By Yung ANcient One 9 Comments
Did the title work? Did it get cha? Good. It did its job then. First things first: *DISCLAIMER* If you do not read my post in its entirety and decide to reply even though you have not finished reading, do not be surprised if I reply to your reply with a suggestion to finish reading.
I do not know how many times users have posted on my blog and their post clearly shows they did not finish reading. All posts are welcomed though.
Thank you for reading this, so far.
I like to be personal with my blog posts and enjoy giving everyone a road map of where my post is going to go; therefore if you do not like where the post’s destination is, you are free to not take the ride.
I have always read posts about how racist comic book fans are because fans do not want X character to be played by a Black or African-American actor when the character is clearly Caucasian. I will discuss my issue with typecasting "race." I will elaborate on how complex and sometime contradicting my brain works. However, I promise I will wrap everything up nicely in the end with a clear and concise opinion on "race" typecasting. I will talk about the new film Suicide Squad (I am quite excited). I will connect it with other films that are existing and nonexistent. I shall include pictures and my personal twisted humor as well.
SUICIDE SQUAD: Taken from ComicVine (I am loyal to my soil): “A constantly changing group composed mostly of incarcerated super-villains who perform black ops missions with a low chance of survival in exchange for the possibility of a shortened sentence. This ‘squad’ was organized and put together by Amanda Waller.”
The NEW FILM: It is not yet clear what the plot details will be; however we do know who will be in the motion picture. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Tom Hardy as Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Boomerang, Jared Leto as The Joker, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, and Will Smith as Deadshot.
I honestly am not sure if there has been too much uproar towards Will Smith (he’s Black F.Y.I.) playing as Deadshot (he’s White F.Y.I.) because I am hardly online now. I have seen a few comments here and there but nothing like the NERD RAGE that came about when Michael B. Jordan (he’s Black F.Y.I.) was announced to be taking the role of Johnny Storm (another White superhero F.Y.I.). This dispute on typecasting for superhero flicks is not uncommon. People have complained about Wally West in the Nu52 biracial. People complained about the concept of changing a character’s “race” several times in the past. It isn’t surprising that they are venting their distaste for the creative decision to change a character’s “race” yet again.
The question that comes to an outsiders mind is why. Why is this an issue? What’s the big deal? Some believe comic book fans are racist for getting upset about something as trivial as changing the “race” of a character. I would argue that although on rare occasions that might be the case, a majority of the time it is merely an issue of self-entitlement. Supporters, fans (which was originally short for fanatics), and/or followers of any franchise put so much of themselves into an entity that they start to create a self-entitlement for the franchise/entity. One could clearly see that with the Star Wars fans strong criticism for the creator’s own vision towards his last 3 films. I have seen post from users who have their user name be a Star Wars reference post that she/he hates George Lucas (the guy who created her/his beloved franchise F.Y.I.). That is a completely different blog, however.
Fanatics/supporters/followers have a tendency to have a proprietary issue with their beloved entity. In my opinion the majority of complaints about changing a characters “race” or frankly, their skin pigment is due to self-entitlement. It is not that they are against having a “Black” Superhero, it is that they have always known Johnny Storm to be “white.” I failed to see any user call another user racist for expressing anger because they were upset that the Constantine film had a brunette John Constantine instead of a blonde John Constantine as shown in the comics. Fanatics love familiarity. Another great example was the outrage of having Beast Boy not be green skinned. Again one could draw references with the Star Wars issue of The Force and the Midi-chlorians.
Therefore, I will admit to my “racism” of at first not liking the fact that Michael B. Jordan is going to play as Johnny Storm. I must acknowledge as well that the concern that comicbook fans are racist has some validity. A clear example would be how complaints for the motion picture Wanted having Angelina Jolie( she’s “white”) play Fox (a “black” character) was nearly unheard of.The United States of America was built off racism, sexism, oppression, sex, and violence. There is no denying that the issue of “race” is still strong today. People seem to forget that Martin Luther King JR’s speech of his dream and the Swinging 60’s was literally less than 60 years ago. Comic books is a USA product. Thus, is a product of racism and sexism. It is clear we have more than enough Caucasian protagonist and a lack of diversity.
I understand the need of having more diversity and I am aware of the complex situation with fanatics abhorring changes to their beloved entities.
MY BRAIN: I confess, I have been a fanatic who has complained about creative decisions on entities I adore and some complaints have been in correlation with the concept of “race.” I honestly didn’t care that Kingpin was played by Michael Clarke Duncan. I always had a contradicting opinion on heroes and villains “races.” I wouldn’t mind when a villains background would be changed but would mind when a hero’s background was changed. I remember specifically arguing with a user online about typecasting in comicbook flicks concerning “race.”
She/he brought up the fact that there was a scares amount of grievances of a “white” British actor playing a Hispanic villain, BANE. In the comics Bane was born in “Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca” (via comicvine). Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca is a fictional place. The closest thing in “our universe” that has an existing Santa Prisca is a church in Mexico. One could say Bane is Mexican (I would say he’s Mexican because I am Mexican and a fan of Bane). Regardless, the issue of race was brought up yet again. Why is Idris Elba having the role of Heimdall an issue but Hardy taking the role of Bane goes undetected as a problem? I have my own reservations about that particular argument; however I cannot reject the fact that a valid point was made. I think it would have been better to have used Jolie and Fox as an example rather than Bane and Hardy. But, again, totally different blog to elaborate on that.
Speaking about Hardy playing a comicbook role, he is also set to perform as Rick Flag of the Suicide Squad. When I heard that he was going to be in Suicide Squad, I was picturing him playing as Deadshot who is kind of cool. I thought it was sweet that Will Smith was going to be in the film to bring more mainstream audiences to the film. To my surprise, Smith got the role for Deadshot which will lead to my personal concern with typecasting. Typecasting is to cast (an actor or actress) in a part calling for the same characteristics as those possessed by the performer. Normally, typecasting is a term for actors and actresses rather than the role. I am using it incorrectly as in typecasting a role rather than a performer because it seems it is what we fanatics do with comicbook flicks. Constantine should be a British bloke, Amanda Waller should be an obese African-American, Lex Luther should be bald and etc.
I can relate with the desire to want Deadshot to be played by Hardy instead of Smith. The same way I disliked the fact that on Arrow, Deadshot didn’t have that ugly mustache. I know Deadshot for being an assassin who has a terrible mustache. That’s what I want to see. At the same time, we need diversity. The solution to have more diversity is to make “white” characters “black” in the film which is still problematic for me because of the squandered opportunity to actually increase diversity rather than to “black-wash” (forgive me if I offended you) characters. Instead of putting Black Manta, Bronze Tiger, Black Spider, IceBerg, or Katana, who are not “white” characters on the film, they decide to just make a “white” character “black.” This is my problem with making characters “black” for the sake of diversity. Instead of promoting a character who will increase diversity, corporations decide to just change a characters background. I find this annoying. Am I racist for preferring Smith to play as Black Manta or Bronze Tiger than Deadshot?
I agree we have more than enough “white” characters in films but shouldn’t we be promoting the characters that are not “white” males rather than riding a characters popularity and changing their history? Maybe this is just me. In my mind, the issues of “race,” authenticity, familiarity, and self-entitlement arise in the comicbook community a lot. We need diversity. We crave authenticity and familiarity especially because we have proprietary issues. What can we do? I don't know about you all but I have a plan to fix everything.
Let it Go. I still strongly dislike the idea of changing a characters background for the sake of diversity than promoting a character who already brings diversity, but it is better to change the original material for the sake of diversity than to continue the lack of variety. The films are a parallel universe anyways. I mean, nobody complained about Corporal Scott Summers or General James Howlett because they were from a parallel universe.
I don’t mind having a female Copperhead, a gay Batman, a pig Spider-Man, a “black” Deadshot because the films are a parallel universe and truthfully both the concepts of “race” and “racism” still exist today. If changing a characters background will help promote the philosophy of humanism then I’m all for it. I still want to see Deadshot with a stache though.
Wrapping it up: Most comicbook fans aren't inherently racist. Most nerds/geeks just have self-entitlement issues. We do need more diversity in comics and in films, but I still dislike the idea of making a "white" character "black" for diversity sake instead of promoting a character who is already "black." Nevertheless, it isn't that big of a deal. There are more important things for our community to be concerned about than seeing a biracial Wally West. At a panel in WonderCon, a psychologist said the best thing about being part of this community is the acknowledgement of each others differences which is the beginning of empathy. I love being a part of this community but it also has its flaws. I would just love it if everyone would learn to let things go. I am excited about Suicide Squad more than The Justice League film. I am excited in seeing a female Cyborg if needed be. A asian Batman, a gay Superman, a female wolverine, or whatever because I am a sucker for parallel universes.
Thank you for reading!