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Old June 5 2013, 11:17 AM   #119
Re: Doctor Who accused of racism

sj4iy wrote: View Post
Shazam! wrote: View Post
Ubik wrote: View Post
Oh, and if the next Doctor, after Matt Smith, is a white dude - again - it would be blatant ignorance on the part of the producers.
^This x 1000. It's not racism to cast a white guy. Just as it isn't affirmative action to cast someone who is a different race or gender. Can we just get over ourselves already and stop throwing out the racist card? They'll cast whomever they think will fit their storyline the best (or impresses them the most). Everyone is complaining before we even know who it will be. Just like they judged every other Doctor that has come before.

I hope we get someone for four seasons this time, though. It would be nice.
No, it is not racism to cast a white guy. Not even if you do it over and over again for 60 years. It is not racism to have an all-white male cast on a television show. As a professor of literature, I am not being racist if all 7 novels, or all 30 or so short stories that I teach in any given semester are all written by white males. Or, if I teach a literature class 3 times every semester for five years, and never, in all that time, teach a short story or novel by anyone who isn't white. It is not racism if I never even introduce to my students the possibility that excellent, compelling, masterful literature has ever even been written by anyone but a white male (with, perhaps, just to be politically correct, a white female or two, just to shut up the people who complain.)

No, you're right, it is not racism per say to do that. But is it good? Is it honest? Is it thoughtful? Am I improving the world I live in, by teaching the class I described? Am I presenting for my non-white students the hope that someone just like them might have a voice in history, might have an experience that differs from the majority white male experience? Or am I teaching them, rather, that they are not of central importance in history or the world? That they are Other, the alternative, and I am not interested in discussing Other, but only the most important stuff, ie white male experience? As a role model at a school, as a teacher of literature and the study of human thought and experience, is it my job, my moral responsibility, to give a voice to those who don't as often get one? And, as a television production company, one of the most important in the western world, does the BBC have the moral responsibility to do the same? Should BBC use its massive influence and wide viewership to try to fight the status quo, as Paramount did when it cast Avery Brooks as the lead on a Star Trek show, or should it pretend there is no problem of equal voice and representation in popular media, as many on this thread are doing, and just continue the status quo?

Look - there is a serious, serious lack of positive, three-dimensional non-white characters in popular media. That is not something, I hope, that any of you could argue with. We live in a world where, even in a huge movie like, say Transformers, the only black characters are there to be laughed at. The vast majority of working black actors have to spend their whole careers playing rapists, convicts, and gang bangers. The role models for black audience members are extremely slim pickings. This problem, by the way, is also true of women of all colours, particularly in science fiction. There is a massive lack of positive three-dimensional female characters in science fiction (which makes no sense, considering they're half the population.)

So, given the existence of these issues, and given the in-world excuse Doctor Who has to recast their lead role every few years, why WOULDN'T Doctor Who go out of its way to prove they're not as ignorant of these problems as so many other producers are?

I'm being serious - I do not believe it is racism to just keep casting white guys as the leads in everything. But it certainly isn't very helpful or healthy or contemporary or forward-thinking. What it would do is just confirm that Doctor Who really is the mindless, old-fashioned, inessential, empty-of-content television show that it does, in fact, regularly advertise itself as.

Last edited by Ubik; June 5 2013 at 11:39 AM.
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