“The ‘Star Wars’ franchise is sticking up for actor Moses Ingram after she revealed she had received hundreds of racist messages and comments on social media.” — CNN, 5/31/22
I just found out that one of the main characters in a new take on a popular sci-fi/fantasy franchise will be portrayed by a person of color, and I am losing my mind. I can’t believe we are going to have to suffer through another reimagining of a classic franchise but with a cast that features a few more women and/or people with darker skin than in previous iterations. This fictional universe has gotten way too diverse.
It’s infuriating that Hollywood is adapting popular IP featuring far-away galaxies and imagined fantasylands while refusing to maintain the exact same socio-political sensibilities and gender dynamics from decades ago when that IP was first released.
These invented realities were never meant to prominently feature people who don’t look exactly like me, a middle-aged white man. When the original Star Wars series came out, the only Black people featured were a super important supporting role played by Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones voicing one of the most iconic movie characters of all time. It’s ridiculous that a new adaptation of Star Wars would have anything but that exact amount of blackness displayed throughout its fictitious plot lines and fanciful cosmic settings.
If a galaxy has twenty million totally fabricated humanoid species all living in it, does it even make sense for it to also have Black people? It’s pretty clear that any Black person who lands a role playing a made-up character in that non-real world is just a diversity hire.
The same could be said of Star Trek, which was never meant to be a show about breaking down racial barriers and learning to work together in harmony for the betterment of the human species and the universe. Does a show about a diverse crew trying to navigate the complex political landscape of outer space while all trying to get along really seem like the appropriate place for social commentary?
We need to think about who these left-appeasing shows are hurting when they don’t look and feel exactly as they did when Jimmy Carter was president. Who are young white boys today supposed to identify with when they watch these woke reimaginings, other than the white male protagonists that still make up most of the lead roles? If they are not at the center of every single one of these completely fake worlds, don’t we risk giving them the impression that they are not at the center of our real one? On a planet where roughly 8 percent of the population is white men, is that really the message we want to be sending these kids?
There are basic principles behind who should play what in these nonexistent places that live only in our imaginations:
- If a time-traveling doctor from an alternate reality whose appearance changes every few years happens to have been depicted as a white man in the past, they should forever be depicted that way in the future.
- If a be-gadgeted, sex-having, archetypal secret-agent-whose-name-is-a-number is played by various white men a handful of times, they must always be played by white men moving forward.
- If the races of Men, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits in an ancient land that doesn’t and has never existed have typically been portrayed by white people, then these mythical beings ought to continue to be played by white people for all of eternity.
- If four people want to chase ghosts around in a big city, three of those people must be white men and the other must be a Black man. Women, Asians, and Latinos of any race do not chase ghosts.
Those are the unbreakable rules that govern the stories plucked from thin air that people write down and then film for the purposes of our entertainment. Any deviation from that is a hate crime.
So let’s stop with all of these ever-so-slight changes to how TV and movie projects are cast, and go back to doing things exactly how we used to back when Ronald Reagan was still an actor.
In the meantime, I’ll be on the Sony lot protesting that new Jesus movie where he’s played by a Middle Eastern man. We all know Jesus was white.