roles taken up by non-white actors (not to imply its even that recent of a trend given that the 60s Batman would've been derided as woke propaganda today for these exact reasons).
That doesn't speak to how White people playing Black Characters being bad... and how Black people playing white characters is ok.
For example - lets take Nick Fury. Nick Fury was traditionally white. However - Marvel Released an Ultimate Universe, where Nick Fury was Black and the artist purposefully made him look like Samuel Jackson. Ergo - when a Black Nick Fury hit the screen, it makes sense.
Cleopatra however, was definitely historically speaking... white as white can be basically. Her portrayal by a person of dark skin tone goes against history. She wasn't some character made by writers - she was a person.
Ariel from Little Mermaid? You're telling me under the sea far from the sunlight... that's she's producing enough melanin to get that dark? It's not scientifically accurate... as scientifically speaking as a show about Ocean magic can be anyway
Okay first of all, if you're asking these kinds of questions about a Disney movie with talking fish, you're asking the wrong questions; but let me entertain this thought experiment by asking how 300 years of black people throwing themselves off of slave ships hasn't resulted in most modern interpretations of mermaids as black?
In the last teenage mutant ninja turtles movie, they made April O'Neil black. The problem i had is they also made her fat, ugly, obsessed with how others view her, neurotic, anxiety ridden and completly unlikeable. My 8yo begged me to go. After it was over she said we should have gone to the pools.
We've established that the majority of characters don't require specific ethnicity and the things you need to look for that are key elements that require a specific looking actor for specific roles but the OP asks why is it racist when white actors play a part that was traditionally played by a specific ethnicity actor?
That's because of under representation of actors of color.
The vast majority of roles are given to white dudes and then white women. And for no real reason. That's a hard fact of this world. So, when a role that has traditionally been played by actors of color goes to a white actor, that's not cool. People get upset because those actors of color are being excluded from the few roles they do get to play.
And the few roles actors of color do get are because of a key requirement. So, when that's taken away and the role is given to a white dude, it's upsetting.
Because, remember, it's really very few characters that require a specific skin color. And the best actor, regardless of skin color or ethnicity, should get the part. But the hard truth is that most of the time that "best actor" just also happens to be white.
So, yeah, it is racism when a white actor takes on a role that is usually/should be played by an actor of color.
Because if there's no real reason for most characters to be white then why are most characters played by white actors?
(Hint: it's systemic racism)
And if you're thinking "Well, whistlelock, aren't most people in hollywood liberals?" Yes. I think that's the case. I can be wrong, but I would bet the 'average' person working in the film industry would consider themselves liberal.
And if you're thinking, "well, doesn't that mean all those liberals are racccissssssst?"
It does. It's called systemic racism for a reason.
Individually, those people would not describe themselves as racist. But they're still casting white actors over actors of color for no reason. Black male actors usually only get offered the part of gang members. Same with latin men. Indian American men get offered parts as long as they "do the accent."
Remember the Hector meme? actually, I'll add it. That's a perfect example of narrow roles being available to actors of color.
So, casting a white actor for a role that is traditionally played by an actor of color is usually result of unconscious racism and prejudices.
You're saying they are getting the job for no reason... that's not true. One reason can be which actor is trending more to get more people in the movie. Like Barbie, Margot Robbie is very trendy and has a huge fan base. If we are assuming race doesn't matter to a character - she would draw a bigger crowd than say Jada Pickett, because she's more popular. Another reason could be that person acts better for the role than another actor. It could also be the director owes the agent a huge favor.
On the race aspect - Barbie is a fictional character blond hair blue eyes. With tons of history. Having a person play this character that is Hispanic or African American wouldn't be appropriate.
When fictional characters have ample history in both written description, visual representation in media, AND the character is copy written for their distinct look... that history should be honored in representation.
Example - Wally West who was written as a red headed Irish character. Plenty of artwork, plenty of written history. If you want to have a speedster be black - write up a new character and make a history and visual representation and all that.
If race matters for characters one way - it matters for characters all ways. If it's only ok to replace white characters... that's racist.
The "butts in seats" casting is used a lot to justify whitewashing a character. Like Emma Stone being cast to play a character who is specifically a Native Hawaiian character. The character is specifically of Native Hawaiian ancestry as a part of the function of the story. It's a necessary part of the plot.
But they cast a white woman. Because she was popular. This should have been an actress of Hawaiian ancestry.
Barbie is another example of a specific look with the character. If you have a story about A Doll leaving The Doll World to the real world, that doll character can be played by anyone. But this is about a specific thing that was created at a specific time. Just like a Civil War era story in the south. Certain types of characters are going to look specific ways.
Wally West, on the other hand, there is nothing that requires Wally to be white. How does Wally get his powers? Same way Barry Allen did- he gets dosed in chemicals and struck by lightning. What about that requires a specific look? Nothing. Wally can be played by anyone.
Saying that because Wally is traditionally depicted as white as a reason to continue to only cast white actors is the racist part. There's nothing about Wally that requires him to be white, so you don't have to continually cast white dudes.
With this: "If race matters for characters one way - it matters for characters all ways. If it's only ok to replace white characters... that's racist." You're missing the point.
If there is not a specific reason within the character or story that requires a specific type of look, then anyone can play that role.
If you take Robin Hood. If that's a "true to history" telling, then that's going to be a white dude. Because in that time, late-12th-century with landed gentry England, that's going to be a white dude.
If you take Robin Hood and put him in a fantasy world of elves, dragons, and so on, anyone can be Robin. Because you've disconnected the requirements of late-12th-century England.
No you're missing the point... your argument says that race doesn't matter. If it doesn't matter - then it doesn't matter.
If it only matters in certain circumstances... because historically the character is a certain race or comes from a certain area - then we have to consider characters for how they are written. If Wally West was created as a Ginger Irish person... That's the history of that character.
Take Black Lightning. He was written as a black character that gets electricity powers. According to your logic - that character can be played by a white person no problem. But - I bet you do have a problem with that.
Well Black Lightning was created as a Black character because of the under representation of Black Americans in comic books. In the context of the world, Jefferson Pierce comes from the south side of Metropolis, (the Suicide Slum), of which the population is mostly Black. It's also full of crime, cause reasons. I had dropped out of the Arrow-verse, so I don't know how well they followed the the comics.
Wally West was created as a kid character to bring more kids to the Flash comics (cause kids like to read about kids).
He wasn't created due to the under representation of white people in comics. He was white because that was the default for super hero comics.
We go back to the part where I said, "and it's due to under representation of actors of color."
Because with a startling regularity, actors of color are excluded from roles that they could play by the systemic racism of the United States. Demanding that roles that an actor of color should play be given to a white actor because of reasons is ignoring the under representation.
The very under representation Black Lightning was created to address.
Which, gotta say, is racist.
And the OP here seems like yet another "white people are the real victims here" that white nationalists like to produce.
Even your own link says that the last name West occurs in other regions. A search of the word West reveals that it's an Old English word. The first recorded use of west as a last name in the British Isles is in Essex.
Which isn't Ireland.
There are many German last names that are varients of West.
So...the last name West?
It's not even specifically Irish.
So, clinging to this idea that any actor who plays Wally must be white is racist. Because unlike a character like Batman, who should be white because of the specifics of the character, Wally can be played by anyone and nothing changes.
you should spend some time looking into the origin of the red hair gene, where it originated, where it's found throughout the world, and where its concentrated.
You'll learn some things.
And having a last name West requires someone to be white?
Some quick history for you: 5,480 people named West were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 884 as mixed.
Allen West (former Florida Representative and current head of the Texas Republican Party) and Cornel West (activist, actor, philosopher) along with their families will be shocked to learn that they have to give up their last name because only white people are supposed to have it.
Claiming that a character can only be played by white actors because they're described with red hair is straight up racism.
Because what does red hair have to do with being the Flash? Or Kid Flash for that matter.
An example of a movie that gets hit for whitewashing that I think is wrong is Ghost in the Shell.
That stared Scarlett Johanson. Fans said that it should have been played by a Asian actress. But in the story, the Major (Scarlett's character) is a full body replacement cyborg. Her body is deliberately ethnically ambiguous.
In fact, the AI Puppetmaster has a body made that is identical to hers except the hair is blonde. The 2 bodies are identical, even down to the blue eyes. The only thing that is different is the head of hair.
So, within the story, there's not a specific reason for the Major to be played by anyone with a specific look. Anyone could be the Major.
But let's look at another character: Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
What requirements does this character have?
1) Enjoy singing (it is a musical, afterall)
2) be infatuated with the surface world
3) be a fish/mer person.
After that, Ariel can be whatever you want. White, Latina, Asian, or Black. Ariel doesn't even have to be female. It can be a merman. You can swap out the Prince for a Princess and tell the same story. Or even keep the Prince a prince and it's just a gay couple telling the same story.
You're still telling the same love story. Change those 3 key elements alters the story considerable. Skin color of a mermaid doesn't change anything.
Nick Fury from the MCU is another character whose skin color doesn't change who they are. Nick just has to be 1) an American who is 2) the head of SHIELD. After that...Nick can be anything. Even female.
But what about the movie The Last Emperor? It's a story about the last Emperor of China. A key element of that story is that they're Chinese. So, this needs to be played by an Asian actor.
But if you say something like "but that character has always been portrayed as a white person," that's just garden variety racism.
The only time an actor needs specific appearance is when the character has key elements that require that appearance. The more fictionalized you make your story (disconnecting it from our real world) the less and less you need characters to look specific ways or have specific ethnicity.
Like the movie Stagecoach. If you set it in the real historical period of 1880, it's about a group of people traveling through Apache territory. The majority of the characters are going to be white because of the time. Like the southern woman who is traveling to meet up with her cavalry husband officer. The US Marshal. They probably should be played by white actors, but it's not really that necessary. The story won't change much. But the Apache warriors in the movie should be played by Native American actors.
They're Apache's. That's a key element.
But if you take this same story and set it in the far far future. And it's not a stage coach. It's a space ship. And the threat isn't Apache's, it's xenomorph-like aliens that only come out during eclipses...
Then you have the movie Pitch Black. And none of the characters need to be of specific ethnicity or gender. You can swap them around as you like.
98% of the time, there's no reason for a character to have any particular skin color or ethnic background. Or even gender.
And I don't mean that in a Ivory Tower theoretical kind of way. That's literal. there are very few characters that need to be something specific.
Like April ONeil from the Turtles. What about that character requires her to be white? If you change the character from a white woman to an Asian or a Black woman, what changes?
Nothing about the story changes if she's white, Asian, Latina, or Black.
But what if you changed her from being a journalist to something else? Well, a lot will change. She won't have access to the public in the way that a journalist does. And communicating to the public that the Turtles are heroes is key. What if she doesn't live in New York? Then she'll never meet the Turtles.
And won't be in the story.
You can even switch April to Allen and it's still the same story. The only requirement this character has is to be a journalist.
But what's a good example of a character that has to be a specific skin color/ethnic background?
And that's because of some the key elements to Batman. Specifically, that Bruce was born into massive generational wealth in the United States, which is what allows him to fund being batman. You don't get generational wealth of that scale in the United States (that is roughly analogous to the real world), wealth that allows members of the family to establish charitable foundations & trusts like the Wayne's have without being white. So, Batman needs to be a white guy. It's a key element to his character and story.
If you were to do a Pre-civil war slavery story, the only characters that would need to be a specific skin color would be the slaves. You could do a story about a Black free man who owned other Black people. But that's setting up the story to have specific key elements. That's telling A Specific Story. But if you were to remake Roots today?
Then both the slaves and the slave owners need to be specific. Because this is an historical drama, the skin color is key. It's important to the story.