Donald Glover on the suggestion that he play Spider-Man
Doctor Who fans should probably be prepared for this, because this goes down every time a new Doctor is going to be cast and a black actor is suggested
The real concern over this was that he’d be playing Peter Parker. I would love to see Donald Glover as Miles Morales, but it’s the same as having other ethnicities portray characters that have already been set as something else. (A lot of people got mad at STID because of this). A character is a character, and while those with the license can take some liberties with the character they create, saying “it’s in another universe” doesn’t quite stand up under scrutiny. That being said, the Doctor will be the Doctor, whatever race he (or she) will be.
Miles Morales didn’t exist at the time of this controversy. Miles Morales was inspired in part by the incredibly racist backlash against a black actor playing Peter Parker. The thing Donald’s talking about in these screencaps is the reason why Miles Morales exists.
The fact is, there is no reason Peter Parker has to be white. His race is completely irrelevant to his character, so there’s no reason why a black actor can’t play him.
Now, for characters of color, there is a reason why they have to be played by actors of color: White actors are overrepresented and actors of color are woefully underrepresented. There are already disproportionately too many white actors in the media.
So, because racial representation in the media is so imbalanced:
- Every role for a white character that is given to an actor of color is a correction of that imbalance, and a step towards more equal representation
- Every role for a character of color that is given to a white actor adds to that imbalance, and is a step away from equal representation.
And that’s the issue. With Star Trek Into Darkness, people were upset because it was whitewashed. It added to a racist equality in a way that Star Trek in particular vehemently preached against.
However, casting Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury was a good thing because people of color are underrepresented in the media, especially in comics and science fiction. Casting him as a character whose race was incidental to their character rather than being their defining feature was a progressive step, while whitewashing a character of color like they did in “Star Trek Into Darkness” is a regressive step.
It’s only when there’s equal representation that you can make the argument that actors of color can’t be cast as traditionally white characters because they’ve always been white.
This is the clearest explanation for this that I’ve come across and I really like it.
Seriously, white people: Don’t we have enough characters that look like us already? Or are we worried that we won’t be able to identify with one that doesn’t? Maybe we just don’t feel like we should have to put forth the effort it takes to see ourselves when we look at someone else.