Why “not seeing color” isn’t as progressive as you think it is…or at all.

Yesterday,  Ed Skrein set a precedent for a lot of actors. For those that don’t know, about a week ago – it was announced that Ed would be joining the cast of the new “Hellboy” movie. However, the role that he booked was for a character, who in the source material, is of Asian descent. Given how vocal the Asian community in entertainment/media has been over the past few years – many people were upset by this. Ed saw it, and responded to it in a way that we haven’t seen before.

I could be wrong, but I think this is the first time a white, Hollywood actor has gone to bat for the Asian community and stood against the white washing of roles. If only the actors we called upon in the past showed as much understanding. I’m a HUGE Marvel fan, and I still haven’t made any effort to watch “Doctor Strange” simply because I feel like Tilda Swinton’s responses to the criticism of her whitewashing what should have been an Asian role is complete bullshit. Sure, it was a step forward for women. I get that. However, that argument pulls us into the whole “we don’t see color” realm. Where Swinton almost feels like she deserves praise for taking on this revolutionary role for women. That implies that there were no capable Asian actresses to take on the role that Swinton had in the movie, and that simply isn’t true.

She’s not the only person who thinks like this. One of the producers of the new “Hellboy” actually responded to Skrein being cast in what was one of the worst responses I’ve seen in a long time.

In entertainment, and in real life, “not seeing color” is just a trap. It’s an excuse.  It’s a scapegoat that people hide behind in order to not accept that minorities exist. In the entertainment world, it implies that there are simply no actors of the appropriate background to fill any given role, which again…just isn’t true. In everyday life, it’s just plain awful. I don’t want my friends to not see my race. At that point, they’re not accepting me for who I am as a person – but merely tolerating me for being not white but still being “one of the good ones.” Like no…that’s not how being  progressive and accepting works. It’s not how diversity will move forward in Hollywood.

What the point of this post is…I’m not really sure. I just think it needs to be said. I think a lot of people say things like ” I don’t see color” thinking that they’re actually helping people, or that they’re actually being accepting – and a lot of them mean well, they’re just extremely misguided. I think everything is about learning, and hopefully the people with the power to change the way anything works learned from Ed. It really isn’t that hard to understand the fact that people want to be seen and represented authentically, and it’s also not hard to understand why.

I don’t know how to end this post, so here’s a music video full of API talent having fun and thriving in the entertainment industry, because it makes me happy.

 

 

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