Star Trek: would you call it white washing? (SPOILERS)

Gorrath

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Dragonbums said:
OneCatch said:
DavidBowieNoReally said:
erttheking said:
It was either that or have a person with brown skin blow things up, and fly an aircraft into buildings in a major populated city...yeah I can see why they'd be hesitant to do that.
0.o

Interesting, I didn't see it that ways.

>>
Also worth pointing out that in-universe Khan and his ilk are specifically described as being genetically modified. Both his parents were genetic engineers from what I remember.
There's therefore no reason that he'd have specific physiological traits linked to his heritage.

So there you go, on-stage and off-stage explanations!
That's a pretty dangerous explanation. By saying that you could insinuate that his parents modified him to be white because his heritage, and skin color wasn't good enough for him. Which is an even more extreme version of "Whitewashing"
I agree that that explanation does have its own issues that creep into some very offensive ideas about what a perfect man should look like. It should also be noted though that the rest of his group, as far as I can recall, were all caucasian as well.

The supposedly superior race of caucasians twice being taken down by a talented crew of ethnically diverse people sends its own message. Of course none of that applies to this latest incarnation, which was one of my biggest issues with the movie. Why bring Kahn if you aren't going to have him leading his crew? It loses so much impact that way.
 

OneCatch

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Dragonbums said:
OneCatch said:
DavidBowieNoReally said:
erttheking said:
It was either that or have a person with brown skin blow things up, and fly an aircraft into buildings in a major populated city...yeah I can see why they'd be hesitant to do that.
0.o

Interesting, I didn't see it that ways.

>>
Also worth pointing out that in-universe Khan and his ilk are specifically described as being genetically modified. Both his parents were genetic engineers from what I remember.
There's therefore no reason that he'd have specific physiological traits linked to his heritage.

So there you go, on-stage and off-stage explanations!
That's a pretty dangerous explanation. By saying that you could insinuate that his parents modified him to be white because his heritage, and skin color wasn't good enough for him. Which is an even more extreme version of "Whitewashing"
That's a pretty dangerous statement. By saying that you could insinuate that I'm a racist. Which would make me sad enough to pull a face like this:

:(

Seriously though, it's completely plausible that genetic engineers would combine traits from every ethnic genepool when trying to create supersoldiers and master tacticians.
In-universe they weren't interested in Khan's skin colour, more his ability to pull off Xanatos speed chess against opponents. Hence why (from what I remember) Khan's peers were a veritable medley of ethnicities anyway, and why it's never a focal point in-universe either way.


And out of universe he's never been played by anyone who could even stand-in as Indian anyway.
You can't really argue that this is a case of the usual 'black character being made white[footnote]which I completely agree is a genuine problem[/footnote]' thing because if that was the case, it was done when they cast Ricardo Montalban in the first place.
 

Idocreating

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They can't even pull the alternate universe excuse on this one, the changing point is way after Khan is ever born.
 

Gatx

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erttheking said:
It was either that or have a person with brown skin blow things up, and fly an aircraft into buildings in a major populated city...yeah I can see why they'd be hesitant to do that.
In order to get to that oh so perfect colorblind future, at some point it's going to have to be okay to cast any race in any role, good or bad. But of course we're far from there yet so yeah, you need to be wary of those unfortunate implications.

Lovely Mixture said:
I never thought Khan was really defined by his nationality, just his immense anger.

FoolKiller said:
Oh the irony. So its incorrect to cast a white guy as Khan, but a black Johnny Storm (in Marvel) is okay?

Personally I would want authenticity to what I'm used to, but I don't have a problem with it either way.
Tr3yk1ng said:
So black man can play the human torch but its wrong for a whiteman to play khan.
Who are you guys talking to? There are people with differing opinions on this thing.
Well we did have the thing with what's his name in Thor who guarded the rainbow bridge. While there are differing opinions it's going obviously going to be uglier arguing one side than the other because you end up siding with racists and white supremacists. On the PC meter it's definitely more acceptable to have a non-white actor in a traditionally white role than it is the other way around.
 

kamay

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I think it was more trying to cast a "hot, in" actor rather than purposely making the character a honkie. I've read people saying the original Khan was played by a mexican so the point of the a white guy playing the new khan is moot. I'd argue 40 years ago it would have been expensive and incredibly time consuming for a caster to try to find a Sikh actor for a role in 1 episode. Unlike today when things like video conferencing exists and you can meet people from 6000km away with no issue. Finding a Sikh (or even Indian at least) actor now a days would have been easier to do.

Plus, casting an Indian actor would have made the poorly kept secret even less of a secret lol
 

Lovely Mixture

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Gorrath said:
I would say that his nationality is important because it is an established part of his backstory.
I think that depends. It's established, but does it really mean much in the context of his backstory?

He's a genetically engineered super being who conquered much earth but was later deposed. He's Indian because his parents were Indian.

Like, Magneto's backstory from X-Men was in a death camp, this is established. But he doesn't necessarily need to be Jewish to be in such a camp. (albeit this change is not visual)

Although, I can understand that it would annoy people who identify with the character because of their background. Like if Indian Star Trek fans would have preferred it for Khan/Harrison to be more explicitly Indian. And as a Jewish born guy, I think it's cool that Magneto is Jewish.


AetherWolf said:
Cumberbatch was originally cast as John Harrison, a completely original character. Early on in filming the script was modified and Khan was written in, and the story's focus was taken away from the terrorism/Harrison plot.

http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/the-reel-breakdown/check-star-trek-writers-planting-easter-eggs-tribbles-215642312.html

A poor decision on the production, if you ask me. The entire structure of the plot was effected.
That's unfortunate. I understand that it would have been riskier of them to do an original character, but it seems kind of pandering now that it was simply a decision to have the character be Khan. People were already a bit worried when it was revealed that Damon Lindelof (who helped write Prometheus) was involved.


kamay said:
I think it was more trying to cast a "hot, in" actor rather than purposely making the character a honkie.
Casting Cumberbatch does come off as that (I think he's a good actor though). It would depend when he was cast as per what AetherWolf said.



Idocreating said:
They can't even pull the alternate universe excuse on this one, the changing point is way after Khan is ever born.
There was also apparently issue over whether or not Khan would have been that violent at the time in the new film (as he is only particularly vengeful after Kirk drops him on the planet). They argued that his personality did that work for them.


Gatx said:
erttheking said:
It was either that or have a person with brown skin blow things up, and fly an aircraft into buildings in a major populated city...yeah I can see why they'd be hesitant to do that.
In order to get to that oh so perfect colorblind future, at some point it's going to have to be okay to cast any race in any role, good or bad. But of course we're far from there yet so yeah, you need to be wary of those unfortunate implications.
Of course, there are times when you can never escape it. Like that one Jewish woman who saw Drive and took offense that one of the villains was mentioned to be Jewish.

Well we did have the thing with what's his name in Thor who guarded the rainbow bridge. While there are differing opinions it's going obviously going to be uglier arguing one side than the other because you end up siding with racists and white supremacists. On the PC meter it's definitely more acceptable to have a non-white actor in a traditionally white role than it is the other way around.

Just laying it out makes it confusing.

1. People who are diehard fans of the source material ("make your own movie if you're gonna change the race of the character." , "I'll just see the movie as another continuity")
2. People who just want to keep things simple and authentic ("if Johnny Storm is black, his sister should be black")
3. People who are likely fans, but don't mind as long as it doesn't hurt the source material (reactions to the "official" ending of the I Am Legend film)
4. People who don't give a shit.

and then.....

5. Racists who will make a ruckus about anything they can. (the Thor thing)
6. People who are ambiguously racist, but take issue with the casting of a foreign actor because they see it as "appeasing the diversity crowd" or "betraying the race" (which it may or may not be, but you'll never convince them that the actor may have been chosen because he was you know... good).


Idocreating said:
They can't even pull the alternate universe excuse on this one, the changing point is way after Khan is ever born.
There was also apparently issue over whether or not Khan would have been that violent at the time in the new film (as he is only particularly vengeful after Kirk drops him on the planet). They argued that his personality did that work for them.
 
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You can't say that this should be okay because making the Human Torch black was okay. It's not that simple.

If we lived in a world where there wasn't hundreds of years of institutionalized racism behind everything, it wouldn't be a problem whether a black character was played by a white actor or vice versa, but that isn't the world we live in. Racism is not just an individual problem, it is part of the systems we still use, a system whose design tends to remove from popular media minority characters who exist as more than stereotypes.

It's not just fairness, either. It's more interesting to see someone who isn't fucking white in a movie.
 

Thaluikhain

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Singularly Datarific said:
You can't say that this should be okay because making the Human Torch black was okay. It's not that simple.

If we lived in a world where there wasn't hundreds of years of institutionalized racism behind everything, it wouldn't be a problem whether a black character was played by a white actor or vice versa, but that isn't the world we live in. Racism is not just an individual problem, it is part of the systems we still use, a system whose design tends to remove from popular media minority characters who exist as more than stereotypes.

It's not just fairness, either. It's more interesting to see someone who isn't fucking white in a movie.
Exactly. "Doesn't exist in a vacuum" etc etc.
 

Verlander

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You're not the only one who found the lack of diversity in the film curious:

http://thisfeliciaday.tumblr.com/post/50858883769/star-trek-movie-spoilerzzzz