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Modern interpretation vs. historical whiteness

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CB27
1383413.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:03 am Reply with quote

barb, this was your first response to the discussion after I mentioned Anne Boleyn:
barbados wrote:
As you say Jenny, if it is fantasy then it matters not who plays the part - Doctor Who is a classic example, Sherlock Holmes could even easier be played by anyone (he does have the regeneration issue the Doctor has ). But, could Rosa Parks be played by David Schwimmer without causing an uproar, even in a fictional film? I doubt it very much.
Anne Boleyn is pretty much in the same category

It doesn't matter that it shared some views with other people or not, the discussion is about the opinion itself and what is written.

The discussion on Anne Boleyn was about the furore among some people that she was played by a black woman. I don't bother reading tabloids, even online, so I'm not aware if this is as big an issue for the general public as it was for the group of women I overheard.

The question I posed was:
Quote:
I still don't understand why people are so upset about this, from what I understand the actress's skin colour wasn't part of the story, and this was an entertainment show, not something passing itself off as an accurate depiction of history.


And your immediate response seems to have been a "what if", suggesting we'd feel the same way if a real black person was portrayed by a white actor.

Except your choice of real person was someone who is famous specifically because of her skin colour, and then claimed Anne Boleyn was in the same category despite nothing in her life seems to have anything to do with her skin colour.

I even asked at a later post why you chose Rosa Parks (and now changing to Michelle Obama, who is famous as the first black FLOTUS) to suggest that no one would accept a black person being played by a white actor. Why did you ignore plenty of other non white people who are portrayed in films and TV who's skin colour had nothing to do with why they were famous, and proved the point when few, if anyone, complained about them being portrayed by white actors. Ignore Prince of Persia, I got carried away and they're fictional people, but what about the other examples I gave, and plenty of others?

You created a "what if" argument that only works with particular people whose life story relates to their skin colour, and ignored those that don't.

 
PDR
1383415.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:11 am Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
If you have been accused of an -ism, it might just be someone playing a game of oneupmanship against you, or misunderstanding the finesse of your argument.


That's just anti-up-manism. Would you suggest the same thing if CB had been played by a down-woman?

:0)

PDR

 
CB27
1383418.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:22 am Reply with quote

How do you know what I dress up like on the weekends? :p

 
PDR
1383424.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:46 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
How do you know what I dress up like on the weekends? :p


You think all those security cameras just go to the pub's owners?

Touchingly naive...

:0)

PDR

 
barbados
1383426.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:53 am Reply with quote

Cb - Iíll not bother quoting your post , itís two up from here so no need.
I donít know why some people struggle to separate drama from history, but when talking of ďrealĒ people thatís what they do. I donít think itís any kind of ďismĒ itís just some people canít seem to separate fact from fiction
My response still stands- and it appears to be true judging from the responses, her name, for the purpose of the discussion, and ultimately her skin colour, is wholly irrelevant- changing the skin colour (and gender) of someone in a drama will cause people to question it. The names are irrelevant but to clarify- the point was ďpeople will question when the portrayal is not authenticĒ and Anne Boleyn is famous for being a white Queen who was executed by her loopy husband, because she had a miscarriage.
Oprah Winfrey, is famous for being a black talk show host, Flo Jo is famous for being a black athlete, Michael Parkinson is famous for being a white talk show host, and Tanni Grey Thompson is famous for being a white athlete. Whoever you pick, the skin colour is part of who they are - perhaps that is why people struggle when the actor chosen to portray a real person isnít authentic.
The what if question stands for anyone- although Iím not sure how it would stand with Dastan - who isnít real?

It seems that because you can see that when Anne Boleyn is portrayed by a black female actor, it is a work of fiction everyone should. Yet you canít separate history from fiction when a black female is portrayed in a drama by a white male actor, which should be easier to recognise as fiction surely?

 
dr.bob
1383434.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:40 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
Not that this is going to happen, of course, because you'll just drag this stupid thread on with ever more cryptic posts answering every question with another question.


cornixt wrote:
You've refused to actually clarify again, and have just asked more questions rather than answering the one that is causing the problem. It seems like it is pointless to continue.


Called it! :-D

 
dr.bob
1383435.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:46 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
One of the issues I'm noticing in this discussion is the 'one drop' issue raising its ugly head. The idea of casting Halle Berry as Elizabeth II because one of her parents was white or Michael Sheen as Obama because one of Obama's parents was white seems ludicrous, while the casting of Ben Kingsley, who had one Indian parent, as Gandhi seems less so, and the list of characters noted by CB in post 1383339 would undoubtedly have passed without notice.


In many of these situations, a lot depends on your perspective.

The casting of Ben Kingsley as Gandhi reminded me of a comment I heard about Barack Obama when he became POTUS. People in the US were celebrating Obama's election as the country's first "black president", based on the fact that his father came from Kenya. I heard a quote from someone in Kenya who pointed out that, if Obama had been elected president of that country, they'd be calling him the country's first white president.

I wonder how many native Indians had a problem with the casting of Ben Kingsley as Gandhi. I wonder how many black Africans would have a problem with casting Halle Berry as Queen Elizabeth II.

 
barbados
1383437.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:07 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
dr.bob wrote:
Not that this is going to happen, of course, because you'll just drag this stupid thread on with ever more cryptic posts answering every question with another question.


cornixt wrote:
You've refused to actually clarify again, and have just asked more questions rather than answering the one that is causing the problem. It seems like it is pointless to continue.


Called it! :-D

Trouble is I did answer the question, and as you suggest I asked another - isn't that how conversations progress?
To clarify, the question was about a drama series where there was a character Rosa Parks, played by the very whit and very male David Schwimmer. Nothing to do with sitting on a bus, although there was a real life female called Rosa Parks who did protest on a bus. But the series is a fictional drama one, not a historical factual one - so theonly similarity is the name. The question I asked in response to being asked to explain how a drama series starring David Schwimmer should cause such an issue, when Jodie Turner Smith shouldn't cause such an issue in a drama series where the lead character has the name Anne Boleyn - which the answer for most people should be "it shouldn't cause such uproar"
That doesn't appear to be the case though does it (in either instance - some are complaining the Anne Boleyn is black, and others are complaining because in the (non existent) Rosa Parks, she isn't.
So you might have "called it" - well done - how adult, however you didn't really call anything although you did highlight the fact that you either don't read, or you are trolling - once again, although you can't possibly be called out for that becuase the centre of the universe would appear to be at the base of your spine,

 
Jenny
1383438.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:18 am Reply with quote

There were objections by some Indians to a British actor being cast as Gandhi. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/when-morarji-desai-objected-to-fake-gandhi-/articleshow/40926624.cms

 
dr.bob
1383442.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:44 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Nothing to do with sitting on a bus, although there was a real life female called Rosa Parks who did protest on a bus. But the series is a fictional drama one, not a historical factual one - so theonly similarity is the name.


Wow, that's taking moving the goal posts to a whole new level! :-DDD

Just accept you made a mistake by choosing Rosa Parks as your counter example and move on. Everyone has explained the way in which you made a mistake, and you're the only person who's doggedly refusing to accept it.

barbados wrote:
however you didn't really call anything although you did highlight the fact that you either don't read, or you are trolling


If I were the only person criticising your behaviour, you would be entitled to accuse me of trolling. When the majority of participants in this thread are queueing up to criticise your behaviour, it might be time to wonder if the problem lies somewhere closer to home.

 
dr.bob
1383443.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:45 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
There were objections by some Indians to a British actor being cast as Gandhi. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/when-morarji-desai-objected-to-fake-gandhi-/articleshow/40926624.cms


I guess that makes sense.

Of course, that movie was made many decades ago. I wonder if the same casting decision would be made by someone making the film today.

 
CB27
1383444.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:49 am Reply with quote

I think Ben Kingsley is an anomaly because he was born a British Indian and had a name that was not traditionally British (read WASP). To fit in he anglicised himself so much, but it wasn't enough because when he went for an audition under his real name he was told there was nothing for him, but when he came back under the name Ben Kingsley he was hired immediately.

So when people objected to him playing Gandhi I think it was a reflection of believing him to be a British WASP in every way.

 
CB27
1383446.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:15 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Anne Boleyn is famous for being a white Queen who was executed by her loopy husband, because she had a miscarriage.

Is she famous for being a white queen? Or is she famous for being a queen?

Quote:
Oprah Winfrey, is famous for being a black talk show host

True, it's very much part of her story.

Quote:
Flo Jo is famous for being a black athlete

Is she though? I haven't looked up her life story, so being black may be a big part of her fame, but I always thought it was because she was the fastest woman on Earth.

Quote:
Michael Parkinson is famous for being a white talk show host, and Tanni Grey Thompson is famous for being a white athlete.

Again, is being white part of why either of these people are famous?

Quote:
Whoever you pick, the skin colour is part of who they are

In a multicultural society I'd agree that skin colour is very much part of who you are (which might be less in Tudor times), but it's not always part of why you are famous.
[/quote]

 
barbados
1383448.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:18 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
t.

If I were the only person criticising your behaviour, you would be entitled to accuse me of trolling. When the majority of participants in this thread are queueing up to criticise your behaviour, it might be time to wonder if the problem lies somewhere closer to home.

If I were the only one to criticise your behaviour, then I wouldnít suggest you are a troll.
Iím not though am I?

 
barbados
1383449.  Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:24 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
barbados wrote:
Anne Boleyn is famous for being a white Queen who was executed by her loopy husband, because she had a miscarriage.

Is she famous for being a white queen? Or is she famous for being a queen?

Quote:
Oprah Winfrey, is famous for being a black talk show host

True, it's very much part of her story.

Quote:
Flo Jo is famous for being a black athlete

Is she though? I haven't looked up her life story, so being black may be a big part of her fame, but I always thought it was because she was the fastest woman on Earth.

Quote:
Michael Parkinson is famous for being a white talk show host, and Tanni Grey Thompson is famous for being a white athlete.

Again, is being white part of why either of these people are famous?

Quote:
Whoever you pick, the skin colour is part of who they are

In a multicultural society I'd agree that skin colour is very much part of who you are (which might be less in Tudor times), but it's not always part of why you are famous.


Thats a bit of a problem - how would it look if Lenny Henry ( a much better actor than comedian in my mind) were to play the role of Frost / Nixon? Would people ask questions about the choice of actor? As you say, it isnít as if David Frost is famous for being white it it?

 

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