In another thread (about the video series of Anita Sarkeesian) a discussion about whitewashing popped up. And I thought this topic is rich and broad enough to explore it in its own thread.
There are many examples about whitewashing in the movie industry. This is when a character that existed as something other than white in history, in another medium or in another movie even, and than is recast as white. Recently we also see more and more the reverse practice of white characters being portrayed by someone who is not white. This actually exists in any direction - white to asian, indian to latin, everything goes. Or does it? I think there is a hypocracy around race swapping that rubs me the wrong way.
There is the general public reception. And there is the receptions of outlets, journalists and actual critics. I think in both kinds of receptions race swapping that is not whitewashing is seen much more favourably than whitewashing. Even though the double standards in the general public reception are not as great since it seems no matter in which direction movies swap races, the general public will complain. But it will complain louder about whitewashing than any other sort of race swapping. Big outlets on the other hand would mostly jump on the opportunity to complain about whitewashing specifically and not condemn, but even praise swapping from white to any other race. A recent counter example to that would be the horrible reception of this Cleopatra documentary series.
This is a complicated topic with much to consider: is it more okay, if an actor looks the part, even though he/she is of different ethnicity? Is it okay anyway, no matter in which direction you swap races? Is it actually more okay to swap from white to other races, because for so many years the movie industry in Hollywood was so dominated by white actors? What is with historical figures, have they a different status to somebody fictional when it comes to race swapping? Does a movies age influence, how bad/okay race swapping was/is? Should we consider how faithful the whole project is to what came before? (project = move, show, game (cannot think of an example in a game), etc)
Please share your thoughts on this. Examples are very welcome. The discussion can also encompass race representation in media in general. But the main topic is swapping. As per this forums guidelines, please stay respectful. If you could additionally stay fun and not get too serious, that would be great. I will try to keep that in mind as well. (If any mod thinks this thread is better suited for another category other than movies and tv, please feel free to change that.)