, a practice referring to a situation or series of situations where a movie studio, or similar visual media entertainment industry outlet, has changed the ethnicity of a character in the adaptation of another creative work, causing the under representation of a cultural community and actors from said community.
Okay, so the term is technically a made-up word by the group that created Racebending.com
, but it’s still a buzzword that will be getting used in the future should similar events like this happen again. And they will.
In any event, this group of advocates isn’t just using calling for a boycott of M. Night’s The Last Airbender
because of their casting. It goes far deeper than that.
What the group is advocating is equal treatment in Hollywood when casting ethic-centric roles. The argument against Hollywood’s “We hire the best talent” defense is that Hollywood isn’t looking hard enough. In their four-part video intro to the site’s mission
, they cite Samuel Jackson from about 15 years ago when he said casting an African-American was a rare thing for Hollywood to do. Yet who is the number one Box Office draw? Will Smith (and by proxy for the next several weeks, his son Jaden).
According to the site, Hollywood believes that Asian faces don’t really sell very well, despite big name actors like Bruce Lee, Jet Li, and Jackie Chan being on the top of that list. Now if they are talking about sex appeal, then tell me how John Cho isn’t sexy? The man photographs really well.
While the Asian community is in the forefront for right now, the group is advocating that all ethnic groups be given the opportunity to represent their culture in all forms of entertainment. Hollywood, however, seems to favor a more cut-and-dry approach to the situation by casting lighter-skin actors as heroes and darker-skin actors as villains. Doesn’t matter if they are white, black, Asian, Latino, or Middle Eastern. Hollywood would favor to have the hero be a lighter shade than the villain.
Bottom line is that this group is pretty much saying what Korey and the rest of the Spill crew has been saying for a while. Kingpin should have been white in the Daredevil movie, there should have been Persians in Prince of Persia
, and the fact that you have an Inuit tribe with two white kids as the main heroes of the tribe is rather glaring.
Why? Out of respect for the source material. After all, how would you feel if Harry Potter was black?