Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Redface



It's interesting that in today's society playing "redface", a white dressing up and playing a Native American, is still considered acceptable. I was going to post something about this a few weeks ago. But the Paula Deen scandal pretty much stole the spotlight. I was going to let it go but I was attacked by white people on another forum over this. From what I can tell, most white people think it's perfectly fine for a white person to play a Native American. I find this so odd because most white people would agree that to play "blackface" would be incredibly racist. Why do white people not understand that "redface" isn't acceptable either? On the other forum all I got was, "Depp's part Cherokee". Like that counts. Tonto was not 1/16 or even 1/8 Native. He was Native all the way. I just don't see why people can't see this is wrong. And I'm not attacking Johnny Depp as I like him as an actor. It's just that when a role calls for a full-blooded Indian, cast an Indian. It's just that simple. The problem is that Native Americans are not as vocal as say black people are with regard to this crap. I don't want to go into it here but many Indians did whatever they could to fit into white society. I'll just end it here. Oh, and just for the record even if I was offered a role to play a native I would turn it down because even though I'm mixed I don't look native enough. I would not be able to properly portray a full-blooded because I'm not full-blooded. I would turn it down in hopes that a real, full-blooded native could play the role. But that's just me.

7 comments:

  1. I understand your concern, but I don't think that race was even considered when casting this movie.These Hollywood blockbusters are all about money. If a full native actor who historically brought in the box office sales (the way Johnny Depp does) tried out for the role, he would have been casted in a heartbeat. It's hard for actors of all races to get the big gigs, and that's why we keep seeing the same actors over and over again.

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    1. So sorry but your comment went into the spam folder for some reason so that's why it didn't appear earlier.

      I understand. But they could have cast a big name for the main lead and cast a real native for the role of Tonto. They deliberately chose to do the other way around.

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  2. Yeah, I hear you on this, DocConjure. I started griping the other night when we were watching a movie called "The Missing" which starred Tommy Lee Jones playing what I thought at first to be a NA, but then figured out that he was playing a white man who "went Native." Regarding the role of Tonto in this movie, maybe Wes Studi and Graham Greene were both booked? LOL - That was tongue in cheek but it seems that 9 times out of 10 one of those 2 end up filling a role for a full-blood Indian.

    Regarding "The Missing," if you haven't seen it, it's well worth the watch. It shows an evil Medicine Man doing some interesting enemy work with hair and other stuff. It is kind of glamorized, being Hollywood and all, and they refer to him as being a Bruja and a Witch Doctor, but we couldn't expect Hollywood to do enough research to get their cultural terminology correct, huh? ;-)

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    1. Studi is cool, he's from Oklahoma. Grene is one fo the Canadian Native American but that would still work. The problem is they are both kind of old. What gets me is they don't even try to give new actors their breaks anymore. They just keep recasting the same old "hollywood royalty". I just don't see why they couldn't just cast a new native actor to play the role. And on top of that I was just blown away last night on the other forum. Did you know that Taylor Lautner isn't Indian? That blew me away. His part in the Twilight films calls for an Indian so they went out and found a white man who looked Indian. That's just crazy and pisses me off. There was word that they made him even tan for long periods to make his skin darker. Crazy. As far as The Missing goes, I remember the previews. I guess I'll check it out.

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  3. This sort of controversy has surrounded movies in different cultures, too. When portraying Asians, Hollywood also tends to just go for the most well-known Asian they can get, whether they share a background with the character or not. For example, the casting of Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li (who are Chinese) and Michelle Yeoh (who is Malaysian) as main characters in Memoirs of a Geisha.

    Don't get me started on portrayals of Romani in film. Everyone is familiar with the stock "gypsy" character, which is completely inaccurate. Snatch had Irish Traveller characters (which is not my stripe, but I'll mention them here because most people don't realize there's a difference between Irish Travellers and Roma) which were portrayed in the worst light possible and continually referred to as "pikeys", which is a horrible racial slur in the UK. Not to mention that Brad Pitt was cast as the main Traveller. I'm not sure if everyone knows that in The Dark Knight Rises, Tom Hardy based Bane's voice off of a well-known Irish Traveller boxer. Why? Number one, who could even understand what he was saying, let alone notice much about his accent/voice? Number two, why did a weird villain, played by an English actor, have to be partially based off of a Traveller?

    I deleted my above comment because I accidentally left out part of what I wanted to say.

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    1. It's interesting you brought up traveller. I have heard that term so often but only in connection with people from the UK, so I'm not even sure what a traveller actually is. Are they like nomads who just roam around from job to job? I say this because I watched a show fron the UK about a woman who oned a dress shop and she started an apprenticeship to give "travellers" a chance at a stable future. Problem was the almost 90s% of them were outright thugs and on drugs and not worthy of the few limited positions. So they did all these extensive interviews and contest things to find out who would get the positions. It was really interesting but I know little to nothing about travellers.

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