Fandango’s Provocative Question # 183
Does diversity casting in TV shows or movies, where fictional characters who were presumed to be white in the source material are portrayed by non-white actors, concern or bother you? Why do you feel that way?
As usual Fandango came up with another thought-provoking question; this one concerning fictional characters that are “presumed” to be white.
True_George would like that this point be considered, before answering this provocative question.
It takes me back to the debate of the James Bond character. The black British actor Idris Elba as being the leading runner to play James Bond.
There were lots of pros and cons; some even considered the fact that how can a black secret agent go under cover in places like Eastern Europe, or certain parts of the United States. That he is more adapted to be under cover in places like Nigeria, or the West Indies. While others say that this point is immaterial.
The other point was that the Author of the original James Bond stories, did not specify that the character James Bond was a white character. That a true fictional character can be either white or non-white.
True_George says that the presumption depends on the profile of the characters, the physical description, the setting, and the type of language used in the fiction tale. Otherwise, most will presume that the characters are in the image of the author, regardless of the setting.
Characters in fictional tales like the Little Mermaid, and the Lord of the Rings are neutral. Unless the authors of the original content described the characters as being white, black, or any other race, then the presumption of the racial makeup is in the eye of the beholder.
True_George has never seen any literature that says a mermaid, trolls and hobbits are white, black and in between. If anyone has, then educate True_George.
As far as the portraying fictional characters in film, or T.V shows; True_George says, that the more diverse the better it will be.
Good question. I’d say it depends for me on the reason why it’s done. If a black guy, say, is playing someone like Biggles, say, who was a fictional British white air ace from the days when our country was mostly staffed with white people, I’d want to know why. I’d want to know whether he’d been cast because he was a bloody great actor (Idris Elba etc) or because someone wanted to make a political point. If the former I’m fine with it – if the latter I don’t see why it’s necessary to make that point as it’s about a fictional guy and that point doesn’t need making.