Would Michelle Rodriguez Tell Whites to Stop Stealing Non-white characters?

Michelle Rodriguez and Hollywood Diversity.

A few days ago from the time of publishing of this article, famed action star Michelle Rodriguez stated that actors of color should stop “stealing” white super heroes.  A day later she attempted to clarify her statement, appealing to the idea of non-whites creating their own heroes, their own mythologies.

Hmpf.  Sounds noble.  But would she ask that of white actors?  You know, demand that white actors stop stealing non-white superheroes and mythologies?  Would Michelle Rodriguez tell white people to stop trying to play Noah? Jesus?  This is a serious question here; I wonder if she would have the same words to break towards white actors, directors and producers who push for white actors in roles that should go to the more olive and brown Afro-Middle-Easterner.  Even further to the point, this has been going on for a very long time, perhaps even predating film itself.

King David wouldn’t have been white, but white actors always seem to “steal” that hero.  And of course, Jesus and any Ancient Egyptian character.  Where’s her outrage on Cleopatra?

Even further, by her own logic, should she stop stealing all the heterosexual roles?

Hollywood Race-Lifting.

As a person who thinks of the representation of minorities in film from time to time, I can find space for complaint.  I disagree with Michael B. Jordan taking the role of Human Torch.  Why?  Because that character is written explicitly to be the brother of Sue Storm who is explicitly written in as a blonde white woman — which is technically a minority in Stan Lee’s Marvel Comic’s Universe.  Changing the ethnicity of Johnny Storm would directly change the ethnicity of Sue Storm, unless someone was adopted… which is, by far, a radical change.  Hell, honestly I had a problem with Jessica Alba playing Sue Storm.

I didn’t care about the race-lift of Kingpin in Daredevil; in the cartoons he was voiced by black actors in the nineties, so technically he was a black guy already, and, race isn’t an essential part of the make of his character.  Idris Elba baffles me on the fact that he doesn’t want to be the “black James Bond” but he then played Heimdall which is written by Norse Mythology to be the whitest character in their mythos.  As I said before, James Bond is only white by way of “white defaultness”, a sociological phenomenon where people create characters as white as if white is the default race of human beings on this planet.  I would then support Idris as James Bond BEFORE supporting him as Heimdall.

Anyone mad at the fact that Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury is an idiot; Marvel Comics (like most comic books) has multiple universes and Marvel Film (which became another Marvel Universe in itself) merges any collection of them.  Marvel Comics decided that Ultimate Nick Fury will look like Samuel L. Jackson so literally, they asked for his permission to do so years before the Avenger movies became reality.

Stop Stealing “their” heroes?

One thing that bothered me about her mini-rant was the fact that she speaks as if she assumes that super hero characters who are white by way of American white defaultness somehow ONLY belong to white people.  I remember the days I’ve thrown many of decks of cards in the streets playing as Gambit when I was a kid.  Would Michelle Rodriguez argue that I was wrong for adopting Gambit as my hero is a child?  Maybe she can’t grasp it but honestly these characters, from Superman to Spider-Man, from Human Torch to Wolverine to Gambit — these are OUR superheroes too.  The dominant society cannot simply dangle things in the faces of minorities and think minorities will consider these things off limits because of our skin color.  That’s nonsensical.  All of these characters, including James Bond, are OUR heroes too.

Some Heroes are Revolving Characters.  Deal with it.

This video starts with a person asking about a rumor about her playing the next Green Lantern.  She then goes absurd ranting that it’s ridiculous for her — a Latin woman — to be Green Lantern.

While I’m not totally spun up on Green Lantern lore to say there is a female Latin Green Lantern out there in DC Comics, I do know for a fact that the Green Lantern is a revolving character, meaning that it’s actually a mantle someone takes up.  There’s multiple Green Lanterns, to include a black one, so if Hollywood wanted to Cast Michael B. Jordan as the next Green Lantern, there’s no deviation from the hero in the comics at all.  From this point, Michelle Rodriguez seems to be ignorant of the fact that some heroes are identities that are past down to multiple characters.  James Bond is rumored to be similar in design.

Overall

In conclusion, I just want to know does she have the same mentality towards white actors infinitely taking non-white roles.  Of course I don’t expect her to speak up on anything like that, being that she certainly doesn’t want to run the risk of getting blackballed from Hollywood if she began telling the truth.

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  • Nehes Ba’a Rayay

    Maybe her comment will force Hollywood/Showbusiness to create the ‘Negroid’ Superhero? Or create the Image that saves the Planet, the Galaxy, the Universe. She’s a minority herself. Maybe if she researched Ancient Africa she would see the Negroid’s Story(Mysteries). #ImJustSaying

  • Jake

    I get what she was trying to say but at the same time non-white people enjoy white hero characters just as much as white people do. I don’t feel it is necessary to cast a non-white actor to play a traditionally white role just for the sake of diversity; however I don’t think there is anything wrong with changing the look of certain characters. Sometimes it just works, Sam Jackson really pulled off Nick Fury, Michael Duncan was probably the only actor in Hollywood large enough to be the Kingpin and it worked. You could even continue the Batman story from where Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne stepped down by having a black character pick up that mantle and that would work fine. But casting a character like Superman as a black character just for the sake of diversity would be silly. Also there is an actual description of James Bond in the novels complete with a picture that depicts him as being a white male with dark hair and dark eyes. A lot of people were upset with the selection of blue eyed, blond haired Daniel Craig because he didn’t fit the novel description.

    • Johnny Silvercloud

      The difference between Superman and Blade and Shaft is the fact that Blade and Shaft are written explixitly to be black, while Superman was never written in as if he must be white.

      In other words, being black is a part of Blade and Shaft’s character, Superman being white isn’t. In fact, he’s an alien, and can technically be any color of the human race, or more.

      • Jake

        You’re creating a double standard with that argument. You’re saying that Blade isn’t just black due to his skin tone but he’s black because who he is and how he acts and lives. By saying that you’re implying that other white characters are not “written to be white” they just happen to be white. In other words you’re implying that being black involves more than skin color while being white does not.

        Jut because Superman is an alien doesn’t mean he can be any color. What if there were only white skinned people on his planet? In the story Superman arrived on Earth as a white child, he was written to be white. You can’t just change him because you feel skin color is arbitrary in white characters but a state of being in black characters. If being white is irrelevant to a character like Superman or Bond then being black is also irrelevant to a character like Blade. You can’t say it means more for one than it does the other simply because you identify with one side over the other.

        • Johnny Silvercloud

          I didn’t create the standard, it exist as is. Blade, Luke Cage, Black
          Panther, and Storm are written in to be black. Ten times out of ten,
          when a comic character is black, Latino, Asian, or gay — or anything
          deviating from the “white heterosexual default” assumption — that’s PRECISELY what they are aiming for.

          White characters on the other hand, unless they are supposed to be specifically blond (i.e., Human Torch, Invisible Woman) there’s NO specific direction on their race in being white.

          You
          REALLY do not get it; white is used as a DEFAULT standard as if white
          equals “raceless” or “the norm” or “average”. No one thinks to make
          someone specifically white in comics unless of one or more of the
          following:

          1] They are Nazis ideologically (Red Skull WILL be a white male)
          2] They hail from a location with no significant nonwhite diaspora (Thor, Nordic)
          3] They are specified as blond.

          No
          one ever says “this guy will be white” to white characters. They are
          made without any thought to race, don’t you get that? That’s called
          white defaultness. When a character is nonwhite, like say…. War
          Machine, that character WILL always be black because he is written in
          SPECIFICALLY as “the black military friend of Tony Stark/Iron Man”.

          Most white characters just HAPPEN TO BE white. Most nonwhite characters, are nonwhite because they specifically called for it.

          Sorry, it doesn’t work both ways.

        • Johnny Silvercloud

          I didn’t create the standard, it exist as is. Blade, Luke Cage, Black Panther, and Storm are written in to be black. Ten times out of ten, when a comic character is black, Latino, Asian, or gay — or anything deviating from the “white heterosexual default” assumption — that’s PRECISELY what they are aiming for.

          White characters on the other hand, unless they are supposed to be specifically blond (i.e., Human Torch, Invisible Woman) there’s NO specific direction on their race in being white.

          You REALLY do not get it; white is used as a DEFAULT standard as if white equals “raceless” or “the norm” or “average”. No one thinks to make someone specifically white in comics unless of one or more of the following:

          1] They are Nazis ideologically (Red Skull WILL be a white male)
          2] They hail from a location with no significant nonwhite diaspora (Thor, Nordic)
          3] They are specified as blond.

          No one ever says “this guy will be white” to white characters. They are made without any thought to race, don’t you get that? That’s called white defaultness. When a character is nonwhite, like say…. War Machine, that character WILL always be black because he is written in SPECIFICALLY as “the black military friend of Tony Stark/Iron Man”.

          Most white characters just HAPPEN TO BE white. Most nonwhite characters, are nonwhite because they specifically called for it.

          Sorry, it doesn’t work both ways. This isn’t really that hard to grasp, either.

        • Johnny Silvercloud

          “You’re saying that Blade isn’t just black due to his skin tone but he’s black because who he is and how he acts and lives.”

          I didn’t say that. I said Blade is black because when writers make someone black, they specifically think of making him black. When they make white characters, they don’t think of their race at all, thus, race isn’t a huge factor in the make of the character when they are white. This is called “white defaultness”. Please, do not misquote me. If you don’t understand something, just ask.

          • Jake

            “When writers make characters white they don’t think of their race at all”. That comment right there indicates your extreme bias in this debate because you don’t actually know that that is true, you assume it’s true because of your own racial tendencies. You think that being Black is about more than just skin color, you think it’s a social/cultural state of being. At the same time you think being White is only about skin color and that White people have no social/cultural state of being, no cultural identity and therefore are just blank faces.

            You actually had some good points going there until you made it clear that you put far more value on one state of racial being than on another.

            • Johnny Silvercloud

              This retort of yours indicates that you have no knowledge of comic books characters, or any thing remotely looking like any type of descriptive story telling. Your main objective is to accuse ME of something, so there you are at your objective.

              Just because YOU know nothing about how characters are thought of or built or why they exist as is it doesn’t mean everyone is just as ignorant as you are.

              “…because you don’t actually know that that is true…”

              ^No, that’s YOU. You speak from YOUR experience, and you are sorely lacking on the subject at hand, and everyone does not exercise your acute ignorance on the subject of character make.

              Your argument is an argument from ignorance, which is the among to most simplest debate fallacies out there. Please, do not pass off your lack of knowledge as the end all. It isn’t. Also, please look up the “argue from ignorance” fallacy. It will help you out not only here, but in life.

          • Johnny Silvercloud

            Example: Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales)
            http://www.comicvine.com/miles-morales/4005-79420/
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Man_(Miles_Morales)

            Miles Morales is EXPLICITLY WRITTEN to be a black, Latin-American Spider-Man. Look at the sources. Read. Research. This is how minority characters are made — by explicitly writing in the specifics of their race. Period. It’s almost just is explicit as whether it’s a female character or not.

            Not only is there overwhelming proof that minority characters are explicitly written to be minorities, but there’s NOTHING pointing out that a known white character (such as Peter Parker’s Spider-Man) is written in to be explicitly white. Characters like such are automatically assumed (drawn) as white unless someone specifically wanted to make a point to make his race different than white. This is called — once again — white defaultness. The phenomenon where everyone and their mother assumes the default race of human beings are white in movies, video games and comic book media.

            It’s not that hard to grasp.

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