Author Topic: is it racist to argue in favor of...  (Read 4636 times)

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Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2018, 01:56:00 PM »
Is it racist to argue in favor of not changing a character's race to a different one as described in the original source material?

Comes down to motive, I think.  With adaptations, I think it's usually some combination of pedantry and people wanting the product to match what's already in their head. 

But, as has been discussed already, there's more to life and art than pedantry and fidelity.  People like recognizing themselves in media, do not like feeling shut out out of the mainstream, etc.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2018, 02:08:32 PM »
Why are child-eating swamp hags, cat-eyed monster hunters, elements of Arthurian legends or non-Polish fairytales acceptable breaks from Medieval Polish reality

The Witcher contains a lot of obscure Polish legends and fairytales that go unrecognized by most non-Poles unfamiliar with the culture. So many of the things you're assuming to be non-Polish might very well be Polish in origin.

It's a fantasy game, so questioning whether something is an "acceptable" break from real Medieval Poland is irrelevant. It's not meant to portray reality.


generic white character No. 85129

The character of Ciri is a major one, not just a generic "extra."


to a slightly darker skintone just totally breaks the world and the holy vision of the author?

Who said anything about totally breaking the world, or anything being "holy"?

You really do need to reread what I wrote, because you're strongly overstating my opinion in your zeal to don your Paladin armor and ride in on the white horse to fight the big, bad dragon.


Is it maybe because the audiences are racist crybabies?

Why are you so quick to make hasty generalizations about people you've never met? Is it because you're so caught up in your own personal white savior narrative, that you're incapable of being reasonable?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 02:39:58 PM by John Albert »

Online Ah.hell

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2018, 02:24:44 PM »
Depends.  A lot of fanboys have certain visions in their heads of how a character might look, especially true of stuff that's been in a visual medium for decades.  Even when actors are the same race you often get some of this.  I though MJ's casting in the first spider-man series nearly offensive.  She just doesn't fit the part.   When you sub one race for another or switch genders, there's some of that and usually if not always some racism/sexism too. 

The racist backlash seems to be fading somewhat.  My perception of Idris Elbas casting as Heimdal vs Roland was that their was a great deal more backlash with Heimdal.  Totally subjective analysis on my part of course.

There's also an element of backlash to whitewashing movies that I find rather silly.  When Hollywood remakes foreign properties they often change the race of characters and there is often a backlash.  Who cares what some anime character's race is?  Usually.  Sure, casting a character in a samurai anime as a white guy would be weird but some far future sci fi or something moved from tokyo to new york, meh.

Offline John Albert

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2018, 02:38:05 PM »
Sure, casting a character in a samurai anime as a white guy would be weird

The Last Samurai was the first thing I thought of after reading Guillermo's original post.

Offline Rai

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2018, 03:06:56 PM »
Why are child-eating swamp hags, cat-eyed monster hunters, elements of Arthurian legends or non-Polish fairytales acceptable breaks from Medieval Polish reality

Because that's the world that the game creators made.

Ok, so why can't the filmmakers make their version of that world? Isn't that the definition of an adaptation?

generic white character No. 85129

The character of Ciri is a major one, not just a generic "extra."

She is a generic white magical "chosen one" protagonist with royal blood, in line with the tired traditions of mainstream fantasy. She is better written and more nuanced than most, but that does not change the big picture.

Is it maybe because the audiences are racist crybabies?

Why are you so quick to make hasty generalizations about people you've never met? Maybe it's because you're so caught up in your own personal white savior complex that you're just not capable of being reasonable?

Because I know how toxic online fantasy/sci-fi fandoms are. Especially communities on Reddit, where this nonsense racist crybaby whining originates from.

Also because, as you failed to address over your gamergate-esque comments about my person, it is always gender and race that triggers these scandals, and never any other kind of standard human variation. Do you think there would have been a scandal over maybe casting a blue-eyed person as Ciri?

Also, since when is Poland white in the Middle-Ages? They had one of the great trade centres of the time, Gdansk, bringing in people from all over the known world. Via Regia, the most important trade route of Northern Europe passed through smack in the middle of the country. They had local Roma, Jewish, Central Asian Turkic (there are still two distinct Turkic languages spoken in Poland) populations. A White  European Middle Ages is a totally ahistorical fabrication.

Offline Ron Obvious

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2018, 03:21:13 PM »
Do you think there would have been a scandal over maybe casting a blue-eyed person as Ciri?

I'm not familiar with the fantasy world in question, but just because it's fantasy doesn't mean anything goes and internal consistency and logic could be done away with entirely.  There was a minor kerfuffle some years back, when a dark-skinned woman was turned down for the role of an extra in the Hobbit.  IMO, adding ethnic diversity to a notoriously insular, immobile population living in an alternate Northern Europe which would not have such genetic diversity would violate internal logic and consistency. Again, nothing racist about not casting Asian and black hobbits in such a case, as it would harm the willing suspension of disbelief.

As for eye-colour, almost never a problem unless, say, casting a brown-eyed Frank Sinatra.

Offline John Albert

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2018, 03:48:33 PM »
Why are child-eating swamp hags, cat-eyed monster hunters, elements of Arthurian legends or non-Polish fairytales acceptable breaks from Medieval Polish reality

Because that's the world that the game creators made.

Ok, so why can't the filmmakers make their version of that world? Isn't that the definition of an adaptation?

I didn't say they couldn't.


generic white character No. 85129

The character of Ciri is a major one, not just a generic "extra."

She is a generic white magical "chosen one" protagonist with royal blood, in line with the tired traditions of mainstream fantasy. She is better written and more nuanced than most, but that does not change the big picture.

Is that meant as a criticism of the character?

It's a fantasy game that deliberately draws on European fairy tales, within that context the "magical chosen royal protagonist" is a stock fairy tale trope. Hence it's entirely appropriate to the subject matter.
                                                                       black or Asian
So if they cast her differently, she'll be a generic white^magical "chosen one" protagonist with royal blood. It wouldn't substantially improve the clichéd nature of the trope, but it might depart from the original game's vision enough to stick out like a sore thumb.


I know how toxic online fantasy/sci-fi fandoms are. Especially communities on Reddit, where this nonsense racist crybaby whining originates from.

So you just double down on your hasty generalization with even more hasty generalizations. Great reasoning there.


your gamergate-esque comments about my person

You set yourself up for that kind of criticism for assuming this self-righteous posture whenever political issues come up in discussion. It's clear that you feel obligated to assert a take-no-prisoners crusader image, going straight into attack mode without recognizing any nuance in the things that other people say. That's not a reasonable or civil way to have a discussion.

Another problem you have is this penchant for slandering people by associating them with Nazis, Gamergaters and other assorted bigots just because they don't meet your irrational level of political zeal.


Do you think there would have been a scandal over maybe casting a blue-eyed person as Ciri?

Not necessarily, because blue-eyes were not uncommon among royalty in Medieval Poland. Anyway, actors sometimes use contacts to change the color of their eyes for a role.

The arguments that I was defending don't have anything to do with race per se. All I said was that the decision to oppose a POC actress was not necessarily racist, but could be justified on purely artistic principles such as faithfulness to the vision of the original game.


Also, since when is Poland white in the Middle-Ages? They had one of the great trade centres of the time, Gdansk, bringing in people from all over the known [... blah blah blah]

You keep reciting this same canard about realism. I never argued that the game was intended as an accurate portrayal of Medieval Poland. I said that it was the game designers' vision to portray a fantasy impression of Medieval Poland that drew on traditional Polish myths, fairy tales, and specifically Polish cultural artifacts.

Again, I never advocated for an all-white cast or said it was a bad idea to cast a non-Caucasian actor for the role. All I said was that a reasonable, not necessarily racist argument could be made to cast a white actor for the role.

Like I said before, you should read what I actually fucking said, before you go putting words into my mouth and calling me names.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 04:39:03 PM by John Albert »

Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2018, 08:21:38 PM »
It's a bit like the character in Thor that Idris played (Heimdall?) and people going bonkers over that. Sure, it's Norse mythology, but it's also almost nothing like Norse mythology. Shit gets adapted from novel to screen or from game to screen, why can't just about anything be "reimagined" in another medium? I'm no fanboy though, so I'm more compelled by interesting ideas/visuals/stories than I am about some slavish reverance of source material, so maybe I don't get the crippling emotional attachment these 4chan types have.

And for anyone worried about white actors getting shut out of non-white roles, they can just wear black face.

kidding, of course.
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Offline Rai

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2018, 03:51:10 AM »
(click to show/hide)

OK. First of all, I would appreciate if, after basically starting this coversation with gamergate-esque slurs, you did not make judgements about my character just because I called you out on said slurs. If you don't like to be called out, try addressing the argument of the person instead of insulting them and if you don't want to be associated with bigots, then don't use their slurs.

Secondly, I sense some confusion: First you say that changing eye colour is OK because that is an eye colour that was normal in Medieval Poland. (Let's ignore the fact that the character in question is from the royal line of a cosmopolitan Southern empire that is not based on Poland in any way, but is instead inspired by Rome (both the unified and the Eastern Empires). Then in your next sentence you rail against my "canard about realism"? How can you argue both for and against a history-based view?

BTW, having a non-white protagonist would break the mold of white-dominated fiction. That is the opposite of "generic". Imagine, for example a Roma actor in the role. It would be PERFECT: fits the cultural context, finally allows for the representation of Roma people in media (Can you even name a single Roma protagonist on TV? I sure can't. Not even a Roma actor.) and it would GLORIOUSLY piss off all Polish nazis and reddit bigots.

Finally, your original post, if you read it was markedly not about the decision to cast a white actor. It was about giving support to the "critics" of the idea that the TV series could maybe try to cast a non-white person, who you said ""have a point". Those critics come from Reddit, and while I appreciate your feigned naivety about the fedora demographic of that site that stirred up this particular shitstorm (and all the others when women or minorities appeared in any adaptation of their precious white fantasies), it is clear that they are pretty damn racist.

You also argued that changes to the appearance of the characters is OK (if it is within historical reality), but changing skin colour is seemingly an exception (screw historical reality), and the people who argue against such an artistic choice are not necessarily racist. Their underlying argument is that they just  don't want brown people in particular to soil their white fantasy. Which is totally not racist. Not at all. Nope.


Offline bimble

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2018, 07:18:52 AM »
It's a bit like the character in Thor that Idris played (Heimdall?) and people going bonkers over that. Sure, it's Norse mythology, but it's also almost nothing like Norse mythology. Shit gets adapted from novel to screen or from game to screen, why can't just about anything be "reimagined" in another medium? I'm no fanboy though, so I'm more compelled by interesting ideas/visuals/stories than I am about some slavish reverance of source material, so maybe I don't get the crippling emotional attachment these 4chan types have.


Were people really getting their knickers in a twist over that*? I mean, sure, whilst it's technically based upon Norse mythology, the premise is that Norse mythology is BASED upon that...


* - they could have been... whilst I might occasionally read the comics, I don't follow the culture enough to pick up on trends amongst fans

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2018, 07:40:46 AM »
It's a bit like the character in Thor that Idris played (Heimdall?) and people going bonkers over that. Sure, it's Norse mythology, but it's also almost nothing like Norse mythology. Shit gets adapted from novel to screen or from game to screen, why can't just about anything be "reimagined" in another medium? I'm no fanboy though, so I'm more compelled by interesting ideas/visuals/stories than I am about some slavish reverance of source material, so maybe I don't get the crippling emotional attachment these 4chan types have.


Were people really getting their knickers in a twist over that*? I mean, sure, whilst it's technically based upon Norse mythology, the premise is that Norse mythology is BASED upon that...


* - they could have been... whilst I might occasionally read the comics, I don't follow the culture enough to pick up on trends amongst fans

Yes, the same people mad about Heimdall not being white were also mad that any nonwhite characters were included in the series at all, and are now mad about a non-white Ciri.

The Witcher is a great example of the racism inherent in fanboy outrage. The series is based on books, and was adapted (a fancy word that means changed) to fit the video game platform and reach a wider audience. Now that it's being marketed to an even larger audience, it's changing again. Of course the same voices that claim that cultural appropriation doesn't exist are leaping to scream about race-blind casting. There are layers and layers of racism in the fandom and the complaints.
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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2018, 07:50:10 AM »
It's a bit like the character in Thor that Idris played (Heimdall?) and people going bonkers over that. Sure, it's Norse mythology, but it's also almost nothing like Norse mythology. Shit gets adapted from novel to screen or from game to screen, why can't just about anything be "reimagined" in another medium? I'm no fanboy though, so I'm more compelled by interesting ideas/visuals/stories than I am about some slavish reverance of source material, so maybe I don't get the crippling emotional attachment these 4chan types have.


Were people really getting their knickers in a twist over that*? I mean, sure, whilst it's technically based upon Norse mythology, the premise is that Norse mythology is BASED upon that...


* - they could have been... whilst I might occasionally read the comics, I don't follow the culture enough to pick up on trends amongst fans
Yeah, it was a whole thing.
Apparently a pantheon with a world creation myth are only supposed to look like one category of people in the world that was created.

I saw The Last Samurai mentioned? Thats actually more a mighty whitey trope as no character ethnicity was swapped.

If race is not integral to the character and story then theres no reason not to increase representation so more people can feel good while watching.

If you say race is not integral and then cast a white person in a role that was traditionally for people of colour then that is playing into a white supremacist system, by intention or not, by reducing the already limited roles for people of colour.


Offline brilligtove

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2018, 07:59:32 AM »
I find these arguments often rely on ignoring nuance and ignoring generalities at the same time. It's frustrating. I make a general point, and get leapt on for specific exception with nuanced reasons for being exceptions. Then I get leapt on for making specific claims that don't fit with the general point. Happens a lot in affirmative action discussions too.
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Offline mindme

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2018, 08:32:24 AM »
I think it depends on the motivation. Arguably, say, Samuel Jackson was the best person for the role. Swapping in a white woman for a Japanese woman because you fear Chinese audiences, hepped up on anti-Japanese sentiments, will reject your movie seems like a form of racism.
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Offline Guillermo

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2018, 09:21:27 AM »
If a movie casts a white person to fill a role established as a minority, because said actor has a following and would gain many times more viewers, and thus more profit.

vs

If a movie casts a minority in a in a role established as a white person, because adding diversity would gain many times more viewers, and thus more profit.

If a person argued in favor or against both cases, then they are consistent and not racially motivated. But I often see one sided arguments, rage for one and not the other.

I get tired of said discussions but am quite interested in the motivation and psychology behind the argument. This seems to be part of the tribal nature of humans.
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