May. 22nd, 2013

cammeh: (Default)
Or - Regarding Whitewashing Khan


…Yeah, no, I thought I could just write this and then delete it to blow off steam, but I’ve got to get it off my chest before I explode.

I mentioned briefly in one of my previous Tumblr posts that I wasn’t into insulting Benedict Cumberbatch, because I’m not. I don’t have anything against the guy himself or the performance he gave in Star Trek. I liked it, for what it was! He’s a great actor and he did a great job with the role that was written for him, and really, it’s the creators’ fault. They should’ve just let him be John Harrison, Khan’s lieutenant or something, that would’ve been fine! It might even have been, shall we say, epic~!

But I am still fucking pissed off that they chose him for the role of Khan in the first place. And I’ve just been seething more and more every time I dare to look up how people online are reacting, because it’s bullshit.

Hahaha, it shouldn’t matter that they whitewashed Khan because if it’s okay to switch white to POC, it should be equally fine to switch POC to white? In other words, “I want to stick my head in the sand and create a false equivalency in order to ignore that things are absolutely not equal for whites versus minorities in any aspect of our society”, which really super includes media representation, where it is still, still, in 2013, a remarkable, exciting thing for POC when we actually see strong, complex, non-stereotyped, non-sidekick representations of ourselves on screen? Where the interesting stories of real-life POC are all too frequently appropriated and re-cast with white people in Hollywood? (21, anyone? Or Extraordinary Measures, where Harrison Ford was cast in a movie based on the real-life Dr. Yuan-Tsong Chen, thereby continuing the mythology that only white people make important discoveries, contribute to society, or have epic adventures?)

In a time when tons of modern films and series are adapting things from time periods that were even more racist and unequal and overwhelmingly white, balancing things to better reflect our diverse modern society is taking things from a wildly skewed starting point and making things more equal and realistic, while doing the reverse in order to steal one of the vanishingly-rare POC characters that is powerful, unique, respected and admired even by his enemies, and culturally recognized—not to mention who was created as a pointed statement in the midst of the struggles of the Civil Rights era—and turning him white is really damaging and regressive.

(It’s the same with women, BY THE WAY. Changing original series Battlestar Galactica Starbuck into Kara Thrace was an epic, progressive move, and only made sense because there were hardly any freaking women in the original series anyway and keeping that the same in this day and age would’ve been sexist as all hell. Adapting Star Wars and changing the iconic Leia Organa into Luke’s twin brother Larry, on the other hand, would be REALLY SHITTY, because again, hardly any women in the original, so you would hardly want to make it worse in the modern adaptation, right? COMMON SENSE, NO? It is THE SAME FOR POC ROLES, ALKJSKLDFDS.)

But “Hey,” I have heard countless people on the internet say, “This shouldn’t be an issue because directors shouldn’t have to cast inferior actors just to be “PC”! JJ was only casting the most talented person for the part!” …Oh! Okay! In other words, “Any brown actor would have been less talented and inferior for this brown role!” (◡‿◡✿) Because Benedict Cumberbatch is just that amazing. (◕‿◕✿) There is literally no one on this planet, the majority of which is non-white, who could match BC’s intensity and BC’s deep baritone and BC’s soulful eyes of indeterminate color. Right. (ʘ‿ʘ✿) They just had to cast the white dude, artistic integrity demanded it. (ʘ‿ʘ)ノ✿

Who was that dickbag a while back saying that Cumberbatch’s talent is so transcendent that nobody should have an issue even if he were cast to play Martin Luther King, Jr.??

God

Damn

White

Washing

White people already have 99% of sci-fi and every other genre, GTFO with this “erasing one of the few POC characters we DO have is no~ big~ deal~, anyone who thinks otherwise is just overreacting and being irrational and should just shut up, I don’t have the life experience and/or education to understand why this isn’t okay but I’m going to open my mouth like I know everything there is to know about racial tensions and inequality and systematic oppression and declare that I~ know~ better~ than everyone~ who’s~ upset~”

Maybe I’m just overly invested because the year that Khan Noonien Singh was created is the same year it would’ve become not illegal for my parents to get married.

Or because I’ve had strangers double-take at me like I’m a talking monkey when I open my mouth and highly educated broadcast-standard English comes out instead of whatever they were clearly expecting. (As biracial Filipina/White, I am constantly mistaken for Latina, and hoo boy is there ever not-so-veiled prejudice against them Mexicans.)

Or maybe I’m overly invested because I had to sit up in urgent, thrilled excitement just a few months ago when I started watching Terra Nova for the first time and I realized that the protagonist family was OMFG interracial omg the kids remind me of my brother and myself omg this is amazing I have never seen this before omg yay??!  8D 8D 8D Because it is still that rare

Or maybe I’m not overly-anything, and people who don’t know what they’re talking about should try to see things from a different perspective for once.

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