Everybody is acting like this race-bending phenomenon is new when they’ve been doing this since, at least, 1989 (Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent anyone?).
Despite current attitudes, we are all down with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. We were introduced to that eventual reality thanks to Bryan Hitch drawing the Ultimates. Actually, Nick Fury was established as being Black in Ultimate X-Men. In fact, the cinematic Marvel U is based more so on the original Ultimate Universe than good ‘ol 616.
Honestly, if at the end of Iron Man, if anyone, Black or white, other than SLJ was wearing that eye patch, the entirety of fandom would have been pissed because the “reality” of Nick Fury being Black was established in the comics so much so that Marvel had to incorporate elements of the Ultimate Universe into the 616 universe.
Yet no one, I mean, no one cared that Kerry Washington played Alicia Masters…
Why? Because Alicia Masters is one of the last characters that you worry about in FF canon (really… how many people have clamored for an Alicia Masters solo book?)…
But Jessica Alba as Sue Storm? Don’t tell me y’all weren’t fronting on that decision…
It’s an interesting contradiction. I had called shenanigans when Jessica Alba was cast as Sue Storm yet was down with Michael Clarke Duncan was cast as the Kingpin (maybe, in my opinion, the only bright spot in the otherwise abysmal Daredevil movie). Both were examples of “Colorblind casting” rather than “Race-swapping.” One worked, the other didn’t.
Another great example of “Colorblind casting” is Sin City. Say what you will about “Uncle Frank,” but Robert Rodriguez is the man. This is the cat that makes sure that, at the extreme least, one Hispanic or Latino actor is in a lead role. Gail and Nancy Callahan were not Latino in the books, but did that matter with the casting of Rosario Dawson and the aforementioned Jessica Alba in those respective roles?
Now, let’s look at this in the reverse, specifically, the casting of Liam Nesson as Ra’s Al-Ghul and Marion Cotillard as Talia Al-Ghul in the Nolan Dark Knight universe.
We understand Talia Al-Ghul and Ra’s Al-Ghul to be Middle Eastern solely on their last names. Was it ever established really where Ra’s came from? In fact, one story depicted that Talia’s mother was a Chinese hippie in the 60s (Birth of the Demon… Look it up, that story does exist).
Now, on the Nerds of Color blog, they made mention of how they felt that Ra’s Al Ghul was more of a title than an actual person (which made sense as they were trying to avoid the more fantastic elements of the character i.e. the Lazarus Pit). That made sense to me when seeing Ken Watanabe playing Al Ghul in the beginning of the film when he was really the Sensei of the League of Assassins.
So, with that line of thinking in the Nolan Batman universe, if the title was passed from Watanabe’s Al Ghul to Nesson’s Ducard, the casting of Cotillard makes more sense. And, in the Fanboy of Color universe, if the outrage of Nesson ultimately being cast as Al Ghul had been present at the time, the displeasure of Cotillard’s casting as Talia would make more sense as well.
In addition, Marion Cotillard had a “look” that could work for a vaguely Middle Eastern character. If Talia were a blonde or a redhead, then a situation would have been created in where one would have heard outrage from fanboys.
In other words, we don’t know. Hell, most people call Kim Kardashian a white girl with a big ass when she is, in fact, an Armenian girl…
With a big ass.
Look, did any of us call shenanigans when Liam Nesson’s Ducard was actually Ra’s Al-Ghul? No, no we did not. And honestly, none of us cared when Cotillard was revealed to be Talia, either.
Why? It’s because every time a POC is portrayed as someone in a position of power, especially one that had been traditionally “reserved” for a white man (let’s be 100% here), it’s one more instance of reality that skin color, or gender, or sexual orientation does not automatically put you in the power position…
And, a number of white fanboys don’t like that…
Now, we have switching race for the sake of switching race as some half-hearted attempt at “diversity” when, in reality, they are just tryin’ to get as many dollars as possible with the least amount of effort. From Michael B. Jordan’s casting as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot to making Wally West bi-racial in the New52 Flash comic, we are being insulted, and assaulted, left and right.
Truth be told, the “Corporate Two’s” Fans of Color don’t want Superman in Blackface.
They want Icon.
They don’t want a bi-racial Wally West.
They want Static.
In other words, they want the characters of color that do exist and run rampant in the “Corporate Two” to be treated with the respect that they deserve.
Instead, the “Corporate Two,” DC in particular, have gone fetishistic in the comics and the films. It has gone from “Colorblind casting” to “Race swapping.” In other words, fools are lazy. Sure, there’s been a modicum of laziness in the past, but fools are straight-up sloth-like these days.
Laziness breeds apathy, apathy breeds racism.
That’s the real problem.