In a time where old franchises are dug up from the grave, we now have Blade Runner 2049: the latest movie we never asked for but then Alcon Productions fought for the rights for 12 years and here we are. Because after all, there’s always money in nostalgia.
Now that the film has been released for over a week — with considerable box office success, trade publications like Deadline and Variety, among others have released articles about how the Asian American media watchdog group, MANAA, has followed Keith’s lead and declared the film to be guilty of whitewashing:
Last week, we spent a lot of time on the blog discussing the erasure of people of color — particularly Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — in movies like the upcoming Doctor Strange or the recently released Aloha. I was even asked to talk about whitewashed casting on outlets like HuffPost Live and The Rundown on msnbc. And frankly, getting outraged over Hollywood being racist is kind of exhausting. Fortunately, I was able to take solace knowing The Rock crushed Aloha at the box office and that James Wan would be directing Jason Momoa in Aquaman. There’s nothing like a good genre flick to cleanse the palate after a week of justified moral outrage. Take the new sci-fi thriller The Martian — which just had a pretty cool trailer drop yesterday. Surely, there won’t be anything controversial here? Oh wait, this is Hollywood. Crap.
by Dion Beary
I’m throwing a temper tantrum over this one. Christian Bale cannot play Moses. No. I know arguing against the whitewashing of a Biblical character is a lost cause, and wandering into any mainstream Christian church decked out with portraits of a blue-eyed Jesus Christ should indicate that the tide isn’t changing anytime soon, but I still find myself just a little more perturbed than average to see Batman play the savior of the Hebrews.
Maybe it’s because in recent years we’ve seen a new wave of white outrage against racebending traditionally white characters. Racebending refers to altering the canonical race of a character. Whitewashing is a type of racebending wherein non-white characters become white or are not included whatsoever. For simplicity’s sake, this piece will use the term whitewashing to refer to that absence of colored folks, while racebending will be used to refer to white characters becoming non-white. Those aren’t exact definitions, but hey, if Christian Bale can play Moses, then I can bend a couple of rules too.