Raceswapping; Stupid and Shallow

Blackwashing – A popular pastime of neo-liberals and progressives

From turning Nick Fury into Samuel L Jackson, to swapping Catwoman’s traditionally milky-white complexion for Halle Berry’s burnished skin tone, raceswapping has been a tradition in media for a long time. While my picture includes only white characters raceswapped as black, I should note that is because that is the most prominent trend in media at the moment.

I will also note, in order for something to constitute as a raceswap, it must meet three criteria:
-1) The character must have been portrayed as a certain race for at least a generation (or 20 years)
-2) The character being portrayed is not played by an actor that passes for the character’s race/ethnicity
-3) The character is not part of a re-imagining that re-contextualizes the entire story/setting/mythos

When those three criteria are met, it passes the Fishhead-test for what is essentially a dirty, sloppy, lazy, excessively annoying, “raceswap”. This would mean the ‘Prince of Persia’ movie does not pass the test, as Jake Gyllenhal can clearly pass for an Iranian, as you can see if you put a picture of him right next to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s former president. This would also be the case for ‘Scarface’ as portrayed by Al Pacino. A movie that would pass the Fishhead-test would be ‘Ghost in the Shell’, starring Scarlett Johansson, although I have heard compelling arguments for why it would still work, being that the film is about transhumanism and the character being a different race still fits with the theme of the source material.

I am leaving animated films out entirely because, quite frankly, anyone can voice anyone. That is just my opinion and it will never change. When you deal with animation, the voice is what matters most, end of story. Of course, this has not stopped people from throwing a hissyfit over this as well, as we saw with the Simpsons a few years back.

Getting back to the topic; some individuals have taken it upon themselves to throw out the matter entirely, although doing so, they throw out the medium they are enjoying as well. They may say something akin to “it’s fiction, it don’t matter!” To which I say to them to shut up and get out. If it does not matter, then I can replace everyone’s head in ‘Titanic’ with a roll of toilet paper, and it should not matter, “because it’s all fiction and it’s made up, silly billy!” I should be able to change ‘The Little Mermaid’ into a story about a jet fighter engaged in battles across the pacific during world war 2, because why not, it does not matter, does it? This argument is a cop-out argument by idiots that realize they have absolutely zero ground to stand on and have no way to argue in favor of it. Even if you include the oft-touted fake virtue of “diversity”, that does not stand to reason either as you are not adding diversity; the character is still functionally the same, you just swapped out their race.

I touched upon this subject back in my previous article “Attacking Fandoms”, though the focus there was more entrenched in ideology being shoved into shows and movies, which raceswapping is a part of. As stated previously, “diversity” is often the name of the game. Any time anyone ever says anything negative ever about a raceswap, they are instantly labelled an ist-phobe. Please, keep doing this, it only highlights how unintelligent and hive-minded you are, and people are not backing down like they used to back in 2015. You have lost the power of your words and will continue to lose said power.

When people have a problem with raceswapping characters though, it is almost always because that is the way the character had been portrayed throughout their life, and now you go and change something about the character that people have come to recognize that character with. And almost always, the reason behind the change is never just a casual disregard, it is always malevolent, vindictive, or subversive in some shape or form. The trend of raceswapping historical people that actually existed as entirely different races is evidence enough of this; you simply do not cast a black actress to play a white European queen unless you have an axe to grind for some political or social messaging that you are trying to force across. I mean, does anyone really have the balls to tell me that Jodie Turner-Smith is actually believable as Queen Anne Boleyn? No. And I will spare no pretenses about why; it IS because she is black. I would have the same problem with a white actor playing Martin Luther King. He can not play him because he is white. This is not a hard concept people.

Now I am sure that some may argue “But theater does this all the time!” And I understand completely this point. The primary reason I disagree is that theater has a much more limited pool of actors to contend with, and if you are doing a play based on a historical premise where certain people were certain races, it stands to reason that you cast whoever is best. For a film or show, that is not the case. Why, you may ask? Theater is fleeting, film is permanent. You may get away with casting a hundred different people of any ethnicity, or even gender, playing a certain character on the stage, but in film, that image stays that way…Well, technically not quite anymore, since we now have AI that can deepfake video along with CGI artists that can completely revamp peoples facial features, but my point still stands.

“But what about updating old movies and films for modern sensibilities!” First off, let me correct you; these are not “modern sensibilities”, these are your sensibilities, and they are most definitely not shared by everyone, or even most of everyone. Secondly, no story ever “needs” to be updated. Just admit you are changing it, stop hiding behind the pretenses everyone can already see through, you just embarrass yourself. ‘The Mummy’ (1999) hid behind no pretenses, with the primary motive behind it to turn it into an action-adventure film. Just admit that what you are making is a woke, liberalized, re-telling of a story you do not like.

Regardless, this can all be avoided by simply doing one thing.

Previously, when people used to be able to know how to plan and execute scripts and casting, they would create something called “New Characters”. Now, this radical idea of “New Characters” was implemented and, shockingly, went over extremely well. You had black Superman now called “STEEL”, you had a black Van Helsing who was now called “BLADE”, and nobody had any issue with them whatsoever. Extraordinary, I know. But as times change, people get lazier and dumber, and they neither want to put in the effort to create a new character, and they are too stupid to actually think of adding one in the first place. Thankfully, as my article intelligently articulates; you can, and in fact should, create new characters.

In order for fiction to work as a medium, it must somehow convince the audience to take it at least somewhat seriously, even for a comedy. If the content is not being taken seriously in the slightest, this is where farce comes in, which is meant to parody, mock, and satirize. And you know what I see when I see a black Guinevere, or an asian Emil Hamilton? I see a fucking farce, and millions of others do as well. Maybe if you stop vindictively trying to get one over on the fans of the characters, you will stop being hated and attacked?

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