Orphan Annie was a white character. Heimdall was a white character in the Thor comics. Johnny
Storm was white in the Fantastic Four comics. In Spider-Man, the villain Electro is white. What do all of these characters have in common?
They've all had African-American actors cast in these roles, despite the fact that the characters are white, and everyone is told that we're supposed to be okay with that.
Okay, so maybe race doesn't really matter all that much when it comes to characters. Afterall, being white is not really essential to their identity, so it's okay to cast non-white actors in these roles.
Well here's an interesting little factoid for you. In the upcoming movie Pan--which is based on the story of Peter Pan--the role of the Indian princes Tiger Lilly has been cast to Rooney Mara. Rooney Mara is most known for her role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Here's the kicker: she's white, and people have a problem with that.
Check this out.
So, let me get this straight. Although it's totally fine to cast people of color in the roles of white characters, it's not okay to cast white people in the roles of people of color. Do I have it right?
You see, in my article from the other day where I griped about Johnny Storm being retconned as black, I made the assertion that people would make a big fuss if a white person was cast in the role of a black character. Some people disagreed with me on that. But here we are, a white woman cast in the role of a person of color (mind you, a FICTIONAL character), and that's simply not okay.
I heard somewhere--maybe it was one of the commenters here on CFGM--that it's okay to cast people of color in the roles of traditionally white characters, because those characters' identities are not really based on their race. Do we see the implication here? If you're black, Asian, Native American, or whatever, race is a big part of your identity and therefore should not be meddled with. But if you're white, then that means nothing.
I understand that people of color historically have been marginalized by white people, but do we honestly think that racial pride, and the supression of racial pride, is the appropriate solution to greater harmony?
For the most part, it has already been ingrained in the minds of most white people. Speaking for myself, the notion of being proud of being white is a foreign thought. It makes no sense to me, because, well, I'm white. I didn't choose to be white, I was just born that way. I suppose that there are certain cultural things particular to being white, but I don't really see it that way.
What's more is that under no circumstances would I ever be permitted to say "I'm proud to be white," in a public forum, lest I be branded a racist and a hatemonger. My entire life, society has taught me that being proud of my race is offensive and racist. I've been taught that the color of my skin doesn't make me special. If anything, the color of my skin should make me feel ashamed for the transgressions of my like-skinned ancestors.
A friend of mine, who happens to be black, said to me once in reference to women "dude, we're men. Women blame us for everything." I said to him, "well, how do you think I feel? I'm a white man. Everyone blames me for everything. I'm blamed for sexism, slavery, white supremacy, racism in general. And as luck would have it, I'm also Catholic. So I get blamed for the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Conquistadors, and pedophilic clergymen."
"Because I am a white, Catholic male, I'm blamed for over one-and-a-half thousand years of sexism, and brutal oppression of everyone not white. Even though I've spent a good portion of my life fighting for social justice, none of that matters. Because of the color of my skin, everyone's suffering is ultimately all my fault."
My friend thought that was pretty funny, because of course I was being facetious, but the sad part about it is that this is actually going on. People of color are taught to be proud of the color of their skin, and white people are taught to be ashamed of it. This goes to show you that when given the opportunity, most humans will do their damndest to marginalize "the other."
To anyone who is a person of color, I have one bit of advice for you. If you truly desire social equality, if you want to stop being discriminated against because of the color of your skin, then you need to stop believing that the color of your skin makes you special. If I'm not special because I'm white, then you're not special because you're not white.