This blog is a safe space for People of Color. We are here to inform, to educate, and to call out people who whitewash.
We support and celebrate entertainment equality and will also speak out against racism not only in the entertainment industry but in canon works (books, graphic novels, etc.) and fandoms as well.
What is whitewashing?
Whitewashing is the practice in which a person (director, producer, a fan, etc.) takes a character who is originally of color in canon work, and replaces them with a white actor or a white FC claim (role-playing games.) (read more posts on whitewashing here and here)
It is also used to describe the entertainment industry’s attempt to make a PoC character look more “white” in order to appeal to the white masses.
Whitewashing doesn’t only happen in the entertainment or writing industry, history has been majorly whitewashed as well.
Why is this a problem?
Whitewashing does a great disservice to PoC viewers of all ethnicities who never receive much representation, let alone proper representation in films, books, graphic novels, etc. Everyone likes to see someone that looks like them in the media rather than just seeing all white people all the time. People of Color already deal with internalized racism, colorism, as well as many other issues when it comes to our identities, whitewashing does nothing but further causes problems.
Whitewashing is also unfair to actors of color because they never receive a major roles and their talent is thus wasted.
But if they can act well, why does it matter what race they are?
Read “Why is this a problem?” again. This argument would work if all races/ethnicities were equally represented in the media to begin with and if casting director considered ALL races and ethnicities for all roles. However, most castings result in casting white actors for most characters and maybe a token actor of color once in a while. So when a white person is cast for a role that is written for a PoC, it’s all the more problematic.
But what about when white characters are “blackwashed/brownwashed”?
There’s no such thing as “blackwashing” or “brownwashing”. What you’re talking about is a form of racebending and it’s not the same thing as whitewashing.
Why? Because white people are NOT underrepresented in the media. Racebending, in a way, undoes the mass-whitewashing that happens in the entertainment industry. It’s ok if you take some of those roles and give them to PoC to try to balance things out. Furthermore, most racebending happens in fandoms, not in the entertainment industry directly. As such, it doesn’t even have the potential to “deprive” any white actors of anything; all it does is make people feel a little better.