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Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on being detained at the U.S. Airport—twice. (Once, he was detained while promoting a film called “My Name is Khan” which was ironically about a person with the last name Khan suffering from repeated racial profiling.)
Multiple actors and other prominent individuals in the film industry with the last name “Khan” have been detained when entering the country. Irrfan Khan (The Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, Spider-man) described the three times he was stopped—while on the way to receive honors for his roles in films such as The Namesake—as “humiliating.” Actor Aamir Khan was stopped and stripped searched in 2002. Director Kabir Khan, was reportedly detained at least three times in 2008 while filming in the United States. The New York Times ended up remarking on The Dangers of Fying While Khan
This much is clear:
If you’re an award winning actor named Khan, you will still get stopped and humiliated at the airport. When that rare character in American media finally shows up sharing your name, he will be played by a white British man. That actor will wear your name for one movie and sneer and strut to great critical acclaim. You will wear your racialized name, your skin color, and hope you don’t get detained another time.
1,990 notes (via acceber74 & racebending)
I move to stop referring to the facts that 1) Khan is the villain in Star Trek: Into Darkness and 2) he is played by a white Englishman as ‘spoilers’ because doing so 1) tacitly approves of the shield against criticism the filmmakers tried to create with their campaign of secrecy and 2) places the need for critical interrogation of these things below people’s desire to comfortably buy into the marketing for this film.
and frankly at this point maintaining the fiction that BC might be some other character is ridiculous.
182 notes (via defcock)
It wasn’t perfect in the 60s when Ricardo Montalban was cast to play Khan (a character explicitly described in the episode script of Space Seed as being Sikh, from the Northern regions of India). But considering all of the barriers to representation that Roddenberry faced from the television networks, having a brown-skinned man play a brown character was a hard-won victory. It’s disappointing and demoralizing that with the commercial power of Star Trek in his hands, JJ Abrams chose not to honour the original spirit of the show, or the symbolic heft of the Khan character, but to wield the whitewash brush for … what? […] It’s doubly disappointing when you consider that Abrams was a creator of the television show Lost, which had so many well-rounded and beloved characters of colour in it.
Add to this the secrecy prior to release around Cumberbatch’s role in the film, and what seems like a casting move that would typically be defended by cries of “best actor for the job, not racism” becomes something more cunning, more malicious. Yes, the obfuscation creates intrigue around and interest in the role, but it also prevents advocacy groups like Racebending.com from building campaigns to protest the whitewashing. This happened with the character of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, as well as ‘Miranda Tate’ in The Dark Knight Rises, who ended up being Talia al Ghul but played by French actress Marion Cotillard. This practice is well in effect in Hollywood; and after the negative press that was generated by angry anti-oppression activists and fans when Paramount had The Last Airbender in the works, studios are wising up. They don’t want their racist practices to be called out, pointed at, and exposed before their movies are released — Airbender proved that these protests create enough bad feeling to affect their bottom line.
271 notes (via crossedwires & botsoftheworld)
Re Antiblackness and racism in Europe, anything goes in France from the must subtle to the most violent. I’d like to list you some of the things I’ve seen, heard, read: TRIGGER WARNING
- if you’re Black in France you will automatically be the last considered or disqualified for a job or a house, and good luck getting into a club.
- Despite France having many dynamic and diverse black communities, black people are underrepresented in tv shows, movies, radio etc unless you play the poor but jovial Black man serving a rich and unhappy white man (see the Intouchables, one of the most successful French movie of all time)
- Black people are over represented in the lowest paid jobs: cleaners, janitors, street sweepers, construction. Most often companies pay them below minimum wage (it’s illegal).
- people doing the most trying not to say the French word for Black “noir” because it carries a pejorative tone so they use the English word when they want to talk about a Black person. You could be the tall person of the group, the one dressed in a certain way, the funny one or the manager people will always refer to you as the Black.
- people view Black people as dirty, smelly, lazy, drug addicts, violent. Old ladies getting scared and grabbing their purses when they see a black person coming their way.
- Everybody loves Obama but nobody wants to seat next to a Black person in public transportations.
- Remember when Oprah was thrown out of a Hermes store in Paris.
- Men raving about having sex with Black women but they would never marry one.
- people will find any excuse when confronted with racist behavior: it’s ignorance, they didn’t mean it, and the latest one is blaming the bad economy.
- systematic monkey noises and bananas thrown at black football players
- a biracial child not allowed to join a traditional dance club because “she didn’t look French”
- police harassment/ brutality. A Black Olympic athlete got pulled over by the police because a Black person driving an expensive car was suspicious, she protested the discriminatory treatment, got beat up and arrested.
- this Black female host with natural hair had a show on a confidential channel. When she got hired on a big network she wore her hair straight.
- 2 mile long cosmetics aisles at the supermarket but barely one product for afro hair and dark skin tones, sometimes one relaxer and one moisturizer. The specific cosmetics are overpriced, and they are also the only ones that get an antitheft tag or are locked up.
- people saying “Blacks are the dirtiest of all races”, “I’m working with this cute African girl, this one is so nice and hard working” (meaning not like the other savages)
- people saying “Black women look more feminine when they don’t look too African, they are prettier when they look creole, south asian or biracial”
- relatives adopted a child in Rwanda: parents keep silent when uncles and aunts call him darky/blacky, as a joke, and all take turns touching the child’s hair and commenting.
- there is a coffee and tea chain store called “The Good Negro” where you are greeted at the entrance by the equivalent of a lawn jockey and the stores are decorated with caricatures of Africans and colonial illustrations.
- You cannot mention slavery without people getting upset when you remind them their past: “how dare you, my ancestors were merchants! (you didn’t make the millions you’re sitting on by just selling vegetables and wine, bitch)
France is very much racist, not over colonialism and not a safe place.
198 notes (via bad-dominicana)
You know, part of me is so glad that so many other people love the idea of chromatic actors playing superheroes. It’s good to know that it’s not just me who wants to see heroes played by actors of all races. I have been fielding suggestions from my friends all day, and it’s amazing to recognize all over again how many great chromatic actors there are in the business.
On the other hand, it’s so fucking sad that there are so many people who really want to see more diversity in their superhero movies (in all their media, really), and we’re still not getting it.
There are people, me included, who would actually pay so much money to see an Asian actor as Superman and a black actress as Lois Lane, and it feels like I’m never going to get it because every time they even think about doing it, assholes crawl out of the woodwork to shriek about how their precious white heroes can’t ever be tainted by non-white people because how can chromatic actors ever measure up to the white Western legacy, it’s just a question of acting skills, it’s not racist.
I joke about it with friends and family because my only other options are to scream or cry.
is because some fans try to break it down to personality or social traits
“Johnny Storm is a cocky playboy?” Okay. I know a lot of black dudes who fit that.
“Peter Parker is a nerd that loves science!” so there are no poor black science nerds in queen?
“sue storm has to be white because…” because you can’t possibly imagine reed richards falling in love with a non-white woman?
because that’s what you’re saying
what you’re saying is that non-white people can’t be cocky, nerdy, attractive or happy
what you’re saying is that we don’t get to exist with the same fullness of being that white people do
fucking think about that racist ass bullshit you’re spouting and then walk into traffic
Basically, because we’re not seen as human.
512 notes (via crossedwires & satanic2chainz)
I wasn't sure if you'd like it if I commented on your post so I thought I'd send you an ask? In regards to your post about how a lot of people were being pissy about you pointing out the racism in BC being cast as Khan, I'd also like to point out how those same people reacted when a canonically white character was played by a POC, as in Joan Watson in Elementary. That time they were all screaming about how it was 'not canon' and 'bullshit' and all of that. :/
Some people are more than happy to shriek about ‘violation of canon’ every time a non-white person plays their precious iconic white males, but you mention that their favorite white actor is taking a role from brown people, and suddenly all you get is people talking about ‘well, they were chosen based on their acting skills’ and ‘even the original show didn’t care so much about his skin color so why should we?’
Don’t think I don’t see you, racist assholes. And don’t think I’ve forgotten the year-long harassment over the fact that your white hero was suddenly female and Chinese. You’re never forgiven for that in my books.
I really like Benedict Cumberbatch as an actor, and as a person. he’s done some uncool shit, to be sure, and I don’t excuse it, but he’s a mostly good dude, I think.
the thing is, it doesn’t matter what my opinion of BC is as an actor, or as a person, when it comes to discussion of Star Trek’s racefail and whitewashing of a canonically Indian character.
they are entirely separate issues.
people being upset about Star Trek’s racefail has nothing to do with BC as an actor or as a person. you don’t have to defend him.
it’s really that simple. it’s not actually about BC qua BC. if any other white actor had been cast as Khan, we’d complain just as loud and just as hard, because it would hurt people just as much. the damage is done no matter what face they put on it.
what if they’d hired Tom Hiddleston? still wrong, still whitewashing.
what if they’d hired Richard Armitage? still wrong, still whitewashing.
what if they’d hired Brad Pitt? Matt Damon? Daniel Day-Lewis, arguably the greatest actor of our time? still wrong, still whitewashing.
WHAT IF IT WAS AN ALTERNATE REALITY AND CHRIS PINE WAS CAST AS KHAN??
it’s not about the actor. it’s not about the actor. it’s not about the actor.
it’s about what the actor represents, which is the fact that at some point, the creators of this film decided that there was no brown person good enough to play a character which is a brown person. and that’s fucking bullshit. that’s insulting to every non-white actor working on the planet, and it’s insulting to every non-white person in the potential audience.
that’s it. that’s all it’s about.
it’s not about the actor, and good GOD almighty, it’s not about you.
it’s not about your feelings as a fan of Cumberbatch. it just isn’t. this conversation, which is, let me clarify, about the racefail and whitewashing in Star Trek, is not going to hurt you in any way. you don’t have to defend yourself. let it go.
and lastly, if you listen to me, your white compatriot who also loves BC, when you wouldn’t listen to all the POC who have every right in this world to complain about this problem? that’s fucking racist, and go fuck yourself. that one’s about you.
784 notes (via defcock)
“Sorry but Benedict Cumberbatch is totally amazing and Star Trek is a dumb action franchise now, so what’s the big deal? We don’t even know the new backstory for Khan, and the first film already destroyed pre-existing continuity. All this outrage when the film isn’t even out yet is silly. It’s not even close to a Akira or Avatar whitewash. Also, Cumberbatch! He could’ve played Ip Man in the Wong Kar-Wai biopic and I wouldn’t have complained (maybe). Just dub the Chinese in post. CUMBERBATCH4EVER”
The “big deal” is:
- That Star Trek, a franchise known for it’s progressiveness, has regressed in casting and representation to the standards from the 1960s. Khan was a character of color. Regardless of how Star Trek decided to cast this character ~fifty years ago, using the racist casting practices oof yesteryears, there is no valid, non-discriminatory reason for the franchise to regress to that now.
- That aside from Faran Tahir’s brief role in the first five minutes of Trek09, there are no prominent South Asian characters in this franchise, so when a character is named Khan Noonien Singh you’d hope they would be able to find an actor of South Asian descent out of all of the ones that are out there.
- That it’s Paramount again, not feeling like they need to learn anything from whitewashing incidents like “The Last Airbender.”
- That Benedict Cumberbatch is a white man with British and Hollywood crossover appeal; he has access to countless roles that are blocked off actors of color— including hundreds of Star Trek characters…and this just happens to be one of the most prominent characters of color at all in science fiction. If they won’t even cast people of color for iconic bad guys…
- That the Cumberbatchness of Benedict Cumberbatch somehow outweighs the importance of calling out discrimination. But that’s not “silly,” to you, nah, the people who are upset about racism are the silly ones.
That’s why this is a big deal.
579 notes (via mnemehoshiko & racebending)
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