Asked by Anonymous
Note: I know this post sounds like I’m being rude to this particular anon, but I’m mostly attempting to expand on what they mean. Imagine me and the anon standing next to each other, agreeing, while I yell at society, who is standing across from us.
I agree with you, except on one point: your use of the word “mistake.”
Whitewashing in movies is no mistake. It’s 100% intentional. You know who pays for movies? Old white dudes, a group that is notorious for containing many racist members. The same dudes who told George Lucas that they didn’t want to produce “Red Tails” because the major protagonists were not white. It’s the same reason why Lavender Brown was played by a black actress until she mysteriously turned white just in time to date Ron Weasley. It’s real similar to the reason why Joanne Rowling made up a middle initial because her publisher thought the books would sell better if people didn’t realize the author was a woman. The film industry is targeted towards white audiences, and films with protagonists of color are generally marketed as “niche” films.
It’s a pervasive attitude in America. When you’re watching the news and a girl’s gone missing, most of the time, they’re pretty, blonde, and white. Weeks of news coverage about the search for her, every development, every twist, they follow the court case closely, they make a TV movie about the story, and everyone’s happy when she gets home safe and sound. Now, white kids don’t go missing more often than kids of color, it’s just that when a white kid goes missing, the media believes it will get higher ratings. Remember Jessica Lynch, the soldier who was taken prisoner at the beginning of the Iraq War? Those of you who do remember the breaking news coverage all the time about her situation. Did y’all know that there was another soldier taken prisoner that same day, by the same people, in the same ambush? Shoshana Johnson, a black woman, was in the exact same situation as Lynch, but the way the news told it, Lynch was the only soldier taken prisoner that day. Lynch herself criticized this coverage, calling it “a lie” to make her a legend while relegating other heroes to the sidelines. Check this out for further reading.
The fact is, we live in a racist, sexist, generally all-around bigoted society, and with something as high-profile as a major motion picture, the whitewashing of the cast is no accident.