Olivia Cole tells us about some unfortunately unsurprising reactions to the new Catching Fire movie:
“I thought it was awesome. Well, except for Beetee. Why the f*ck did they make him black? Beetee wasn’t black.”
Oh for heaven’s sake.
Can you think of anyone remarking about a movie adapted from a novel: “Wait. Since when is X character white? S/he’s not supposed to be white!”?
Neither can I.
This phenomenon of white fans Not Taking It Well when one of their beloved characters is cast with a black actor means a lot of things, and I encourage you to read Ms. Cole’s piece for an astute overview, but it means the world of fiction needs more black characters. Sympathetic, vulnerable, intelligent, gentle black characters. We need more actors like Jeffrey Wright and Amandla Stenberg playing characters like Beetee and Rue. Eventually, the “Why Are They Making All the Good Characters Black” fans will find other irrational things to complain about. Some day, it will no longer come as a surprise to see a black character who is valuable for brains and compassion rather than muscle and aggression.
(Side note: If you can look at Miss Stenberg playing Rue and see anything in contradiction of Brain-Meltingly Adorable, what the fuck is wrong with you?)
Now I will share a handy idea quoted today by This is White Privilege:
If we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.— Jane Espenson