I don’t often do this. I’m not overly confident and expressing my opinions for the world to critique is a little overwhelming, but I every time I read about the “whitewashing” of the hunger games or any other Hollywood production my mind spins with questions and I really need to ask them.
I guess I should start by saying that I have no intention to upset anyone with these questions. I am an Australian, living in England, and I have friends from all backgrounds, ethnicity and religions and I would not want them to think for a moment that I mean anything hurtful.
I should also point out that while I have been lucky enough to travel through parts of America, and keep up with world news, I am not privy to the societal issues that impact on Americans on a day-to-day basis.
I suppose that’s why I find this so interesting. Maybe it’s the logical part of my brain that’s fueling this but I have to ask is casting really that different from hiring a person for a job? Because if it is, shouldn’t the person who has the best performance/resume/interview (whatever it is they do) get the position? Surely the color of our skin, or how we look for that matter, shouldn’t come before the acting ability, the skill and knowledge and professionalism of the actor?
Does Lionsgate advertise for someone who is a particular skin color/hair color/leg length when they are casting for a role? The statistics above (while both sobering and sad) were lacking in information about the auditions and I’m confused? Who actually wanted the roles? What percentage of “white” (what a horrible label) people auditioned? Was there a 50/50 split?
Which leads me back to… when they cast/advertise for a role does their requirements outline what the person should look like that specifically? (Surely that’s illegal… even in Hollywood?)
Perhaps, that is ignorant of me, because even from the other side of the world it’s clear that Hollywood doesn’t choose average (for lack of a better word) looking people to act on the big screen. But does their prejudice really go so far that they would oust them from an audition and deliberately choose/reject someone who was perfect for the role because of their skin colour?
And what if we, to paraphrase Haymitch, flip this situation in our heads? Are we saying that these people aren’t good enough for the part because they are “white”? Doesn’t that make us just as bad? Doesn’t these things work both ways?
Maybe I’m just naïve, or perhaps I’m looking for this to not be true because the reality of a company (or the entirety of Hollywood) that has an impact worldwide pushing this particular idea on people is beyond depressing. But maybe it’s worse because if whitewashing is a reality then my last question is this:
Why do we complain about the casting… then proceed to buy tickets to the movie? Why do we post pictures of said actors again and again instead of yelling and screaming in a much more effective forum than on our Tumblr pages (in amongst all the photos)?
Why do we let them do it?