What's with all the Black washing?

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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,628
Benin City, Nigeria
Interesting. That is a fantasy world though, not something historical, and this is just for four roles. If they (producers) "always" did what you've referenced here, then how to explain roles where one actor turned down a part, and then another actor of another race then took up that role, which has happened in Hollywood in the US and also in the UK? For example, Will Smith turned down a starring role in The Matrix, and his replacement was someone of a different race, and either Idris Elba or Chiwetel Ejiofor turned down a role in the Doctor Who series, which was subsequently played by someone of a different race. If what you said "always" applied, then the producers would have insisted on still getting black people for those roles. They didn't.

Perhaps one could make the case that there is discrimination against Asians in casting choices for certain types of roles in a few western countries. That might be plausible. But if there are people from other groups besides Asians that could be cast in those roles I can't see how one could tell that it would always be a case of preference for someone of a non-Asian background if an Asian isn't selected for that role.
 

macon

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Aug 2015
4,074
Slovenia, EU
You Americans should demand white quotas for NBA league. Enough with racism in NBA. :)
 
Aug 2018
565
london
I see Black Zeus in a TV show, why not a Chinese Zeus?. Why a Black Juleus Ceaser? why not Bangladeshi Juleus Ceaser?
It’s because casting non-whites in these roles is about ‘anti-racism’ and sticking it to the ‘white racists’ and the best way to do that in the mind of those who make these decisions is by using black people.
 
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Aug 2014
1,273
pakistan
Interesting. That is a fantasy world though, not something historical, and this is just for four roles. If they (producers) "always" did what you've referenced here, then how to explain roles where one actor turned down a part, and then another actor of another race then took up that role, which has happened in Hollywood in the US and also in the UK? For example, Will Smith turned down a starring role in The Matrix, and his replacement was someone of a different race, and either Idris Elba or Chiwetel Ejiofor turned down a role in the Doctor Who series, which was subsequently played by someone of a different race. If what you said "always" applied, then the producers would have insisted on still getting black people for those roles. They didn't.

Perhaps one could make the case that there is discrimination against Asians in casting choices for certain types of roles in a few western countries. That might be plausible. But if there are people from other groups besides Asians that could be cast in those roles I can't see how one could tell that it would always be a case of preference for someone of a non-Asian background if an Asian isn't selected for that role.
Yup its a fantasy world , its just an example to illustrate the fact that casting choices do include certain race preference for certain roles. The producers had already made the choice to cast certain historical character as Black in a show. Its not like Black actors or actresses are so exceptional in their acting talent that producers make the decision to butcher history just for their sake.

About Will Smith turning down a role in Matrix, and "discrimination against Asians" in casting choices, you are forgetting the topic and missing the point. I am not raising eye brows over casting of Black characters in every movie, i am talking about "Black washing" of certain historical characters on European media. I am not complaining and whining about lack of "Asian washing", i am trying to figure out this Black washing phenomena and wondering why there is no Asian washing?.
 
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Jan 2015
1,550
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Seems to me that whites are far more lenient when it comes to their historic characters being played by black actors than vice-versa. There's a mass upheaval every time blacks are "under-represented" in movies, games, etc. even if black actors don't fit the setting. Seems like this trend will continue on while we most certainly won't be seeing a Shaka Zulu adaptation with a white cast in a forseeable future.

The studios are giving in too much to leftist pressure, in my opinion, and it's already too late to backpedal in the US. If I recall, the game Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which strived toward historical accuracy with a setting in 15th century Bohemia also found itself a target for its lack of black characters, but I feel like European studios are still resisting to some degree.

I can understand why there's a need to make room for more black actors - comics and other source material that is used to make blockbusters is generally based on European mythology, so obviously there'd be a lack of non-Europeans. So to counter, I'd suggest tapping into mythology of Africa and Asia and more diverse future comics instead.
 
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Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,628
Benin City, Nigeria
Its not like Black actors or actresses are so exceptional in their acting talent that producers make the decision to butcher history just for their sake
I never said anything about black actors/actresses being "exceptional". Actually I simply asked for any proof that Asian actors were going for main/central types of roles to a comparable degree or that they have made any real effort to specifically get those kinds of roles. So far I haven't seen any evidence that they have.

Even with this game of thrones prequel example this ignores that these "four regular" parts may not even be the series lead characters. In other words, they could be regulars, but still essentially be "sidekicks". In which case making most of them black or mixed is nothing special, since black actors from groups that are ethnic minorities have been playing those kinds of roles in western films or shows for a while.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,628
Benin City, Nigeria
About Will Smith turning down a role in Matrix, and "discrimination against Asians" in casting choices, you are forgetting the topic and missing the point. I am not raising eye brows over casting of Black characters in every movie, i am talking about "Black washing" of certain historical characters on European media. I am not complaining and whining about lack of "Asian washing", i am trying to figure out this Black washing phenomena and wondering why there is no Asian washing?.
No, I think that you didn't get the argument that I made.

It's silly for a black actor to audition for Zeus in a film to begin with (for the actor the experience might just be about a check or getting exposure/experience on their resume, so they won't care about the historical aspect), but at the end of the day, they still did audition for the role or get their agents/managers to get them the part. Well my question is, where is the actual evidence that the Asian actors you refer to are really doing the same thing in applying for one of the central/main roles? I mean, if there were any actual evidence, then I would accept the argument you're making and simply agree that your point about Asian actors proves your claim. But none has been provided.

Instead you tried to argue that every role is preassigned by producers to a specific racial background, gender, etc.

So my next point in response to that claim was that, contrary to what you stated, we actually do not know if they did not have people of other races that they did consider for those main historical roles. I simply used the example of actors turning down roles in some non-historical movies or series (the Matrix or Doctor Who) only to have someone of a different race chosen afterward to show that the example you provided of that fantasy series (the Game of Thrones prequel) is obviously not how it is "always" done for roles. If that actually were the case then actors of different races couldn't have been considered for the same role.

And by the way, another poster, Ancientgeezer, already complained in this thread about black, "dark Moroccan", and Asian actors/actresses playing European characters, so if that was the argument you were making (that Asians are never cast in European characters' roles) then apparently that's wrong, since it has already happened, with "South Asian Romans":

Sam Goldwyn said (apocryphally--as all his quotes are) "If you want to send a message, use Western Union". He was irritated by screenwriters who wanted to tack on social messages into storylines when they did nothing for the plot--and rightly so. One would hardly have a scene that put a cellphone into the hands of 1920s Chicago Gangster or have Beau Brummel using a Gillette razor--they are anachronisms and just don't belong (although Hollywood is often guilty of minor transgressions, they usually get things right to the nearest century). Likewise inserting an actor with characteristics totally at odds with historical reality is just an attempt at political indoctrination and nothing to do with artistic merit.
Recently a British TV series "Peaky Blinders" about the rise of a post WW1 criminal empire won awards left right and centre. Like many British shows it recreated an historical era with convincing vividness, although the vernacular was modernised for a modern (and international audience). While it played a bit fast and loose with a few historical events and figures it was all pretty credible until it introduced a uniformed full Colonel as the head of British Military intelligence played by Kingsley Ben Adir, a mid-twenties Half-Moroccan actor who specialises in playing African characters (he is a very dark Moroccan). Now this was just gratuitous--there were plenty of parts he could have played in the show set in 1922, but a twenty-something British Army Colonel wasn't one of them.
Over the past few years British TV shows have featured Black and South Asian Roman legionaires, A Nigerian (complete with accent) chief advisor to William the Conquerer, a raft of Black and Asian Dickens characters including the Artful Dodger, the Landless twins, Little Nell and Nancy as well as various Medieval Queens and noble Lords and Ladies, Ancient Greek heroes as well as (in Dr Who) the entire population of an 1830s London Frost Fair!
Perhaps the idiots producing these shows don't think that anyone notices or that it is a "subtle" way of implying that Europe has always been a "multi-racial" continent--if they do, it's not working. People are beginning to notice.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,628
Benin City, Nigeria
So in addition to the instances cited by Ancientgeezer earlier in this thread, I found other examples of "Asian-washing" when looking at British historical movies released just this year.

The actress Gemma Chan plays Bess of Hardwick in the movie Mary Queen of Scots (2018) that was recently released. They have a woman of clearly East Asian origin playing a European historical figure.

I haven't seen the movie (and don't plan to), so I don't know how big of a role this character really has, but even if it is a minor role it is clearly not historically accurate.

Is this a result of "Asiaphilia" or a "fetish for Asians" or whatever? Or maybe the British makers of the film simply didn't care about the ethnic background of the character?

So the claim ("no Asian-washing") that was made repeatedly is really just demonstrably false, and there's an example of it not only from this year, but from this very month too. It isn't just South Asian Romans (in whatever show or movie Ancientgeezer referenced), there are also East Asian Renaissance era European noblewomen apparently.

Another example is the actor Ray Panthaki playing the role of the French playwright Pierre Veber in the biographical film Colette (2018) that was also released this year. The character that he plays is based on a white French literary figure, and is not meant to be South Asian, but the actor playing him is.

An article about Ray Panthiaki's perspective about "racial casting barriers":

'Colette' Star Ray Panthaki on Helping Remove Racial Casting Barriers

I certainly don't agree with this trend of mismatching the ethnic background of historical figures, but clearly there are also Asian people willing to play these European historical figure roles as well.
 
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