The Bear Facts

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Whitewashing in Hollywood

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Since the Golden Age of Hollywood, cultural appropriation has been a hallmark of the film industry. In the upcoming movie Dr. Strange, there are lots of issues of “whitewashing.” Whitewashing is when an actor who is white portrays a character who is not of Caucasian descent, such as the Native American character Tonto, in The Lone Ranger or Benedict Cumberbatch in Dr. Strange. Dr. Strange’s character is supposed to be Hispanic, so when director Scott Derrickson cast Cumberbatch as the character, there were immediate issues. Some Marvel fans don’t even want to see this upcoming film because of Cumberbatch and how more famous characters are being cast for roles than people that actually look the part. One example in recent news is Tilda Swinton being casted as the Ancient One, the mentor of Dr. Strange and Supreme Sorcerer. Marvel has taken the offensive on this topic and is defending Swinton.

“The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic,” a Marvel Studios spokesperson said in an interview on variety.com.
This is talking about why Tilda Swinton is being targeted on Dr. Strange, because she is white, but her character is Tibetan.

The original character is of the Ancient One is of Celtic descent, so when director Scott Derrickson casted Tilda Swinton, a white, Scottish woman, there was controversy. A recent comment from writer C. Robert Cargill on variety stated that casting a Tibetan for the role would lead to a risky chance due to the nature of the character which he described as a “racist stereotype who comes from a region of the world that is in [a] very weird political place.”
Appropriation is not as dreadful as stereotyping but both are still bad news. It really just depends on how you see on the subject. Appropriation is supposedly the better half of stereotyping, but both are still not that great. Stereotypes were worse in the past, and have gotten better, but appropriation has stayed on the better half of the scale when being compared with stereotyping. In some ways however, appropriation is worse than stereotyping because you’re actually taking something from a culture without their permission.

Marvel is trying to not be racist or stereotypical, although along with appropriation they’re still doing it, even though they have tried to be fair. It is unfair how characters in the past and even now are being casted based on how high they rank on the celebrity scale or how famous they are. Although there is some controversy on how celebrities are being casted by their facial character instead of how good their talent is. Whitewashing, racism, and appropriation happen in other things other than movies. However, movies are the main deal.

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