“For the Hell of It” vs Cynical Casting: On the Topic of Racial, Sexual and Gender diversity in Cast and Characters.

I’m Not big into fighting games, so the release of “Mortal Kombat X” wasn’t something I really cared about. I watched some reviews, but that was about as far as I cared to get into the game. So I may be late to the party and this may not new news to anyone anymore, but I just learned that “Mortal Kombat” has introduced it’s first gay character. Unfortunately I learned this after reading an article about how this was “the worst case of pandering” the author had ever seen and how he was sacred “The SJW were going to try to take the game off the shelves because you can beat up a gay guy”. Yeah, it was a stupid article. However, as I read this on the same day I saw a teaser trailer for “Batman vs Superman”, I thought now would be a good time to tackle the common “issue” most people have with adding diversity, the idea that they don’t want artist adding diversity “for the hell of it”,while also talking about what I see as the potential downside of what looks to me like cynically casting P.O.C. And so on.
Now, lets start with the easy one: what’s wrong with adding more diversity “for the hell of it”? Not a damn thing. I will always argue that it is the duty of the artist to create their art in a way that completes their vision. That means if the artist thinks its best for their art that the cast is all Strait White Dudes, then so be it. But it is also the right of the audience to ask “why can this story only be told with Strait White Dudes” and if the artist can’t justify that to the audience in a way that makes them care, the artist has to be okay losing that audience. But what I have also learned as a writer is that going “lets make this character a woman” or “lets make this character black” has never made the story worse. In fact, once I made an honest attempt not to make the lead in a story a strait white man, i’ve gotten so much creative energy that I have more ideas that I know what too do with. So, I am fine with any artist, writer, filmmaker, or comic artist adding more diversity “for the hell of it”.
And I don’t think most of the people saying that are actually worried about that either. I think most of them are more worried about adding limitations to the artist. But again, we already discuses this: yes, the artist has to do what they think s best, but unless it matters to the story, why does it matter if the artist does something to please the audience? If the only change you have to make is making the main character a P.O.C., your creative freedom hasn’t been limited, has it? And again, it’s fine not too, but you have to be okay with the idea that you will lose part of your audience.
However, there is one thing that worries me: Cynical Casting people of color or other minorities. What do I mean by this? Well, lets look at “Batman vs Superman”. I was not a fan of “man of Steel” and wasn’t looking forward to the sequel. Then Warner Bros/DC decided to add Batman. And again, I wasn’t looking forward to the movie. The more I heard the less I cared. And from the looks of it, neither did most fans. That is, until the cast announcements. When we learned that a good chunk of the cast would be either people of color, people started to act like DC could do no wrong. Except me. It took me a while to figure out why, but I think I put my figured on why exactly this bothered me.
See, up until the casting announcements, every chose seemed to be a bad one. Nothing I had heared gave me any hope for the film at all. I think Warner bros/DC thought the same thing. And the casting feels, to me, less like they care about fixing an issue that’s been pledging Hollywood, and more like someone came into a bored room one day and said “So, we’re not going to make a good movie because, and we’re most likely going to lose a crap ton of money on this, but…just hear me out…a lot of people want more diversity in movies, so if we cast some people of color in some in roles, they may come out to see it, praises us for being progressive and give us a billion dollars regardless of how good the movie actually is. Plus, most of these same fans will try silencing critics who don;t like the movie, calming that the critic only disliked the film because they are secretly racist!”
Now, it’s 100% possible i’m wrong on the idea behind the casting. It is 100% possible the film will be great. I hope i’m wrong, I hope the movie is good… But that is what it feels like to me right now. And if I am right about what’s been going on, here is what the fallout looks like to me: every time a studio knows they will have dud on their hands they cast P.O.C. And the film makes more money than it should, until people start to get wise to the act. Then, after a while, people will start thinking any movie with a POC lead will most likely be bad, and good movies (like “Home”) will start to lose money. Then Hollywood would say “People of Color don’t sell anymore” and we go back to square one. I don’t want to see that. Yes, we need more big roles or women, people of color, LGBT actors and so on, but more importantly, we need more good movies for these actors. Now, i’m not a P.O.C. So I can’t say whether or not this is a win in the long-run, and i’m sure as hell not going to say that P.O.C. Shouldn’t be excited for this or look at this as critically as I am. If you think i’m full of crap leave a (respectful) comment down below, and tell me what you think.


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