Hey Pandas, What Do You Think About The Recent Race-Swapping In TV Shows? (Closed)
Namely, I'm curious about the live action The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Wendy, and Cleopatra. There's also a live action How to Train your Dragon coming out, and the actress playing Astrid is either biracial or has African ancestry. So what are your thoughts about it?
Personally I have varying thoughts about all of them.
1. The Little Mermaid, I don't have that big of a problem with Ariel being black. It's just irritating that her hair isn't the iconic red, or close to the red that it is in the movie. And the film is often so... Dark. I mean absolutely no offence to anyone, but since they have a darker skinned actress playing the role, shouldn't everything around her be a bit brighter so that she stands out?
2. Peter Pan and Wendy. OH DO I HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH THIS ONE!! I absolutely love the book, and Disney butchered it and turned the movie into a shallow, woke advertisment or something. Firstly, Tinkerbell. Why was she race swapped as well? Tinkerbell has always been with yellow hair and blue eyes, when I first saw the poster I thought that they added another fairy to the movie. But ok, FINE. She's mythical as well, they can swap her if they want. That's race swapping issue I had, but there were many other issues as well, like the Lost Boys. Correction, the lost boys, girls, and they/thems. My first problem with this is that the book EXPLICITLY mentions that there are no lost girls because "girls are too clever to fall out of their cradles". ಠ_ಠ Sooo... What's Disney trying to imply here? And the other reason why there were only Lost Boys was because that's where Wendy comes in: she's supposed to be a mother to them, and if there were lost girls then they wouldn't have as strong of a desire to have a mother. But fine, FINE. Add lost girls and they/thems if you want, but HOW DARE YOU CHANGE WENDY'S CHARACTER? They turned Wendy into a toxic feminist and removed any semblance of femininity from her. Her whole purpose in the book was to be a motherly kind of person, and the book showed the importance and value of motherhood. But instead, she doesn't want to get married, doesn't want kids, and apparently dreams of dying alone? That's. Not. Her. Purpose. In. The. Book!! Or even the old movie! I don't care if you make a new character in another movie who has these characteristics, but why did you touch a beloved classic!
Sorry this turned into a rant... I just felt really mad about this wanted to get it off my chest.
3. Netflix's Queen Cleopatra "documentary". Cleopatra was not black. It's one thing to race swap mythical characters, but how could you do that with a real, historical figure? This is confirmed fact by historians that even if she did have some black ancestry from her mother's side that would have made her biracial and not nearly as black as she is in the show. Plus, there are only a few possibilities for whom Cleopatra's mother may have been given the Egyptian royal family's habit of inbreeding.
At least we're respecting others. they deserve to be on TV
I have a lot of thoughts. Then double thoughts, then second guessing, the over thinking.
I think source material should be respected.
If the source material specifically says something, then it should stand. If it doesn't say either way, do what you like.
Take the black Hermione thing. Nowhere in the books does it mention her race (nor Harry's as far as I can recall), only her hair (but not by colour) and her teeth. So go for it, it makes no difference to me. After all, the UK is a multicultural country.
With historical things, I prefer accuracy. I hated the old films where every Arab was either played by a white man with brown-face, or just a white guy with a beard and eyeliner. Why not just get a Arab?
The 1960's Genghis Khan, Legendary actor Omar Sharif. A (passing white) Egyptian playing a Mongol, I mean, have you seen it? It just looks and feels wrong.
If the intent is to be factual, I'm not keen on the idea of race swapping for historical figures. However, if its a comedy, satire, or just a bit of fun, Fine. If it's works of fiction set in historical time periods, fine. I don't think anyone should miss out on wearing those fantastic costumes. I abhor the whole 'but black people were not around then', usually because it's BS and there was probably more than you think. Trade links between the Far east, Middle East, Africa, and Europe have been around since the ancient times. You really think they stopped traveling?
Now, The little mermaid is where I did a lot of overthinking.
The original Disney film was VERY loosely based on the original Hans Christian Anderson story. It even had a happy ending, which the H.C.A version did not. So they had already deviated for the source material quite a bit.
That being said, The H.C.A story was actually written because he did not like the ending of another mermaid story, 'Undine', which did have a happy ending, a location of a forest river in Germany (Which Disney changed) is given, and so is the red hair (which Disney matched).
So given that the so called source material comes from a few different places, I feel we have no choice but accept that it cannot take it into consideration.
So, without source material, why can't it be a black mermaid? It is set in the Caribbean after all. I'll tell you why! They live in the Sea FFS!
A general rule of thumb for sea life colour is: Blue near the surface, blue tops/white belly lower down, WHITE on the sea bottom.
But wait... Doesn't the song say 'UNDER the sea'? So deeper, like an Ocean?
Well Ocean life colour follows the same general rule as above, but then, past the white you get: Transparent, Transparent top/red belly, then red or BLACK all over, then at the very bottom, either pale red or cream.
So, as long as they get the tail colour right, I could not give a shite. They'd better not make the MF tail green!!!
I have mixed feelings.
I love some of it and hate some of it.
I saw the new Little Mermaid yesterday and I thought Halle as Ariel was adorable and actually added to the story. Nothing about it annoyed me. I didn't see any reason she needed to be white and having a mixed culture made the movie more authentic in my mind (especially in the island village).
In the recent Rings of Power show I also adored their choice to make some of the dwarves black. It makes so much sense and they look amazing! I would love to see that repeated in all Middle Earth productions in the future.
On the other hand, I did not approve of Cleopatra being black for historical reasons. It felt very forced and frustrating to me. Seems to me that if we can't be historically accurate by making everyone white, isn't it just as bad to make everyone black?
I also did not like having black elves in Rings of Power. At least, I didn't like the way they did it. I would approve of having a black person cast to play the "dark elf" in Tolkien lore, but just having random black elves (especially with short hair) did not sit well with me. Tolkien was pretty clear that his elves were for the most part white (blond, fair, milky skin, etc.).
Maybe it was also that they humanized the elves too much.
For upcoming shows, I'm a little torn. I think having Hermione black would be okay. It never said in the books. It really depends on the actress.
Casting Annabeth from Percy Jackson as black bothered me at first (she was definitely white in the books) but the actress is super cute and really does have Annabeth energy, so I'm okay with it now.
Personally, having a black/mixed Astrid is a hard no for me. That seems too far. They're Vikings. That said...I'm not against diversity in the film, I just prefer it not be Astrid.
Hot take here - I don’t like it.
I didn’t see the point in race swapping Ariel but if her actress is really good then I can get by it, especially because Ariel is a fictional character. Still they should’ve added red hair or something.
The Cleopatra show literally changed the race of a real person. Not cool.
I think it feels a little hollow to change characters races in existing stories. It doesn't feel like it was properly thought through, and feels forced. There are many good myths, legends, and stories from countries that aren't in Europe, and telling those stories respectfully feels like it would do more than simply creating a black version of an already existing character.
Although, already existing media does have a much larger fanbase, and things like having a black Ariel that kids will see is important, because representation is important, so, idk.
The biggest problem with race-swapping in media is that it's causing more racism than ever.
Fair enough, in any work of fiction (as long as it doesn't change the actual story), let the character be whatever colour you feel works. But actual people from history, no. Leave them be. Our history may be flawed, but these were real people, and skin colour plays a large part in who you are and what you may become depending on what era they live/lived in. We learn from the mistakes we make as a civilization, but we can't be aware of these mistakes if we're hiding the truth about people. We can't hide from what we've been, but we can damn well make sure we make the future something we won't be ashamed of.
I have seen more racist comments, more racism in general, even in people who have never shown any inclination towards it, since this race-swapping trend began.