Whew! What a busy week and a half I’ve had since returning from ShutoCon! Work, work, work, and a new character pops up for Ravensrealm for the sole purpose of annoying the two main characters, Man, I love it!
I’m finding myself somewhat embroiled in the very heated discussions over the castings of Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange as of late, people who seem to think that, because I’m arguing in favor of the castings, that I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Let me make one thing clear. I am all for casting people of all races, religions, genders, and creeds as lead roles. One hundred percent behind it.
As long as it fits the needs of the story.
One thing I am finding is that people are being racist when it comes to the roles of the Major and the Ancient One from these movies. They live here so therefore they must be this. Ghost in the Shell is a Japanese manga that became an anime, and the lead character has a Japanese name therefore she must be Japanese. The Ancient One must be Chinese or Korean or Japanese.
I’ve pointed out the fallacy behind the Ancient One logic before. By saying that the role must go to an Asian actor, those who are claiming whitewashing ignore and are extremely disrespectful to ancient, pre-Christian cultures that believed in magic, that used a magical system. That includes people from Africa and Native America. That includes people from Greece and Egypt.
And I have to say it severely upsets me when people say certain roles must be filled by certain ethnicities because it does ignore that. It does say that only a Chinese man or woman is capable of being a teacher, of being a master of magic for those who are becoming enlightened and wanting to learn. Yes, in Doctor Strange, a black man was a sorcerer and a powerful one at that. He could have become the next Ancient One after Tilda Swinton’s role ended.
It also severely upsets me when people say that this role must be this ethnicity because somehow every other culture is lazy and cannot do the pilgrimage it would require for them to get from their homelands because they didn’t have the modern conveniences of airplanes. A dedicated magician is a dedicated magician, and that soul will find its way where it needs to be to learn, even if it means walking until his or her feet is bloody, broken, and sore from the journey. Before the inventions of cars, planes, trains, and wagons, people either walked or rode a beast of burden, like a horse, camel, or donkey. It is not a far stretch to have a Celtic woman, an African man, a Native American shaman to make a journey to a place of safety and rest.
Now to pause. I’ve put this out there before, and I will stand by this because this is how I honor the African Gods who faced persecution at the hands of early Jews and Christians. This is how I honor the Celtic, Nordic, Egyptian, and Greek Gods who faced the same, both from each other and the early Jews and Christians.
It’s how I honor the Hindu Gods and all other Gods for persevering in the face of extreme adversity, bigotry, and violence. I would be more pissed off if by casting Mulan as a white chick. I would be more pissed off if Mr. Nancy from American Gods was cast as a white dude or even a Latino dude because he is African, ancient African, and a spider god to boot. I would be more pissed off at Jesus being depicted as a pale, blue-eyed dude instead of a man born in the Middle East. That, my friends, is true whitewashing. It is not whitewashing when the character has a title or a role that is meant to be versatile, that is meant to change hands when the time comes. I realize it is not what my fellow social justice warriors want to hear when it comes to diversity in lead roles, but I’m trying to approach these conversation with an understanding about the cultures in question or at least trying to understand the outrage behind the casting choices.
And it irritates me when I tell people I agree with them that there needs to be more diversity in the films we watch, but they choose to ignore those words because I’m disagreeing with them on the examples that they’ve chosen to use as the catalyst for their arguments. I mean, if I can find holes in the argument, I feel it isn’t a very good argument, and it only serves to the detriment of getting more diverse casts and accurate representations of the very cultures we want to have in lead roles. We are bordering very dangerously on stereotyping and typecasting for all ethnic groups. That’s a huge cause of concern for me as a writer.
Also, as a writer, I can only strive to include diversity in my writing, but I also must adhere to what my stories call for. In the case of Arc of Fantasy, it’s the creation of an antagonist midway through the story because the story demands it, and it’s such a fun plot twist.
In the meantime, I’m hammering away at Ravensrealm to get ready for publication later this year. Preparations for Anime St. Louis include maintenance on my Sigyn (she’s gone on two long distance trips since August so maintenance is inevitable – the joys of owning a car); finding a hotel; adding to my Fayt Leingod, Captain of the Dragon Brigade cosplay (the coat needs tweaking and some repair as well as adding some bits of armor); getting copies of Sigyn’s Flowers and Portal to Gaming for the Cosplay Giveaways; saving money for food, shopping, hotel, and fuel; working my butt off.
I feel so fortunate that I live in Tulsa and will be for Tokyo in Tulsa – that’s just food and shopping money for that weekend, and it’s like a five minute drive from the house to the convention center! I should know by tomorrow evening as to whether or not I will have booth space for that convention. I’m also settled on my August convention, which will be MatsuriCon in Columbus, Ohio, the weekend of August 25-27th.
Have a great Thursday, my friends! I’m off of work today, and I’m wanting to head to the movies.