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Old March 10 2010, 07:36 PM   #1804
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Re: Cast the Characters of Trek Literature

Christopher wrote: View Post
You're not seriously suggesting making up a Caucasian to look Asian?! Reverting to the days of Charlie Chan? That practice was not only racist, it was ineffective. You can't convincingly make a white person look Asian by sticking latex folds over their eyelids. Maybe American audiences in the '40s or '60s, who didn't know or care what real Asians looked like, could buy such a substitution, but nobody with any sense today would fall for it, and no casting director with any decency would attempt it.
No one seems to be offended that Mexican-born actor Ricardo Montalban played a genetically engineered Indian Sikh. Or is offended that Montalban reprised the role as Khan instead of the role being recast and given to an ethnic Indian actor. Kabir Bedi re-cast as Khan in the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan?

Star Trek has a long history of casting Hispanics as Native Americans. Robert Beltran as Chakotay and Henry Darrow as Kalopek being examples.

Is Lawrence Olivier's portrayal of Othello in black-face racially offensive? Was Olivier's potrayal as the Mahdi in Khartoum racially offensive?

Are make-ups intended to age actors offensive because they deny opportunities to elderly actors?

Is the casting of Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif as Dr. Yuri Zhivago offensive in Doctor Zhivago?

I believe that we should condemn the practice of having actors made-up to look like other cultures and races if they perpetuate offensive racial stereotypes or support racial discrimination in hiring to deny opportunities to ethnic actors. But we also shouldn't be immediately painted with the racist brush when we imagine an actor being made-up to look like a race/ethnicity to which they do not belong.

Last edited by Herbert; March 10 2010 at 08:26 PM.
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