Tumblr page for Racebending.com - Media Consumers for Entertainment Equality.

Please feel free to browse our tumblr page for the latest community-sourced information about media representation in Hollywood.

Modern Hollywood and the Ancient East

The 1001 Arabian Nights. The Biblical flood and the family that repopulated the world. The Jewish exodus out of Ancient Egypt. The story of Jesus of Nazareth. The Ancient Egyptian gods Horus, Ra, and Set…

These movie concepts, in development for 2014 and 2015 releases, are based on stories and histories from the Eurocentric concept of the “East” that have captured the Eurocentric imagination. They’re also rare acting opportunities for actors of color that continue to be cast with white actors.

Liam Hemmsworth and Anthony Hopkinswill star as leads in the Arabian Nights.  Russell Crowe stars as the patriarch of the Earth-repopulating family of Noahin what the film claims is a “close adaptation of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark.” Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays the role of Jesus inSon of God. White Brit Christian Bale plays Moses and white Australian Joel Edgerton plays Ramses II in Exodus. White Scottish, Danish, and Australian actors top the cast of Gods of Egypt portraying Set, Horus, and Ra.

North African, Near Eastern, Middle Eastern, South Asian–they’re already arbitrary cultural classifications. Depending on Hollywood’s purposes, these characters, cultures, and stories are either made white or racialized as a swath of brown…

Read the full article at Racebending.com

Reblogged from ninjaruski  314 notes


    I am pleased with the aesthetic that Michael Bay has generated for his adaptation of the Turtles, especially the subtly more monstrous depiction of the Turtles themselves which, to me, calls forth images of the Kappa and some of the darker covers to the TMNT trade paperbacks.

    However, I am completely displeased with Bay’s casting of William Fitchner as Oroku Saki (the Shredder). There are several Asian and Asian-American actors who could have portrayed Oroku Saki, preserving his East-Asian heritage and remaining faithful to the original material.

    If I’m going to be super-critical of this, casting Fitchner as Oroku Saki is all but popularizing cultural appropriation. It does not matter how Fitchner’s Shredder acquires the skills and knowledge to become Shredder and put together the Foot Clan; so long as he is actively co-opting the cultural traditions that surround the Ninja and excising them from their cultural context for his own benefit, Fitchner’s character is cultural appropriation writ large.

    Against Fitchner, my first choice would be Brian Tee, given the ways in which he has channeled some serious malevolence in Ninja Assassin and other films where he is cast as an antagonist. To me, he seems to “fit” the way that Shredder has been portrayed and the new vibe that Bay is setting up. Other choices that I would approve of would be Hiroyuki Sanada (who has the martial arts chops to carry the role), Tadanobu Asano, and Ken Watanabe.

    It should be noted that all of my choices for the role are men who have some Japanese ancestry (or are Japanese themselves) and understand the cultural implications of Oroku Saki, the Foot, and the possible motivations of the character as rooted in a cultural context beyond the film. As members of Japanese culture, these actors could call upon their cultural resources, to understand the feeling that the character should have, as opposed to merely cloaking themselves in the trappings of the culture. There would be a greater depth to Tee, or Watanabe, or Sanada’s Oroku Saki that Fitchner would be unable to capture.

    Unfortunately, as it seems, whitewashing seems to prevail over authenticity, even when it is something as beloved as TMNT. Then again, given what happened with The Hunger Games and Star Trek: Into Darkness, I should not have expected Hollywood to remain faithful to the material in casting an Asian or Asian-American actor for the role.

Reblogged from allerasphinx  25,009 notes



But I wonder if they weren’t looking for a Native American actor because Tiger Lily is such a stereotypical character that they didn’t want to insult people by having a Native American play her.  This way if she’s white, they can say she is a fantasy of an Indian from old time children’s imaginations.

The way that you fix a stereotype isn’t by erasing representation of marginalised people altogether and replacing them with white people. You make the effort to fix the stereotype by creating an accurate representation of an indigenous plains native (it’s really not that difficult), not insult people even further by taking away a role from a native person. How is erasure a solution? Clearly people are just as offended by this practice.

Not to mention, you’re still suggesting redface stereotypes as a solution to the stereotype? Does that make sense to you?

    Anonymous asked
    Except Benedict Cumberbatch was fourth or fifth on the list of people to play Khan and the only reason he was asked to take the role was because they were literally running out of people. He was very hesitant to take the role.



    I’m not very invested on the subject on Cumberbatch’s casting as Khan, so I’ll let y’all do the talking. :)


    Yes, an intense casting search that stopped at the fourth or fifth candidate.

Reblogged from thisfeliciaday  13,973 notes

"Tiger Lily Doesn’t Equal Human Torch" plus a very long rant


The other day I posted this tweet:

"Wait they cast a white chick for Tiger Lily in the new Peter Pan? Did they not remember Lone Ranger last year? Or, you know, racism?"

(If you didn’t hear, Rooney Mara is supposedly playing Tiger Lily, who is a princess of the “Native” tribe, in the reboot.)

I got tons of Tweets agreeing with me, and then a lot of Tweets like this as well:

"I agree they shouldn’t screw around with classic characters. Oh wait they cast a Black Guy as Human Torch."

"Are you actually retarded? Black men were cast to play Heimdall and the Human Torch, why aren’t you complaining about that?"

Well, no sir, I’m not “retarded.” Thanks for asking. But from the general tone of the responses (most were civil, for the record), seems like there are lot people upset about black people replacing white people in the Marvel Universe. And they consider that issue a valid counter-argument to my comment about Tiger Lily’s casting. (I guess because they think both have “changing canon” in common?) 

I’d like to clear up some stuff here, especially with regards to my initial tweet:

I am not upset about Tiger Lily, a role originally written for a Native American female character in the book, being cast as white because it upsets the canon. Screw canon. I am upset about a role that was expressly written as a female minority being given to white actor instead. And here is why. 

Most lead characters and lead actors of movies are white. Period. I even dug up a recent study to back that up, like this is some fucking term paper or something: Across 100 top-grossing films of 2012, only 10.8% of speaking characters were Black, 4.2% were Hispanic, 5% were Asian, and 3.6% were from other (or mixed race) ethnicities. Just over three-quarters of all speaking characters are White (76.3%). 

(In referring to “speaking characters”, I also assume that’s counting judges and store clerks and taxi drivers with just a line or two. You see a lot of casting stick minority characters to check the boxes of “yeah, we had diversity, look!” So we’re not even talking about opportunities to carry the whole movie here.)

Another thing to note from the study: “These trends are relatively stable, as little deviation is observed across the 5-year sample.” Gee, no movement towards reflecting the country or world we live in! Fantastic. 

Bottom line, actors of ethnicity don’t get a lot of work to begin with. And that very fact creates a scarcity in the number of actors of different ethnicities to choose from when casting. It’s a chicken and the egg syndrome. In what instance can you point out a role where a Native American actress has a chance to be a lead in any movie? Almost none. So why chase a dream that doesn’t seem like it could come true, because the system would never allow it? 

It’s a self-perpetuating reality we live with, so the only way to change it is to break the norm, and cast more leading characters with more diversity. At the very least give roles that are intended to be ethnically diverse to ethnically diverse actors, I mean, BARE MINIMUM, PEOPLE. 

So for me, the opportunity to give a leading role that could be a Native American, a possible protagonist role that the audience could relate to and live the story through, to a white actor, is kind of shitty and backwards to me. And that’s why I posted my initial tweet. 

To compare Tiger Lily being cast as a white women to Human Torch or Heimdall being cast as an African-American is not equivalent, because I don’t think this issue is about violating or adhereing to “lore,” I think it’s about providing more representation. And that’s why I think that the Human Torch being cast as African-American is an awesome thing, because that move evolves Hollywood and storytelling and the Marvel universe. 

Remember in the past, lead characters were most likely written as white in the first place, because they were created in an even more white-centric world. Fantastic Four debuted in 1961, segregation was outlawed in 1964. You can’t say that the culture at large at the time didn’t influence the creator’s choices when making these characters! Fast forward fifty years, the culture at large NOW doesn’t match up with the lore from before, and we should be open to changing it. 

Tiger Lily, in the book, is actually portrayed in an EXTREMELY racist way. But hey, it could be a great opportunity to re-invent the character as a Native American to be proud of, rather than dodge the issue entirely, and take the role away and give it to a white woman. 

Why NOT re-imagine Tiger Lily so that the audience can fall in love with and admire a woman of color? Or reimagine a superhero as an African-American, one among a TON of white ones we see every day? Let’s show the audience that they can live through anyone’s eyes! 

We have to make an effort to change the pattern of only seeing stories through white characters’ points of view, so that in the future, diverse protagonists are just a given. So that we can have heroes and villians and judges and love interests of all backgrounds, and not have to point it out as “look how special this is!” Evolving stories and lore is a GOOD THING FOR OUR WORLD. 

And bottom line, if you feel so disenfranchised by one role out of TONS of roles being changed up ethnically, if you are saying you can’t possibly relate to a character who is another race from you, well, I think that’s more a problem of your own than anything else. But don’t worry, the stastics say you’ll have lots of other entertainment for your point of view to choose from. Around 75%, actually. Hooray, I guess? :/

So yeah, I guess that’s my expansion on my previous 140 character Tweet, haha. Happy weekend!

Reblogged from roscoemcnally  2,281 notes

Dear Sirs:

I have just seen the film Lifeboat, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and billed as written by me. While in many ways the film is excellent there are one or two complaints I would like to make. While it is certainly true that I wrote a script for Lifeboat, it is not true that in that script as in the film there were any slurs against organized labor nor was there a stock comedy Negro. On the contrary there was an intelligent and thoughtful seaman who knew realistically what he was about. And instead of the usual colored travesty of the half comic and half pathetic Negro there was a Negro of dignity, purpose and personality. Since this film occurs over my name, it is painful to me that these strange, sly obliquities should be ascribed to me.


John Steinbeck wrote this letter to 20th Century Fox in 1944! (via roscoemcnally)

Hollywood has been doing this for a long time.

Reblogged from ami-angelwings  813 notes



hey, remember how everyone was like “holy shit, actual black girl protagonist in historical fantasy” when Kate Elliott’s Cold Magic came out?

remember how she at least looked sorta brown on the cover? a little bit?


now, this cover is pretty goddamn whitewashed compared to the book’s descriptions

but here is the kindle cover art


blue eyes and everything.

they’re not even fucking trying, are they

look at how similar the designs are

down to the hairstyle, the swirly overlay, and the gear in the background

literally the only thing they changed was making her whiter, and turning all the brown design elements blue


Wowwww.  And they kept everything else the same, so it’s not even like they wanted to change the pattern design or anything, it’s like “we like that cover, but she’s not white looking enough…”

I hope that I can bring strong characters. In the original source material, I don’t think the main characters are the protagonists. What I’m hoping is to bring characters… Nobody’s interesting. Tetsuo’s interesting because weird sh*t happens to him, and Kaneda is so two-dimensional. That’s part of the Japanese culture, they never have strong characters. They’re used as a way to move the other philosophy forward.


Jaume Collett-Serra, or as The Mary Sue describes it, the “director of the cancelled white-washed live action Akira” who is “still trying to make [whitewashed] live action Akira.

Just a reminder that a bunch of Asian American organizations have politely asked WB to not whitewash and to cast Asian Americans in movies like this Akira project.