Wait just a stinking minute: I've long been told (er, that is, since like 5.39 years ago, when the Left invented the rule in question) that "whitewashing" — casting a White actor as a non-White character in film, television and theater — is a crime against humanity on par with Apartheid, Holodomor and the Rape of Nanking. But in what's nothing short of a shameless double standard, neo-Marxist entertainment companies are now flipping the script and casting "melanated people" (yes, that Onion-style euphemism is an actual preferred term) in White roles with impunity, "blackwashing" well-established characters faster than you can say "great replacement."
In just the latest example, the Little Mermaid, firmly ensconced in fantasy legendarium as a fair redheaded coquette, has been restyled to be Black (or, for our liberal readers, "African American") by the social-imagineer overlords at Disney, with actress Halle Bailey getting the nod for the role of Ariel in the forthcoming live-action film. That'll learn all those White nationalist fairy tale writers to be Eurocentric! But hey, at least Disney nailed the casting for Ursula, having tapped Melissa McCarthy for the job — which will save loads on costume and makeup costs. (On another note, who else is enjoying some delicious schadenfreude pondering how Disney will handle the Snow White remake? The screenwriters should be in full-blown panic mode for that. Whatever. I'm sure they'll figure out a way to make her a lesbian or feminist, or something else sure to alienate most of the intended audience.)
But if you can't be bothered about the importation of identity politics into outlandish tales of nubile pescanthropes, what say you to the rumored forthcoming Africanization of the one and only James Bond? Indeed, the prevailing Hollywood tabloid scuttlebutt is that the decidedly ebony Idris Elba is a leading contender to replace Daniel Craig as the iconic secret agent — despite the fact that Ian Fleming likened Agent 007 to Hoagy freaking Carmichael, one of the Whitest fellows ever, and described him as possessed of blue-gray eyes and hair that falls into a comma above his right brow. One can only imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the critical race mafia if Pierce Brosnan were tapped to play a character noted for his brown eyes and afro and who's said to resemble Don Cheadle.
How about the ham-handed, contrived diversification of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth in Amazon's Lord of the Rings reboot-slash-desecration, The Rings of Power? Without a doubt, Tolkien, who modeled the LOTR world on medieval Europe, conceived of elves and dwarves and hobbits as White. He makes this most explicit with regard to elves, describing them as "tall, fair of skin and grey-eyed." But this inconvenient reality didn't stop the race baiters at Amazon Studios from farcically shotgunning a motley assortment of ethnic minorities into the civilizations of Arda. The artistic license taken here is so conspicuous that even Amazon apologists are forced to concede that the series represents a marked rupture with Tolkien's vision. Marc Burrows, for example, notes that "presumably [Tolkien] did regard his characters as Caucasian," but goes on to trivialize any would-be objections by wokesplaining that "there really is no reason why they have to be" and that the story "could probably do with some updating."
In point of fact, the practice of blackwashing is widely extolled by the Left. Writing for The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky says it's a good thing that a default assumption of whiteness is no longer acceptable in film. Specifically, Berlatsky commends how Hollywood continues to "put African-American superheroes on screen" in the place of Whites.
And should you have a problem with the Left's politically correct rejiggering, your issue isn't actually with "staying true to the original" or artistic purity or unnecessary molestation of culturally impactful characters. No, according to Berlatsky, who can obviously read your mind and heart (liberals have magical powers like this; it's a byproduct of their yoga, sexually transmitted diseases and gluten-free diets), your issue is actually — wait for it — that you're a racist. Yawn.
Progressive outlet Now This News carves out a similar stance, arguing in an editorial that because "there is such a disproportionate amount of white representation in Hollywood, it's not ... any sort of threat to give people of color platforms that they have been denied for so long." Alyssa Smith, the author of an academic apologia for blackwashing, accords. "While whitewashing ultimately strips films of Blackness and promotes Eurocentrism," writes Smith, "blackwashing, or altering a character from White to Black, only serves to diversify the cast of the films and provide representation for Black people on-screen."
Now contrast such casual advocacy with the Greta Thunberg–style tantrums the Left invariably pitches when a Caucasian happens to be cast for a "melanated role." Garments are rent; pearls are clutched; rafters are stonked by apoplectic Karen shrieks; adult coloring books are frantically scribbled in. Then finger-wagging liberals at pinko rags like Salon blitz in to lecture us that whitewashing decisions reflect "a complex grappling with ... colonized imagination, where whiteness — as a construct, a power, a way of framing the world — is the filter through which American 'culture' sees the world."
When, for example, Disney floated the prospect of a live-action Mulan remake, a whopping 40,000 social justice warriors took the time to sign a preemptive petition demanding that the picture feature an Asian lead. And from her soapbox, petition creator Natalie Molnar scolded the world that whitewashing has a "direct, harmful impact on not only the movie itself, but the audience" because it "implies that people of color cannot be heroes" and "perpetuates a standard of beauty and goodness wherein whites are considered the ideal and norm." (Sidebar — Orwell said it well in 1984: "It was always the women ... who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy.")
So let me get this straight: It's OK, ostensibly even virtuous, to cast non-Whites in historically White roles, but it's a sin that cries to Pachamama for vengeance to cast Whites in historically "melanated" roles? Is such brazen hypocrisy not odious even to all the re-educated self-hating Caucasians out there? Has everyone been so utterly stupefied by the grievance-mongering of racial-tension-stoking Marxists that they've lost the capacity for rational thought?
Or are Americans simply a bunch of pathetic yellowbellies who tremor at the very thought of being labeled "racist" by the human parasites that could find a microaggression in a bowl of Cheerios? Because if we're so easily manipulated, then we might as well just channel our inner France and raise the white flag of surrender to the Gramsci Gestapo now. Without exaggeration, if you oppose any leftist policy, no matter how eminently justifiable and thoroughly reasonable your objections may be, you will be branded racist. Period. It's what SJW thugs do. It's how they get their bratty little way.
The Left has indeed stumbled onto the chink in the armor of hyper-tolerant, licentious societies like ours: In the eyes of postmodern liberal societies, the "only sin" (and ipso facto the capital sin) is judgment, especially judgment about innate and unalterable characteristics like race. So by deceptively equating all neutral policy positions with invidious discrimination and hateful prejudice, the Left is able to use the presuppositions of our own worldview against us. And this is all exacerbated by the fact that America veritably does have a shameful history with regard to race relations — e.g., the White Protestants that founded the nation, and even some Catholics (in defiance of Church doctrine), treated Blacks despicably, like chattel.
So the Left — already adept at dividing and conquering, at fostering tension between "Haves" and "Have-Nots," at stoking the flames of proletariat envy towards the bourgeoisie in order to cobble together a raucous mob of the "aggrieved" — has adopted racial warfare as its primary stateside weapon. As Pope Pius XI foreshadowed in Divini Redemptoris, §15, "The preachers of communism" are "proficient in exploiting racial antagonisms."
It's worth pausing here to underscore that genuine racism — the notion that human worth and dignity somehow vary based on skin color or ethnicity — is morally repugnant to the Christian Tradition. To Christians, racism is preposterous on its face, since, as Pius XII notes in Humani Generis, §37, all members of the human race trace our lineage back to the same set of first parents, Adam and Eve. Thus, in the words of Pius XI, Christianity affirms "the real and universal brotherhood of all men of whatever race and condition" Divini Redemptoris, §36.
But Whites can't let false guilt for the sins of generations long past dictate our present and future. Nor can we allow ourselves to be relegated to second-class-citizen status under the pretext of "making right the historical injustices of the West." And make no mistake, second-class citizenship is exactly what's being foisted on us. Rich with symbolism is the fact that the categorically true "White lives matter" slogan has been outlawed by the speech police (the Anti-Defamation League calls it a "white supremacist phrase"), while "Black lives matter" has become a secular doxology whose invocation earns the speaker social credit from peers and rightspeak currency from cultural and economic oligarchs. Galling is the fact that the Associated Press Style Guide now (as of 2020) mandates the use of a reverential capital "B" in "Black," but refuses to mandate a capital "W" in "White" because, according to the organization, "White people generally do not share the same history and culture" and "capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs."
But the rabbit hole goes much deeper, as anti-White prejudice is ever increasing its tangible, real-world footprint. Whites are routinely and aggressively discriminated against in university admissions and workplace hiring, in favor of less-qualified (cough, Ketanji Brown Jackson), and often downright underqualified (cough, Kamala Harris), "People of Color."
The proverbial Lady Justice is also beginning to peek over her blindfold to get in on the act. Hate-crime legislation, which comes with draconian sentencing guidelines, is being disproportionately invoked against Whites. Indeed, under the current prosecutorial framework, 48.5% of crimes designated "race-based hate crimes" involve a Black victim, whereas only 15.7% of crimes so designated involve a White victim, despite the fact that, according to the Department of Justice, Black-on-White violent crime (16.6% of incidents) is more prevalent than White-on-Black violent crime (14.1% of incidents). Anecdotal evidence seems to confirm suspicions of selective enforcement, as Darrell Brooks, the Black man who mowed down six people in his vehicle after issuing social media calls for violence against Whites, "miraculously" escaped being charged with a hate crime.
The medical establishment has also been conscripted into the ongoing racial crusade, as both the Food and Drug Administration and the state of New York have recently issued guidelines allowing health care providers to prioritize non-White people for potentially life-saving COVID treatments.
These abuses and usurpations are both the product of Marxist racial warmongering and a significant source of its ongoing viability, as they function as institutional mnemonics ever calling to mind bygone injustices against neo-proletarians (read: non–White-males) and sabotaging present and future rapprochement. They are, therefore, in addition to being grossly unjust, a true menace to societal cohesion and the common good.
So, returning to the theme of this essay, to all the gadflies out there who may be tempted to snark, "You're this upset about casting decisions in a few movies? Get a life," allow me to retort: As should be abundantly clear by now, the real issue isn't casting, dolts. The real issue is subjugation; it's messaging; it's discrimination; it's implication. And you manipulators know that. Which is precisely why the people who share your worldview but who actually matter and have power, spend so much time plotting and devising and scheming and ramrodding strange and exotic faces into roles they're ill-suited for.
How can progressives devote pathological amounts of resources and attention to their racial obsession, but then out of the other side of their mouths blame sane people for noticing and objecting? These people are either sociopathic or just have no concept of irony — or perhaps it's a mixture of both.
Make no mistake, Hollywood's recent spate of blackwashings is but the latest outrage in a larger campaign to create disparate standards for Whites and non-Whites. And like other attempts to marginalize Whites in favor of minorities, it must be ferociously resisted by the free peoples of Middle America. Either that or, in the name of equity, the practice of whitewashing must itself be rehabilitated and lose its status as a taboo. (Personally, I favor casting actors who at least roughly resemble the character they are portraying; but that's beside the point, and it remains a matter open for debate.) But one thing's for certain, the Left doesn't get to have its cake and eat it too. What really matters is parity. And that's something sorely lacking in Western civilization, at present.
So give me back my White Ariel and White Bond and White elves. And if you want more Black representation, then, you know, write some good stories — in other words, not The Woman King — that people will actually pay money to see depicted on the silver screen. But stop appropriating ours.
Finally, to those who would call me a racist for daring to write what the average American is quietly thinking, I'll leave you with the immortal words of Gone With the Wind's Rhett Butler: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."