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Star Trek: Into Whiteness

May 9, 2013

If there’s one thing that most fans of Star Trek will agree on, it’s the fact that Gene Roddenberry’s vision for the show — and, more optimistically, for human society — was predicated on the idea that all life is valuable, and that the worth of a person should not be judged by their appearance. Much of this was done through the old sci-fi trope of using aliens to stand in for oppressed groups, but Star Trek didn’t rely on the metaphor; it had characters who were part of the ensemble, important and beloved members of the Enterprise crew, who were people of colour. It had background characters who were people of colour. And, here and there, it had anti-heroes and villains who were people of colour … one of whom, Khan Noonian Singh, became well-nigh iconic.

And who is now being played by white actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the new JJ Abrams reboot movie, Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Cumberbatch Khan vs Montalban Khan
Cumberbatch and Montalbán (as Khan)

We’re all cynical and jaded enough to know the standard dismissal when it comes to matters of media representation: Paramount Pictures and most film studios are not interested in diversity or visibility, they only care about the bottom dollar. Star Trek as a franchise is too much of a juggernaut to affect with boycotts. There are too many people who love it, who love those characters and that world, and will go to see the movie.   And for some of these people, this devotion to the idea of a future where even South and East Asian men get to pilot a starship and love swashbuckling, where Black women make Lieutenant on the Enterprise and actually get the boy, will be trivialized and eroded and whitewashed when the most formidable and complex Star Trek baddie becomes a white man named Khan.

Khan in a dastar
TOS Khan looking at a watercolor of himself. Yes, he’s wearing a dastar (Sikh turban)

It wasn’t perfect in the 60s when Ricardo Montalbán 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? The hopes that casting Benedict Cumberbatch would draw in a few more box office returns? 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.

So the studio has now found a way to keep it secret and underhanded.   Racebending.com was there for most of the production of The Last Airbender, and were even able to correspond with Paramount Pictures about it.  This time, for Star Trek: Into Darkness, their hiding and opaque practices has managed to silence media watchdogs until the movie’s premiere.

As I said, this racist whitewashing of the character of Khan won’t affect how much money this Trek movie makes. And I’m happy that the franchise is popular, still popular enough to warrant not only a big-budget reboot with fantastic actors but also a sequel with that cast. I’m happy that actors I enjoy like Zoë Saldaña and John Cho are playing characters who mean so much to me, and that they, in respect for the groundbreaking contributions by Nichelle Nichols and George Takei in these roles, have paid homage to that past.

But all of that will be marred by having my own skin edited out,  rendered worthless and silent and invisible when a South Asian man is portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch up on that screen.  In the original Trek, Khan, with his brown skin, was an Übermensch, intellectually and physically perfect, possessed of such charisma and drive that despite his efforts to gain control of the Enterprise, Captain Kirk (and many of the other officers) felt admiration for him.

And that’s why the role has been taken away from actors of colour and given to a white man. Racebending.com has always pointed out that villains are generally played by people with darker skin, and that’s true … unless the villain is one with intelligence, depth, complexity. One who garners sympathy from the audience, or if not sympathy, then — as from Kirk — grudging admiration. What this new Trek movie tells us, what JJ Abrams is telling us, is that no brown-skinned man can accomplish all that. That only by having Khan played by a white actor can the audience engage with and feel for him, believe that he’s smart and capable and a match for our Enterprise crew.

What an enormous and horribly ironic step backwards. For Star Trek, for media representation, and for the vision of a future where we have transcended systemic, racist erasure.

Actor John Cho  Lt Sulu in Star Trek
Who is your favorite villain?” ; Actor John Cho (Lt Sulu) answers.
John Cho gifset: divorcedreality
Interview source: Warp Speed Round

Categories: blog, Featured, History and Concepts
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About the Author

Marissa Sammy loves the diaspora, The Simpsons, and the Oxford comma with equal fervour. She has worked with the webzine Sequential Tart and is passionate about issues of representation, especially in geek culture.

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  • DC79

    This is JJ Abrams we’re talking about. He’s built his career based on obfuscation and drawing attention to his secrecy; Remember the viral marketing websites for Cloverfield that weren’t at all touched on in the film and didn’t really inform the film by adding more to it? Remember how in the first Trek movie he made the cast wear garbage bags between takes so they wouldn’t be photographed wearing essentially copies of TOS uniforms? This is not a conscious attempt to hide whitewashing- it’s par for the infuriating course for JJ Abrams. I saw a cam video of the end credits that looked authentic but still listed him as “Gary Mitchell.” More obfuscation. But in any event, whitewashing is still what happened. The producer of Star Wars Episode VII had to go on record and say they wouldn’t be doing that for production of that movie.

    There is one thing I have to say in disagreement, and please don’t take offense: I doubt that movie studios are telling writers to re-write the plot of movies so they can hide whitewashing- Christopher Nolan and Abrams are simply secretive directors. If Michael Bay did that, you might be on to something.

    They didn’t hide Tom Hardy as Bane, and I don’t recall anyone being fooled by Marion Cotillard’s casting. And what IM3 hid about Ben Kingsley’s casting is that he is playing Trevor Slattery and that there is no Mandarin- and we knew last year that China’s co-financing of the movie was going to put the kibosh on an Asian actor playing him anyway. Let me be clear that I do not like the end result, just that I don’t ascribe motive to one director’s film when I recognize a pattern that spans across many. That said- in TDKR you’re supposed to think that a kid in a flashback is Bane when it is really Talia. R’as al Ghul was already played by a white actor, so if Talia was a mixed race, Bane would have to be and “Miranda” being mixed race would give away the twist. I know what you were going for, Chris Nolan, but fuck you. He does cast POC in his movies and he even changed a few characters in TDK and TDKR from white in that regard, but it never occurred to him it looked like he was bending over backwards to exclude POC actors?

    Anyway, I just take issue with the whole “Look how much of an effect we had on TLA that a director who is known for obsessive secrecy THIS TIME is doing it to hide whitewashing.” statement. But otherwise a great article, and I don’t disagree on any other points. You just set me off on a rant about how I dislike Abrams for being more of a huckster than a filmmaker- now he annoys me for another reason.

    And let me add- I love little bits of authenticity added to these characters. I loved the authentically Japanese Mako doing the voice of Splinter and the little improvised bit where he was singing to himself in Japanese. This is a HUGE missed opportunity for that. This doesn’t even square with the continuity of the old series, since Khan was still in hibernation when Nero arrived in the past in the last movie.

    One more thing- Khan in this movie looks more like a sneering bad guy who is trying so hard to be malevolent. By virtue of the writing, it looks like they did indeed simplify him to an unsympathetic monster. Oh well.

    • A. Mar

      Oh, the “sneering bad guy” thing has nothing to do with the role. That’s just how Benedict Cumberbatch looks normally.

      • Phil K

        …says someone who’s never seen any of his shows and is trying to pass themselves off as knowledgeable. Its his first bad guy role for a start. Sherlock is a pompous genius. Stephen Hawking a terribly physically twisted and brave genius The list goes on and is varied. Its called talent. No wonder a yank didn’t recognize it

    • nevilleross

      Khan was always an unsympathetic monster anyway, like most Augments are. That hasn’t really changed.

      The rub is, if Abrams had cast a person of color in this movie as Khan, people would be up in arms about that, and they’d be saying that he’s a racist bastard playing into fears about terrorism. At least here, it can be explained that Khan was given plastic surgery to keep him from being arrested, since he’s still a wanted war criminal.

      • Bruce

        I rather see stereotypes than not. Khan is a complex character plus he was created by selective breeding, (a superior being) which I find kind of ironic…I mean white supremacy theory by Hitler is reinforced again by a white actor.

        • nevilleross

          Better than having people’s prejudices and racism confirmed by casting a brown-skinned man of color as the main antagonist and then feeding into the general fear about POC being terrorists like Osama Bin Laden.

          • Venom

            Casting a brown actor is precisely how you fight those prejudices and racism.Letting the audience see him as a fully-realized and developed character. Not to mention the true villain of the story was a white man. It was really a not-so-subtle jab at the US government, to whom these “terrorists” are puppets they use to further their own goals.

            Also the original Khan is brown and nobody thinks of that as racist.

  • DC79

    Oh, and let me add for full disclosure that 2009-2010 was a very busy year for me and I was disconnected from the net a lot and saw very few movies and by this point had no interest in seeing another M Night Shyamalan movie anyway, so maybe I simply didn’t have the time to see how big of an effect your site had. So I will cop to that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Conrad-Szumilas/784322003 Conrad Szumilas

    I’m not a huge Trekkie myself, but casting Cumberbatch as Khan seemed like Abrams way of trying to pull the wool over fanboys’ eyes for a plot twist everybody was guessing and never had any huge payoff.

    Fans: Abrams! Will Khan be in Star Trek 2!?

    Abrams: Uh, no.

    Fans: Abrams! You just cast Benedict Cumberbatch! Is he playing Khan!?

    Abrams: Nah, guys.

    Fans: Abrams! Is Cumberbatch’s “John Harrison” in fact Khan!?

    Abrams: No. Stop asking that.


    Abrams: SURPRISE! It WAS Khan all along!

    • http://twitter.com/BlessedStSean StSeanoftheKnife

      replace “star trek” with “lost” and “is he khan?” with “have they been dead all along?” and it’s jj abrams all over.

      • Wearat

        There is so much wrong with your statement, I just can’t even…

  • http://twitter.com/JenniferLBreier Jennifer L. Breier

    I am a mega Star Trek fan. Yet I am really disappointed by this whitewashing. Actually, I’m angry that a franchise that ostensibly is about a better, more inclusive & progressive human (and alien) society is not taking the opportunities this reboot offers to fix things that were wrong with Star Trek. Instead, wow, I think somethings are going backward.

    • nevilleross

      I’m a big Trekfan, a POC, and I approve of this.

  • http://twitter.com/Fabrisse Fabrisse

    Damn. I thought Cumberbatch was playing Gary Mitchell. I’m so disappointed that they went this route. Especially since these days they could have found a South Asian actor easily.

    • nevilleross

      Since Kirk & Co. didn’t have the Gary Mitchell incident happen to them, why should the producers bring him back in a movie? Especially since the crew of the Enterprise could barely stop him in the prime universe?

      • Fabrisse

        It would have been a truly original story to this universe and it would have avoided the racebending issues.

        • nevilleross

          No, it wouldn’t and since the plotline is about him being a god, it would have ended early anyway and would most likely have been a failure in its telling. Keeping Khan white is a small price to pay for not exaggerating terrorist fears in United States and North American society far more than they already are. Times have changed, Fabrisse, and a brown-skinned bad guy in a major movie won’t really cut it anymore.

          • Fabrisse

            You’ve given me no indication as to why it wouldn’t have been an original story.

            As someone who has lost people to terrorism (IRA), I know that there is no color line for irrational acts. If I were to extrapolate from MY experiences, blue eyed redheads would not be allowed to fly. I think you’re underestimating people.

  • Lance

    While I agree with what the writer is saying, I think that she reveals her own ethnic (I don’t like the term “race” since we are all the human race) ignorance. Ricardo Montalban is actually of as much European heritage as Mr. Cumberbatch. Mr. Montalban was Mexican of wholly Spanish decent. The idea, then, that a white Latin American passes as OK to play the South Asian Khan doesn’t make much sense either

    • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

      The writer of this article does not say that Montalban was an appropriate casting for the role. In fact, she explicitly writes that “it wasn’t perfect.” Back in the 1960s, Hollywood–which did not consider Montalban to be white due to his Mexican origins despite his Spanish heritage– frequently and crudely cast Montalban and other actors to play a variety of characters of color, as if people of color were interchangeable.

      As for Into Darkness, there was an opportunity to cast the character of Khan correctly instead of using a 50 year-old racially insensitive and discriminatory practice.

      • PoppenfreshCrayCray

        The author states “having a brown-skinned man play a brown character was a hard-won victory”, indicating that while Montalban was not a “perfect casting”, he was a more appropriate casting than Cumberbatch in her opinion.

        Lance and I are in agreement to disagree with the author, it seems, on that point. Miscasting an Asian and messing up an opportunity for Hollywood representation of a talented Indian actor is simply that, regardless of if the actor chosen was English, Spanish, or Ethiopian.

      • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

        But they put Montalban in brown makeup for Khan, just as they did Leonard Nimoy when he played a Native American on Gunsmoke.

        I’m not denying that Montlban faced discrimination and might not have been considered “white,” nor am I saying Cumberbatch’s casting is okay… I’m just saying that Montalban’s ethnic status did not make his casting as Khan better.

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          “I’m just saying that Montalban’s ethnic status did not make his casting as Khan better.”

          It actually does and that’s your problem. You dumb the whole situation down. Yes, Montalbán was not ideal but there is a big difference between Montalbán and Cumberbatch. Montalbán did not have the white experience in Hollywood. He experienced discrimination and was hard for him to get roles of any substance. Him playing Khan was a victory in the sense that a person who was not accepted as white was playing a role that had substance. Had the industry then not been discriminatory then Montalbán wouldn’t have needed to accept a role like Khan.

          Cumberbatch in comparison not only has the white experience, he is about as white as someone can be. He has and will continue to have more options and opportunities available to him then people of color working in the industry.

  • gurucat

    “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.”

    Almost all of whom got killed off sometime during the season. Let’s get real.

  • PoppenfreshCrayCray

    Before he was named, Khan’s character was a Nordic Superman whose genetic perfections had nothing to do with his race. Because they needed a villain, wanted to showcase people of color, and was handed to a different writer, Khan was named and given a new race. Which means that the original Khan was a racist character from the beginning, never mind having a white European cast to then re-white-wash the brown-washed character.

    But what really disappoints me about this article is the blatant hatred on show by the author. To wish to see Khan as an Indian is admirable and surely wouldn’t be opposed by anyone with half a brain, since Khan was legitimately re-written to be so and is most famous as that identity. But to prefer the casting of a Latin-European over a Nordic-European for a character who is ASIAN is, to be frank, petty and hateful. Cumberbatch and Montalban are barely different; and just because Cumberbatch is slightly more North than Montalban, and I do mean SLIGHTLY, does not make him any less qualified as part of the European ethnicities to play a man who is Asian.

    As a person of mixed heritage, I’m tired of this game. If we’re going to be upset because Asian’s aren’t properly represented in Hollywood, then, gosh darnit, be upset that Asian’s aren’t properly represented. You’re focus isn’t that a different race was cast in an Asian role, but that a WHITIE was, and that makes you a candidate for the label of racist. Besides which, displaying a double standard that obvious negates any legitimate arguments you might have. Discrimination and bigotry works a two-way street, and pretending otherwise is nonsensical elitism at best.

    • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

      The writer of this article does not say that Montalban was an appropriate casting for the role. In fact, she explicitly writes that “it wasn’t perfect” even though the casting of an actor Hollywood perceived as non-white for the role was considered progressive for the time.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lizzie.biscuit Liz Davidson

        the commenter doesn’t say that the writer thought that the casting of Moltaban was acceptable, they said that the writer thinks it’s MORE acceptable.

      • Hasdi Bravo

        I suppose J.J. should have cast Dev Patel as Khan, since Singh is a South Asian name and Dev looks the part, but then he would be playing a “villain” again despite Zuko as “one with intelligence, depth, complexity”. A Native American actor for Aang isn’t “perfect” either but I don’t see how casting a Chinese actor like Brandon Soohoo for a “Tibetan” character is any better.

        Still, you have to admit that Benedict Cumberbatch looks like a young “white” version of Ricardo Montalbán. If you want someone to look the part, James Kyson Lee looks more Japanese than John Cho despite both being South Korean descent, but George Takei gave John Cho his blessing to play Hikaru Sulu so I am not going to complain.

        Cheers.

        • Raiden

          Zuko in the SHOW had “Intelligence, depth, and complexity”, in the film, he was an insensitive jerk with none of the characterization he had in the series, not to mention the advertising kept focusing on him as the evil villain, (instead of Zhao who was the real evil in the first season). Also, the world of ATLA is based primarily on East Asian culture, so it would only make sense to cast someone of East Asian descent in the lead role to represent it. (Besides, the casting was the least of that films problems.)

          Bottom line, the role of Khan was clearly written/created as an Indian, Not a white guy, (even if a white actor played him). Just like Zuko and Aang were created with East Asian culture and ethnicity in mind, not Indian, or White/Native American. The casting a Non-Japanese East Asian in the role of Sulu is at least believable, but would it be believable if he clearly WASN’T east Asian?

          The original Wrath of Khan may have been cast with a white guy in the title role. But I think we tolerated it because Wrath of Kahn (while enjoyable) was still as inherently campy as anything from the original series. But in the new rebooted Star Trek, which is going for realism as opposed to Camp, I think the casting was irresponsible. Shouldn’t Hollywood at least try to keep the cast authentic to the authors original intent? Which in this case was for the character to clearly be Indian?

          • Hasdi Bravo

            Ricardo Montalbán is white? Please re-read the article and John Cho’s “epic” comment, RaidenRadio, I presume.Clearly you haven’t seen the movie if Zuko in the film is an “insensitive jerk”. I had to put up with whiners who complain that Zuko should not have apologized to Katara but gloat over his victory like in the show. The advertising for Iron Man 3 also kept focusing on Ben Kingsley as the evil villain but look how that turned out. I am sure you have other things to say about how racist Mandarin’s portrayal is, but you also have to take it up with Chris Nolan on Ra’s al Ghul.

            Did it ever occur to you being authentic to the “authors’ original intent” is more irresponsible and racist in post-911 world and (gasp) the recent Boston bombing? If you read the news, Sikhs tend to be mistaken for Muslims so they are targets for retaliation from the American public like Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting. Do you really want an Indian like Dev Patel to play a Sikh terrorist and a mass-murderer? I think Paramount is more concerned of backlash from other grassroots organizations like Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) than newer ones like racebending.com (RBC).

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “Still, you have to admit that Benedict Cumberbatch looks like a young “white” version of Ricardo Montalbán”

            That doesn’t even make any sense.

            “A Native American actor for Aang isn’t “perfect” either but I don’t see how casting a Chinese actor like Brandon Soohoo for a “Tibetan” character is any better.”

            Noah Ringer is not Native American. I looked up his info and it’s quite documented that he is heavily of European descent (i.e. German, English, Scottish, Irish). Whatever Indigenous ancestry he may have is not a lot as he clearly does not look Indigenous at all. He looks white. This is evidenced by the fact that in the very next movie he did (Cowboys & Aliens) he played a white character. He could’ve played an Indigenous character seeing as how the movie had Indigenous characters in it yet he was specifically cast as white. There is a reason for that.

            So yes, Brandon Soohoo would’ve been suitable for the role as he is of Asian descent while Ringer is not.

            “If you want someone to look the part, James Kyson Lee looks more Japanese than John Cho”

            Another comment that makes no sense.

            “I am sure you have other things to say about how racist Mandarin’s portrayal is, but you also have to take it up with Chris Nolan on Ra’s al Ghul.”

            Why kind of a response is that? Who said no one has any issue with Nolan’s whitewashing on the Batman films?

            “Did it ever occur to you being authentic to the “authors’ original intent” is more irresponsible and racist in post-911 world and (gasp) the recent Boston bombing?”

            Did it ever occur to you that what makes any work of fiction irresponsible and racist is not the ethnicity of a character but (gasp) how the character is written? You can have a brown person character have the occupation of a social worker and still be a racist caricature if that is how he/she is written. You can also take an antagonist but make him/her layered and complex which would also allow an actor/actress to show what they truly have.

            Under your logic no nonwhites should ever play villains, even if they are well written, since whites constantly portray nonwhites as negative in media all the time anyway.

            “Do you really want an Indian like Dev Patel to play a Sikh terrorist and a mass-murderer?”

            Do you even realize that you were the only one that even suggested Dev Patel for the role?

          • Hasdi Bravo

            My apologies. Maybe if I write more slowly the relevance of Dev Patel and Noah Ringer will make “more sense”.

            First is the article written by Marissa Lee herself, “Zuko is Evil? – The Marketing of Prince Zuko in “The Last Airbender”“, in which she find it unacceptable for a dark-skinned person like Dev Patel to play a “villian with a heart” like Zuko because of colorism. Under THEIR logic “no nonwhites should ever play villains, even if they are well written“. Yet, she and Marissa Sammy are making an exception of an Indian character like Khan Noonian Singh because “the villain is one with intelligence, depth, complexity”, which I find contradictory. While Zuko is a marketed as a “villian”, he is later revealed as the anti-hero in the course of the movie, a similar deception with the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Apparently, the real objection with Dev Patel is because many ATLA fans considered him “not Asian”, just like Kal Penn. xP

            The second is the article written by Loraine Sammy, “Noah Ringer: American Indian“. If you have citations that he is “heavily of European descent (i.e. German, English, Scottish, Irish)” be sure to let them know and/or edit accordingly on Wikipedia. Their objection is that “people of and communities of color aren’t interchangeable” hence “it wasn’t perfect” to cast Noah Ringer for a “Tibetan” character just like Ricardo Montalbán for a “South Asian” character. Despite his widely publicized Asian looks like this picture close-up, Noah Ringer considered as “white” makes the racism argument more convenient. If you know anything about how Tibetan people looks like, a Chinese actor like Brandon Soo Hoo is no any better than Noah Ringer, unless you believe “people of and communities of color ARE interchangeable”. At least Noah looks more like the Aang character than Brandon.

            When the EW interview came out, others argued that he may be revealing his American Indian heritage because the Emmett Taggart character he is playing in Cowboys & Aliens is also an American Indian descent. Hindsight being 20/20, it is interesting that you now argue the other way, though I do think one of Emmett’s parents being an American Indian is a plot line that is lost in the cutting floor.

          • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

            Under THEIR logic “no nonwhites should ever play villains, even if they are well written“.

            That isn’t our logic, that is your fallacious and inaccurate interpretation of our logic. We have never said that; nor would we want that.

            Ultimately, there isn’t much that we can do to buffer against straw man attacks on our position, but I hope that readers of the website do take the time to try and understand the full context of our positions. We have done our best to clarify where we stand on the impact of these Hollywood casting practices.

          • Hasdi Bravo

            Marissa, I have been arguing that having minorities like Michael Clarke Duncan play a leading role as a villian like the Kingpin is not a bad thing, similarly because the Kingpin also has “intelligence, depth, complexity” and garners “sympathy from the audience” if not from admiration from Daredevil himself. The same goes for Zuko. I am not gloating but annoyed. I am also concerned that considering Khan is also a homicidal terrorist who bombed London, you would make an exception for “colorism” for Khan’s case. With the Muslim terrorists paranoia going on right now, I rather let a WHITE actor than an Indian wearing a turban depict Khan, which can allude to the terrorists in 2005 London bombings. Sadly, a white audience will dismiss a white terrorist as “a few bad apples” like Timothy McVeigh but a non-white terrorist may not. Normally, I’d agree with you but I think it is best to let this one go and ask JJ to have minorities play other leading roles. Of course, I can’t stop you if want to pursue this. You’re not against Jamie Foxx playing Electro too, are you?

          • DC79

            I think the point is is that there are villains who are slobbering psychopaths who are there to kill people and at the end of the movie be killed themselves. That’s most action movies. But there are also villains who have a cause or belief they are fighting for, and you can almost understand their point of view if not their methods. Those same villains can also be likable, almost against your better judgment. The problem seems to be that POC actors mostly only get to play the former, and not the latter, even when examples of the latter should be played by POC actors.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            You’re not arguing with anything new. This whole “let white people play bad guys cause they’ll blame all people of color for this one character in a movie” has been repeated a couple of times here and has been answered already. Scroll around this page of comments to see those replies.

            Speaking of repeating comments, what is it with this “wearing a turban” nonsense? This is the second time I’ve seen this and it doesn’t make any sense. When did the actors playing Khan ever wear a turban?

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “First is the article written by Marissa Lee herself, “Zuko is Evil? – The Marketing of Prince Zuko in “The Last Airbender””, in which she find it unacceptable for a dark-skinned person like Dev Patel to play a “villian with a heart” like Zuko because of colorism.”

            You completely missed one of the major points of that article. The point is, Hollywood typically hires dark skinned people to play antagonist and light skinned people to play protagonists. In the original animated show, Zuko was lighter skinned and Sokka and Katara were darker skinned yet in Shyamalan’s movie it was the reverse. This gets called into question because of the already whitewash casting that took place where whites were hired to play Asians.

            “Yet, she and Marissa Sammy are making an exception of an Indian character like Khan Noonian Singh because “the villain is one with intelligence, depth, complexity”, which I find contradictory.”

            There is nothing contradictory there. The problem is you are dumbing down each case so as to make them similar when each episode has its own traits that don’t make them out to be the one to one you are trying to make them seem as.

            “If you have citations that he is “heavily of European descent (i.e. German, English, Scottish, Irish)” be sure to let them know and/or edit accordingly on Wikipedia.”

            I don’t mess with Wikipedia. In any case, sure. Here is the webpage that details Noah Ringer’s European ethnicity complete with citations to back it up: www.http://ethnicelebs.com/noah-ringer

            “Despite his widely publicized Asian looks like this picture close-up, Noah Ringer considered as “white” makes the racism argument more convenient.”

            “Asian looks”??

            That comment comes across as extremely stupid considering no one from Noah Ringer’s camp ever claimed him to be Asian. He is of European descent as proven by that link I provided. As I said, whatever Native American ancestry he may it is clearly not much because he doesn’t look it.

            “If you know anything about how Tibetan people looks like,
            a Chinese actor like Brandon Soo Hoo is no any better than Noah Ringer, unless you believe “people of and communities of color ARE interchangeable”.”

            First of all, let me point out the irony here that you are suggesting that I may be believing that “people of and communities of color ARE interchangeable” yet here you are arguing that Noah Ringer, who isn’t Asian at all, is suitable to play an Asian character.

            Second, you clearly don’t know what Tibetan’s look like. The fact you think that getting one picture out of Wikipedia makes you an expert makes you look like a fool. You think all Tibetan’s look the same? Here’s another group of Tibetans: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_EE4XwPslovo/R5v-_ZBpEzI/AAAAAAAAAlM/sC1kDrkzue4/s1600/tibetans.jpg

            Brandon Soo Hoo wouldn’t look out of place in that group at all.

            “At least Noah looks more like the Aang character than Brandon.”

            No, he doesn’t.

            I find it absolutely bizarre that you think a kid that you keep claiming is Native American, who really is (at least mostly) of European descent, is better suited to play an Asian (who Ringer has absolutely no ancestry of) than a full blooded Asian like Brandon Soo Hoo.

            “Hindsight being 20/20, it is interesting that you now argue the other way, though I do think one of Emmett’s parents being an American Indian is a plot line that is lost in the cutting floor.”

            There is no hindsight. You are just flat out making up theories out of thin air.

          • http://www.facebook.com/gabrial.canada Gabrial Canada

            On the tibettan point. We did an article full of photos Tibettans have taken of themselves to document their daily lives in part in response to the groupon controversey a few years back and also to provide visual context of Tibettan culture something which airbender also has a close relationship to: http://www.racebending.com/v4/featured/joe-mickey-tibetan-photo-project/ and I would also think of a Tibettan actress such as Dichen lachman as an example of talented tibettan in Hollywood:http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1901842/

          • nuggety

            It’s funny because Shyamalan is a PoC, and you’re acting as if his casting choices are part of some white conspiracy. So what is it: is a PoC being racist, or is Shyamalan secretly (plot twist!) a white man?

          • Venom

            That would mean that the original portrayals of this character resulted in a spark of hate crimes against Indians/Arabs and/or Latinos, and has widely been criticized over the decades for fostering racism.

          • Raiden

            Isn’t it a bit presumptuous to associate a religion with Skin tone? Not every Christian is White, Not Every Catholic is Hispanic, not every Buddhist is Asian, not every Muslim is Middle Eastern. Unlike Skin Tone or Gender, religion is a choice. And Since the Star Trek universe is inherently Humanist, and supposedly outgrew religion when it made first contact, I do not think many audience members would even consider Khan a “Muslim or Sikh” Terrorist regardless of his skin tone, considering said religions probably do not even exist in the Star Trek universe anymore. If it really is that big an Issue and would supposedly cause Anti-Sikh and Muslim Sentiment, change Kahn’s religion, not his ethnicity.

            It is true I haven’t seen the Airbender movie in a while, so I suppose I could be misremembering things. But from what I remember Zuko in the Shymalan film doesn’t display the same intelligence as he did in the series. Not to mention unlike his series counterpart, Dev Patel’s Zuko was not as interesting or Compelling as Dante. I feel he was horribly miscast, regardless of his ethnicity. (although that still doesn’t excuse casting an inherently East Asian character with a Non East Asian actor.)

            Comment above edited.

    • Loraine Sammy

      Perception based on the color of one’s skin does go a long way in Hollywood. The media is visual and therefore skin color speaks volumes on screen. There are many instances of this throughout cinema history. I don’t think there’s any doubt that this article doesn’t reflect the need to have more Asian actors in more roles, particularly ones scripted to be Asian.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      PoppenfreshCrayCra, you’re ignorant of facts. Cumberbatch and Montalban are NOT barely different. Actually look into Montalban’s history. Don’t just go, “Oh, he’s parents were Spanish and that’s in Europe and that means they are the same exact white.” Montalban was a dark skinned man. He experienced discrimination in Hollywood. He specifically commented on it during his life and went as far as creating an organization to try and help Latinos out who were experiencing discrimination. Cumberbatch experienced no such thing and will experience no such thing.

      And I am not saying that Montalban’s casting as an Asian character was perfect but to group him in as being exactly the same as Cumberbatch dumbs down the whole issue immensely. It’s far more layered than you realize.

      • Maripoya

        I think the issue is that White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASP/Aryans) do consider their group to be superior to other whites (Latin [Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians], Slavs, Catholic [or Muslim] ethnic groups). This adds another layer of complexity when we discuss race that is rarely explored.

        In a modern U.S., where the population of WASP is dropping exponentially, men like Montalban–who in the past would have been considered lesser, in-pure, or even of color–are now in the 21st century finding themselves socially added to a category that includes an expanded definition of whiteness.

        The casting in Hollywood is reflecting this change; many white roles are filled with actors and actresses with Latin last names, but each individual character is clearly positioned and meant to be seen as traditionally white (WASP) by the audience.

        • Maripoya

          What I am trying to point out is that whiteness is not a fixed category, but over time expands or contracts in direct response to societal changes.

          For example, I am an Afro-Latina; meaning that while in the United States the term Latino is often used as a type of short-hand for a racial category, this usage is incorrect. Latinos include whites, blacks, indigenous people, Asians (many Chinese immigrants), Indians (from India), biracial individuals, etc. The same pattern of immigration that marks U.S history–European colonization, slavery, import of labor from Eastern Europe, India, and China, interracial unions–also took place in Latin America.

          In the past, white Latinos, like our friend Mr. Montalban, would have both been categorized as other and not eligible for many roles due to this fact. Now, let’s take Cameron Diaz as an example of the expansion of whiteness in Hollywood. Cameron is a Latina; however, I doubt when she is cast in a role the audience is meant see her as “Latina”(US short-hand for a racial category). Instead, Cameron is meant to be viewed as a white woman (of Latin background). I’ve noticed that she is cast in roles where the audience can accept her as a perfectly legitimate stand-in for WASP.

          Race is much more complicated than the simplistic categories we are asked to check off on forms, and I’d enjoy seeing this reflected more within discussions about race in the media we consume.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            You’re going off on a tangent. Diaz is an exception not the norm of your claim of Latinos playing so called “WASPs”. Latinos are as marginalized as other nonwhites. There is no attempt by Hollywood to reflect any kind of diversity in society’s make-up.

            Whether or not Montalban would’ve been considered white in this day and age is not the point. During his lifetime he was not. This is important because giving what is arguably Montalban’s most well known role to someone like Cumberbatch who is about as “white” as one can be is insulting to Montalban’s memory and the work put into breaking down the discrimination barriers over the years that Hollywood has put up. It shows that those that whitewash in Hollywood know no bounds. Those in Hollywood will whitewash even areas in media that were considered to be spots where some kind of progress could’ve been found.

          • Maripoya

            But, Latino is not a race it is an ethnic group made up of many different races. Diaz is not an exception but a white Latina who is finally being let into the general category of whiteness once denied white Latins like Montalban in the past. I agree at the time of his being given the role of Khan he would have been considered a man “not really white.” However, my point again is that race is not a static category and changes over time as society changes and populations fluctuate. Would Martin Sheen need to change his name if he was pursuing acting today as a young man? Or why did only a name change suffice to get him roles denied to him previously?

            It matters because the conversation about the “whitewashing” of any role should include the changes in demographics we see today in the U.S that affect who the society and Hollywood see as white and who is still marginalized. Why are some roles always off limit? Does Abrams see himself moving the role from a man of color to a WASP or does he see the role moving from a white Latino playing a man of color to a WASP? These questions are important and add nuance to the overall discussion.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            This whole “Latino is not a race” campaign is quite misguided and it is run by primarily two groups. One, whites who want to have their cake and eat it too and nonwhites who are clueless about white supremacy.

            The grand majority of people in Latin America are not white. This is why someone like Cameron Diaz is an exception. Yes, it is true that race is not a fixed definition. This is after all
            because race is a social construct. However, this has no relevance here. Diaz and Montalban do not look anything alike. Diaz looks like you said, a WASP. Montalban does not. Had Diaz lived in the same era as Montalban she would’ve still been accepted as a white person. Had Montalban grown up in this era he would’ve still experienced the discrimination he faced in his era. Your analysis on this is simply not accurate.

            As far as Martin Sheen goes, why don’t we look at his sons? One kept his real family name (Estevez) and the other changed his name to go with his father’s stage name. Which son has had more financial success in the business?

          • Andre

            Nobody denies that being anglo gives you priviliges, but it is true that “latino” refers not to biology but to culture. However it is also true that it is treated as though it refers to biology and that is part of the problem. Since people think it refers to biology they have totally screwed up ideas about what latino even means. And does it even apply to one ethnicity? Isn’t it actually several?

          • Maripoya

            I am not backing the whole “Latino is not a race” campaign because I support white supremacy. I know personally that it isn’t a race because I am both Black and Latina. Latina is my ethnic group and Black is my racial category.

            Also I picked Cameron Diaz because like Ricardo Montalban, her ancestors in Latin America were immigrants from Spain. In fact, both his parents were first generation immigrants. Europeans as far as I know are certainly racialized as white.

            Are we going to start saying that actors from Spain (Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem) are a separate race than actors from France (Olivier Martinez)or actors from Italy (Sofia Loren) are a different race entirely than actors from Austria (Christoph Waltz)??????

            Too often conversations around casting and race are forced to fit into narrow, simplistic narratives that neatly wrap around the framework White supremacy has built over many centuries. I think exploring the complications,intricacies, nuances of identities offers up a much more complex critique of our visual media.

          • Venom

            Yes it is a race. You don’t act in film/TV, do you? Because Hispanic is in fact specifically designated as a seperafe racial category, and casting follows suit. And in countless other places. Everything from dating sites to government policies (remember Arizona?) consider it a race.

            Race is about appearance, not name. Do you honestly think anyone who doesn’t know her surname looks at Cameron Diaz and thinks “Hispanic”? By your logic Whoopi Goldberg and Jenna Ushkowitz are white women.

            Finally no, we are not out of the name changing era. Just ask Oscar Isaac, Kal Penn, Thom Bishops…

          • Maripoya

            Cameron Diaz and Gina Torres are Cubanas and both fall under the ethnic group Latina. However, both are also racialized differently, one as White and one as Black.

            By trying to make Latino a race you are placing a stereotypical idea of this ethnic group at the forefront of your argument. For example, Eva Longoria is Mexican and also part of the Latina ethnic group, along with fellow actresses Carmen and Gina, but is racialized differently(Mestiza)from her fellow Latinas. I am only trying to point out that in North America it is common to treat the term Latino as a short-hand for race, when in fact Latin America is comprised of people from many different racial groups. In the recent history of the U.S, actors like Martin Sheen (a white Latino) had to change his name to get any roles, but Cameron Diaz is able to keep the surname Diaz and be given star treatment. And I am also pointing out that if a Latino only has to change a name to get a role, then this points to the fact that it isn’t a racial category because name changing is not an option for the other non-White racial groups that share the same ethnicity.

            I myself am an Afro-Latina and by your argument I don’t exist; I am a figment of my own imagination. Would I be harassed in Arizona? Perhaps, but not because I am a Latina, but instead due to the fact that I am also black.

          • Venom

            *I* am not trying to do anything. It is already a race regardless of how you or I feel about that. You even prove it when bringing up Eva Longoria. And she and those like her are NOT being accepted as white, so your claim that they are is completely bogus and unfounded.

            BTW Martin Sheen is not “Latino”. That term specifically means from Latin America, a region he has no ties to. Let’s not forget that he is also half Irish (same for Cameron Diaz who is German).

          • nuggety

            Yeah, Latinos are glorious BBW PoCs up until they shoot a black kid. Then they’re white, right?

        • vontux

          No group is a monolith. “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASP/Aryans) do consider their group to be superior to other whites” this statement is ridiculous. I’m sure some “WASPS” may think that but to suppose that all do is moronic.

      • kete

        But that’s a problem only the USA seems to have. No European would ever consider Italian or Spanish people as anything other than white Europeans.

      • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

        But they did Brownface Montalban, at least in Space Seed. He was not that dark skinned in real life.

        This was a time when Charles Bronson (of Russian descent) played Native Americans and Yul Brynner (also Eastern European) played the king of Siam..

    • Marissa Sammy

      You’ve set up a strawman argument here.

      Montalban was the son of Spanish immigrants in Mexico, yes. So you can say that he is also technically white, yes. Spanish-speaking, Mexican-born white.

      …and he was cast in role after role of Latin Lover, Red Indian, or Oriental (to use the stereotypical terms for the tropes). He was coded by Hollywood as a brown man, because he was Mexican.

      What I am addressing in the article is the importance of visual ethnic representation. In his era, Montalban represented the brown, not the white; his casting as Khan sent viewers the visual, cognitive message that Khan was a brown, Indian man.

      Cumberbatch, on the other hand, is not coded as anything other than white. When viewers see him, they won’t interpret and understand the character as being a brown-skinned Indian man. They will see a white man named Khan.

      That’s the difference, and it is considerable.

      • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

        Nimoy was also cast as “red Indian..,”

      • Matthew Weise

        This is a difference, of course.

        While I am not defending the casting of Cumberbatch, I am concerned with how arguments like this seem to perpetuate the problematic ambiguities of how America constructs (and specifically conflates) race/color/ethnicity. Is being constructed as a POC by Hollywood the same thing as being a POC? Maybe so, but even if it is, is it all the time? Is Antonio Banderas a POC when Hollywood constructs him that way in Zorro, but not when he’s in the latest Almodovar movie in Spain? If you are fair-skinned, could pass for white on sight, but other things about you (your name, your accent) mark you as Latino, and you suffer the same discrimination as someone else for being brown skinned, does that make you a POC anyway? Is that why we conflate ethnicity and skin color, because their effects can be the same? Is effect what’s important? Is it the only important thing? Or is it some intersection of effect and other elements?

        I am *not* meaning to be dismissive here. I do not believe any of these questions should be used to *dismiss* the discrimination someone like Montalban actually faced. But can’t we acknowledge discrimination against Latinos, criticize Abrams for his casting, AND acknowledge what’s problematic about a fair-skinned Latino actor of Castilian heritage darkening his skin with make-up in order to play an Indian… even if it was in the 60s?

        I guess my objection is you seem to criticize Abrams by apologizing for Roddenberry. Can’t they both be racist in different ways? And can’t we recognize different kinds of prejudice *precisely*, by trying to untangle the relationship between race, color, and ethnicity, rather than leaving it as murky as racists do when it happens to suit our anti-racism arguments?

      • Phil K

        No it isn’t. There was a character in Deep Space 9 – the doctor. He was British with a plummy english accent and white. He was also of Arab and muslim extraction. His name he goes by now is Alexander Siddig. His birth name was: Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi…..I can understand why he changed his name.
        I live near a sikh family. They don’t wear turbans and Mundeep, one of the lads, has blueish eyes, and a white skin.

        Lots of the kind of presumption and putting people into pigeonholes that you’d scream “racist” at if someone else said it in a slightly different context

  • Venom

    Remember also The Undiscovered Country, where Christopher Plummer was the villain but named Chang and wore makeup much more akin to yellowface than how the other Klingons look (complete with a Fu Manchu).
    Anyway, I guess it’s safe to say that the even number rule no longer holds.

    • DC79

      If it means anything, they gave Plummer less makeup than the other actors at his request.

      • Hyatt

        Specifically, he wanted to look more like the TOS series Klingons, not the movie Klingons.

    • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

      All Klingons had similar mustaches…

  • http://www.facebook.com/lizzie.biscuit Liz Davidson

    I actually have to differ with the writer on the last point: “Racebending.com has always pointed out that villains are generally played by people with darker skin, and that’s true … unless the villain is one with intelligence, depth, complexity. One who garners sympathy from the audience, or if not sympathy, then — as from Kirk — grudging admiration.”

    In “Olympus Has Fallen” (I didn’t like that movie but it illustrates my point well) the villain is Korean, but is as complex as ever: he lost his mother when they traveled from North to South Korea, his young mind was then brainwashed and he had the intelligence to make the White House believe he was a peace envoy but still prepare his hostile takeover.

    Also in “Oz the Great and Powerful” Mila Kunis (A Jewish Eastern European, they are subjected to just as much racism as non-whites) was cast as the Wicked Witch of the West and the character was so sympathetic a lot of people were stating in their reviews how much they sympathised with her.

    So white, privileged people aren’t the only ones who are written as intelligent, sympathetic villains.

    Also often in film and television (exceptions being films and television shows actually made here) the Scot is represented as an alcoholic, abusive, gangster…wanna talk about that?

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      I can’t speak for Olympus Has Fallen as I haven’t seen it, but the claim that Jews “are subjected to just as much racism as non-whites” is simply not true. It’s no secret that many of the important people in power in Hollywood are of Jewish decent. The same goes for directors, producers and actors. In fact, many of the very films that are overtly racist were made by those of Jewish decent (e.g. The Hangover movies which have Ken Jeong playing an incredibly racist and demeaning portrayal of an Asian man were directed by a man of Jewish decent).

      Also, look how many movies are produced in Hollywood that deal with Jewish plight. Yet how come so few movies have been made about slavery and when there is it usually has a white savior (e.g. Django Unchained)? And how come there hasn’t been not one movie made about the Japanese American internment during WW2? And if one does get made, you can bet yourself there will be a white savior.

      While there is very much antisemitism, Jews do not experience anywhere near the amount of discrimination as nonwhites do and are not deprived in media like nonwhites are. And like I said before, many times these incidents of whitewashing and racist portrayals of nonwhites are being executed those of Jewish descent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/omoizele.okoawo Omoizele Oz Okoawo

    I think Abram’s was going to catch fire for it no matter what he did. Either folks were going to say that it was wrong of him to make Khan brown skinned ,since that’s all it seems to take in America for a person to go from murderer to terrorist, or they were going to call it whitewashing.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      “I think Abram’s was going to catch fire for it no matter what he did.”

      No, he wasn’t.

      Make the character have depth and not be a stereotype and there won’t be backlash.

      • DC79

        Make the character have depth and not be a stereotype and there won’t be backlash.””

        Look at the writers. Now you see the problem there.

      • http://www.facebook.com/omoizele.okoawo Omoizele Oz Okoawo

        Movie doesn’t come out till next week. Makes it a bit difficult to judge’ depth of character tll you’ve seen it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/gabrial.canada Gabrial Canada

        You mean don’t turn a person of color into a stereotypical snarling brittish villain that is pretty much cannon fodder in every movie with the potential to require a maniacal laugh or a plot to take over the world/universe?

    • Hyatt

      OR he could have avoided the entire firestorm by *gasp* not using Khan as the villain!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabrial.canada Gabrial Canada

    Ricardo Montaboln on difficulty finding roles because of his ethnicity and he helped to create the Nosotros Foundation to help showcase talented young latinos in the performing arts something he didn’t have growing up or starting his career. http://web.nosotros.org/

    I would also like to point out not just that Cumberbatch is white. But his name is freaking Cumberbatch? Can you invent a more pasty name? Sir Reginold Bondsworth perhaps.

    • uberwekkness

      Love that part of being “more white” involves a knighthood. Giggling like a moron over here.

      • Phil K

        Just a fool dribbling racist nonesense (odd how mirror image racist raving suddenly ISN’T racism because it’s against a white erudite englishman of massive talent)

  • Juanita Harris

    Truth hurts. Hollywood is racist. Always has been. I didn’t know that Cumberbatch is playing Khan. It makes no sense. But then again, I don’t remember Lt. Uhura being so ‘high yellow’ either. Hollywood doesn’t dare let people of color into the fray. They’re afraid they’ll take over. Look who’s comin’ to dinner anyone??

    • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

      Zoe Saldana is Dominican and Puerto Rican… Anyway Nichelle Nichols approves of the casting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1086999809 David Alexander Harrison

    I trust you will be equally irate when “Man of Steel” shows Perry White being played by Lawrence Fishburne… Oh, you won’t? What a surprise(!) ¬_¬

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      First, you are actually equating the importance of a character like Khan with a character like Perry White who barely figures in the majority of Superman’s stories.

      Second, read more articles on this website. You’ll learn that white actors are disproportionally casted for roles especially lead roles and nonwhites are heavily marginalized. This means that a character being changed from nonwhite to white does not affect whites in the slightest meanwhile changing a role from nonwhite to white does hurt nonwhites.

    • Venom

      Uh..
      -That character is extremely insignificant. Probably won’t have more than 90 sec of screentime.
      -That incident has already garnered much more irate response than anything this site has ever addressed.
      -These situations just aren’t comparable http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwgNh3tKXjE

  • http://www.facebook.com/realerthanthou Robin Kunstman

    Change his name to Cannes and it works.

  • http://twitter.com/MatthewMHoffman Matthew Hoffman

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it that way. You made two points that, in my mind, cripple your argument. And let me say I totally acknowledge racism exists today. Just not here. Point One: You say it’s doubly disappointing that J. J. Abrams – who has a history of going out of his way to cast people of color – would miss the mark here. I would argue his record proves he didn’t whitewash here. Considering the quality of his body of work, I’ll trust he had a good reason for it. Point Two: You talk about the obfuscation surrounding the production of this film. That’s how J. J. Abrams works. He is simply the most secretive director out there, and I enjoy that. He doesn’t want everyone to know what his movies are about before they even purchase the ticket. He wants you to be surprised, and with the world the way it is, he has to bury his movies like the gold in Fort Knox just to make sure the public doesn’t know his secrets. I too am sorry Abrams didn’t adhere to Kahn’s original back story. I don’t know why that decision was made, but I’ll bet there is a reason. Perhaps it’s on the cutting room floor. But I just can’t believe Abrams has suddenly turned into a closet racist. With Respect, Ma’am.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      ” Point One: You say it’s doubly disappointing that J. J. Abrams – who
      has a history of going out of his way to cast people of color – would
      miss the mark here. I would argue his record proves he didn’t whitewash
      here.”

      At best, this is an expression of faith. However, faith is not evidence. The facts are clear: Khan is a POC. Abrams did not cast a POC for the role. POC are marginalized in Hollywood. Whitewashing a POC character hurts POC working in the industry. Abrams hurt POC.

      And there is no such thing as having “a good reason” to continue to systematically marginalize nonwhites.

      As far as Abrams’ track record goes in terms of supposedly “going out of his way to cast people of color”, he is nothing impressive. In fact, he is exactly the same as everyone else in Hollywood. The only project he was involved that had any sort of significant inclusion of POC was Lost. That’s a total of one show. Every show he has made with the exception of one has had whites as the leads and nonwhites as best token characters. The one show he did that did have POC as the leads was Undercovers that was soon canceled which Abrams has admitted in an interview in the past that he didn’t try his best on. How convenient that the one time Abrams did not try his best on a show of his happened to be the one that had POC as the leads. Abrams since then has not made another show with POC as the leads and has no plans to make another one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gabrial.canada Gabrial Canada

      I’ve seen it. Its not a big secret. They still wouldn’t have known who he was if he was black or brown or green for cripes sake. The name was enough for plot purposes. The mystery isn’t who John Harrison is. It is more complicated than that and doesn’t hinge on race. He cold have been a poc. And because this is trek a poc telegraphs nothing! Fans worked out he was Khan any way.

  • http://twitter.com/Hagalazii ⓑⓔⓔMinionⓙⓔⓡⓐⓝ

    disgusting how i ran into this discussion when all i wanted was to look up something on the actor who got the best critical acclaims from out of all the actors in this movie.

    if he did a bad job, you could at least say the role should have gone to someone else. someone who would have done better but only didn’t get his job because of the color of their skin.

    does anyone here have any insider informations that they didn’t also had a colored actor in mind for this role. does anyone actually know that they never considered this option? if you do, please teach me better. i don’t say my opinion can’t be chanced but until then i will be convinced that the best man got the job.

    I hope they didn’t choose him for his skin color.

    just as i hope noone of you tries to imply that they wish for another actor just because they didn’t like the skin color

    these ethical standards are like a quick spinning coin and im sure we will never find out if its heads or tails

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      You should take the time to read at least some of the articles on this site. Particularly, go read their FAQs.

      In terms of your comments here, the most suitable would be their FAQ on Hollywood casting which can be found here: http://www.racebending.com/v4/faq/questions-about-hollywood-casting/

    • happyappa

      lol this comment is totally like how some people think pocs who get into colleges are only there because of affirmative action and not because they were smart and deserved to be there.

      the “best man” who got the job to play a south asian man was white…. ok….

    • Sephirajo

      Would you like a shovel to dig this hole of yours? Cumberbunns didn’t get the role because he was the best actor. They didn’t even BOTHER looking at POC. Also I have to side eye the hell out of anyone who uses the word “colored” like that. Um….

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    Find me where I painted all Jews in a box. I replied to the comment Liz Davidson made which was this, “Also in “Oz the Great and Powerful” Mila Kunis (A Jewish Eastern
    European, they are subjected to just as much racism as non-whites)”

    That is flat out false. Mila Kunis does not experience any sort of discrimination at the level of nonwhites.

    “Also that jews are somehow very powerful and control the media is an antisemitic myth, please don’t go there.”

    Antisemitic myth, huh? Then you should take that to Jewish American writer Joel Stein who wrote the piece, “How Jewish is Hollywood?”. Here is the first paragraph of his article:

    “I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has
    gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.”

    According to Mr. Stein, you are dumb for trying to argue that Jews have little power and control in Hollywood.

    And sorry, Holocaust movies are not the same way as nonwhite plight movies. Just compare Inglorious Basterds with Django Unchained. Tarantino scripted IB so that the Shoshana character took full control of her situation to get revenge against the Nazis and she did so without the help of any non-Jews. Tarantino even went as far as to twist history so that Jews got to kill Hitler. Yet, when Tarantino makes Django Unchained he makes it into a white savior movie. He even goes as far as to specifically designate who gets to kill who. Fox’s character never kills any important powerful white character. He kills lackeys and bottom of the barrel whites. It is his white savior that kills the powerful white men in the movie and even is the one who gives Fox’s character permission to kill at times.

    “If you’re not a jew you have no place to point out how jews are ‘less’ oppressed than other people or how we’re somehow more powerful.”

    But Jews get to point out how they are just as oppressed as nonwhites and claim they are not as powerful as other people?

    Sorry. That’s not going to fly.

    All one has to do is look at a list of the top actors and actresses in Hollywood. There are more Jews than nonwhites even though Jews are considerably less in population than nonwhites in the U.S.

    As I said before, yes there is antisemitism and it is wrong. This isn’t antisemitism though. It is making a clear statement that Jews do not experience anywhere near the same amount of discrimination as nonwhites and to claim so is not only false but deceitful when it is clear as day that Jews in media have far more representation and are given far more opportunities than nonwhites.

    • SillyHair

      I’m freaking telling you that not all jews are white. There are tons of poc jews who experiences both racism and antisemitism but you don’t see them anywere in the media do you? I’m not calling you out because of the Mila Kunis comment I’m calling you out because of the comments you have made on this page were you deliberately pointed out that several people were jews and how racist they were as if white jews were more racist than other white people. There are many racist white jews just as there are many racist white people.

      And no I’m not saying that jews are more or as opressed as poc. There is something called intersectionality. I’ll say it plainly to you why the U.S. likes their holocaust movies. Because they can pretend they are the good guys who came to save us. Any movie about slavery will force them to feel awful and guilty.

      And no jews don’t control the media. A simple google search about common forms of antisemitism could tell you this.

      It’s completely pointless trying to decide which opressed group that is the most opressed especially since a person can belong to several of them which is why intersectionality is so important.

      • SnapIntoASlimJim

        Not once did I ever write or even imply that “white jews were more racist than other white people”. That’s your own invention.

        I have made it clear more than once what the point of my comments on this was. This is what I wrote in my first reply to Liz Davidson, “Jews do not experience anywhere near the amount of discrimination as nonwhites do and are not deprived in media like nonwhites are”. And let me also make clear I am talking about the media and the U.S. since that is what this website concentrates on. Politics in other countries isn’t the concern here.

        You shouldn’t have ignored the response to the Mila Kunis comment because it gave away the direction I was taking my comments. Nonwhite Jews are obviously not who I am referring to. Nonwhites are nonwhites no matter what religion they practice or region of the world they come from.

        Your theory that “the U.S. likes their holocaust movies” because “they can pretend they are the good guys who came to save us” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As I said before, the Jewish character of Shoshana in Inglorious Basterds did not the help of any non-Jew. She took control of the entire situation and executed her revenge against the Nazis. Django Unchained though actually does have a white savior which is designed to make whites feel that they saved blacks. That Lincoln movie that came out last year also served to push that point even though the truth is that slavery was not abolished in the U.S. for any moral reason.

        Jews do have much power and control in the media. Ignoring Joel Stein’s article where he makes that evident doesn’t make your argument more credible nor does stamping “antisemitism” on something make it so. It doesn’t take a genius to just look up the top actors and actresses along with producers and directors and studio heads to note that many of them are of Jewish descent and are far more numerous than nonwhites despite Jewish people being far less in numbers in the U.S. population than nonwhites. Also, nonwhites cannot get their stories told as easily as Jews can in media.

        That’s why one can say definitively that Jews are not oppressed as nonwhites are in U.S. media. Trying to claim otherwise is deceitful and it only serves to confuse the issue.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    Nice try but no cigar.

    How about having Cumberbatch not play Khan and play an original villain that wasn’t a POC? They had no problem creating an original Star Trek villain for Eric Bana to play in the last movie.

    • Brian Turner

      Indeed, I never even realised Cumberbatch was supposed to be playing Khan until mentioned here. It’s just another example of the continued contempt Star Trek’s own producers have for things such as, um, continuity and story history.

  • Andre

    In my eyes its not just the whitewashing of playing Khan but also the general casting. How in all hell can I take Khan seriouly if he is played by this pale-face thta looks as though he is about to sneeze all the time?
    And I think even worse might be that guys like Abrams really think that their work is progressive, that we are post-race but we are not. The same problem on Teen Wolf. Jeff Davis wanted to create a world without racism and the like but he downright fails. He is not as bad as Glee but he himself seems to reverting to stereotypes when it comes to non-pale Anglos. Or POCs are completely exchangeable, like the “Amazons” in Breaking Dawn Part 2 or speaking of something connected to that franchisse: Booboo Stewart will play an Apache in the next X-Men film. Well apparently they have really no problem with redface, not surprising after casting Depp as Tonto.

  • jubilantia

    Well, that sucks. If you’re going to cast a white guy, at least don’t try to re-do one of the best Trek movies. I love Benedict Cumberbatch, but I would much rather have them stay true to the spirit of the original character, and get some more diversity up in that starship.

  • KJKJ

    Could any of you bother to watch the Star Trek original series episode Space Seed before you start blathering on?

    The only person in the episode who says Khan is probably a sikh is an historian (not medical personnel) who is looking longingly at his perfection through glass.

    It is clearly stated that Khan and his crew were created by a misguided band of geneticist who cross bred and genetically modified their creations. Please pay attention because this is important! These scientists took all the DNA from the whole of Planet Earth and put it together to make the smartest, strongest, finest example of a human being that they could make.

    In 1966 when it was written, and early 1967, when Space Seed aired, people of different racial backgrounds could not get married in more than half of US states. However, those same people could be arrested for living together. We still had an all white Supreme Court. People were still getting lynched.

    Gene Roddenberry, with balls of brass, got up on national tv and said, “hey people, if a geneticist took all the best DNA from planet Earth and put it together to make the best human the world has ever seen – he wouldn’t be a white guy.”

    That was huge. There were places where he would have been strung up for making such a statement – there still are, unfortunately.

    So stop whining about whether Montalban was perfectly cast as Asian or no – he was cast as racially ambigous – on purpose.

    This is why I find the casting of a white actor in this role to be so repugnant. They are not whitewashing an Asian role, they are saying that the best genetic material that the entirety of this world and it’s diversity has to offer….still comes from a white guy.

    Again. Some more. Still.

    Thank you for your time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maricruz-Villalobos-Zamora/100000331523296 Maricruz Villalobos Zamora

      Okay, that’s worse! Way, way worse! (Thanks for pointing this out, btw)

      • Raiden

        Good post, very good post, could you put this on Tumblr?

    • HopeyChangey

      People named “Singh” are Sikhs. End of story.

      • kete

        As he had no parents, where would he get his family name from? I take it that his three names may be the names of his “fathers”, the scientists who created him. But that wouldn’t make him a Sikh, neither genetically nor otherwise.

        • Oren Leifer

          Good point. That means that at least one of the people who created him, or maybe just the one person who created him, was a Sikh.

      • Raiden

        Sikhism is a religion, not a race of people. Religion as we know it today doesn’t even exist in the Star Trek universe. Since that is the case there should
        be no problem with an Indian actor playing a Non-Sikh
        Character.

        • HopeyChangey

          I never said anything about that. I said people named “Singh” are Sikhs and they are. I’ve been to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, cut me some slack. They mostly comprise a number of closely related ethnic groups centered in Punjab state, and Whitey Whiterton isn’t one of them. Having said that, anyone can be a Sikh but they pretty much come from that NW part of India. The issue is whether Khan was a Sikh (he is) and whether Sikhs are white (they’re not). They’re not Spaniards either. They should’ve made Kirk over with a giant turban and beard and handlebar mustache and dagger and horsetail fly swatter that never leaves his side. One the other hand, I don’t think there were a lot of guys from Iowa in the India SF film Ra.One, so you win some and lose some.

        • Phil K

          The hypocrisy and double standards over this is ridiculous.
          Not a bloody word over Heimdall being black.
          Not a word over Nich Fury suddenly becoming black
          Worst of all – some PC insanity in “Elementary” where they’ve made Watson and Moriarty into WOMEN. A spit in the face of Sir A.C. Doyle to please PC ranters

          • Venom

            Is this post a joke? First of all, those cases gotten much more hate than this one. And secondly, it’s been repeatedly made clear why the situations are completely different.

          • Red Wolf

            WHY are they different? Explain. In detail.

          • Venom
          • Robert Peterson

            For the 200,000th time, Ultimate Nick Fury is Black and the Cinematic Marvel Universe or whatever it’s called, is based in the Ultimate Marvel Universe. I wish people would stop using that Fury analogy because it’s irrelevant.

      • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

        He had a Muslim first name, Chinese middle name, and a Sikh last name… It was essentially an orientalist view of the “other.”

        • valondar

          He was named after Kim Noonien Singh, a man Gene Roddenberry knew during World War II (who was Sikh). Roddenberry had lost contact with him and sort of included the name as a calling card.

          • Phil K

            I understood his name was Carl Noonien Singh

      • Eustace Cromartie

        Star Trek is set in the far future where names are not exclusively race related. End of story. LOL>

      • Phil K

        He was named after Rodenberry’s friend CARL Noonien Singh. End of.

        • Martin Velez

          The man was from British India. It’s entirely possible that he was named in a British manner.

          Khan is said to specifically be from the Punjab. Now, Punjabis are a bit on the light side as far as Indians go, but they’re not Benedict Cumberbatch-white. (No offense to the excellent Frumious Bandersnatch.)

    • Alyssa

      Important trivia to point out. Benicio Del Toro was originally cast as Khan but he had to back out three weeks before shooting. Steven Spielberg was the one who suggested that Benedict Cumberbatch be cast as the role. No one argues with Steven fucking Spielberg.

      • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

        After “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” Spielberg became an expert at the casting and depiction of South Asian people.

        • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

          The depiction may be questionable, but Spielberg’s casting was not. He chose two great Indian actors, Amrish Puri and Roshan Seth, and got great performances from them.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            And how many lines and screen time did Amrish Puri and Roshan Seth get?

            And speaking of Temple of Doom, you gotta love how Spielberg cast that Chinese kid in the movie only to be running around being a racist caricature. Like when he was stepping on bugs and yells, “Feels like I step on fortune cookie!”

            Gotta love them white (hypocritical) liberals like Steven Spielberg.

          • Phil K

            Talking out of your bigotted backside, which doesn’t create valid points.
            Don’t see too many white faces in Bollywood do you ?
            Black directors have had their time, if they’re good they succeed. Same with actors. That few do says more about the scarcity of REAL talent rather than any bias.
            So….western movies should change, and Asian movies shouldn’t.
            Usual double standards tripe I expect from hypocrites like yourself

          • Venom

            Then why is it that plenty of mediocre and horrible whites can succeed? It’s like what Chris Rock said: they wouldn’t let a black C student manage a Burger King but a white C student can be President of the United States.

      • nuggety

        Del Toro would be a great Khan, if you want Khan to look like a Unix guru.

      • Lola Guin

        Benicio Del Toro is white, so it wouldn’t make a difference if people are upset about Khan’s race. He’s Hispanic (an ethnic designation) and white (a racial designation). Hispanic is a cultural/ethnic term. It does not denote race. There are several races of Hispanics. White, black, and Amer-Indian are the most common. Benicio Del Toro is technically a white Hispanic. He’s Caucasoid. He’s probably mostly Spanish (European, white) descent, based off his skin color and features.

        • Venom

          Del Toro is NOT white. And like I said before, Hispanic IS designated as a seperate racial category in casting.

    • JLP

      Not to mention that today, a brown-skinned super-terrorist flying a starship into buildings isn’t exactly what Star Trek is about. They’re about going AWAY from racial stereotypes.

      • Alejandro Lee

        Regardless of skin-color, the kamikaze scene was both in poor taste and, added nothing to the story. The original Khan sacrificed himself in a final, masterful attempt to deny the heroes their hard-fought victory. This Khan crashes, kills a ton of people, goes on his merry way, and the consequences of his monstrous act are never addressed. No sense of stakes, no fitting retribution. Pure Michael Bay-ification of Star Trek.

        To point to such a shoddily written scene as “THAT’S why we needed a non-POC for Khan!” is weak and presumes the worst of your audience.

        • JLP

          I thought it did add to the scene. Khan believed he had lost everyone he cared about, so what was left for him to do? Destroy the people who awoke him.

          This is what Rob Walker said people need to remember: This is not “Wrath of Khan” Khan. This is “Space Seed” Khan.

    • Miker

      Most Hollywood writers that are part of a guild have hidden-groups of monetary power (ex: illuminati). They sold their souls to the devil to take orders on how the story is written and who is cast. It’s sad but these powers are wasted on using psychological implications in this art medium to influence opinion on which race is “superior”. If you see the trending actors in IMBD.com, their’s always a 95 percentage of white actors. It’s too bad that they don’t look at the real acting qualities of all race actors and writers to make movies more well-rounded and realistic. This role would have been more realistic with an actor like Benicio Del Toro since Latin Americans are the most genetically and racially diverted in the world (South Americans come from from the most traveled race to get to the continent and most exposed to elements of the earth). JJ Abahms failed in this part of the sequel and so did Spielburg to suggest the actor. But, this is nothing new in Hollywood.

      • Phil K

        From what I read, Del Toro was offered the role and said no.
        So you believe its bad for a caucasian european to get a role as Khan (a supposed sikh, which is NOT proved) but fine for a bloody CENTRAL AMERICAN who is even further away than UK ? And by the way – I am a Brit. And theres plenty of Indians with a white face and English accent in UK believe me.

    • Michael Garfield

      Then Gene Rodenberry was a fool, as are you. Get your facts straight. DNA doesn’t determine racial identity. And what makes you think that mixing the races of Earth together would necessarily make the best, smartest, strongest human being? Do you watch TV, turn on a light bulb, use a phone, use a computer, the internet, along with a million and one other inventions that white people invented? Or are you indignant that we’ve brought to the world far more than our numbers would suggest?? If you’re using genetics as a benchmark for creating cleverer human beings then you have to concede that we whites just might be cleverer because of our genetic make up – or are you only in favour of such a concept when it involves a larger admixture of non whites? As usual, two-faced hypocrisy is the governing factor for so-called anti-racists. While it’s okay to suggest that non whites can be clever, strong, because of their DNA, for me to suggest that white people could claim such a thing because of their genetic make up would be deemed as racist. Then again, I’m white so such hypocrites feel justified to spout the world ‘racist’ at whites for simply breathing in the direction of a non white these days, using their twisted logic.

      • Tyler

        Putting aside for a moment the fact that your argument is 100% demonstrably wrong (I can’t believe I even have to explain this, but people of other races have absolutely provided just as much or more innovation as white people, read a history book for god’s sake), do you not think that it may be possible that the main reason white people were the most prolific inventors in the specific period and location you’re sampling (~1850-present, U.S.A.), is because we were so very good at oppressing the everloving f*** out of every other race, thereby preventing them from having comparable educations and opportunities to ours? Seriously, your entire argument is just incredibly ignorant and backwards. And yeah, super-de-duper racist. Like, KKK Grand Dragon levels of racist.

  • Marissa Sammy

    It seems people are wilfully missing the point.

    I want Indian people to be cast in roles that are written for Indians. I want those roles to include heroes, anti-heroes, complex villains, nitwits, geniuses, love interests, murderers, saints, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Presbyterians, agnostics, geeks, models, slackers, scientists.

    The answer to the skewed representation of people of colour in the media is not whitewashing. The answer to media demonization is not continued erasure.

    I honestly can’t believe that your argument to support this whitewashing is “Well, most (white) Americans hate brown people ignorantly and equally, so Khan being brown would feed into that hate.” It’s the HATE that’s the problem, not the prospect of a complex and thought-provoking character being portrayed in an ethnically and ethically correct fashion.

    • kete

      Happens in Bollywood all the time I’m told. Do they care for equal representation of other ethnicities over there?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506173763 Aadip Desai

    Mexican dude playing a Sikh was silly enough the first time around, now arguing that it’s sooo much worse with a white guy playing a character who was a Mexican guy playing a Sikh guy is laughable. Get it right or don’t do it at all.

  • http://www.xuvious.com/ Xuvious

    As a Star Trek fan, I know the importance of casting and how actors and characters of colour being portrayed on TV at a time when it was so cumbersome to do so needs to be remembered and preserved.
    I did like the movie and Benedict’s acting. But I still have that sentiment and feeling that it wasn’t true to one of the very essential themes of Star Trek, diversity.

  • http://www.pinoyworld.eu/author/obiabadinas/ @Rakehell_Obi

    Fan boy rage from me.

    The reboot was an interesting start, albeit imperfect.

    Now they go for racebending. Will not be watching.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mmbarnes9 Matt Barnes

    you guys do know that Benecio del Toro was cast in the role for STID and dropped out. Cumberbatch was a pretty last minute replacement as the producers were left in a bind and had to quickly fill the role.

    just thought this bit of information would be relevant to the discussion.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Del Toro was never cast. He was in talks and then the talks fell through. So the producers were not in any bind to quickly cast the first person they saw.

      • http://twitter.com/majoricapink Gabrielle Bellamy

        Agreed. It was Steven Spielberg, having worked with Benedict in War Horse, that suggested the actor be cast.

  • RedPill

    I wonder what racebending.com will have to say when Idris Elba ends up playing James Bond, or what it has to say about a black actress playing the previously white character of Miss MonneyPenny.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      I wonder how many people like you will keep commenting with this same rhetoric before people like you take the time to read the articles and FAQs that the makers of this site laid out to answer questions and comments like the ones you made.

    • Theo

      Since Moneypenny is a very old Norman-Scot name, I doubt there are too many of us that aren’t pretty much glow in the dark pasty white.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maricruz-Villalobos-Zamora/100000331523296 Maricruz Villalobos Zamora

    I have no plans of watching this movie (specially after io9 trashed it), so I read spoilers freely: apparently Khan was in Starfleet under an assumed identity and was some kind of awesome officer. This make me feel he should look white, because I think that’s how it would be in real life: Condecorated officers will be white (for some *mysterious* reason). But this isn’t real life this is Star Trek!

  • jackdavinci

    You do realize Montalbán was a white actor in brown makeup, right?

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      You clearly don’t know about Montalbán.

      Montalbán experienced discrimination in Hollywood. He talked about it during his lifetime. He went as far as creating an organization (Nosotros) to help fight against discrimination by supporting Latino actors who want to make it in Hollywood.

      Montalbán identified as a minority. He certainly did not have the white experience in Hollywood.

      • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

        And that doesn’t change the fact that he was in brown makeup.

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          He was in brown makeup in the Star Trek episode he was in not in “Wrath Of Khan”.

          • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

            I’m aware of that, but it’s still true that they brownfaced him for the initial role.

    • DC79

      Whatever he was, this is the decade that gave us Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

  • http://twitter.com/Gurkman Garrick Butler

    There’s not much of a real difference between Roddenberry’s color-blind utopia and Abram’s whitewashed rehashing. The entire ideology of the Federation’s utopia is still mid-20th century white, elite, Anglo-American liberalism. All other varieties of human culture have been destroyed or tokenized in their entirety by the supposedly neutral forces of progress and modernization by the 24th century. What’s more, the Federation is actively exporting ethnocide across the galaxy. There may be a diversity of colors and even species but everyone thinks like an upper middle class white American “progressive.”

    • kete

      Exactly why I could never really get into ST. It’s not utopian at all, it’s just the US of A in space.

      • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

        The later series challenged the idea that the Federation was always right…

    • taranaich

      Roddenberry’s colour-blind utopia was made in the 1960s, when laws against ethnic miscegenation, employment and property-owning were still in place. Trek was lucky to have Uhura at all: there was constant opposition from various corners who were concerned about how some states would react to seeing a black woman that wasn’t a maid (to say nothing of the apparently “satanic” Spock). There absolutely *is* a difference between what was progressive and daring in 1966, and the year 2013.

  • Pingback: Star Trek Spoilers: Rantings of a tired moviegoer (did we say spoilers?) |

  • Sybil

    Ricardo Montalban’s parents were both directly from Spain. He was the first generation born in Mexico and had no indigenous blood. He was ethnically European, as is Cumberbatch, who hails from England.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Read my reply to jackdavinci. It can apply to you too.

    • Sephirajo

      You do realize that a large part of Spain’s population has Middle Eastern blood, right?

      • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

        “middle eastern blood” is meaningless.

        • Sephirajo

          Well, what the used to call it is a slur that I won’t type out. Suffice to say there was a large migration from the middle east to Spain, resulting in a lot of darker skinned Spaniards and Middle Eastern architecture and mosques.

          • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

            There was an *invasion* by the Moors, but thy were North African, not “Middle Eastern.”

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          “”middle eastern blood” is meaningless.”

          Tell that to Middle Eastern people.

          • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

            Really? Do, say, Mizrahi Jews feel a kinship with Persians from Iran or Lebanese Arabs? It’s as silly as saying “Asian blood.”

  • cynic44

    I’m not convinced it was Khan… a superman certainly but I can’t imagine the Khan created in TOS woould ever be coerced as he was. Maybe starfleet woke up minion #14, the slow guy from Liverpool, and he took advantage of the situation, or that a directive from Khan himself “If any of us is woken first they are Khan” to create confusion, fear, and opportunity… They were frozen well before the timelines split, records from that period were hazy at best because of the wars that happened… And considering what a huge reveal and success TWoK was I can’t imagine we won’t see Khan 2.0.

    • Hyatt

      I was thinking earlier that I’d much prefer that, too, that John Harrison was using the Khan name for the impact, but wasn’t the “real” Khan who was once ruler of a quarter of the planet. Either as another contemporary follower or a neo-Khanist Augment.

      • Robin Stafford

        We just got Trek over here and Japan. I, too, came to this conclusion to figure out canon… So, it was likely Juaquin (sp?) his second in command. If you ever get the chance, look for the Eugenics Wars novels. They’re awesome. It gives the backstory of Khan and has Gary 7 in it, too. :)

  • Raiden

    I just Read a review of the movie. . . and it says the Characters name is John Harrison, not Kahn. I’m not a big Trekkie and I haven’t seen the movie yet. But if he is not Kahn, then isn’t the issue of whitewashing the role of a POC moot? Can someone elaborate? I’m a bit lost.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      “John Harrison” is nothing but an alias that this movie’s Khan uses to go undercover. It is revealed in the movie that he is indeed Khan.

      They also used the name “John Harrison” to try to throw off the public in the advertisements to make people think that the villain of the movie was someone other than Khan.

  • kprk

    Carlos Montalban was the son of white Spanish immigrants to Mexico. He spoke English with an accent, but he was white. I’m sure he also faced discrimination in Hollywood, but the whitewashing goes back as long as the character.

    • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

      I agree. They should have made Khan indian or Cumberbatch not Khan, but defending Montlban’s casting is ridiculous.

      • SnapIntoASlimJim

        Fifty Shades of Erin Gray,

        What’s ridiculous is someone commenting on an article without bothering to read it first.

        Who was defending Montalbán’s casting?

        From the article:

        “It wasn’t perfect in the 60s when Ricardo Montalbán 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.”

        This is a far more layered issue than you allow.

        • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

          How is calling it a “hard-won victory” not defending it?
          Also, if you check his IMDB page Montalbn was getting a lot of TV work in the 60s, and not just as a “latin lover.”

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      kprk,

      You clearly don’t know about Montalbán.

      Montalbán experienced discrimination in Hollywood. He talked about it
      during his lifetime. He went as far as creating an organization
      (Nosotros) to help fight against discrimination by supporting Latino
      actors who want to make it in Hollywood.

      Montalbán identified as a minority. He certainly did not have the white experience in Hollywood.

      • kprk

        Regardless of Montalban, the real problem is the casting, not the actor casted. And I do know about bit about Montalban’s organization. That doesn’t make him Asian. It doesn’t make him non-white. It did make him a non-American (or non-Britisher) in Hollywood for which he was discriminated against.

  • http://twitter.com/majoricapink Gabrielle Bellamy

    If an actual Indian, or at least Asian, actor had been cast as Khan, I think the media would go into a frenzy and call Abrams & co. racist for the unfortunate implications: A dark-skinned terrorist flying a vehicle into a large city – 9/11 still burns in the mind of many people. Cumberbatch’s performance, IMO, is believable and outstanding – is that not enough?

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Nonsense. Make the character have depth and not be a stereotype and there won’t be backlash.

      “Cumberbatch’s performance, IMO, is believable and outstanding – is that not enough”

      The same could be used for practically every whitewashed role where a nonwhite person was denied the chance to play a great role.

      Lame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bethdoddrednecktrekker Red Neck Trekker

    You make a few valid points. BUT, please consider this. It is my understanding that the new film features a terrorist attack. (I haven’t seen it yet, but will soon.)

    How many times, in real life, have terrorist attacks been blamed on middle Eastern people? Had JJ Abrams casted someone like Kunal Nayyar (Raj from The Big Bang Theory) just for kicks and giggles, someone would have invariably hollered in the other direction: that brown people are terrorrists, and that typecasting took place.

    Consider the fact that “Star Trek”‘s cast in the 60′s included a Japanese man when relations between the US and Japan were still pretty frail due to the whole WW2 thing, a black woman when some parts of the south still segregated, and a Russian character (played by the very white-skinned Walter Koenig) at the height of the Cold War. It also tackled bi-racial struggles when it came to Spock who is half human, and race issues in general at a time when such stuff was risky and taboo and pushed the envelope when it was on TV, IE the kiss between Kirk and Uhura. How about the aliens who were black on one half, white on the other, and racist against themselves when the black half was on the wrong side? If you want to get technical, Leonard Nimoy could easily be considered a minority with his Jewish background, and a few of the quirks of the Spock character that is beloved by many are borrowed from Jewish ceremonies.

    Later in spinoff series,we saw a black Vulcan (Tuvok), a female starship captain (Janeway), a mixed race woman engineer (B’elanna Torres, half hispanic and half Klingon), a black man playing a Klingon (Worf), a blind man (Geordi), and an artificial life form (Data). This illustrates that anyone from anywhere can do anything if they set their minds to it, and do it on an even playing field.

    Gene Roddenberry’s vision for “Star Trek” was that he wanted to illustrate that human beings ultimately learn acceptance and racial tolerance by the 23rd century, making us finally ready to seek out new life and new civilizations to help them progress and overcome the same problems we did.

    The problem JJ Abrams faced in casting Khan, was that his film featured a terrorist attack, when most of the target audience remembers the horror that was 9-11, and who did it. Not all terrorists are of people of color: Timothy McVeigh proved that. And while “Star Trek” was filmed way in advance of the Boston bombing, that too, was blamed on a couple brown guys. I don’t think it would
    be as well-received had Abrams cast someone of color for the role at this point.

    I have always felt that half the fun of “Star Trek” is the nitpicking….but please don’t overthink it. I highly doubt a busy director such as JJ Abrams thought that he would offend audiences by casting a white guy as Khan. Cumberbach is bankable…and he was pretty beloved as Loki by fans. I think it was more a case of who else could make a good villain, and he alredy proved his mettle as Loki. If anything, it is us Caucasians who are under-represented in the “Star Trek” universe. We have Dr. McCoy and Kirk and that’s pretty much it as far as the original series goes, but rather than crying foul about it, I simply choose to enjoy it for what it is: entertainment.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      With your bad logic, no nonwhites should ever play villains ever in movies since media keeps showing nonwhites in a negative light.

      Why don’t you inject the scenario of having the writers make a nonwhite antagonist layered and complex so that they wouldn’t be a stereotype? Because all you are doing is trying to sell this whitewash as a positive when all it does in the end is give another white actor who has more opportunities than nonwhite actors struggling a chance to move ahead in his career while nonwhite actors are kept marginalized.

      ” If anything, it is us Caucasians who are under-represented in the “Star
      Trek” universe. ”

      Are you joking?? You seriously have got to be kidding with that response.

      • happyappa

        Never forget the white people, who never get roles in anything, are only extras, so underrepresented and stereotyped. *tears*

        I don’t think that person did their math right. They must have counted the white female captain, white droid, white male captains, and numerous white secondary characters as people of color.

        • Hyatt

          Nah, they were pretending that TOS was the only series that mattered/existed, and mixed up “Caucasian” with “American”. Because Chekov isn’t Caucasian, he’s Russian!

          • V2Blast

            …But the Caucasus is partly in Russia…

          • Hyatt

            Oh, you and your inconvenient facts. We’ll have none of that here!

            (Alternately, “The Caucasus is a real place? I thought it was just a more ‘color-blind’ term for white as a race!”)

        • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

          Data was yellow, and also treated as having less rights.

          • happyappa

            He is played by a white actor. It’s like saying White X-Men are more oppressed than actual people of color who aren’t mutants.

    • http://iblogalot.com/ J.R. LeMar

      Three things:

      1/If Abrams and Co. were really worried about casting a “Brown guy” as the villain in their movie, then why even use a villain who was created a Brown guy? Why not just leave out the Khan reveal, and have Cumberbatch playing a character who really is “John Harrison”? He could still be one of the genetically enhanced supermen who was frozen years ago along with Khan, and all the motivations would have been the same. Khan was clearly used for nostalgic purposes, but if they’re going to hide whom the character is, then why bother?

      2/You’ve got Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Harrison/Khan confused with Tom Hiddleston, who played Loki.

      3/”If anything, it is us Caucasians who are under-represented in the “Star Trek” universe.” is one of the most laughable statements I’ve ever read regarding Star Trek. Yeah, THAT’S the big problem with Star Trek: not enough White people in it. . .

    • happyappa

      “Not all terrorists are of people of color: Timothy McVeigh proved that.”

      That is so naive. McVeigh proved what? When it is a white terrorist, they are seen as exceptions to the race. When it is a poc, they somehow represent that group of pocs. Have white people ever been assaulted for what white terrorists did? Yet if you are poc and look a bit like that one poc terrorist you are all of a sudden a terrorist and will get attacked.

      “Had JJ Abrams casted someone like Kunal Nayyar (Raj from The Big Bang Theory) just for kicks and giggles, someone would have invariably hollered in the other direction: that brown people are terrorrists, and that typecasting took place.”

      So you’re saying it’s a lose/lose situation? You just said that in the 60s that a Japanese actor was cast when relations were frail… If the character is multidimensional, complex, smart, sympathetic, etc., it doesn’t matter if he is a poc and a bad guy. And like others mentioned, if it was a stereotypical villain role, what about not even using the name Khan to begin with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001196498968 Aaron Mitchell

    The shame of it is, if Abrahms wanted he could have explained it away by explaining that Khan underwent the Federation’s advanced facial surgery systems so that no historians would recognise an infamous war criminal. All it would have taken is a few flashbacks and Cumberpatch doing an accent in some scenes but noooo.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Notice how your suggestion is just another way to have a white person play the role while still having a nonwhite person denied a major role in a movie.

  • http://twitter.com/Cyberwagle Sanjay Wagle

    I appreciate the argument here, but having now seen the movie I am actually very happy that the villain who (spoiler alert) is basically a terrorist in this movie who unleashes a 9-11 type attack on Earth is not a brown man with a turban.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      And makes you think he would have been wearing a turban?

      • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

        Because he was supposed to be sikh,

      • Gabrial Canada

        There is a painting of him in a Turban in Space Seed.

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          A painting is not the same as the actual actor.

    • taranaich

      That doesn’t really sound like much of a victory considering there have been plenty of white terrorists in recent history.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.ringewold Aaron Ringewold

    Genetic engineering and other ways to explain the storyline aside… Has anyone considered or mentioned the fact that Abrams and co very much wanted Del Toro for this role and spent a lot of time courting him trying to get him to come on board. After he fell through the continued to court colored actors to try and make it work with a darker skinned actor who also brought name recognition. In the end with only weeks to go they cast Cumberbatch as Khan as he was really the best option they had. To bad Del Toro backed out leaving them in this state because I am sure he would have been great and the storyline wouldn’t have used the alias John Harrison… Alas the script was not as strong as 2009′s Trek and me thinks Del Toro was knowing this way ahead of time and didn’t want to be involved for that reason alone.

    • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

      That still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Of all the leaked names for the citing after Del Toro left, none of them were South Asian even though Abrams had previously worked with Naveen Andrews and Faran Tahir. He is only one degree of separation from Kal Penn, too. Also, there is no shortage of huge South Asian actors in Bollywood (a sure fire way to guarentee giant box office returns in India.) There are ample South Asian actors so time would not have been an issue for casting (and he would not have had the tie crunch if he had planned to cast s South Asian in the first place.) It isn’t Del Toro’s fault, his choice was not what forced Abrams to whitewash. Abrams chose to whitewash. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if the fact that the character would be Khan was one of the reasons some if the Latino actors turned the role down. I would imagine that as minorities in Hollywood they might have a better understanding of the implications of these types of castings.

      • JLP

        If you have seen the films, you’d know that Faran Tahir was already in Star Trek. He was the captain of USS Kelvin, and he sacrificed himself within the first ten minutes of the film.

        Remember this: you would rather see a South Asian actor playing a brown-skinned super-terrorist who flies a starship into a building.

        Star Trek is about NOT using racial stereotypes. In a film dedicated to the people who lost their lives to terror since 9/11, the last thing we’d need to see would be the brown-skinned terrorist. That’s the equivalent of having the original Uhura be Kirk’s maid, which was pretty much the only role black actresses had to look forward to then.

        • Hyatt

          No, we’d rather see a South Asian character cast with a South Asian actor and not turned into a stereotype.

          • JLP

            Unless you completely change the character of Khan from the beginning, he would still be a South Asian warlord in a film made by a country where a good number of people see them as the enemy.

          • Hyatt

            “Unless you completely change the character of Khan from the beginning”

            You mean, like STID already did?

          • JLP

            He was still a warlord in the Eugenics Wars.

  • Kavin

    Why is Star Trek being attacked for changing the ethnicity of a character. It’s okay if white becomes black, but not the other way around? Let me give you some examples then. The Kingpin in Daredevil became black. Nick Fury, a white character reworked to be Samuel L Jackson. The latter being the most notable change in the comic book universe. Perry White is now black in the new Superman movie. It’s a movie. People have a dramatic licence when they choose to spend their money in making a movie such as this. I would say stop thinking too much and enjoy the movie, or stay home and watch something to your liking, as opposed to mes§ing things up for people who actually want to enjoy the movie.

  • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

    i’m not sure why it’s more layered. He was in brownface.

    Montalban’s career in the 60s is fairly similar to that of Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley pre-Star Trek. Many actors got by with guest star roles.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      “i’m not sure why it’s more layered.”

      Like I said, “I told you elsewhere on this page”. Look around the comments.

      “He was in brownface.”

      Not in “Wrath Of Khan”.

      “Montalban’s career in the 60s is fairly similar to that of Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley pre-Star Trek.”

      I like how you write “pre-Star Trek” seeing as how that makes all the difference. The key difference is that Shatner and Nimoy got lead roles in one of the most influential television of all time. Montalbán didn’t. Not the same at all.

  • Robotech_Master

    So are you guys actually going to take a look at what they did with the character of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, rather than snipe at his nationality being changed? I mean, they did something really clever with that. As a friend of mine put it, they turned hiring Ben Kingsley to play the Mandarin into a commentary ON hiring Ben Kingsley to play the Mandarin. If you actually saw the movie, you’d note that his NOT being Chinese is the whole point—among other things, it serves as a commentary on the way we’re more inclined to hate and fear that which is foreign. You guys should be applauding that.

    Or would you rather the character got the whole Fu Manchu “yellow peril” treatment that he did in the Korea/Vietnam-era original comic books?

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      “Or would you rather the character got the whole Fu Manchu “yellow peril”
      treatment that he did in the Korea/Vietnam-era original comic books?”

      Nice false dichotomy. Especially when you take into account that The Mandarin hasn’t been the “Fu Manchu “yellow peril” character in quite some time. You see, he has been reinvented which is why he still exists in the comics.

      The whole supposed commentary on the war on terror is fine… but why pick the Mandarin for that? There were all these other white villains they could’ve done that with but they specifically picked the nonwhite character to completely screw with. It doesn’t help that all these other antagonists in these recent movies that were originally nonwhite (e.g. Ra’s al Ghul, Bane, Khan, etc…) were whitewashed and played by white actors (Neeson, Hardy, Cumberbatch).

      White people keep coming out on top and nonwhites keep getting screwed. No, that isn’t anything to applaud.

      • DC79

        I think Marvel is considering the possibility of IM3 being the last stand-alone IM movie. I noticed last year that there was some kind of deal with Marvel and the Chinese government, and I assumed that it had to do with filming scenes on location in China. And I figured that explained why the Mandarin couldn’t be Chinese. Then it turns out the Chinese government co-financed the movie, and Marvel created an exclusive cut featuring famous Chinese actors. The partnership is much deeper than we thought.

        Given how Chow Yun Fat was almost entirely edited out of POTC3 in China, and the fact that the Mandarin was called “Man Daren” in China, I think its pretty obvious there was never going to be a Chinese Mandarin. They set him up in Iron Man 1 and 2 and with 3 possibly being the last, they probably thought “Now or never” when it comes to paying off that setup, but “now” wouldn’t allow for a Chinese actor playing the role.

        I always thought the Mandarin was interesting in terms of this site, because it seemed like this is the one time the studio couldn’t cast an Asian actor in a role because their hands were tied. I mention this periodically on the site just to see what people think, but there have been constant Mandarin posts on the tumblr for over a year. I wonder if people simply don’t believe it. Or lets be honest- this is a case of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Don’t get me wrong- I still get annoyed at white people who say “Its good that the Mandarin isn’t Asian so he won’t be offensive.” I wonder if having the Korean American Daniel Dae Kim play Aldrich Killian (and keeping that name) and changing nothing else about the movie would have worked around the restrictions. That’s what I would have tried if I were Shane Black. Because Guy Pearce kind of sucked.

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          There was nothing “deep” about the partnership. The “exclusive” Chinese version amounted to no more than 3-4 minutes of extra footage that didn’t really add anything to the movie except explain that Stark was to receive acupuncture to go along with the surgery to remove his shrapnel. Disney/Marvel essentially screwed over the Chinese since they gave no Chinese actors any substantial role in the movie. They just wanted China to co-finance the movie so that they could get their movie in the country easier. This shows you just how bad Hollywood does not want nonwhites at the same level as whites in movies.

          The entire claim that the Mandarin couldn’t be Chinese because of China co-financing the movie is untrue. Desperate Marvel fans who wanted to downplay the casting backlash were the ones making that rumor up. The Mandarin in the comics is not a friend of China. He does not represent China. He in fact is an enemy of China and was even held in Chinese prisons in the comics. All you have to do is make clear in a film that the Mandarin and China are enemies and that in fact China wants to take down the Mandarin and everything would have been fine.

          • DC79

            Don’t be absurd. I just listed two examples of censorship of American movies released in China. Let me repeat: one of the biggest stars in China was almost entirely removed from the Chinese release of Pirates 3 because of his role. The Mandarin’s name was changed to “Man Daren.” Can you think of ANY other explanation as to why that happened? Do you need more? Here: http://styleblazer.com/143268/movies-changes-for-china-15-instances-of-hollywood-catering-to-the-peoples-republic/

            It seems perfectly credible to me after reading that. It probably does not matter where the Mandarin’s loyalties lie- he is a Chinese man, and that is probably enough for it to be a problem. And again- I get a little tired of people acting like the character hasn’t changed in nearly 50 years. I agree with you there.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            The only thing absurd is you not acknowledging what I wrote and dismissing it blindly. I gave you a lot of information including the joke that was the “exclusive” Chinese cut that was released in China (which was widely panned by Chinese audiences and has even been called a “fake Chinese co-production”) that proves there was no deep relationship. Like I said, this shows just how deceitful Hollywood can be on not wanting to have nonwhites at the same level as whites in Hollywood. This “partnership” was only used to make the release of the movie in China easier not because Disney/Marvel actually wanted to showcase Chinese talent.

            I never saw Pirates Of The Caribbean but I am assuming that since Chow Yun Fat was pretty much the only Chinese person in the principle cast then perhaps his portrayal wasn’t appreciated. This however is a completely different context that you have ignored.

            First, the Mandarin’s name wasn’t changed per say. All that was done was transliterate the name rather than actually translate it on Chinese prints. That’s what “Man Daren” is.

            Second, yes it matters much where a character’s loyalties lie in the eyes of China. The Mandarin was not once a friend of China nor does he represent China. This is the opposite of the original version of the Red Dawn remake where the villains where Chinese. In that context, it was the government of China invading the U.S. Make it clear in the movie that The Mandarin is an enemy of China and that China is looking to take The Mandarin down themselves and there won’t be a problem.

            Your misunderstanding of this would result in literally NO Chinese on the planet ever being able to ever play a villain in a non-Chinese movie. That is absurd. All China cares about is that you don’t make the Chinese government look bad.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    Read the question I asked again, Hasdi Bravo:

    “When did the actors playing Khan ever wear a turban?”

    Look at the actor in that photo there. Is he wearing a turban?

    Maybe you haven’t figured it out yet so I’ll just make it obvious for you: A drawing isn’t an actual person.

    You’re welcome.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    You should quit while you’re ahead, Hasdi Bravo. I’ve already proven to you that you don’t know much about Tibetans and other things. You claimed Noah Ringer was Native American when he is not. You claimed that Ringer who has no Asian ancestry was more suitable to play an Asian than a full blooded Asian. You argued about Tibetans looks and I showed you that an actor like Brandon Soo Hoo would not look out of place like you think he would.

    Instead of trying to argue incorrectly over and over again only to look foolish at every turn you should be humble and accept the fact you are ignorant of many things. Learn something rather than be stubborn about it all. Just sayin’…

  • vontux

    Doesn’t fighting racism with a racist term such as “whitewashed” kind of undermine your argument? I happen to agree with your overall argument but I think you are shooting it and yourselves in the foot with that term.

    • happyappa

      How is “whitewashed” a “racist term”? First of all, it’s not possible to be racist against white people. Second, you can’t be serious to think “whitewashed” is equal to the actually racist, dehumanizing, and oppressive slurs such as n**ger, g*ok, ch*nk, etc…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Moore/100000051103641 Ryan Moore

        Actually, it is possible to be racist against whites.

        belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural orindividual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the rightto rule others.
        2.
        a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
        3.
        hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

        Yes whitewashing isn’t as bad as the other slur words, and whitewashed itself doesn’t have negative connotations.

        But racism is a two way street. I get what you’re saying

        • happyappa

          Did you find that definition in the dictionary? You do realize that words and their meanings change over time, and that definition was probably written hundreds of years ago. You also have to consider why it was put into the dictionary at that time and who even wrote it.

          There is no such thing as “reverse racism”. There’s a difference between a white person bullied by a poc, and being racist. Yes a poc can be -prejudiced- against a white person, but not be racist. I also believe a poc can be racist against another poc because there is no difference in power, and racism is the stronger word. But overall white people can’t be victims of racism.

          I suggest you read this
          http://www.stcloudstate.edu/affirmativeaction/resources/insights/pdf/28ToolsChange.pdf

          People who demand that white people are victims of racism are the ones complaining about affirmative action, complaining of not being able to say the N word when black people can, are afraid of losing their privilege, and basically have white guilt.

          “whitewashing isn’t as bad as the other slur words”

          Are you joking? … as the OTHER slur words? Whitewashing is not even a slur. Now I see where you are coming from.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Moore/100000051103641 Ryan Moore

            I wasn’t trying to imply that whitewashing was a slur. I should have phrased that one better.

            THe article made good points. However, the idea that it is impossible for poc to be racist against whites is still false.

            Racism is not “privelage + power”. If you pick on someone because of the color of their skin, than you are racist. If a white man abuses a black man for being black he’s racist. Black man doing it to white? Same thing.

          • happyappa

            A poc that is racist towards a white person can’t happen, it is still false. When you say whites are “victims” of racism, you’re ignoring whites as “agents” of racism. You’re ignoring history and the reason why we still have white actors playing people of color, when everyone gets pissed when it’s the other way around. It is NOT the same.

            Cracker is not the same as ch*nk, blackface is not equivalent to “whiteface” (whiteface isn’t even a thing). Learn more on this website.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Moore/100000051103641 Ryan Moore

            Again, racism is hatred and intolerance. The idea that whites can only be agents of racism (ie people who spread racism hatred violence) ever is just as racist as saying all blacks are subhuman. Yes it is possible for a POC to be racist against whites. What you think statements like

            White people are the devil. They say the Nuwaubians are not racist – bullcrap! I am. He might not be; that’s his prerogative. I am. White people are devils — always was, always will be

            aren’t racist?

            That’s orwellian newspeak at it’s finest.

            Yes there is a massive double standard in the media. Yes having white people play people of color is bullshit. But saying that whites cannot be victims of racism is racism. To say otherwise is newspeak

          • happyappa

            I bet you’re one of those people who think MLK Jr. was including white people when he said to not judge others based on the color of their skin. I’d also like to know what you think about affirmative action.

            Study from Harvard and Tufts University:
            “Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game That They Are Now Losing”
            http://pps.sagepub.com/content/6/3/215

            This is actually happening and you are spewing the same nonsense that white supremacists are saying:
            http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/12/21/white.persecution/

            Whites can be discriminated against. But the fact that you are comparing discrimination against white people to racism against pocs… really? I honestly don’t need a white person telling me what is racist.

          • DarthYan

            given that he also said “I dream that the little white grils and black girls and black boys and white boys can hold hands” and that “I dream that the descendents of slaves and slave owners can interact togetrher.” Yes he did include whites. You think all white people are racists who oppress people of color regardless of what they do, and are either evil assholes who actively step on people or arrogant who

            In general I support affirmative action.

            Ae you saying that the Jews were never victims of racism, or that the irish, poles, slavs, bosnians were never victims of racism throughout history

          • happyappa

            lol, did you even read my comment. Maybe I need to make it more clear for you.

            MLK Jr. said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

            He does not mean white when he says MY FOUR LITTLE CHILDREN being judged by the COLOR of their skin. Cause it’s the white people who were doing the judging.

            You quoted whites holding hands with black people. That is integration. There is a difference between white people imagining they are victims of racism, and integration.

            “You think all white people are racists who oppress people of color regardless of what they do”
            Looooolll I point out racism and false oppression and you come to the conclusion that I think all white people are racists. Typical white guilt. I see a pattern here.

            “In general I support affirmative action.”

            “In general”? You did say that “Yes there is a massive double standard in the media. Yes having white people play people of color is bullshit.”

            Whiteface isn’t a thing and whiteface is not equivalent to “color”face. So you admit to a double standard. Media and “real life” are not separate things.

            You can’t be racist against white people, and are you actually trying to “compete” by listing groups that have white privilege TODAY?

            example -
            “How the Irish Became White”
            http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/white13.htm

            You’re trying too hard.

          • DarthYan

            Racism has nothing to do with power; it’s hatred or contempt for other groups. Poles were slaughtered during the holocaust with jews. Bosnians were being butchered en masse as late as the 90s (google the srbrenica massacre). believe that anyone with white skin has white privelege even when they were being murdered en masse or still had to struggle for their nation (kosovo) Have white people done horrible things in history to people of color? Yes. But to say that one group can never ever be the victim of racism is an outright lie.

          • happyappa

            I understand the atrocities that those groups went through at that time. But I’ll say this again. Currently, people from those groups, who are white, have white privilege. You are doing nothing but playing the ethnic card.

            “Have white people done horrible things in history to people of color? Yes.”
            And it’s still happening.

          • DarthYan

            By saying that you can’t be racist against one group you are being racist. Racism can be against EVERYPERSON! You ignored the quotes from black supremacists.

            THe srbrenica massacre occurred less than two DECADES ago. And what of white people who live on welfare? Are THEY Priveleged? Anyone who assumes that simply having white skin makes you privileged is an idiot.

          • happyappa

            “And what of white people who live on welfare? Are THEY Priveleged?”

            Do you think whites on welfare magically makes them not have white privilege? It’s called white privilege for reason.

            “Anyone who assumes that simply having white skin makes you privileged is an idiot.”

            It is impossible for a white person to be victimized by institutional racism. You don’t have to like white privilege to still benefit from it. You don’t have to have a perfect life to benefit from it. If you are white, you have it. If you assume that there is no such thing as white privilege, then you must think we live in a post-racial society, and we DON’T.

            “White people are the devil”, have you ever thought about why people think that way? Ever since colonization and whites controlling pocs. This “Whites are superior” mentality exists TODAY. I don’t agree with one race being superior to another, but your point of bringing up black supremacists doesn’t change the existence of white privilege.

            I suppose on a personal level, a poc can be racist against a white, but it definitely is NOT equal to or anywhere near the power of a white being racist towards a poc. And considering what ridiculous things whites usually think of as racism (ex. being called white girl/boy, not being able to make a white club, etc)…

            If you’re making a point that whites don’t have it as bad as pocs, why are you STILL arguing about this. As if the same amount of attention should be given to “anti-white racism” vs racism against pocs. That is a joke. And… you’re still using a handful of examples of some wars versus the COUNTLESS vicious, deplorable, and actually racist things whites did to pocs in history and today? I already said that white people from those groups have white privilege today.

            Your saying racism can happen against “every person” is suggesting we should care about anti-white racism too. You are implying that people shouldn’t focus so much on real racism against pocs, because ~what about the white people~? Ugh.

      • vontux

        Its not possible to be racist against white people? I suggest you get yourself a dictionary as you clearly do not have a clear understanding of the word. Racism is defined as: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”, so logically if someone happens to think that there is something inherently bad about white people they are by definition a racist. I never said “whitewashed” was on the same level as the other ugly terms you chose to mention. Racism like most other concepts is a matter of degrees. It is probably a less racist term than the ugly slurs you chose to bring up but it is racist none the less.

        • happyappa

          “It is probably a less racist term than the ugly slurs you chose to bring up but it is racist none the less.”

          I suppose if you were referring to a poc as “whitewashed” because they act a certain way, but to a white person, no. You are confusing discrimination with racism. Yes, you can discriminate against white people. Yes it’s bad to do so, but this isn’t racism against whites.

          Maybe if you heard something from a white person you’d listen?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlwfnjpNzls
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNxrl8h87bQ

          TW: He says the N word a few times, which I don’t like, but that white guy gets it.

    • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

      The term “whitewashed” is a term used by communities that experience the negative impact of “whitewashing” to name the experience. Just as the terms “mansplaining”, “heterosexism”, “cissexism” and “ableism” name the group that benefits or has otherwise become privileged from systemic discrimination, so does “whitewashing.”

      Naming systemic privilege is not the same thing as systemic discrimination. The word “whitewashing,” does not systemically disenfranchise white people in the entertainment industry. The problem isn’t the term “whitewashing” but the practice of whitewashing.

      • happyappa

        You explained it better. I’m not sure what I was thinking labelling the word “whitewashing” as discrimination against whites. I guess I got too caught up in vontux’s own misconception.

  • Captain_Obvious

    You guys are right, Benedict Cumberbatch should have just painted his face brown. That way we could keep both his amazing acting skills and quite down some of the whiners.

    • Meg

      Did you see the movie yet? I wasn’t blown away by his acting skills…

      • JLP

        Having watched all six episodes of Sherlock, I was. He has this way about him: his calm, smooth voice, he can almost snap your spine just by talking…

  • Kavin

    I think people are being stupid. These are actors playing a part in a movie. I agree that an ethnic character should be ideally played by that particular race, but you can’t have a situation where it’s okay for a black actor to play a white character and not the other way around.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      When you read the FAQs that the makers have on this site then reply.

      • Kavin

        Are you saying I am not entitled to an opinion by way of my posts. How about this. You ignore my posts, just flip by them, allow to me to have my say without you getting all fussed up and emotional.

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          No, what I am saying is that if you comment without being aware of the facts then you come across as stupid.

          But hey, I’m not going to stop you if you want to keep looking stupid.

  • Kavin

    I am not interested in a history lesson. Dwelling on the past is not in peoples best interests.

    • happyappa

      Gee I guess ignorance and denial don’t allow people to see why something is racist.

      • Kavin

        Don’t be ridiculous now. The movie isn’t racist. You should stop going to the movies if you’re going to be all sensitive. You’re missing the sheer escapism of it all. If this is your point, then I would say that Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin, Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, Jamie Foxx as Electro – reverse racism. There are real race issues happening out there. Don’t look for it in the movies.

        • happyappa

          Stop trying to derail by saying I’m being “sensitive”. I think you’re the sensitive one, seeing as how you are so uncomfortable when I call out your willful ignorance and how racist the casting is.

          Lol will people stop using the same few examples as an argument for “look, black people were cast as white characters!” If that’s all you can name, I don’t even have to argue. And Jackson was playing Ultimate Nick Fury, who is black.

          “Reverse racism?” If that were an actual thing, but no, it’s a word made up by white people so they can pretend to be oppressed, and don’t lose their privilege.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Whose best interests is it not in to talk about the past?

      White people that don’t want to lose their privilege?

      • Kavin

        At some point in time, you are oing to have to let go of the past. In case you haven’t noticed, white people will be a minority worldwide in a little while. Who are you going to point fingers at then. Are you then going to discriminate against people based on how white their bloodline is.

        • happyappa

          “In case you haven’t noticed, white people will be a minority worldwide in a little while… Are you then going to discriminate against people based on how white their bloodline is.”

          Look, SnapIntoASlimJim, you were right all along about him afraid of losing his privilege!

          • Kavin

            Dude. I am not white.

          • Kavin

            Dude! I am not white.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “Look, SnapIntoASlimJim, you were right all along about him afraid of losing his privilege!”

            White supremacists can be read like a book.

    • Hyatt

      He who ignores history is doomed to repeat it.

      • Kavin

        Acknowledgement also leads to repetition. Just take a look at the news on any given day.

  • Hyatt

    But the original Khan wasn’t a brute. Or any other stereotype, except maybe a stereotype of a racial supremacist, which are almost always white.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    “The point about brownface was that as initially cast Montalban did not fit the role.”

    Sure, he wasn’t South Indian but again you miss why this is a layered issue. He was not accepted as a whiteman in Hollywood. Montalbán did not have many opportunities that were substantial in Hollywood. Had he did then he wouldn’t have needed to take a role like Khan. That’s why it’s not the same as Cumberbatch.

    “as for star trek becoming influential, that was a total crapshoot. nobody expected it to become a cultural icon.”

    The same can be said for every show/movie that becomes highly influential and important.

    “And even if you take their post-Trek careers, there wasn’t a whole lot of difference.”

    That’s a worthless comparison seeing as all of the cast were past their prime post-Trek.

    “Montalban ended up on a show that lasted twice as long as Trek”

    That’s like saying Family Matters was a better show than The Wire cause it lasted twice as long.

    “playing a character who wasn’t a Latin stereotype.”

    And that’s supposed to make up for all the years that he faced discrimination in Hollywood? He didn’t think so.

  • pcnav

    Black Heimdall in Thor, white Khan in Star Trek…it’s Hollyweird.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Go measure the importance of each role in each movie then think about why you holding those roles up as if they were the same is silly.

      • pcnav

        They are, in context…one white character was made black and one Hindi/Hispanic was made white.

  • Martyn

    Ricado Montalban was white, latino admittedly but still white. Even taking this new film out of the equation, the character of Khan has appeared on screen far more as white man than he ever did as a black man. There is no issue whatsoever about Khan being played by a white man since the actor who originally played him was white.

    The originaly series says he is a Sikh. A Sikh is someone who follows the teaching of Sikhism, not a racial enthnicity. There are white men who are Sikh just as they are black men who are SIkh, there are Europeans and American Sikhs just like there are Indian and Asian Sikhs, and white people living in India didn’t stop doing so just because the British Raj ended. By accusing the film of “whitewashing” the character you are essentially denying the existance of any Sikh who happens to be a white man and denying all possibility of the existance of any Indian who has fair-skin.

    Frankly, I find the argument of this article about the casting of a white man to play Khan devalues the franchise and everything that Star Trek stood for in spirit to be entirely unconvincing.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      You clearly don’t know about Montalbán.

      Montalbán experienced discrimination in Hollywood. He talked about it
      during his lifetime. He went as far as creating an organization
      (Nosotros) to help fight against discrimination by supporting Latino
      actors who want to make it in Hollywood.

      Montalbán identified as a minority. He certainly did not have the white experience in Hollywood.

      “By accusing the film of “whitewashing” the character you are essentially
      denying the existance of any Sikh who happens to be a white man and
      denying all possibility of the existance of any Indian who has
      fair-skin.”

      Nice try on trying to turn the tables but no. One of the main points of Star Trek was breaking down racial barriers and that was also through its casting. The casting of Montalbán was on purpose. The character was meant to be nonwhite. Nonwhites do not get the same opportunities as whites in Hollywood. They are disenfranchised. Here was a golden opportunity to give a nonwhite actor an iconic role in a franchise that was known for its progressiveness but instead the role was given to a white actor which betrays that goal of breaking down racial barriers.

      It’s a whitewash through and through.

      • Martyn

        I didn’t say Montalban had a “white experiacne in Hollywood” or that he didn’t face some dicrimination because he was Latino, I said he was a white man. His skin colour – the the whole point of this article was about skin colour and the author even put a gif specifically commenting on the solour of the actors skin – was pale.

        Do you deny the existance of White Sikhs? Do you deny the existance of White Indians however much of a minority they may be? Because that’s the only way you can claim that the character of Khan has to be a coloured person. The Original Series makes no mention of the colour of his skin only that he is thought to have come from Northern India – but his actual background beyond the fact that he emerged on the global scene from Northern India and was a tyranical dictator over much of Asia and the Middle East has never been explored in canon – and the only time he has appeared as a coloured character was when they blacked up Montalban for Space Seed. And that lack of a developed background in the Star Trek universe validates the casting of a white man in the role whether you personally like it or not.

        Would it have been a good thing if a coloured actor had got the role? Sure, or course it would. But the fact that a colour actor didn’t get it is not an affront to common decency and all that’s good, and if Cumberbatch got the role purely based on acting ability then the colour of his skin is, quite frankly, irrelevant.

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          No, the whole point of this article was the fact that a nonwhite person was again deprived of a great role in a major Hollywood movie.

          And you certainly did imply that Montalbán had a white experience in Hollywood. That was the whole point of you mentioning first that he was white. Fact is, race is a social construct not biological. Montalbán’s parents might have come from Spain but when he was in Hollywood he was not treated like a white person.

          Your angle on “white Sikhs” is irrelevant. Under this mentality practically every whitewashed role that resulted in a nonwhite person being denied a great role can be justified under that logic. Ra’s al Ghul was Middle Eastern in the comics? Well, there are whites that live in the Middle East. Bane was Latino in the comics? Well, there are whites that live in Latin America. Talia al Ghul was part Middle Eastern and Chinese in the comics? Well, there are whites that live both in the Middle East and China.

          See? It’s nonsensical because all of these characters, including Khan, were meant to not be white. This is why Montalbán was cast in the part in the first place. Montalbán talked about how he faced discrimination in Hollywood throughout his whole career. Had he lived to see this he would have been mortified. Thanks to white supremacy in Hollywood, Cumberbatch has far more options available to than nonwhite actors. These opportunities for nonwhites are lost all the time in Hollywood and that is plain unjust.

          One more thing, I’ll assume that English isn’t your first language because I noticed you keep referring to nonwhite people as “coloured”. That is an antiquated term and is considered offensive in this era.

          • Martyn

            See, the whole the argument that it “deprived a non-white of a great role in Hollywood” rests SOLEY – in capitals for emphasis – on Benedict Cumberbatch having been cast in the role not because of his acting ability but because the director or producers did not want to cast a non-white actor in the role.

            Can you prove that? If you cant then your argument has no basis.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            The problem with your logic it’s that you are naturally assuming that nonwhites and whites were given equal opportunity to try out for the role and it just happened that a white guy was the best actor. Except that they should not have been looking for a white actor at all because the character was not white to begin with.

            Then you pull back and see how the industry on a constant basis keeps picking white actors for roles that should have a nonwhite actor playing it and you start to see that there is clearly an agenda at work here. This is why the “race wasn’t an issue they just got the best man for the role” rhetoric is nonsense because there clearly is an issue of race since whites are given preferential treatment even when the role is of a character that is nonwhite.

          • Martyn

            Well your problem is that your assuming that white and non-white actors weren’t given equal opportunity for this film. I’m sure it happens in Hollywood that white people get preferential treatment but that does not mean that every film that doesn’t cast a non-white in a starring role is guilty of doing so.

            Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the director or producers of Star Trek: Into Darkness deliberately set out to give the role of Khan Noonein Singh to a white man? That they did not audition non-whites for the role and give them fair consideration before choosing Cumberbatch as the best actor available?

          • Gabrial Canada

            What color is the director? What color is the producer? What color is the writer? What color is the casting director? Then recall what color the original character was.

            Gene Roddenberry was a progressive visionary. Yes he was also white. Yes he was a womanizer in his personal life. However he opened the door for actors of color deliberately as an integral part of his storytelling. And he was right. The future looks more like Star Trek.

            What doesn’t look like the rest of America or Star Trek is Hollywood and Corporate Boardrooms. Not a single person of color was in the decision making process that changed Khan from brown to white. What you seek to do is assume that there is no such thing as institutional bias. The institutional bias is on display behind the camera before a single frame is shot.

            I am not implying a white crew can not have empathy towards characters of color. What I am saying is that because of the context of discrimination in contemporary Hollywood an all white crew made the decision to cast a white Khan and you are asking for special considieration for them so essentially their feelings aren’t hurt by being called racially insensitive and discriminatory. Their actions are that whatever the motive. They didn’t open up white roles like Carold Marcus or her father to actors of color but they did open up the sole new character who was a person of color to auditions from white actors. That is incontrovertibly what they did. They deserve no such pass.

          • Martyn

            No, what I seek to do in my poorly worded argument, is to get an admission of the hypothtically possible.

            Benedict Cumberbatch is a world renowned, award winning actor who is widely recognized as one of the great actors of the present day on stage and screen. If he auditions for a part then its perfectly plausable that he could get cast on the strenght of his acting ability alone.

            I seek to get somebody – anybody – to just say that it’s possible. Not abandon their principals, not to absolve the powers behind the film of any racially motivated decisions – regardless of whether they were conciously made or not – just to say that Cumberbatch was perfectly capable on his own merit of gaining a major role in a major film and not getting it at the expense of someone else just because he’s white and they’re not.

            I seek to get a admission that white actor can be good in any role and should not be limited to white characters, just as Asian, Black, Latino, whatever, actors can be good in any role and should not be limited to just characters that match their ethnicity.

            Becuase, funny as this may seem to a website dedicated to advancing the cause of minority actors over white actors in Hollywood, I have no preferance for the ethnicity of actors I watch, so long as they are good enough actors and can entertain me than that’s all that matters. Hell! I’d happilly sit through a Indian play about the life of Winston Churchill with an all Indian cast so long as the actors were good enough and treated the source material with the proper respect due.

          • Martyn

            And the problem with your argument is that your assuming that non-white actors weren’t given equal oppotunity for this film. I’m sure that it happens that white actors get preferential treatment in Hollywood but just because this film doesn’t cast a non-white actor in a starring role does not mean they’re guilty of doing so.

            Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the director or producers of Star Trek: into Darkness deliberately set out to give the role of Khan Noonien Singh to a white actor? Or any evidence that non-white actors were not given fair chance and consideration for the role before the decison was taken to give it to Cumberbatch, that Cumberbatch wasn’t simply the best actor available.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the director or producers of Star Trek: into Darkness deliberately set out to give the role of Khan Noonien Singh to a white actor?”

            I’ve already responded to this. Refer to my last reply to you.

            “I’m sure that it happens that white actors get preferential treatment in Hollywood but just because this film doesn’t cast a non-white actor in a starring role does not mean they’re guilty of doing so.”

            Really?? Despite the fact that the character is meant to be nonwhite?

          • Martyn

            So the answer is no. You have no evidence whatsoever that the director or producers of this particular movie cast a white actor to play that role because of racial discrimination or in a deliberate attempt to “whitewash” the character or that they did not give fair consideration to non-white actors for the role.

            Whether or not the character was “meant to be non-white” is an issue – I’ll grant you that – but it in way proves that Benedict Cumberbatch got the role just because he was white and not because he was simply a better actor than the other candidates, and it is in no way proof of some racial discrimination on the part of the movie-makers.

            So your assumptions as to why Khan was played by a white-actor are simply that – assumptions – and unless you can provide evidence in the form of a list of all actors who auditioned and were turned down out-right or seriously considered for the role, or a statement by someone involved in the making of the movie to the effect that it was always the intention to cast a white actor in the role and no non-white actor was ever considered, then no amount of crying at the injustice of the world will be proof of your assumptions.

          • Martyn

            Do you have any evidence whatsoever that the director or producers of Star Trek: into Darkness deliberately set out to give the role of Khan Noonien Singh to a white actor? Or any evidence that non-white actors were not given fair chance and consideration for the role before the decison was taken to give it to Cumberbatch, that Cumberbatch wasn’t simply the best actor available

          • Gabrial Canada

            So did Alice Eve try out against women of color for her role as Dr. Carol Marcus? I mean its an alternative timeline. We don’t know that she’s white now? The same standard doesn’t apply. A character from Wrath of Khan who was a white stayed white. One that wasn’t did not. The proof is in how different the reactions are. White actors go to casting calls that explicitly ask for white actors only and brown actors compete for brown roles against white people. That isn’t a double standard its institutional discrimination dating back to the founding of Hollywood.

  • http://twitter.com/evanpetkau Evan Petkau

    This is nonsense. This is an article written on assumptions. This movie is a reboot, which in general can be considered a modern adaptation. This movie is adapted to a very different era, which has a lot more racial tolerance towards race than the public did in 1967. Cumberbatch is casted because he’s versatile and fun to watch on screen and is an emergent celebrity. Granted he was chosen to bring in the bucks, but I seriously seriously doubt they went searching for a white person. The skill of acting and direction is what makes us sympathize, no matter what the race. You’re unfairly simplifying this issue I think.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      I can reply with a number of things but I’ll just let your own words do the talking.

      You write:

      “This is an article written on assumptions.”

      Then a couple of sentences later:

      “I seriously seriously doubt they went searching for a white person.”

      Good job.

    • Venom

      No it’s not, it’s still in line with the original show and films. That’s why they got the actor who originally played Spock to reprise his role. And if this era “has a lot more racial tolerance towards race”, then why wasn’t a minority actor hired?

      And “bring in the big bucks”? You’re kidding right? I never even heard of this Bumblesnatch clown before now, and I imagine neither has the vast majority of the moviegoing public. Besides, this is a movie that’s part of a major franchise. It’s going to make money regardless of who they got.

      • JLP

        You have not seen the amazing feature-length television program that is the BBC’s Sherlock, have you?

        But, why waste my time. They have Sherlock Holmes in a modern setting. Who would want to see that?

        • Venom

          My point exactly. Do you really think the majority of American moviegoers watch the BBC?

          • Martyn

            BBC’s Sherlock gets shown on PBS in the States and has been a critical and ratings success. Season 2 of Sherlock averaged 3.2 million viewers which is more than double the average amount of viewers PBS gets for shows in the prime time slot.

          • happyappa

            Pushing Daisies was a critical success. Average ratings were ~8 mill. I never watched it, and it did get cancelled. “3.2 million viewers”? You’re only saying that is a lot because you’re comparing it to other shows on PBS. That’s pretty low for a tv show rating if you count everything else. But I guess being in one show with only 3.2 million viewers makes whatshisname HUGELY popular and is a name to “bring in the bucks”

          • JLP

            Yes. Doctor Who, Downton Abbey (it was even referenced in Iron Man 3), Sherlock, Keeping up Appearances; these get shown on PBS, which is a free channel. The British make quality programs.

            Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t just limited to Sherlock. He was in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Amazing Grace, War Horse, The Hobbit, The Other Boleyn Girl…

      • DarthYan

        He isn’t saying racism doens’t exist you idiot. But to say that things are as bad as they are in the sixties is dishonest. Let’s see….Cumberbatch has also been in atonement and the hobbit.

  • Kavin

    Then what’s the problem then

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Moore/100000051103641 Ryan Moore

    in the flashback he was wearing a turban (or at least an old profile)

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Are you talking about the drawing of him? If it was in a drawing it doesn’t count because the actor himself didn’t wear the turban.

  • WAKemper

    I agree with the author and I’m disappointed in the franchise. I have used Star Trek as an example of a progressive way of viewing race. http://dontgetherhairwet.com/2013/05/20/you-dont-see-race-thats-not-logical/ This casting goes agains everything the series usually stands for. Khan is based on Nietzsche’s “Superman.” People in history like Adolph Hitler used eugenics to create Nietzsche’s Superman and of course, Hitler though his man had to be white. Star Trek challenged this belief by having th me eugenics lily created Khan be a person of color. Khan is ethnic, yet he possesses superior intellect and physical ability of normal humans. Abrams probably cast Cumberbatch to surprise the audience, but it’s sad that it comes at the expense of challenging our perceptions about race and what a “superman” should look like.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    You’ve been trying to mitigate the backlash of Cumberbatch’s casting by shifting the attention to Montalbán’s casting. You keep ignoring that it is a layered issue. I’ve said this to you a number of times already and have given you the reasons why it is a layered issue.

    And you’ve been also trying to completely downplay the history of the discrimination that Montalbán faced. Just look at your last replies where you were trying falsely claim that Montalbán supposedly have the same kind of career as other white actors during the 60s and post-Star Trek. That’s nonsense.

    • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

      Except that he did. He had several roles on many shows, just like many other actors who mosly did TV, including many of the people on Trek. Frank Gorshin had a memorable guest star role on Trek, but he never made a dent in movies either.
      I’m not trying to “mitigate” anything. I simply think that there should be consistency about the various portrayals of an Indian character by non Indian actors.If Cumberbatch was wrong, than Montalban was wrong.

      • SnapIntoASlimJim

        “Except that he did.”

        No, he didn’t. What you are doing is picking out some exception like Frank Gorshin so you can that it’s no different than Montalbán which is you trying to mitigate the discrimination that existed. That’s like saying there’s no discrimination against nonwhites nowadays cause Christian Slater isn’t setting the box office on fire.

        Despite his European background, Montalbán was not considered to be white and nonwhites were not and are still not given equal opportunities.

        “If Cumberbatch was wrong, than Montalban was wrong.”

        And has been said to you several times already: This is a layered issue. It is not the simplified situation you want it to be.

        • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

          Actually, it is very simple: Montalban was not Indian; the character he played was. The made him up to look Indian by using makeup.

          The point about Gorshin is that there are actually very, very few actors who appeared on the original Star Trek who became extremely popular. Most of them, even actors like Joan Collins, were mostly limited to TV.

        • Fifty Shades Of Erin Gray

          And I never said there was no discrimination – just that pointing to the fact that he did a lot of TV is not an example of discrimination. But whatever discrimination there was should not justify brownface.

  • JLP

    Alright, let’s take a look at what people would rather have seen instead of Benedict Cumberbatch:

    A Middle-Eastern or Indian actor playing a brown-skinned super-terrorist who flies a starship into buildings.

    And here I was thinking Star Trek was about NOT embracing racial stereotypes. Whoopi Goldberg was surprised when she saw that there was a black woman on TV and she wasn’t a maid.

  • tenlegdragon

    Okay, so as a total non-trekkie who probably shouldn’t have an opinion on Khan – can we make an exception for Cumberbatch seeing as he was the saving grace of the movie for the new generation of star trek watchers like myself who don’t know that khan was supposed to be a muslim, who have never and perhaps will never watch the original Khan because we just don’t care enough about Star Trek?

    Maybe they didn’t want to go with the muslim terrorist idea, so can we give them credit then for not playing out that stereotype? This movie, taken independently really doesn’t go a lot into Khan’s genetic makeup, they don’t call him the pinnacle of homo sapien prowess, and considering that we’re supposed to be in a different timeline or whatever maybe we can allow for some variation, yeah?

    It’s freakin’ Cumberbatch people. Callin it “Into Whiteness” just comes off a little racist against white people because aside from him being of a whiter shade of pale, complexion wise, he really didn’t drop the ball with what he was given.

    Maybe, just maybe, JJ isn’t racist and they got Cumberbatch because he’s a good actor regardless of his skin/hair colour. Not like if he was playing Malcom X, or Ghandi (u guys hate Kingsley, I’m just assuming for being a fake-out Mandarin right? And for being Ghandi?) people. Khan might be an Aisan God in Wrath of Khan, but this isn’t Wrath of Khan! This Khan is just a human guy who got experimented on, has a moderately enhanced level of combat skill and agility that puts him at par physically with a pissed off half breed vulcan, had killer enunciation, had curious facial features that made him interesting to look at, and was holding a grudge and tried to kill out some guys in the Starfleet like any old random terrorist.

    When the villain has some pigment to him, everybody’s up in arms because why the villain gotta be hispanic/black/korean (although the asian thing I think has to do more with nationality issues than ethnic ones). Now they cast a nigh-albino, and everybody says no. The villain can’t be white. It’s reserved for an asian.

    No need for people to be called cringeworthy and repugnant and all of that. “Into Whiteness?” Really? This is the whitest movie in existence with the poorest representation of asians to complain about? You guys aren’t even sure what ethnicity he’s supposed to be. Just that he’s supposed to be “asian”. Meaning what? Anything between Japanese to Indian? Just saying that a man is supposed to be “asian” is so offensive in itself! “An islamic Asian who wears a turban because he’s a brainy genius…”

    “Asians”. Reminds me of that season of survivor where they had the “asian” camp and they were all different ethnicities with nothing in common.

    If you ask me, the one and only problem with the movie was the bromance aspect of it. Call me a homophobe, I know you will, but it was just a little gay and having the now openly gay Spock spend so much time dealing with his feels for kirk was distracting. However, I’m not going to right a blog calling it ST: Into Gayness, because the original role was played by a caucasoid hetero and now we have an ethnically dubious homo taking up the role. Or is the bromance ambiguous even in the originals, making it all right here?

    Rebooting a movie, seems to me to imply trying to gather some new fans to something that’s more or less dead. Synonymous with “reviving”. “Reworking.” You try to make it more appealing, you try to cast actors that people have an interest in seeing. Maybe this could have been the launching pad of the next undiscovered Mohinder/Sayeed, but on any random survey of normal movie goers (excluding the die-hard trekkies who are going to contribute to the box office regardless of who or what they cast as Khan), I think the gen pop would say, “You know what, Cumberbatch is awesome, I don’t mind at all. It’s been a while since we last saw him on Sherlock, I really wouldn’t mind at all. And also, who the eff is khan supposed to be anyway?”

    If people are complaining about this, they should complain about a latino doing Uhura and Quinto doing Spock just the same.

    Not that I’m a racist, but you guys seem a little bit distracted here. Look at Airbender. Reason that movie sucked was because M Night never watched an episode of Avatar in his life (and no one can tell me that he did). The race-lifting is the least of that movies problems. The very least. To blame the suckage of that movie on the ethnicities of the cast members seems mighty racist. You can acknowledge race-lifting without being racist in turn. You don’t fight racism with reverse racism, or inverted racism, or inverted colorism, or whatever this is.

    Not that “racebending” isn’t offensive, but in this scenario, a lot of the hate seems to generate from the fact that they cast an asian the first time around how many decades ago for reasons that just won’t fly today. That was back in the time when all russians were politcal evildoers and spies and all East Indians were geniuses at biology and all things nat sci.

    Eg. of something to complain about: Man of Steel. I’ve not spotted a single POC in all the ten, fifteen trailers they’ve released. That’s been rebooted how many times. Why don’t we have a Zod of colour, or a Lex Luthor of colour, because Lex, according to some of the comic books and one of the cartoon series is very suspiciously tanned. Where’s the campaign for a biracial Lex Luthor? Where were the POCs in any of Nolan’s “masterpiece” films? Scorcese? All this Abbrams hate because he got Star Wars too? Come on trekkies. You’re going to be in the same boat as the DC Fanboys who troll on Avengers and IM.

    The logic of this falls out when you consider that this Khan is a NEW Khan. He’s just a regular villain. No big mastermind. No super agenda. Just a guy with a grudge who was thwarted by the cleverness of spock and Bromance conquering evil. The idea of a human being the genetic composite of a population and coming out asian just isn’t going to fly for a 2013 view audience. It’s far more credible to think he was just an ordinary english bred, anglo-saxon descended lad with good diction who ended up on the wrong side of the starfleet after some “minor” genetic tweaking. Most people today have a fair idea of how genes work. Mixing them together isn’t going to make you asian unless you have really bad sampling techniques. All write-ups on the original Khan are so ludicrous, I’m not going to watch it, not even for the purpose of comparison, just because I hate indian turban wearing villains.

    “Into Whiteness?” This movie? If this is racist, it’s surpassed exponentially by nigh every other blockbuster release of the year. You guys must have been super busy. “Into Whiteness” should be reserved for Matt Damon/Clint Eastwood movies.

    • Guest

      “Okay, so as a total non-trekkie who probably shouldn’t have an opinion on Khan – can we make an exception for Cumberbatch seeing as he was the saving grace of the movie for the new generation of star trek watchers like myself who don’t know that khan was supposed to be a muslim, who have never and perhaps will never watch the original Khan because we just don’t care enough about Star Trek?”

      “Saving grace”? That single-handedly ruined the whole movie, even if you don’t take into account the racism.

    • Venom

      “Okay, so as a total non-trekkie who probably shouldn’t have an opinion on Khan – can we make an exception for Cumberbatch seeing as he was the saving grace of the movie for the new generation of star trek watchers like myself who don’t know that khan was supposed to be a muslim, who have never and perhaps will never watch the original Khan because we just don’t care enough about Star Trek?”

      “Saving grace”?? That single-handedly ruined the movie, even if you don’t take into account the racism. Here’s a review that explains about that, and makes no reference to race: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escape-to-the-movies/7335-Star-Trek-Into-Darkness

      “Maybe they didn’t want to go with the muslim terrorist idea, so can we give them credit then for not playing out that stereotype? This movie, taken independently really doesn’t go a lot into Khan’s genetic makeup, they don’t call him the pinnacle of homo sapien prowess, and considering that we’re supposed to be in a different timeline or whatever maybe we can allow for some variation, yeah?”

      No and no. BTW Sikhs aren’t Muslims.

      “It’s freakin’ Cumberbatch people. Callin it “Into Whiteness” just comes off a little racist against white people because aside from him being of a whiter shade of pale, complexion wise, he really didn’t drop the ball with what he was given.”

      Um, it’s a play on the movie’s title Into Darkness. Jeez, talk about hunting for racism where there isn’t any.

      “When the villain has some pigment to him, everybody’s up in arms because why the villain gotta be hispanic/black/korean (although the asian thing I think has to do more with nationality issues than ethnic ones). Now they cast a nigh-albino, and everybody says no. The villain can’t be white. It’s reserved for an asian.”

      Except that the original Khan was a man of color and nobody was up in arms.

      “You guys aren’t even sure what ethnicity he’s supposed to be. Just that he’s supposed to be “asian””

      Indian, the author explicitly says so.

      “If you ask me, the one and only problem with the movie was the bromance aspect of it…Or is the bromance ambiguous even in the originals, making it all right here?”

      Precisely.

      “Rebooting a movie, seems to me to imply trying to gather some new fans to something that’s more or less dead. Synonymous with “reviving”. “Reworking.” You try to make it more appealing, you try to cast actors that people have an interest in seeing. Maybe this could have been the launching pad of the next undiscovered Mohinder/Sayeed, but on any random survey of normal movie goers (excluding the die-hard trekkies who are going to contribute to the box office regardless of who or what they cast as Khan), I think the gen pop would say, “You know what, Cumberbatch is awesome, I don’t mind at all. It’s been a while since we last saw him on Sherlock, I really wouldn’t mind at all. And also, who the eff is khan supposed to be anyway?””

      Nobody who’s a “normal movie goer” knows or cares who Cabbagepatch is. He’s an unknown with no star power. You’re seriously mistaken if you think the gen pop regularly watches some BBC show (that isn’t Downton Abbey).

      “If people are complaining about this, they should complain about a latino doing Uhura and Quinto doing Spock just the same.”

      Zoe Saldana is black and Zachary Quinto is white. What’s there to complain about?

      “Not that I’m a racist, but you guys seem a little bit distracted here. Look at Airbender. Reason that movie sucked was because M Night never watched an episode of Avatar in his life (and no one can tell me that he did). The race-lifting is the least of that movies problems. The very least. To blame the suckage of that movie on the ethnicities of the cast members seems mighty racist. You can acknowledge race-lifting without being racist in turn. You don’t fight racism with reverse racism, or inverted racism, or inverted colorism, or whatever this is.”

      Don’t really think that was ever anyone’s contention.

      “Not that “racebending” isn’t offensive, but in this scenario, a lot of the hate seems to generate from the fact that they cast an asian the first time around how many decades ago for reasons that just won’t fly today. That was back in the time when all russians were politcal evildoers and spies and all East Indians were geniuses at biology and all things nat sci.”

      Chekov was a political evildoer and spy? Khan was a scientist?

      “Eg. of something to complain about: Man of Steel. I’ve not spotted a single POC in all the ten, fifteen trailers they’ve released.”

      You have got to be joking. People (including some in this very comments section) have not stopped complaining about “Perry Black”.

      “Where were the POCs in any of Nolan’s “masterpiece” films?

      Morgan Freeman and Ken Watanabe (2nd billed in Inception) are white?

      “Scorcese?”

      Ever heard of Kundun?

      “The logic of this falls out when you consider that this Khan is a NEW Khan. He’s just a regular villain. No big mastermind. No super agenda. Just a guy with a grudge who was thwarted by the cleverness of spock and Bromance conquering evil.”

      Then he shouldn’t have been made Khan at all.

      “The idea of a human being the genetic composite of a population and coming out asian just isn’t going to fly for a 2013 view audience. It’s far more credible to think he was just an ordinary english bred, anglo-saxon descended lad with good diction who ended up on the wrong side of the starfleet after some “minor” genetic tweaking. Most people today have a fair idea of how genes work. Mixing them together isn’t going to make you asian unless you have really bad sampling techniques. All write-ups on the original Khan are so ludicrous, I’m not going to watch it, not even for the purpose of comparison, just because I hate indian turban wearing villains.”

      Um, such a mixture would result in someone brown. Have you never heard anyone say something like “If we all keep screwing, everyone will be the same color”? Or did you think they meant everyone would be white?

      “”Into Whiteness” should be reserved for Matt Damon/Clint Eastwood movies.”

      You mean like the one where Nelson Mandela was played by a black actor?

      • tenlegdragon

        Dude, I shouldn’t even bother most likely, but your POV is so riddled with contradictions that I’m not even sure where to start.

        A- Do some bio. Even if you combined the worlds DNA to create one human being, he would not be ethnically, genetically, or nationally Indian. That just won’t happen unless it was a genetic experimentation project ran by Indians themselves who set out to make the best Indian ever.

        Because, science.

        JSYK, the human population isn’t going to evolve into a homogenous body of brown Indians named Khan. Now, I’m not saying that they’re going to be an albino level of white, but nobody is saying that Cumberbatch’s Khan is a genetic composite of the world. NO ONE is saying that.

        Ethnically speaking, Saldana isn’t a “black”. She’s not African American. She Dominican and Puerto Rican. More like a dark hispanic or latino. And I don’t think anybody will accuse Quinto of being as thorough-bred caucasoid as the previous/alternate Spock. Also, is John Cho japanese? Or is it okay that he’s not, because they’re both “asian” and all asians are equal?

        Also, no one in THIS movie called Khan a sikh. He’s just named Khan – a muslim name – yes, but in all other aspects he’s distinctly irrevocably british. It is possible even in today’s society to find a human as white as Cumberbatch who is named Khan, for a less of whatever century this movie takes place in. Or do you think that in the future, it’s logical to assume that all people named Khan will be easily visually, brown skinned asians?

        A muslim 100% “asian” man named Khan marrying a white woman will give a child that’s only 50% “asian” on average. follow that through a couple generations along the male line and you’ll find someone primarily white being named Khan. Real life.

        You have to either find fault in that they changed Khan’s origin story in “Into Darkness”, on the part of the writers, creators, directors, producers, stockholders, whoever;

        Or, you have to believe that they didn’t change the story at all, that Into Darkness is a movie catering primarily for the original trekkie, diehard Star Trek fans, that this Khan is supposed to be in every way identical to that Khan. Then yes, you can go with the whitewashing argument if you’re following option 2, but that’d imply that you either didn’t watch this movie at all or that you thought it was going to be a “remake” instead of a “reboot.”

        In a reboot done right, it shouldn’t matter an iota as to the original casting. That’s how you come up with the little two lines of dialogue cameos from the original actors that just meant to be fun and nothing more significant plot wise. Not sure why they’re making the old Spock a part of this. No new Trek fans actually care, so maybe you jihadists can be content with his ongoing inclusion and not look for mirror casting?

        If you’re pissed because it’s a reboot instead of a remake, say that instead of resorting to name calling. People can understand if you’re just a disillusioned fan. Me too sometimes, I’m an outrageous GOT troll. But if changing the race/ethnicity/culture/sexuality? of a character in a reboot is negative, then that idea should be extended and applied to racial changes in both directions. You should be arguing about Quinto, Saldana and Cho as well. Just saying.

        B- The international gen pop is very much aware of who Cumberbatch is. There’ve been ads where he has first billing. For reals. A lot of the promos featured him heavily.

        And don’t make assumptions for the gen pop of America, (I’m just spitballing here, no offense to Americans implied) just because you personally have not seen anything BBC outside of Downton Abbey. Don’t put that on other people. You’ve honestly never seen anything british other than Downton? I can’t believe that. What do you live on comic books and CBS?

        C- Just because it’s funny with context doesn’t make it not racist. Titling an article “Into Whiteness” and making it about a white actor is being specifically hurtful and racist. Yes, despite it being a play on the Title of the movie. Despite the marvelous cleverness of it. Yes.

        • Venom

          “Dude, I shouldn’t even bother most likely, but your POV is so riddled with contradictions that I’m not even sure where to start.”

          “So riddled” and yet you weren’t able to identify any.

          “A- Do some bio. Even if you combined the worlds DNA to create one human being, he would not be ethnically, genetically, or nationally Indian. That just won’t happen unless it was a genetic experimentation project ran by Indians themselves who set out to make the best Indian ever.

          Because, science.”

          A person created from all of humanity, from the lightest white to the darkest black, would more likely than not have an ethnic appearance of someone who wouldn’t look out of place in India.

          “JSYK, the human population isn’t going to evolve into a homogenous body of brown Indians named Khan. Now, I’m not saying that they’re going to be an albino level of white, but nobody is saying that Cumberbatch’s Khan is a genetic
          composite of the world. NO ONE is saying that.”

          Yes he is. That part was not altered in any way.

          “Ethnically speaking, Saldana isn’t a “black”. She’s not African American. She Dominican and Puerto Rican. More like a dark hispanic or latino.”

          No, she is black. She herself would be the first one to tell you that. Are you not familiar with this actress or something? You not notice that all the roles she plays are black women, with black family members? There’s a reason for that.

          “And I don’t think anybody will accuse Quinto of being as thorough-bred caucasoid as the previous/alternate Spock.”

          He may not be a Jew like his predecessor, but he is still clearly white.

          “Also, is John Cho japanese? Or is it okay that he’s not, because they’re both “asian” and all asians are equal?”

          Sulu is a pan-East Asian representative, not specifically Japanese.

          “Also, no one in THIS movie called Khan a sikh. He’s just named Khan – a muslim name -
          yes, but in all other aspects he’s distinctly irrevocably british. It is possible even in today’s society to find a human as white as Cumberbatch who is named Khan, for a less of whatever century this movie takes place in. Or do you think that in the future, it’s logical to assume that all people named Khan
          will be easily visually, brown skinned asians?

          A muslim 100% “asian” man named Khan marrying a white woman will give a child that’s only 50% “asian” on average. follow that through a couple generations along the male line and you’ll find someone primarily white being named Khan. Real life.”

          No, he is in fact called by his full name. And again, the character is still a genetics creation.

          “You have to either find fault in that they changed Khan’s origin story in “Into Darkness”, on the part of the writers, creators, directors, producers, stockholders, whoever;

          Or, you have to believe that they didn’t change the story at all, that Into Darkness is a movie catering primarily for the original trekkie, diehard Star Trek fans, that this Khan is supposed to be in every way identical to that Khan. Then yes, you can go with the whitewashing argument if you’re following option 2, but that’d imply that you either didn’t watch this movie at all or that you thought it was going to be a “remake” instead of a “reboot.””

          But that’s exactly right. The timeline disruption would have no effect here because he was created and sealed away long before. Only thing different is that the admiral woke him up sooner. And did you not see the review I linked? The only reason to even have this character be Khan (and include Carol Marcus for that matter) is to try to please the longtime fans who are familiar with it.

          “In a reboot done right, it shouldn’t matter an iota as to the original casting. That’s how you come up with the little two lines of dialogue cameos from the original actors that just meant to be fun and nothing more significant plot wise. Not sure why they’re making the old Spock a part of this. No new Trek fans actually care, so maybe you jihadists can be content with his ongoing inclusion and not look for mirror casting?”

          Except that it isn’t, as you put it, a reboot done right. As you noted Leonard Nimoy is still playing Spock, so it still holds canon and continuity with and still a part of the existing series. And with every other role there was, also as you put it, mirror casting. So yes, there is clearly some desire to stay faithful.

          “If you’re pissed because it’s a reboot instead of a remake, say that instead of resorting to name calling. People can understand if you’re just a disillusioned fan. Me too sometimes, I’m an outrageous GOT troll. But if changing the
          race/ethnicity/culture/sexuality? of a character in a reboot is negative, then that idea should be extended and applied to racial changes in both directions. You should be arguing about Quinto, Saldana and Cho as well. Just saying.”

          Whitewashing is the issue, not rebooting. And as explained above, those are NOT racial changes.

          “B- The international gen pop is very much aware of who Cumberbatch is. There’ve been ads where he has first billing. For reals. A lot of the promos featured him heavily.”

          Um, the ads don’t list any actors (nor do they have to, the name sells itself). And of course the promos would feature the villain prominently. Doesn’t mean that people watching are familiar with who that is.

          “And don’t make assumptions for the gen pop of America, (I’m just spitballing here, no offense to Americans implied) just because you personally have not seen anything BBC outside of Downton Abbey. Don’t put that on other people. You’ve honestly never seen anything british other than Downton? I can’t believe that. What do you live on comic books and CBS?”

          We’re talking about a movie franchise that had to be dumbed down and Michael Bay-ed up to appeal to the audience of today. Do you honestly think these are the same people who regularly tune into the BBC? You said yourself they probably won’t even bother to see any other Star Treks.

          “C- Just because it’s funny with context doesn’t make it not racist. Titling an article “Into Whiteness” and making it about a white actor is being specifically hurtful and racist. Yes, despite it being a play on the Title of the movie. Despite the marvelous cleverness of it. Yes.”

          Except it’s not hurtful nor racist in any sense. If it were called “Into Crackerness” or “Into Honkiness” you might have a case.

          • Tuna Ghost

            Holy christ I can’t believe you had the energy to tackle that dipshit point by point twice. Well done, sir or ma’am.

  • JLP

    I would just like everyone to know that Trek has, in fact, done a LOT worse in regards to race. The best examples are TNG Season 1′s “Code of Honor” (planet of the savage blacks) and “Justice” (perfect society of blonde-haired blue-eyes white people); these were episodes done on Gene’s watch.

    Watch those episodes, then come back and complain about Khan being white. Or, better yet, DO NOT watch those episodes, because they’re the equivalent of having healthy teeth pulled without Novocain and do the entire franchise a disservice by association.

    • Hyatt

      Yeah, and the people in charge owned up to the racism and apologized for it. Still waiting for acknowledgment and apology from Abrams et al.

  • JLP

    Oh, and funny that you bring up the Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

    For starters, he wasn’t the Mandarin. He was the actor portraying the Mandarin. Second, Ben Kingsley won an Oscar for playing Gandhi. Yes, he is of Indian descent, but you wouldn’t know that unless you looked it up. I didn’t even know he was of Indian descent.

    If you really want to see Trek being racist, watch TNG Season 1. Or even better, avoid TNG Season 1.

  • Jim

    I think it comes down to ignorance. People ignorant of the character would have considered a dark skinned Khan as a stereotype and generated negative press. It’s a sad reflection of the political correctness of this era. This type of insincerity is racist. It’s racist not because a ‘white man got the part’, its racist because the assumption is portraying Khan as dark would have been ‘controversial’ and that this could not be understood. Star Trek has just become irrelevant and may as well be Star Wars and cater to the 10-14 demographic. We certainly are not more tolerant today. Rather, we just shifted focus to different shade. Plus, the movie itself was tiresome. I note of friends and family who ‘enjoyed’ it, had no prior knowledge and simply do not get the ideas of Star Trek nor have any idea why this movie was broken.

  • Jack Derwent

    I love how the front picture uses an image of Benedict with a flash on to make him look whiter and uses contrast on Montalban as if the same point couldn’t be made without one being really light and the other being really dark.

  • Don Rodriguez

    Ricardo Montalban was 100% European, both his parents were from Spain. So I guess, if Cumberbatch just did some tanning he would also be a “Person of Color”?

  • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

    Lol, the hypocrisy of people over
    this subject staggers the imagination. A black actor can be cast
    playing a white character, and no one gives a hoot. But a white actor
    gets cast as in a role made famous by a Hispanic actor playing a
    character who may or may not be from the “Northern regions of India” and
    people go ape-snot over it.

    If Superman had been cast with a black actor hardly any uproar would
    have been made over it, but if the Falcon character in the next Captain
    America movie went to a white actor, all Hell would have broken loose.

    • happyappa

      Lol, another example of white people imagining they are victims of racism.

      “A black actor can be cast playing a white character, and no one gives a hoot.”
      Oh… so if a poc plays a role that was traditionally white, everyone is happy and okay with it.

      Just…
      What
      http://ca.shalomlife.com/culture/16896/racist-hunger-games-fans-attack-kravitz-stenberg/ (and the characters aren’t even specified as white, and still people were “why are they black???”)
      The
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/peter-parker-replaced-by-mixed-race-spiderman/2011/08/03/gIQAyQQ6rI_blog.html
      Hell
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/dec/17/white-supremacists-boycott-thor
      Are
      http://keepthis100.com/lucy-liu-responds-to-the-racial-controversy-over-her-casting-as-joan-in-the-cbs-adaptation-of-sherlock-holmes/
      You
      https://twitter.com/search?q=fantasic+four+black
      Talking
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/hunger-games-racist-tweets
      About
      http://www.hecklerspray.com/black-actors-playing-superheroes/201296805.php

      • Blitz

        So you’re saying that white people don’t ever experience racism? All members of all races are victim to it and to assume they aren’t is foolish.

        • happyappa

          http://pps.sagepub.com/content/6/3/215
          http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/12/21/white.persecution/

          Look at what whites consider “racism”
          http://www.sodahead.com/living/are-you-a-white-victim-of-racism/question-1551225/

          Being called “white boy/girl”, being accused of not understanding the “plight of the poor” (???), given different food at an Indian restaurant, affirmative action… Then you have white people claiming that because they can’t have a “white history” month it’s totally “racist”. Watch the videos I posted on another comment.

          • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

            Or being called “honkey” on sitcoms over the years that are still in syndication?

            “Honkey” and “Cracker” seem to be okay I guess, as long as it’s used as humor?

            Miss Black America,
            United “negro” college fund,
            National Association for the advancement of COLORED people”?!? (NAACP)

            (If I called someone “colored” I would be attacked.)

            BLACK Entertainment Television
            National Black Nurses Association
            Association of Black Cardiologist
            National Association of Black Journalists
            Metropolitan Black Bar Association

            Etc…Etc…..

            Now replace “white” for “black” in any of those organizations titles, and tell me if they would or could exist.

            There are people who benefit way too much from perceived racism for it to truly “go away”.

          • happyappa

            Honkey and cracker are not racist, and calm down, black people teasing white people is just teasing, jeeze.

            “(If I called someone “colored” I would be attacked.)”
            Well of course, if you say something actually racist you should be attacked. This argument you are making is similar to “Well black people can say the N word, why can’t I (white people)????”

            Why do you think black people have to make their own networks? Because white people have more than enough representation in the media. It’s called nbc, abc, fox, etc.

            http://www.thegloss.com/2013/05/13/culture/racist-teens-create-white-girls-club/
            Read the racist comments, oh wait , yours is among them.

            You are living proof of the Harvard study. Whites are so afraid of losing their privilege they’ll make sure they are included in oppression/racism. And when white people are told they say racist things they push the blame on pocs. Typical.

          • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

            “Honkey and cracker are not racist, and calm down, black people teasing white people is just teasing, jeeze.”
            ==========================

            And that right there is the reason that no one should ever take advice from you on what is, or isn’t racism.

            Actually, people should take solace in the fact that if you called them a racist that they really aren’t one.

            If you are not going to be a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem, and you should step aside.

            And if you go around calling other African Americans the “N” word, then you are no better than any one else that does so.

            Regardless of your own race.

          • happyappa

            “Actually, people should take solace in the fact that if you called them a racist that they really aren’t one.”

            You keep telling yourself that. YOU said that black people making their own networks was racist! lol

            “If you are not going to be a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem, and you should step aside.”

            Nothing but a derailing tactic, not going to work

            “And if you go around calling other African Americans the “N” word, then you are no better than any one else that does so.Regardless of your own race.”

            The difference is, unlike you, I don’t go around saying that ‘I should be entitled to do things like calling black people “colored” and should not be attacked for it’. Do you even CARE that black people are called the N word to begin with?? No, all you give a care about is being able to say the word too.

            http://www.stcloudstate.edu/affirmativeaction/resources/insights/pdf/28ToolsChange.pdf
            You don’t seem to understand that pocs do not have the same power in society as whites. By saying that whites are victims of racism is ridiculous, it is detailed further in the videos I directed you to. By saying so, you are ignoring ages of racism against pocs just so you white folks can desperately hold on to what privilege you have. You don’t even acknowledge the Harvard study, you only live in some delusional world where white people are oppressed.

      • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

        See if you can find a link that would tell us what would happen if Nick Fury suddenly appeared in the movies as he was originally created.

        Or if the Falcon was cast with Ryan Reynolds.

        Or the Black Panther was cast with Bradley Cooper.

        Or if Rhodey (from Iron Man) was cast with Ryan Gosling.

        Have any opinion on that? Any links to any thoughts on that?

        Here is a thought: The production of each of those movies would be shut down, the director and writer would be fired, (and never work again), and the studio would have to issue a public apology, and each executive in charge would have to go through sensitivity training.

        Not to mention the boycotts and protests.

        But hey, people got mad at a “Hunger Games” character being black so I guess it all comes out in the wash, Am I right?

        • Venom

          No it wouldn’t. Ben Affleck has not apologized and is still working.

          • happyappa

            I have no idea what imaginary world Virgil Cole is living in. Maybe he should keep listening to “Accidental Racist” since it’s probably #1 on his playlist.

          • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

            You know more words to that “song” than I do, you can be sure of that.

          • happyappa

            But of course, why would someone like you, who comes into a site (that protests whitewashing) to talk about white people problems, understand how problematic that song is? I gave you too much credit.

          • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

            Well I guess I should have known better than to try and make a point to someone who has the answer to all life’s questions.

            And is not afraid to tell you so.

            What is “problematic” is the fact that you can’t see what is right in front of your eyes everyday. That is, if you can in fact even look in a mirror for more than a few seconds without looking away in shame.

            “White people problems”?!? Seriously?

            “Honkey and Cracker is just teasin’” “White folks can’t take a joke” (Your words.)

            The irony.

            I’m white, (as you obviously know, since well, you know everything) and the only problem I have is with people screaming for “equality” while working their butt off to actually make things lean a little more to one side than actually qualifies as “equal”. And then go around telling other people that they are racists.

            When the actual (not “accidental”) racist stares back at them every morning in the mirror.

    • Hyatt

      “If Superman had been cast with a black actor hardly any uproar would
      have been made over it”

      Somehow, I doubt that. Unless you consider people slinging the n-word at the prospective actor “hardly any uproar”.

      • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

        What do your “doubts” tell you about if the Falcon was cast with a white actor?

        Because I can cast aside any doubt you may have on what would happen.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    You are equating Koreans and Japanese as if it were an equal situation with South Asian and white.

    You are completely and utterly mistaken.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    You want people in 2013 to start a campaign against a movie that came out 27 years ago?

  • JLP

    By your standards, we should lash out at Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan for not having a Cuban play the Joker.

  • Sam Norte

    Hey a white guy got a job over a non white.

  • disqus_0PtLV9c2IT

    Being of partial English descent, I find it highly offensive that genocidal, homicidal, psychopathic maniacs are always played by Englishmen! This stereotyping must end!

    • disqus_0PtLV9c2IT

      I highly agree with this comment!

  • Venom

    “This is not your father’s Star Trek.” So that makes it ok to be racist?

    And that has got to be one of the dumbest excuses yet to justify this horrid casting. Having a white guy play a POC makes the whole thing come across as less of a ripoff..really?

    • JLP

      You really have no idea how Trek has done far, far worse.

      Like when Voyager said that Native Americans were backward languageless cavemen until they were touched by white men from outer space.

      • Venom

        Two wrongs do not make a right.

  • Venom

    Then it’s pretty damn sad that we’ve made no progress in 30 years, isn’t it?

    • JLP

      Jenette Goldstein as Vasquez is one of the best parts of Aliens, just as Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job as Khan.

  • spoon

    Just out of curiosity, has there been any actual protests on this issue with Star Trek Into Darkness?

    I’ve had a quick snoop around the net, but haven’t found anything apart from links coming to this article.

    Since this obivously quite a serious issue, I was just wondering whether people know or have taken part in demonstrations/ pickets outside cinema’s in order to bring this issue out into the mainstream media?

    • JLP

      Doesn’t look like it, because I thought Benedict Cumberbatch did a fantastic job.

      • spoon

        I too enjoyed BC’s take on Khan. Although it’s now somewhat blighted over the fact it does appear to be a case of White washing, and that I now feel I’ve willing given money over to people who support the practice and thinks it’s cool. BC is, IMO, a fantastic actor, it’s just a shame his name now is linked with this shameful affair.

        • JLP

          Yeah, but Abrams was effectively in a Kobayashi Maru situation:

          If he went with Cumberbatch, he’d be accused of “whitewashing.” If he went with a Middle Eastern or Indian actor, we would have the “brown-skinned terrorist flying a vehicle into buildings” stereotype in a franchise which has already done enough damage to Native Americans thanks to Voyager.

          • Hyatt

            Only because he used Khan as the villain. If he’d used almost anyone else, he could’ve avoided the whole issue.

          • JLP

            What other villains does Trek have who are as big or as memorable as Khan? He’s the Joker, he’s Moriarty, he’s the Master.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            It should also be noted that in the first Star Trek reboot film, the villain of that movie that Eric Bana played was an all new character.

            There was no reason why this character needed to be Khan and that is obvious by the fact that the marketing was designed to make the audience think it was an all new villain again.

  • pcnav

    I don’t need to! You think your opinion must be universally taken by all? Kiss my @ss.

    • Venom

      I think what they’re getting at is that one of those is a major character who the plot is centered on, and the other is a cameo part with no significance.

  • Elizabeth MB Downs

    What I don’t understand is why he had to be Kahn. As John Harrison maybe later being Gary Mitchell the casting would have worked. If they were trying to avoid the stereotype of the dark-skinned villain, why the Indian name? By keeping the name they still played into the “other” stereotype. Kahn Noonien Singh as a superman was a big f*** you to white supremacists. Sadly doesn’t sound like he is this time. Let’s hope they come up with something different next time. The theme of StarFleet becoming more militaristic and the Federation more warlike because of the murder of Vulcan is relevant and has echoes today in the current responses to terrorism and insane shootings. We are being asked to give up freedom to feel safe. A very good theme for a movie.

    • JLP

      The reason Khan has that name was because Gene used the name of his war buddy Kim Noonien Singh to try to reconnect with him.

      Besides, the only time they ever established that Khan was from India was in “Space Seed,” where McGivers says “this man must be from Northern India!” It just makes the scene somewhat hilarious in retrospect.

      I think this is the reason why it had to be Khan: Khan is pretty much the biggest and most iconic singular villain that Trek has. He’s the Joker. He’s Moriarty. He’s the Master. You can’t have it be Star Trek without having Khan at least once.

      • SnapIntoASlimJim

        So it’s hilarious that the character was assumed to be from Northern India in retrospect but not ridiculous at all that a 100% white man like Cumberbatch is playing a character with the name “Khan Noonien Singh”??

        I’m not sure if you are trying to be a parody of someone who is trying at all costs to defend whitewashing roles to marginalize nonwhites or if you really are this bizarre.

        • JLP

          Khan isn’t even an Indian name; it’s a Muslim name.

          It’s funny because McGivers is gushing over Khan, saying “Wow, he is probably from Northern India!” when it is obvious that Ricardo is not from India at all.

          An Indian friend of mine understands your concerns, but he had no problem with it.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “Khan isn’t even an Indian name; it’s a Muslim name.”

            “Khan” is not exclusively a Muslim name. Khan is a name used in the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. In other words, nonwhite territories.

            “Singh” is a South Asian name and used widely in India.

            “when it is obvious that Ricardo is not from India at all.”

            But not funny at all when Cumberbatch is playing the same character?

            “An Indian friend of mine understands your concerns, but he had no problem with Benedict Cumberbatch.”

            You think your one Indian friend, who may or may not even exist, speaks for all Indians and has the final say on this issue?

            Now that’s hilarious.

          • JLP

            It’s not funny with Cumberbatch because he is terrifying as Khan. As I’ve said, he is able to snap your spine just by talking. He takes on an entire platoon of Klingons and is unscathed.

            My friend exists, and he does not speak for all Indians. He’s just a viewer with an opinion.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “It’s not funny with Cumberbatch because he is terrifying as Khan.”

            And Montalbán was not?

            Besides, you said it was hilarious because, “it is obvious that Ricardo is not from India at all”. Well Cumberbatch even less so.

            “My friend exists,”

            According to you.

            “and he does not speak for all Indians. He’s just a viewer with an opinion.”

            It’s rather meaningless to mention your friend considering that this is the internet and you have no proof of that. And since you agree that he does not speak for all Indians, what’s the point?

          • JLP

            Montalban was hammy, just as hammy as Shatner. Part of the fun of “Space Seed” and Wrath of Khan is them going at each other to see who is the bigger ham.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “Hammy” doesn’t get you to be among many people’s lists of the greatest villains in movie history. Montalbán brought far more to the role that you are not admitting to all because you want to defend racism in Hollywood.

          • JLP

            Actually, he was hammy. It was classic ham to ham combat.

            That’s part of why he’s so great.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            You want to think he was “hammy”, that’s your opinion. Most don’t think so which is why Montalbán made that character become one of the top villains in movies. He was a major reason why Wrath of Khan is considered to be the best Star Trek movie ever made.

            I don’t hear anyone saying that about Batman the movie with Adam West and that had damn near everyone in the cast being hammy.

          • nuggety

            “You think your one Indian friend, who may or may not even exist, speaks for all Indians and has the final say on this issue?”

            You’re belittling and white-splaining away the lived experience of an actual Indian? That’s new. I’ve never seen a white person do that before…..

      • Elizabeth MB Downs

        But the whitest person they could find? Kahn should have been later. This feels like an add on when they already had a good idea(John Harrison).

        • JLP

          He’s also a highly talented actor, star of the critically acclaimed Sherlock.

        • spoon

          In all honesty, he’s not the whitest. I mean, you compare Cumberbatch to me and he looks like a well tanned brit on holiday.

          But yes, I was rather confused too as to why Khan?

          I actually had hoped the BC would be playing one the genetically modded Klingon’s from the later series of ‘Enterprise’ and was happily taking his revenge on both Star Fleet and the Klingon’s for their part.

          Would’ve been more interesting perhaps.

  • Martyn

    No. You have not answered my question. You have just repeated the same thing over and over again. That because Khan was written as an Indian no white actor should have been considered. And I afriad that’s not addressing the point I raise.

    You are accusing this film of racial discrimation purely on the fact that the actor who played Khan is white WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT THE PROCESS FOR THAT ACTOR GETTING THE ROLE WAS – capital deliberate for emphasis.

    Prove that Cumberbatch got the role because he was white. Prove that no non-white actor was ever seriously considered for this role. Then I will believe you. Then I will retract what I have said so far. But until you prove it your assumptions have no basis, no evidence to back them up.

    • happyappa

      “You are accusing this film of racial discrimation purely on the fact that the actor who played Khan is white WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT THE PROCESS FOR THAT ACTOR GETTING THE ROLE WAS”

      And how is casting a WHITE guy to play a SOUTH ASIAN man NOT discrimination? The fact that you are constantly blabbering on about a WHITE actor having the “best skills” to play a SOUTH ASIAN man (regardless of the casting process) speaks volumes.

      • Martyn

        Because it depends entirely on the casting process. I dont know who went for the role and who the Director or Producers seriously considered or turned down outright. The way SnapIntoASlimJim and now you are presenting it appears as if there’s been this whole large list of Asian actors who auditioned for the part or made their interest in the playing the part known but were turned down without consideration. I dont know if that was the case and nobodies proven that it has been.

        Simply saying “the character supposed to be Asian so no white actor should have been considered” is not a valid argument, because, if I should be so inclined, I could use exactly the same argument to say what was a travesty it was that Samuel L. Jackson played Nick Fury – and I dont think that at all, I think he was great in the role, but the point remains. If you want to make such a hypocritical argument like that then I’m going to call you out on it regardless of which race is being decriminated against.

        I have asked simply for some evidence, a couple of names of actors who fit the original ethnicity of the character who auditioned for the role but were turned away or some statement from somebody behind the scenes to the effect that they had no intention of casting an Asian actor, and I REFUSE to condemn the film and the casting process without that evidence.

        And I have simply said it is a possibilty that Cumberbatch was the best actor available. I haven’t said he definitely was, I’ve said its possible. The fact that you and SnapIntoASlimJim refuse to even consider that possibilty betrays you own biases and, I would be tempted to say, racial prejudices. White men can be great actors and their acting ability is not limited to the colour of their skin, or are you going to me that Ben Kingsley didn’t do a great job as Gandhi or Christopher Lee didn’t do a great job as Jinnah with both retaining the utmost respect for the men they were portraying and portraying with them with dignity befitting such giants of Indian and Pakistani history?

        • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

          For obvious reasons Racebending.com does not have access to the internal documents of the production nor are we in a position to speculate on the intentions of the production (ie. we are not mindreaders.)

          Nor can we focus on intent because a) people aren’t always honest to themselves or to other people about their intentions and because b) ultimately, our focus on this website is on the impact of these casting decisions. So we emphasize over and over again that our focus is on the impact.

          For example, regardless of M. Night Shyamalan’s claim that he wanted to be inclusive when he cast African American extras to play ululating tribespeople in a tiny sceneThe Last Airbender, we know the impact of his decision was to further reinforce stereotypical tropes about people of color in film. The discriminatory impact of this portrayal has far more reaching implications than any professed intent.

          Likewise with the Khan casting, while we will never know exactly why they decided to cast the role this way, we do know and can assert that this casting decision perpetuated a discriminatory casting practice, whitewashing, that has been used in Hollywood on a systemic level for decades to exclude actors from communities of color from three-dimensional, representative roles. We know that the most prominent new roles introduced in Into Darkness (Khan, Marcus, and Carol) were all played by white actors. We know that South Asian actors were already struggling to be represented when Montalban was cast in the role in the 1960s, and were still not cast in the role fifty years later despite their wide availability. We know South Asian Americans still get a raw deal–the surname Khan is still equated to villainy, yet they have no visibility or control over this depiction (in fact the only characters played by South Asian actors in Into Darkness at all are hoodwinked by Cumberbatch’s Khan.)

          • Martyn

            All right. Your not privy to casting process. I’ll accept that. What I want in return is an admission that it is possible – only that its possible nothing more – that Benedict Cumberbatch was cast simply on his acting ability, that’s its possible that he was just a better actor than the other candidates. No arguments about race and ethnicity needed. I just want a honest admission that because none of us know what the casting process involved and none of us know who was actually given fair consideration that it is a possibility a one actor had a better audition and came across as a better actor than the other candidates regardless of the colour of his skin.

          • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

            It doesn’t change the impact of the casting decision.

            (It quite possibly makes it worse that the production thought a white actor portrays a character of color better than actors of color do–but again, no way to know, and it doesn’t change the impact.)

          • Martyn

            It may make no impact whatsoever on the instituionalist racism of Hollywood but it is in important distinction to make.

            If Cumberbatch got the role just because he was a better actor and not because of some racial motivation or whatever then its not something that the director or producers did deliberately to discriminate against minoritys but its something they did because the actor in question was more skilled than the others and they thought he would play the part better and make it a better film.

            And if that is the case the worst you can accuse them of is unconciously and without malice contributing to something that already existed long before they made the decision to even make the film, which is an entirely different thing from “depriving a minority of a great role in a major Hollywood movie” as it was said to men a week ago because that phrase implies deliberate intent which is something that cannot be proven with knowing the casting procedure.

            So I reiterate, I want an admission that its a possibility the casting decisions were made based on acting ability and not preconcieved racial motvations.

  • Martyn

    Oh, and as for “applying faulty logic in reverse”, I have not denied the possibilty of the casting in this movie being racially motived, I have merely asked for evidence of it and refused to condemn it based on assumptions like you have. I have no proof but I have not tried accuse anyone of racial discrimination based on assumptions like you have, so the burden of responsibility for producing evidence is yours since you are the only one out of the two of us in this conversation accusing anyone of anything.

    You have point blank refused to accept the possibility that Cumberbatch was simply the best actor available. It’s a perfectly reasonable scenario because he is recognized as one of the best actors around today. But you have dismissed this possibility just because he’s a white man cast to play a character who was written to be Indian. I could use that logic to criticize and castigate Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury. It wouldn’t matter how good of an actor Jackson is, or what process led to him getting the role, or how well he played it in the film, it would only matter that he’s not got the skin colour that the fictional character was supposed to have. For the record, I though Jackson was great as Nick Fury but using your argument he should never have been considered in the first place.

  • JLP

    Because Cumberbatch’s acting is what people should base their opinion on. Confused Matthew didn’t like him because he thought he was dull; I disagree, believing that Cumberbatch’s voice can snap your spine.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      “Because Cumberbatch’s acting is what people should base their opinion on.”

      When he is playing a nonwhite role then clearly it has more to do than just “acting”. Nonwhites are screwed over and whites are given preferential treatment. This cannot be ignored since there are talented nonwhites that are not given the opportunity to shine like Cumberbatch is only because they are not white like Cumberbatch.

  • JLP

    Do you hold Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan to the same standard for not having a Hispanic play the Joker?

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Nonwhites don’t get the treatment that whites do. So considering that Burton wanted to have a black Robin, then no. I don’t have it against Burton like I do with with J.J. Abrams.

      As for Nolan he already has done his share of whitewashing via the characters of Bane, Ra’s al Ghul and Talia al Ghul.

      • JLP

        A BLACK Robin? Robin’s already the annoying sidekick. They wanted to make him the black annoying sidekick that appears in too many action films?

        DC comics establish that Bane is half-British, so having a British actor as Bane is not a bad move.

        Also, what about Max von Sydow as Ming, Ben Kingsley as Gandhi, Michael Hogan as Colonel Tigh…

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          You don’t seem to be able to keep up with even your own questions. You asked me if I should hold Burton and Nolan responsible as much as Abrams. I responded to that. Whether or not you find Robin annoying is moot.

          Bane being half British does not make him white. Half white people are not white. Hiring a British guy to play Bane is a bad move because Bane is not white. Even Christopher Nolan knew that himself which is why he changed Bane so much but it was all to be able to get a white actor like Tom Hardy to play him.

          • JLP

            Tom Hardy finally got to play an excellent bald villain. To me, it made up for Shinzon.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            And what about POC actors that constantly get denied the opportunities that white actors get all the time?

            Tom Hardy was hardly in any need of good roles compared to the average Latino actor in Hollywood. Bane, who is Latino in the comics, was a perfect opportunity and Nolan took it away just like Abrams took it away from an actor of South Asian descent.

        • hiverious

          Hi there, Ben Kingsley is half Indian.

          • JLP

            And yet, he is still very white.

  • spoon

    SIASJ,

    Okay, I understand no one protesting or raising the issue before the release due to JJ’s annoying “Mystery Box” idea, and just spoiling the film for everyone, however why not after?

    Okay, so a few people standing outside cinema’s with posters a week after release wouldn’t dent the box office takings, but it would get people talking a bit more, and not just on the internet.

    Yes, I did have a look at the I09 and a couple of other articles which pretty much go over the same lines as this one, and maybe I should look a little harder. However I was more interested in finding whether this issue had been raised in more mainstream media sites, like the Guardian webiste etc.

    So far nothing, in fact it was only after watching the film and a friend pointing out this issue that I became so concerned. (Yes, I never watched the old series, so I didn’t realise Khan was supposed to be indian until after watching Into darkness, forgive me. I’m a bad Trekkie)

    So, yeah, I was just wondering if anyone had actually decided to actually create a physical form of protest post release?

  • JLP

    She’s the wrong build, the wrong age, the wrong height.

    Now, BUFFY, on the other hand, I can see her playing in a reboot…

    • Venom

      I’m not sure if you’re not getting the obvious sarcasm or are trying for counter-sarcasm that just outright fails, Bottom line: a white actor has no business whatsoever playing a person of color. NONE WHATSOEVER.

      • JLP

        Of course they can. Jenette Goldstein did it in Aliens, Ben Kingsley did it in Gandhi and won an Oscar for it, Ben Affleck did it in Argo, Max von Sydow did it in Flash Gordon…

        It’s like killing Spock. It’s not a question of can they do it; it’s a question of can they do it WELL?

        • Venom

          Yes of course it’s happened, we all know that. That’s the whole reason why this site exists in the first place. But it is RACIST, it is WRONG, and it NEEDS TO STOP.

          • JLP

            I gave up on taking this site seriously when they compared Gabourey Sidibe with Jennifer Lawrence over the role of Katniss.

            Personally, I think it’s harder for Gabourey because Precious was her very first film, and she got an Oscar nomination for it. When you start right at the top, there are very few places to go that are not down. Just ask Steven Seagal, who starred in hit action films from the start whereas Arnie was in numerous bad films before he was the Terminator.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “I gave up on taking this site seriously when they compared Gabourey Sidibe with Jennifer Lawrence over the role of Katniss.”

            You have serious reading comprehension problems. Not once has this site compared Sidibe and Lawrence over the role of Katniss.

            The article you are referencing was analyzing how even an actress of color with an Oscar nominated performance still gets marginalized. It was not even remotely suggesting that Sidibe should have been casted as Katniss. The Hunger Games was brought up as example of a great opportunity that a white actress like Lawrence got after her Oscar nomination yet a nonwhite actress like Sidibe has gotten no better than bit parts here and there after her Oscar nomination.

          • JLP

            Jennifer Lawrence has worked her way up from bit parts on television and films. House at the End of the Street was filmed before Winter’s Bone, but was released afterwards to capitalize on her Hunger Games fame.

            Gabourey Sidibe stars in her first film and is nominated for an Oscar thanks to it. Yeah, when you start at the top, the only way to go is down for a while.

            Besides, Gabourey is going to be on American Horror Stories soon. That might turn things around.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            I can name countless of nonwhite actors that have done many bit parts in television and film and have not had any sort of big breaks like white actors do. In fact, Mexican American actress Lupe Ontiveros’s entire life and career was wasted playing mostly maids and immigrants who can barely speak English even though English was her first language and she could communicate in four.

            So your argument, as usual, makes no sense.

          • JLP

            What about Edward James Olmos?

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            What about him?

      • JLP

        Oh, and don’t forget Michael Hogan as Colonel Tigh on Battlestar Galactica.

  • JLP

    I have a question for all of you:

    Now that the Soviet Union is gone, who are now the default bad guys in fiction?

    Sorry, but it’s Muslim terrorists, North Korea, and the Chinese. You don’t have to like it, but until you get something so massive that we have to completely change everything about our way of thinking, Asians are the default bad guys.

    Once again, I loved Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan. We didn’t need the brown-skinned terrorist stereotype in Trek.

    • Hyatt

      Because there are only two options: Support whitewashing, or have a dark-skinned terrorist as the villain. It’s completely impossible for Benedict Cumberbatch’s character to not have been Khan. That what you’re saying?

      • JLP

        I liked him as Khan.

  • Martyn

    My argument has been that it plausable possibilty that Cumberbatch had more acting skill than the other candidates. Not that he was “better at playing a non-white character than non-white actors” but that regardless of race he could have gotten the role just because he had more skill than the others.
    I mean, your argument seem to be that acting skill is dictated by the colour of ones skin, and no matter how good a actor someone might be they cant play a strong and appealing character it their ethnicity doesn’t match. And I cant agree with that. I mean, if a caucasion acting troop decided to put on a Chinese play like the Orphan of Zhao and cast Sir Chistopher Lee or Sir Ian McKellan or Sir Ian Holme or any white actor recognized as a leading light in their field in a starring role would you then say they could not possible be good enough have gotten the role on acting merit?

    I’ve not asked you to agree with my argument, I have merely asked you to issue a disclaimer, a statement saying you have no idea what the casting process was so you might be wrong when you say it a racially motivated decision, you can still maintain your position that you believe it was a racially motivated thing and that racial preferances for caucasians is prevelant in Hollywood without stick you figures in your ears, turning your head away and denying with every fibre of your being that a white actor might possible simply be better at acting than a non-white one.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      “but that regardless of race he could have gotten the role just because he had more skill than the others.”

      That’s still no different than, “he was better at playing a non-white character than non-white actors” because the character is not white and he is.

      “I mean, if an acting troop decided to put on a Chinese play like the Orphan of Zhao and cast Sir Chistopher Lee or Sir Ian McKellan or Sir Ian Holme or any white actor recognized as a leading light in their field in a starring role would you then say they could not possible be good enough have gotten the role on acting merit?”

      They have no business playing those roles in the first place. We are living in a time of white supremacy. Whites get preferential treatment over nonwhites. I don’t see Asians getting hired by Hollywood to play the leads of white characters in a big budget Hollywood production like Lord of The Rings or Les Misérables. So why should nonwhite roles go to whites? Why can’t nonwhites be allowed to shine and show what they got in the same capacity as whites in American movies?

      “I’ve not asked you to agree with my argument, I have merely asked you to issue a disclaimer”

      I’ve already given my response to this several times now.

      “you can still maintain your position that you believe it was a racially motivated thing and that racial preferances for caucasians is prevelant in Hollywood without stick you figures in your ears,”

      Why don’t you ask yourself why you stick your fingers in your ears and deny with every fiber of your being that racism is still alive and well in Hollywood? That whites get preferential treatment and that nonwhites are marginalized?

      Because you see unlike yours, my position has an entire history and facts to back up the argument of the existence of racism in cases just like this one.

  • JLP

    Cinema isn’t always about morals and values. It’s escapism, a place where you can leave the troubles and complaints and annoyances of the real world for two hours of bliss. THAT is what film is.

    If this page has taught me anything, it’s that there are people who will complain about literally anything and everything.

    Oh, and referring to Cumberbatch with childish name-calling means you are being defensive, which suggests that therefore you find my opinion valid (as Spock said in Into Darkness).

    • Venom

      No it is not. This is ADDING to the troubles and problems of the real world.

      “Childish name-calling”? LMAO. When I could have easily used “Cumstain”, “Cumberbitch”, etc? Point is, contrary to your absurd belief, he is NOT a recognizable name that sells a movie like Will Smith or Mark Wahlberg.
      You think a white guy is a good pick to play an Indian man. You’re opinions are very very VERY far from valid.

      • JLP

        Benedict Cumberbatch is a successful and recognizable stage, screen, and film actor in the UK, along with a growing following in the US. Entertainment does not center on America.

        • SnapIntoASlimJim

          “Entertainment does not center on America.”

          You’re right. According to Hollywood, it centers on whites.

  • lexxi

    This is ridiculous – so it’s ok for an established white character like James Bond to be the subject of discussions demanding that his next actor is black, but when it happens the other way round, as with Khan, it’s a major issue? Make up your mind – you either want colour-blind casting or not. NO race should get special casting privileges.

    • JLP

      Remember: they replaced the black Colonel Tigh with a white guy. Where was their outrage then?

      Personally, I think Michael Hogan did much better than the original actor. I could barely keep awake during the original Battlestar.

    • happyappa

      “NO race should get special casting privileges.”

      …I’m pretty sure you’re only saying that so you can include white people. If you ACTUALLY cared, you’d know the discriminatory,racist practices of Hollywood stop people of color from being represented in the media equal to whites. You would know that a white person playing a poc character is not equal to a poc playing a white. So you saying “no race should get special privileges” means nothing.

  • JB

    Wow thanks for the major spoiler PHOTO at the very top of the article.

  • JLP

    I cannot help but wonder:

    Where was all your outrage when Ron Moore replaced the black Terry Carter with the white Michael Hogan as Colonel Tigh?

    • Hyatt

      “Because there wasn’t outrage over this example, outrage over the current example is unwarranted!”

      Derail harder.

      • JLP

        If you’re going to complain, then you’ll need to apply it to all circumstances, like Aliens, Flash Gordon, Battlestar Galactica…

        • Hyatt

          When I said “derail harder”, I meant take a different tack, not reiterate the current one.

          Just to humor you, why do we need to cover every one with the same level of fervor? I am a Star Trek fan. So are (presumably) most of the commenters here. I am not an Aliens, Flash Gordon, or BSG fan. I do not know the situation. Other people are fans, and know the context. Perhaps other commenters here are fans, perhaps they are not. Perhaps they have spoken up about whitewashing in other places. They do not talk about those examples here because they are not relevant to this situation.

  • Venom

    See, you don’t even know what I’m talking about. I rest my case.

    • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

      I know exactly what YOU are talking about. It was you who got mixed up about my previous comment.

      Hence the reason you got the sarcastic reply.

    • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

      I know exactly what YOU are talking about. You misunderstood my previous comment, hence my sarcastic reply to yours.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    “this is all you came up with? A FAQ?”

    “FAQ” stands for “Frequently Asked Questions”. I directed you to it because you were asking, well frequently asked questions.

    “well look at you now”

    Look at yourself. You are posting here as if you exist in a vacuum. If you look at the other posts around here you’d see that the whole Del Toro issue has been brought up and discussed already. So you are not bringing anything new with that.

  • JLP

    It should ALSO be noted that Nero is, in my opinion and many of my fellow Trekkie friends’ opinions, one of the weaker villains, if not the weakest (though, that would make him weaker than Shinzon, who is by far the worst…), partly because 3/4ths of his backstory were in supplementary materials rather than in the film itself. Khan’s entire backstory is presented in the film; he even sheds a tear over it.

  • Danielies Rodricus Ortis

    The original actor of Khan was EUROPEAN, Spanish whose parents moved to Spain. He played BOTH Khans – “Indian” Khan and then WoK Khan, who you might also say was “White-washed”. So whats the problem here? Hell the problem is that the director didn’t want to make an unfortunate implication of giving an Indian a terrorist role, so he gives it to a European, which is a whole can of worms by itself.

    • JLP

      I heard once that if Montalban was unavailable for Wrath of Khan, they would have had Edward James Olmos play Khan. Not sure if it’s true, since I know he was offered the villain in Star Trek III, but if it is, it’s interesting.

  • Lincoln Eddy

    The only way I can see them explain this (and it doesn’t excuse it by any means), is that TOS and the reboot are parallel universes ie Nimoy and Quinto. This explains the difference in the first Khan encounter (Space Seed in TOS vs Into Darkness). So Khan here: Cumberbatch. Khan there: Montalban.

    Can someone remind me, did they ever give Khan’s surname in Into Darkness? Nimoy may have said it, but I don’t recall.

    • JLP

      Only once, by Spock Prime.

      Of course, there’s no reason to not assume that Khan was given massive plastic surgery because S-31 wanted him to work for them and being a genius is a prerequisite to applying for the entrance exam to Starfleet, so a few people may have recognized him. Considering how many characters were easily altered to appear as Klingons or aliens of the week, this seems the most likely.

      Another explanation is that the names and nationalities were merely given to the augments.

  • http://www.Dream-Warrior.com/ William Spiritdancer

    Have you guys seen what’s happening with After Earth? Go to Yahoo and look at the reviews and then the comments. I know you don’t like M Knight but it seems there is some kind of smear campaign going on against Will Smith and his son. I don’t know who is behind it but it is really interesting. Lots of people posting that the movie is horrible etc. who didn’t even see it. I actually listened to some of this criticism but went to see the film and while it is definitely not an academy award winner it is not as bad as people are saying. Just weird. I mean there were way worse movies that didn’t get this kind of negative publicity. Could it be because for the first time we see an African American father and son in a positive roles? I mean to me this movie was history in that we never see that kind of thing. It’s always negative. And when it’s negative you never hear anyone complaining.

  • Chiara

    I am quite puzzled by all this.

    I fully understand what the writer expressed and agree to a certain extent. However I suppose my being European (French, to be precise) makes me look at the issue from a different perspective.

    To me, and I am sorry to disagree with the ever charming John Cho, Ricardo Montalban was white. No matter how you slice it. Both his parents were “native” Spaniards (Caucasian if you wish), therefore they were white and so was their son. He was a man of colour alright but the aforementioned colour was beige. Nobody would think of calling Javier Bardem a “moc” and his genetic heritage is exactely the same as Mr. Montalban’s.

    It is particularly visible in The Wrath of Khan in which Mr. Montalban was not in “brown face” (unlike in Space Seed). He looked about as white as they come.

    Now, I am not saying that he did not suffer terrible prejudice at the hands of the Hollywood establishment. He talked about it frequently and I have no right and no reason to question his account of events. Nevertheless, the discrimination he faced had little to do with his race per se. The reason why he was sidelined was because he was not WASP; he was WLC (White, Latin, Catholic). In the very same way Irish Catholics were terribly mistreated in the mid-19th century because they were WG/CC (White, Gaelic/Celtic, Catholic).

    Discriminated against ? Yes. “People of colour” ? No.

    So as far as I am concerned, in STID, a white man was replaced by another white man.

    Could Khan have been played by an actor with a different ethnicity ? Absolutely. The role does not require any particular skin tone, as far as I can see. He could be of any complexion, quite frankly.

    Khan is a “mutant” in that he was basically created in a lab to be the “perfect” human. So he has no ethic background to speak of. His name sounds South Asian but we can assume it was given to him by the scientists who created him. Perhaps he was engineered in South Asia and his creators gave him a local name ? Who knows ? What is certain is that his name does not necessarily imply any ethnic identity or skin colour.

    Gene Rodenberry, in his great naivety (and I say that with utmost respect), believed that because Khan was the result of the mixing of the very best DNA samples from all over the world, his skin colour could only reflect such mixed heritage. It is false. Genetic engineering, no matter how hypothetical, is slightly more compex than paint mixing.

    Assuming a bunch of scientists decided to select the “best” from an ethnically diverse genetic pool, they would focus on the genes in charge of muscle growth, brain development, pain tolerance, etc. and eliminate any “weakness” as they went (predisposition for diseases and whatnot). None of these things is even remotely connected to the genes in charge of melanin production (i.e. skin and hair colour). So you could have a black “superman” or a white one or an Asian one or one of whichever nuance tickles your fancy.

    Hybrid DNA does not equal hybrid physique.

    Therefore Khan could be of any human colour in existence : from the lightest of beige to the deepest of ebony. Would I have welcomed a (much) less pale Khan ? Definitely. Would it have been in keeping with the character’s storyline ? Without a doubt. Yet, does Mr. Cumberbatch’s skin tone constitute a betrayal of Khan’s history ? Nope.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Chiara,

      You are flat out mistaken. Montalbán was not white. He was not seen as white nor considered white. Because of this Montalbán identified as a minority.

      What you are writing is not only inaccurate but also suspiciously deceitful because even in the era when Montalbán worked in Hollywood Spanish people were specifically referred to as NOT being white. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to the fact that you being French means you are just ignorant of American history. So I’ll just make it clear to you. Montalbán was not seen as white and was not considered to be white. There is simply no debate on this.

      Your theory that Khan can be white is on the verge of being insulting. The name of the character being “Khan Noonien Singh” is not a simple throwaway as you are making it. It is a clear marking of the character being South Asian. He is not meant to be white. You won’t find many white people with that name and if anyone heard it in real life no one would think of a white person with such a name.

      The fact that nonwhites in Hollywood do not get the same opportunities as whites do even when the characters are not white is clear that an agenda has been and continually has been pushed to maintain white privilege and keep nonwhites disenfranchised by playing unimportant roles and stereotypes.

      This is yet again another evident case in Hollywood of whitewashing to commit injustice against nonwhite talent.

  • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

    Just stop. Your credibility is non existent, regardless of how many internet links you can find. I could find evidence of Bigfoot on the internet to show you if you like. But you would probably think he’s a racist also.

    Besides, how does one reply to comments like: “But you seem extremely sensitive about this to the point that you show your white guilt.”?

    Your problem is, you think ALL white people are “white supremacists”.

    When in fact you have been attempting to prove your “supremacy” over others with every post you make.

    I’ll waste no more time on you.

  • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

    Are you naive enough to think that if the Falcon in the Next Captain America movie was cast with a white actor that there would be NO “blowback”? I may have exaggerated the career ending part, but it would NEVER be approved in the first place, so how will we ever know?

    Perry White can be played by Lawrence Fishburne, and all is right with the world.

    Look, all I care about is the source material. Staying true to that is my only concern.

    • Venom

      Again, look at Ben Affleck. Barely anyone took him to task for what he did. And as shown by the kind of comments seen here, a white Falcon would have no shortage of racist defenders saying “the best actor got the part” and calling the protestors “whiny fanboys”.

      As for Perry White, I’ll repeat exactly what I said to a previous poster:
      -That character is extremely insignificant. Probably won’t have more than 90 sec of screentime.
      -That incident has already garnered much more irate response than anything this site has ever addressed.
      -These situations just aren’t comparable http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwgNh3tKXjEv

      • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

        In regards to Perry White, what you’re basically saying is that since Perry White is “extremely insignificant. Probably won’t have more than 90 sec of screen time.” that it is okay for him to be cast with a black actor?!?

        Are you defending the choice or criticizing it, because now I don’t know what point you’re trying to make.

        And if he only gets 90 seconds of screen time then we’ve seen them all in the trailers, lol.

        You must not know much about the Superman mythos if you think Perry White is insignificant enough to only garner a minute and a half. You really think an actor of Fishburne’s quality would waste his time with a couple of minutes?

        Will it break the movie? Not a chance. Was it necessary?, not at all.

        Just stick to the source material. For ALL characters.

        • Venom

          Seems there was a problem with the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwgNh3tKXjE

          Anyway, no I personally don’t much like it. It’s an obvious cynical ploy of throwing in the “token black guy” to give the appearance of diversity (which the WB as shown by their recent track record cares nothing for), and the fact that they didn’t just make him Franklin Stern may be indicative of bigger problems in Snyder and co not knowing this material. But at the same time, I realize that it’s in no way damaging to whites, nor is it at all the same as changing a nonwhite character to white.

          “You really think an actor of Fishburne’s quality would waste his time with a couple of minutes?”

          He did in Predators

          • http://Denverbroncos.com/ Virgil Cole

            I agree with almost everything you said there. Especially the point about making Fishburne “Franklin Stern”. I hadn’t thought of that. that would have been a great idea. They could have also added Ron Troupe instead of “Jenny Olsen”, since Stern once dated Troupe’s sister in the comic.

            You’re also right about “Predators”, lol, but I think Fishburne knows that MOS is a bigger deal than a generic Predator movie, that not too many people other than die hard fans cared about.

            But it’s not about being “damaging” to whites. My only concern is staying true to the source material for EVERY character. Why not create NEW “POC” characters as Marvel did with Nick Fury and Miles Morales in the Ultimate Marvel Universe?

            Look, I’m not so naive that I don’t know that there are people that get stupid about such things and make ridiculous and hateful remarks, but they exist on EVERY side of the aisle and always will. And they will never be satisfied.

            Does Laurence Fishburne being cast as Perry White hurt me or anyone else? No. But what would the conversation be here if Perry White was created as an African American and cast with a white or even Hispanic actor?

            A bit different.

            I just want the source material to be followed.

  • Chiara

    I am sorry to insist but I genuinely think I do understand the writer’s point. I just fail to agre with it, in spite of the overall sympathy I feel for her stance in general.

    In the article, the writer states that, while imperfect, the casting of Mr. Montalban as Khan was better than nothing for, even though he was not as “brown” as the character should/could have been, he was at least a little bit “brown”. The point I am making, is that Mr. Montalban was not even a “little bit brown”. He was white.
    I do apologise for contradicting you but Javier Bardem is considered white. In France, in Spain (his native country), in Portugal, in Germany, in the UK, in Greece, in Italy… In the whole of Europe, he is not seen as anything else than white. Mediaterranean white, that is to say with dark eyes and dark hair. But still white. In any Latin American country, he is perceived as white (i.e. of Continental European descent through and through). I do not know for sure, but I would be willing to bet a little sum and say that in most of Asia, he is seen as a white man.

    The only way either Mr. Montalban or Mr. Bardem can be seen as anything but white is if we use a remarkably narrow definition of whiteness and basically decide, completely arbitrarily, that white = WASP. Which would mean that no “native” European who is not also Anglo-Saxon (and Protestant) is white… Monica Bellucci : not white ? Penelope Cruz : not white ? Roberto Benigni : not white ? The overwhelming majority of France’s white population (virtually none of us is of Anglo-Saxon descent) : not white ?

    Again, I understand that such a view was held by many (and is still defended by a few) in America and elsewhere. I do grasp that the WASP elite decided they were the only “real” people and discriminated viciously against anyone who did not fit the bill, including non-WASP whites. And this is exactely the type of racism Mr Montalban faced : a form of racism devised by a subgroup of white people that made it possible for them to discriminate against all other groups, including different types of white people (eg. Irish and Italian Catholics in the mid-to-late 19th century, Eastern Europeans a bit later, etc.).

    They were not the first to come up with such a shitty idea and they will not be the last. However, the very real consequences of their vile actions do not mean the reasoning behind their racism was “real”. There are as many physical differences between a black man from Ethiopia and a black man from Senegal as there are between a white man from Norway and a white man from Portugal. If the Norwegian dude is, by some miracle, seen as more white than the Portuguese chum, does it mean that the Senegalese man is more black that his Ethiopian counterpart or vice versa ? I am sorry to say but WTH ?

    Could Khan have been played by an Asian actor ? Or a black one ? Or a Native American one ? Absolutely. Any ethnic background would have been perfectly acceptable.

    For Gene Rodenberry did not design Khan to be specifically “brown”.
    He imagined the character as a “superman”, a Frankenstein’s monster assembled out of all the “best” DNAs from all around the world (best brain, best muscles, best pain tolerance, best speed, etc.)
    But, because Mr. Rodenberry did not really understand genetics (and who could blame him ? He wrote in the late sixties, a mere 15 or so years after DNA was discovered), he believed that such a mixing process could only lead to Khan’s physical appearance to reflect the “hybrid” nature of his genetic makeup. He thought that, if a gene came from a “black gene pool” and another from an “Asian gene pool”, and so on and so forth, the end product would be mixed race. That is, for lack of a better word, simplistic.
    Had he been better informed about genetics, he would have known that “superman” Khan could have been completely black or completely Asian or completely white or any colour really.

    Khan’s (perceived) skin colour in Space Seed (much different from his apparent ethnicity in The Wrath of Khan, in which he was much “whiter”) was the result of Gene Rodenberry’s erroneous deduction. It was not a defining feature of the character.
    So Khan, as defined by Rodenberry himself (a genetically engineered superman) could have been played by Forest Whitaker or Conan O’Brien without it being a betrayal to the character’s very concept.

    Regardless of all this, I do understand the anger and frustration felt by many as a result of Mr. Cumberbatch reprising the role. I really do. For it is endlessly frustrating and angering when any part that could very easily have been given to a non-white person goes, once again, to a white actor.
    But I just find myself struggling to see why Khan is seen as a “moc” role. In my mind, he is no more “moc” than Scotty or Chekhov are necessarily white guys (not all Scots and Russians are white for Pete’s sake!)

    • Venom

      But the correct is correct with that. He was NOT white, nor is Bardem. Your problem is simply that you aren’t an American and not viewing this from the American perspective, the only one that matters is this situation. These works are being made in the United States of America, not Europe, Latin America, Asia or anywhere else. So the views those regions hold on race have zero bearing.

      And I don’t see how you can say ” I just find myself struggling to see why Khan is seen as a “moc” role” when you continually prove exactly why it is. Gene Roddenberry made Khan to be a brown man. It may have been out of a “simplistic” view of genetics, it may have been deliberate to challenge white supremacists. But whatever the case, Khan is brown and should have been cast as such.

      • Chiara

        Actually, I believe you are mistaken to believe that only the American viewpoint should have any bearing in this.

        Star Trek used to have a tough time getting any traction overseas. While immensely popular and even “cult” in the US, for a long time it was barely a tiny blip on the rest of the world’s radar. The TV did not have any significant following internationally and the films did not do particularly well at any box office outside of the US.
        The 2009 reboot changed that : it re-introduced, successfully this time, the franchise to the rest of the world and the film made some sweet cash overseas.

        That is essential. For, while for a long-ish time, “big” budget American films could survive (namely make healthy profits and get sequels greenlit) on domestic gross alone and international success was perceived simply as a sweet badge of honour (and some extra gravy) by the producers and the studios, things have changed rather dramatically.
        The budgets are now so mindblowing that making money overseas is no longer an option; it is a necessity.
        It means that huge budget films, like STID, are made not just with an American viewpoint in mind but also a very careful eye on what the international audience’s reactions and preferences are likely to be.
        This partly explains the casting of Mr. Cumberbatch : he may not be very big in the US but in Europe and Asia… Oh boy ! Thanks mostly to Sherlock, he is much more popular and recognised than Mr. Pine, Mr. Quinto, Mr. Abrams and Ms. Saldana (and the whole Star Trek tradition) all put together.
        In this case, the producers’ calculations proved correct for the film has, so far, done extremely well internationally.

        Furthermore, I cannot believe the studios and all the people involved in the making of the film did not foresee that there would be some backlash in America at the idea of WASP-y looking Mr. Cumberbatch replacing WLC Mr Montalban. They must have known and pondered. I would imagine their thinking process went along the line of :

        - In America, what are the chances of us taking some flack for casting a WASP in place of a WLC ? And abroad ?
        - In America, what are the chances of us taking some flack for casting a “brown” man to play a terrorist, no matter how smart ? And abroad ?

        The knew they would take some heat from American audiences either way. Not much, but some. I say “not much” because 1) The Wrath of Khan was released 32 years ago so Mr Montalban’s Khan is not at the forefront of most moviegoers’ minds; 2) while many object to it on moral and intellectual grounds (rightly so, might I say), the perpetually “brown” terrorist template is now about as embedded (and accepted) in American cinema as the vicious Russian spy archetype used to be in the 1980s.

        Proof of reason 1) is that STID ended up being more criticised in America for its exploitative use of a semi-nude Ms. Eve than for its casting choice pertaining to Khan.
        Proof of reason 2)… Well ! Pretty much any war/espionnage/adventure/politics movie or TV show made since 2002. Even M. Night Shyamalan’s innocent kiddie movie-turned-industrial and artistic disaster The Last Airbender attempted to surf on the “brown=evil” wave.

        Overseas, conversely, they would have faced a probably more forceful backlash for casting another “brown” man as the baddie (especially as a terrorist) than they did for casting a white man (Mr. Cumberbatch) to reprise the role made “famous” by a man the rest of the world perceives as just as white (Mr Montalban).

        Swings and roundabouts… They went for the option they knew would cause them less problems. And they won.

        Now, and this is where I believe I can concur with the article’s author, Mr. Cumberbatch’s character did not have to be Khan. “John Harrison” was a good enough villain and could definitely stand alone as a completely new character without being forcibly scotch-taped to the Star Trek mythology. Actually, JH being revealed as Khan does not add anything to the story at all. It does not take from it either, mind you, but it feels a tad pointless.
        So why did the writers feel the need to give him this added identity ? Just so they could “whitewash” Khan, for no reason other than causing some offence ? I doubt it. My guess is that the Khan element was introduced solely as a means to shoehorn Mr Nimoy into the film. Spock Prime’s intervention in the film is justified uniquely by the fact that he knew and defeated Khan in his parallel timeline and can therefore give New Spock some intel about the enemy’s weaknesses.
        Why did the writers feel they had to put Mr. Nimoy in the film ? For the sake of nerds and geeks everywhere, of course !

        Help secure overseas following by casting Mr. Cumberbatch ? Check.
        Respect the letter, if not the whole spirit, of the Khan character by doing so ? Check.
        Provide long-standing fans with nerdgasm in the form of a cameo by Mr. Nimoy ? Check.

        • Venom

          No they absolutely did not “Respect the letter, if not the whole spirit, of the Khan character” because Khan is NOT white.

          Whatever importance the foreign markets hold doesn’t have anything to do with race in American society, and it certainly has not led to any change in Hollywood’s hiring practices. Their racism is alive, well, and (largely) unchallenged.

          Perhaps in your country nonwhite actors don’t have their skin colors held against them and have great and plentiful opportunities. But that’s not how it is here, and it’s from living in such a society that the author’s viewpoint was developed. That’s what you need to understand.

          And no, they would not have faced any flack for having a “terrorist” character be brown if he had depth and dimension. Movies like The War Within didn’t get viewed as such. But even so, the fact still remains that an actor of color was denied a major role in a major film. All the excuses in the universe do not magically change any of that.

          • JLP

            He was white when Ricardo Montalban played him.

            An “actor of color” was the first choice to play him. However, the negotiations fell through so they went with one of the most talented actors today.

          • Venom

            No he wasn/t Montalban was not white, and even still wore makeup.

            If they really cared about getting an actor of color, they would have gotten one. That’s all there is to it. BTW there goes your whole “they didn’t want a brown terrorist” theory.

            And really, get off this guy’s nuts already. I do not care how “talented” he is or what art house movies he had bit parts in. It means nothing. He is a white man playing a nonwhite role, and that is racist and wrong. That’s all there is to it.

          • JLP

            Would you call “The Hobbit” an “art house” film? Or “The Other Boleyn Girl”?

            The writer himself said he was worried about having the brown-skinned terrorist as a baddie.

            Michael Hogan is another white man who played a non-white role. I guess Ron Moore is racist. By the way, Jenette Goldstein as Vasquez is one of the best parts of Aliens.

          • Venom

            Boleyn yes, Hobbit no but he’s not physically in it so no one would recognize him from it anyway (Andy Serkis is no A-lister either and he’s been with the franchise for over a decade)

            And again, yes we know all about other instances of whitewashing. Guess what? They are also racist and unacceptable.

          • JLP

            Benedict Cumberbatch has been a leading man in film, theater, and TV for years. Also, Serkis was technically a leading man in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Tintin, and looks like he’s going to be directing Animal Farm (one of my favorite books)…

            Was it also racist when white British-Indian Ben Kingsley played a Jew in Schindler’s List?

            Sorry, but Vasquez is way too awesome to make me see Aliens as racist.

          • Venom

            Ben Kingsley IS Jewish.

          • JLP

            “I’m not Jewish… and though there might be some Russian-Jewish heritage way back on my mother’s side, the thread is so fine there’s no real evidence.”- Ben Kingsley

            http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ZHcxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=qHsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6244,2477398&dq=he's-no-stranger-to-holocaust&hl=en

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “He was white when Ricardo Montalban played him.”

            No, he was not. Khan not being white was made abundantly clear when Montalban was playing him.

            You are the one desperately trying to lie and say Khan is white to make people stop talking about this issue so that white supremacists in Hollywood can get away with this clean. That’s not going to happen.

          • Venom

            No he wasn’t. Montalban was not white, and even still wore makeup.
            If they really cared about getting an actor of color, they would have gotten one. That’s all there is to it. It makes no difference how “talented” the white guy is, choosing him shows that they don’t care for the representation of minorities.
            And BTW that pretty much kills the “they didn’t want a brown terrorist” theory.

          • Venom

            No he wasn’t. Ricardo Montalban was not white, and even still wore makeup.

            If they really cared about getting an actor of color, they would have gotten one. That’s all there is to it. It doesn’t matter at all how “talented” the white guy is, he has no business playing this character.

  • JLP

    Star Trek didn’t need to have the brown-skinned superterrorist stereotype.

    • Venom

      He’s not a stereotype. That would be a one-dimensional caricature who does nothing but scream “Death to the infidels!” And besides, the real superterrorist was Admiral Marcus.

      • JLP

        Admiral Marcus wasn’t a superterrorist.

        He was a full-blown General Ripper.

  • SnapIntoASlimJim

    “people are so upset about this so i ask everyone on here if they
    actually have and insight on the casting process made and this is all
    you came up with? A FAQ?”

    “FAQ” stands for “Frequently Asked Questions”. You asked a frequently asked question so I advised you go there so that you can get your questions answered.

    I don’t know how that would be considered a problem by anyone if that person really did want to get informed.

    However, I see that even though you say you went to the FAQ you still haven’t learned your lesson. Your whole argument about Benicio Del Toro has already been discussed elsewhere in this comment section. Had you bothered to take the time and read what else was being said here then you wouldn’t have used the Del Toro argument as that has already been dealt with.

    Yet here you are bringing it up like you just make a slam dunk or something.

    Well, look at you now.

  • Rachael

    I saw a defense of the casting, saying that it was solely based on who could play Khan the best. The problem though with casting Cumberbatch (not saying he isn’t a talented actor, which he obviously is) as Khan and declaring him “best for the job” was supporting the argument that the most talented and superior person for the role was a white man. Which is problematic in the sense that it is racist, adding to race erasure and down right wrong. If you were to take the abilities of people across the world to create the “best suited” role for Khan, it would definitely not be a white man.

    • JLP

      They wanted to get Benicio del Toro as the villain. Those negotiations fell through, and likely would have given the villain away in one second. Benedict Cumberbatch was recommended, because he is a highly talented actor with an extensive background in film, theater, and television, not to mention he’s a Shakespearian actor (the highest order of British actors).

      Going only by his skin color is still racist.

      • happyappa

        “Going only by his skin color is still racist.”

        Funny you say that when you used this quote: “‘There is no such thing as a white race, a black race, or a Latina race. There is but one race, and that is the HUMAN race!’”

        You use those “colorblind” words to support your “best one for the part” argument, yet you think it’s “racist” when a white can’t play an indian guy?

        • JLP

          I don’t think it’s racist. I think Ben Kingsley was fantastic as Gandhi. I’m asking YOU if it’s racist, like when Jenette Goldstein played Vasquez in Aliens.

          • happyappa

            Well Kingsley is of Indian descent so why should you think it’s racist.

            My point in emphasizing your quote about “the human race” was because you said here, “Going only by his skin color is still racist.” You support the idea of “only one race = human race” yet you acknowledge differences in skin color.

            Which is it, because it sure sounds like you’re using “colorblind” practices to excuse racist casting. You talk about not seeing color in one comment, then when someone states a white person shouldn’t play a poc character, you’re all about how casting an Indian man is racist if you’re only going to cast him (to play an Indian character) for the color of his skin.

          • JLP

            I only acknowledge differences in skin color for you. Is it racist that white Michael Hogan replaced the black Terry Carter as Colonel Tigh? Or Jewish Jenette Goldstein playing the Hispanic Vasquez in Aliens?

            If an actor is good enough, they can make you overlook all of it. Honestly, I don’t see what the problem is with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan, when people here seem to be perfectly fine with a Mexican playing an Indian (which sounds even more racist).

          • happyappa

            “I only acknowledge differences in skin color for you.”

            The original commenter who you replied to about skin color, wasn’t even me. So if you yourself don’t believe in “seeing color” you are colorblind, which is racist. Your other arguments reek of more nonsense (“Nothing wrong with a white guy playing an Indian, a Mexican man playing an Indian is even more racist!”)

            Perception of Montalban in Hollywood, and the racism that is whites playing pocs is discussed on this site.

          • JLP

            And all you seen to do is complain “Oh, this part didn’t go to a person of color!”

            Yeah, if you have a problem with a film, you have to dig a bit deeper than a person’s skin.

          • happyappa

            Stop ignoring the fact that you refuse to see color unless it benefits white actors.

            It makes no sense for a poc character to be played by a white person.

            All YOU seem to do is assume that if a poc played a character he/she wouldn’t have the talent compared to a white.

          • JLP

            No, I’m saying that the brown-skinned terrorist is not something we need to see in a franchise that has already seen “Tribal African Style.”

          • happyappa

            … Said the person who claimed there was nothing wrong with a white playing an indian character. Also said the person who believes there is only one race. Stop contradicting yourself.

            How about this, the movie shouldn’t turn Khan into a “terrorist” because people like you use that as an excuse to cast a white actor to play a PERSON OF COLOR. Make him multidimensional, or is that ~too hard to do~.

          • JLP

            In a way, Khan was a terrorist in Star Trek II: he hijacked a starship, tortured several people, got his hands on a weapon of mass destruction, attacked the Enterprise without provocation…

          • happyappa

            Read the rest of my comment. They could have made him Indian and not a stereotype/one-dimensional. “Indian man should be played by a white actor” is not the answer to the “but this Khan is a terrorist” excuse.

  • JLP

    http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/if-the-internet-had-existed-when-wrath-of-khan-hit-theaters.php

    I can’t even imagine what a website like this would say about Khan continuing to be played by a Mexican.

  • Alex Williams

    Uh, just one point I would like to make about your disapproval over the changing of the mandarin from an Asian villan to a non-Asian one. In the comic books, the mandarin was an ancient Chinese sorcerer who had returned from a thousand year sleep to try and conquer the world. A completely different character than the one Sir Ben Kinsley, who by the way was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji, and who, as a person of Indian descent, certainly qualifies as a person of color, played in Iron Man 3. Brilliantly I might add. It is impossible to expect Hollywood to change the stories they are writing, or even worse, pass up the chance to have an Oscar winning actor, simply because at some point in the story a character with the same name was of a different race. If you remember, Nick Fury was a white man in the comics for more than 50 years before he was brilliantly re-invented by Samuel L. Jackson. In a movie, I think it is most important to find good actors, and if you’ve done that job correctly, there should always be people of color included in that list.

  • CeaBear

    Not to mention the fact that the geek inside me just died when Khan turned out to be so freaking white!

  • Gary Keyes

    The whole idea was dumb. Abrams just could’ve made Cumberbatch an alternate Gary Mitchell (which I thought he was when the first clips came out) and Carol Dr. Elisabeth Danvers from “Where no man has gone before” episode! That would’ve made some sense not this silly (and insulting) claptrap of a movie!

    • JLP

      Even a lot of Trekkies have no idea who Gary Mitchell is.

  • Václav Pecháček

    Seeing ghosts where there are none. I’m personally glad that they cast Cumberbatch simply because the great, great performance he delivered in the role. Just as Montalbán did before him, and the fact that you consider Indians and Mexicans to be more or less the same is, in my opinion, way more racist than the casting choice in Into Darkness.

    • JLP

      I agree. Benedict Cumberbatch is likely the reason why this film did much better in foreign markets than the last one.

      To quote the commander of the Battlestar Galactica:

      “There is no such thing as a white race, a black race, or a Latina race. There is but one race, and that is the HUMAN race!”

      • Phil

        “There is no such thing as a white race, a black race, or a Latina race. There is but one race, and that is the HUMAN race!”

        A nice sentiment, unfortunately it tends to crumble when you’re happily walking down the street minding your own business and some white guy spits at you when you pass him by…

      • adilrye

        LOL funny that HUMANS of white skin seem to be so prevalent and HUMANS of darker skin are barely anywhere to be found in any meaningful, substantial roles.

  • nuggety

    Usually I disagree with you social justice types, but in this case I think Khan should have been cast differently for canon reasons. I’d love to see Hrithik Roshan playing him.

  • nuggety

    But you social justice people would all have simultaneous orgasms if they cast a woman in a role that was previously a man’s.

    • Venom

      No, no one would. Maybe Anita Sarkeesian, but no one else.

  • http://observadorantropico.synthasite.com/ 7alexaltorfer

    I agree with the premisse that a man of color would have been a better choice for a character from North India. I disagree, though, with the premisse that a white actor was hired on purpose. Don’t forget JJ Abrams tried to hire Benicio del Toro first, who turned out to be too expensive. Benedict Cumberbatch was hired because he both excelled in his acting and was CHEAP to boot. A risky casting decision, of course, but it worked.

    • Venom

      If by “worked” you mean ruined the whole movie, then yeah it worked alright.

  • 1232233

    The writer of this article is probably one of those who claim James Bond can’t be played by a black actor.

    • nevilleross

      Why should he? Why can’t Idris Elba play an original character who’s a spy?

      • 1232233

        The same reason a white man can’t play Kahn, Einstein.

        • nevilleross

          Your misspelling of ‘Khan’ tells me all about you, and all that I need to know.

        • Kaizo

          James Bond is a moniker, he can be whatever the agency wants him to be. There is no racial preference, and the story can easily cater for this change. Khan Noonien Singh as a white male makes absolutely no sense. Why would a white man have 2 Indian names. Have Singh as surname (which is one of the most common Indian surnames in the world might I add), and to top it all off, he is born in India to Indian parents. Clearly the story line doesn’t cater for this change at all.

          By the way, I don’t think anyone would object to Einstein being portrayed as a white male, as everyone knows he was that in real life. You can gain some satisfaction out of that my narrow-minded friend.

    • Jack Burton

      You’re confused, this is an anti-White website. They are totally biased, they lie by omission and use tyrannical censorship to silence any critics. It has nothing to do with a principle of staying true to original characters or stories, only that they hate White people and want more non-Whites in acting roles.

      • Venom

        You’re the one confused, this is an anti-racism website.

  • Pchi

    I’m sorry, but I think your article missed the opportunity to discuss an important point: had Khan been played by an Indian actor, wouldn’t that have led to accusations of racism against Paramount itself for depicting an South-Asian terrorist as their villain? I mean, I quite sure there’d be much more uproar against TDKR if they had yet another Arabian terrorist as an American film’s antagonist, just as making the villain of IM3 a stereotypical Yellow Peril Chinese arms dealer (and note that this movie specifically took advantage of that casting decision to make a character that deconstructs all stereotypes associated with America’s worst fears). Once again, I consider all your arguments entirely valid, but I do believe you should have brought up this point in your article, in order to make it more complete. There’s always two sides to the same coin; so, maybe, and I reinforce that maybe, there’s more to those studios’ decision than plain and simple racism. I don’t deny there’s racism in Hollywood – The Last Airbender is the ultimate proof – but I wished you could take a look at this situation from another perspective. Please, I beg you take my arguments into account, even if only to point out what’s wrong with them.

    • happyappa

      I used to think that a poc playing any evil/enemy type role was wrong, because we don’t even have enough positive portrayals. Khan seems to have played a terrorist, but the makers of this movie had a CHOICE and could have made the character -multidimensional-, and still a villain, and still played by an Indian actor. It’s really an excuse to deny pocs roles. And the “but he was a terrorist” excuse doesn’t work to justify a white guy playing Khan.

      I’ll give an example with Criminal Minds. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it, but it’s basically a tv show about psychology and serial killers. So it has a lot of racial and racist problems but I’ll just focus on this. When I first watched it, I thought, “Hey, look at all these white serial killers, isn’t that great that none are people of color?” Then as I saw more episodes, I noticed that many of these killers were layered and you might even feel sympathetic for them. In one episode, one of the agents even approaches one and says he feels a connection to him. And this same killer (played by a white actor) was based on a poc. He was whitewashed. Is it that hard to connect to someone who isn’t white?? Why did the people working on this show CHOOSE to make the serial killers with character, white?

      The same reason this film did it, to make it look like they were doing a service to people of color, when in reality, they wanted a role for another white person. Surprise.

      • Pchi

        Ok, you’ve got a point, though I still wonder if there wouldn’t be people complaining about having a Arabian terrorist and a Chinese arms dealer as villains in TDKR and IM3, respectively (which would mean bad publicity for those movies), specially seeing as they’re not portrayed in such a sympathetic light as Khan – even if Thalia does have a sad backstory.

        • happyappa

          But why does it have to be a choice between poc actor playing stereotyped poc, and white actor playing stereotyped poc? They could rewrite part of the background story for Ra’s al Ghul, if Rachel Dawes wasn’t even in the comics.

          What about Johnny Depp as Tonto, the character in this version was based off some panting by a non-native person, and depp said he added to the role (vomit). So here we have a native american character written as a stereotype and played by a white actor in redface?

          How about stop with the stereotypes, because whitewashing/racebending the roles just because of that, isn’t because Hollywood is concerned about us. It doesn’t justify a white person acting as a person of color.

  • teenygozer

    What’s this about Gary Mitchell being “obscure”? So was Christopher Pike, until he showed up in the first reboot. You feature Mitchell in a rebooted movie and lo and behold, he’d be known by uber-fan and casual viewer alike.

  • teenygozer

    What makes this white-washing even sadder is that Cumberbatch was wrong for the role for so very many reasons–not being a PoC, check; not being classically gorgeous, check; looking like he’d never done a push-up in his life, check-check-check! He’d have been perfect in the role of the ice-cold Romulan commander Kirk’s going to be going up against in one of these movies (you know that’s going to happen eventually.) But now he can’t play that role. He ruined the movie for me, it was just so jarring to see him as Khan, and I’m a long-time Trek fan as well as a long-time Cumberbatch fan.

  • pisceanpassion

    Over representation. Done.

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  • naql99

    Racists see racism wherever they look.

    • Venom

      You mean the people who made Khan white and those defending it?

  • Phil

    I’m just happy John Cho is in it playing as one of the good guys … which in retrospect is kinda pathetic and reflects the current situation. One asian guy in a supporting role on the hero’s team and it’s enough to make me feel happy..

  • cw81

    So Star Trek is racist?

    So why aren’t Uhura and Sulu white?

    Racebaiting is bad, mmkay?

    • Raiden

      So it’s “Racebaiting” to point out the obvious? Kahn wasn’t white in the original series, but he’s white now. That’s all the article says, it never once accused anyone involved in the film of being racist.

      Roddenberry intended Khan to be a man of Color, and JJ Abrams didn’t that’s all we are saying.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      “So why aren’t Uhura and Sulu white?”

      You mean the token nonwhites of the bunch? And Sulu had such a big role in this series hasn’t he? Oh no, he hasn’t.

      “Racebaiting is bad, mmkay?”

      You spelled “racism denial” wrong. ;-)

      It’s the classic, “There is no racism cause I as white person don’t experience racism so if someone says there is they are lying”.

      Give me a break.

    • adilrye

      Yes, let’s throw in a couple of minorities to come off as non-racist, and give them BARELY anything to do. Uhura is basically the whiny girlfriend the entire movie…and Sulu…what does Sulu even do?

      White people never experience racism or notice anything because of their privilege, and therefore, conclude it doesn’t exist. Plain and simple. Of course you wouldn’t get it.

  • Venom

    They DID actually do something racist: cast a white actor as Khan.

  • Venom

    For those who haven’t heard, they’re pulling this crap AGAIN with the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Shredder, who’s very clearly Japanese, is being played by white actor.

    • Raiden

      I try to assume good faith, maybe Bay’s Shredder will be the Utrom in the suit version of the Shredder, like in the 2002 cartoon?

      I agree with you though, it’s BS. But you want to know the real reason, Hollywood won’t let Asians play Villains (stereotypical or otherwise) anymore? Two words: Chinese Investors.

      The recession hasn’t been kind to Hollywood, so to keep up the production value of their films, they have to turn to other Economies for money to Produce and Market their films. China just happens to be the biggest economy in the world right now. Regrettably, many of these Chinese investors, (and the Chinese Government Censors) refuse to financially support or Screen films that portray Asians as Villains. It’s the reason the Chinese Pirates were edited out of the Chinese Showing of Pirates 3, and possibly why Ben Kingsley was cast as the Mandarin.

      Furthermore, Many a movie has been saved from being a complete flop thanks to the Chinese Box office. Ex. After Earth, Last Airbender, and Pacific Rim underperformed in the US, but were saved from being flops thank to the Chinese box office.

      So in short, The reason Khan and Shredder are white, the reason The Mandarin was turned into a weakling, is because Hollywood is too afraid to risk losing a few potential million dollars. Because an Asian portrayed as a villain would mean the Chinese Investors would refuse to finance their films, and the Chinese Censors would refuse to screen it in China.

      • Venom

        That’s not really true. Khan is not East Asian at all, he’s a different race entirely and would in no way offend them. As for Shredder, he is Japanese. The Chinese seem to be perfectly fine with East Asian villains as long as they aren’t Chinese. Red Dawn would be a notable example.

        • Raiden

          That is just the primary reason, obviously there are others. If anyone is making it harder for Asian American Actors to get any kind of role it’s China.

          • Venom

            That’s completely untrue. It’s not because of China that even the HEROIC roles get whitewashed. Asian-American actors actually have to go over there to get decent work. What does that tell you? This is on Hollywood and Hollywood alone.

          • Raiden

            Hollywood will come around eventually. Keyword being eventually.

          • SnapIntoASlimJim

            “Hollywood will come around eventually.”

            That’s been said for decades now. Nowadays that’s just meaningless as nonwhite artists’ lives and careers are being wasted while whites enjoy all the spoils.

    • Jack Burton

      Whoopi Goldberg is playing the role of a White male though, which is racebending and genderbending, so you guys are up a point, LOL.

  • ghanderman

    cant have the great white master narrative being despoiled by some truth…ie white people arent the be all end all.

  • Oren Leifer

    I personally think that it was more a case of laziness, wanting to avoid controversy, and attempts to be suspenseful rather than purely whitewashing.

    Laziness: Benedict Cumberbatch is known for his playing a near-emotionless near-perfect genius, and easily transfers that performance to Khan. Abrams chose to take this person who he knew could play the role the way he wanted it, rather than take any chances with another actor who he was less certain about. Lazy, yes, but not deliberately offensive.

    Avoiding Controversy: Our society has gotten more race-aware and Hollywood especially wants to “clean up their act”, so casting a character who is a fanatic who makes a suicide run in the end as Middle Eastern (such as the Sikh that Khan is originally) would have Unfortunate Implications, as would casting a man who talks about his superior intelligence as Asian. Yes, it could have been done well with a person of any race, but Hollywood gets a bit over-careful sometimes, especially with blockbusters they know a lot of people will see and pick apart.
    As the article said: “Racebending.com has always pointed out that villains are generally played by people with darker skin”, and as nevilleross says below: “Keeping Khan white is a small price to pay for not exaggerating terrorist fears in United States and North American society far more than they already are. Times have changed… and a brown-skinned bad guy in a major movie won’t really cut it anymore.”

    Attempting to be Suspenseful: Really, how many Star Trek fans would have been able to immediately tell that the movie was about Khan if they saw that the villain was an Indian-looking man who was talking about his own genius?

    So yes, it’s not great that a white actor was cast in the role of a character that had originally been ambiguously brown, but it does not seem to have had any sinister racist motivations, but rather was a misguided attempt to avoid negative implications, and the lazy type-casting of a particular character type.

    • SnapIntoASlimJim

      Your theory of it’s just “laziness” and “avoiding stereotypes” has already been discussed and debunked as you can see if you read the other replies found in this comment section.

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  • Phil K

    Rodenberry named Khan. The original story had the character as genetically modified superman – a NORDIC superman. Rodenberry named him after a friend he admired in the USAF – CARL Noonien Singh. Race and religion was never involved. KJKJ is absolutely right.
    So what is your view on Sgt Fury becoming BLACK ?
    And the even more ridiculous Heimdall, a NORSE GOD being made black for the movies ?

    • adilrye

      No, Khan is supposed to be South Asian.
      OH AND BOO FUCKING WHO. Two characters becoming black, you wanna go back home and make a list about how many minority/non-white characters have been whitewashed?
      Oh, poor white people.

  • Red Wolf

    And don’t forget that the only reason the one woman was killed off was because she wanted her part to be a limited time thing. None of these decisions were up to Abrams. Let’s not call racism where there is none.

  • Jack Burton

    Lots of stupidity and whining on this website. You should change the name of your site to RaceWhining.com.

    Ricardo Montalbán was not a “man of color.” Unless you consider Southern Europeans “people of color.” His parents were immigrants from Spain, not descended from the mestizos of Mexico. He was a White man.

    You idiots do realize that the Spanish language and Spanish people are European Whites don’t you?

    Ricardo Montalbán was not brown-skinned. It’s called tanning, most White people can tan.

    This site is nothing but lies, propaganda and whining, a lot of whining.

    Why don’t you tell your readers that in fact the original Khan was a Nordic superman, a eugenically engineered viking. That’s right, so in fact Abrams was closer to the real original Khan (Ragnar Thorwald) than even the TV character icon.

    So you see, the writers of the show engaged in some “racebending” of their own. Well, that’s how writing and movie adaptations work, they change a lot of aspects of the original script. They’ve done this countless times for White characters as well. So STFU with your nonsense already.

    • Venom

      Montalban was NOT white. He did not look white and was not treated as white.

  • Venom

    And when you have overwhelming privilege and representation, being “subjected to this crap” does no damage.

    • Red Wolf

      No one should be subjected to such treatment. No excuse makes it right.

  • Venom

    “It shouldn’t matter what race a character is.”

    Not according to Hollywood.

  • Michael Garfield

    It seems that some are so blinded by with indignation that a white man was cast as Khan – which could be taken as racism, because the same complainers wouldn’t care if it was a black man playing a white role – that they seem to have forgotten that Khan was originally played by Ricardo Montalban, who was born in Mexico, and was of Spanish Castilian extraction. So it’s okay to get on your high horse about a white person playing what you deem an Asian character, yet you have no objection to someone of Spanish extraction playing him? He had no more racial connection to the character than Benedict Cumberbatch, yet some think it’s okay to have a racist attitude towards the fact that a white actor was used. How ironic that imbeciles who blather on about racism then display the same trait that they claim to hate in others. Typical ‘anti-racist’ (bywords for anti-white) hypocrisy.

    • Venom

      Are you illiterate? The article specific addresses that.

      And the only people who use the term “anti-white” are white supremacists, which it seems you are.

    • Mr0011011 .

      Ricardo Montalban was in the film released in 1967. 1967! A time where people of colour – especially non American people of colour – being cast in prominent roles in Hollywood was neigh non existent. You would hope to think that by 2013, we have progressed. “what you deem an Asian character”? Khan Noonien Singh. His backstory is rooted in Northern India! I have problems with that. And then you will talk about a black actor taking a white characters role. As long as it doesn’t completely change the character and it’s history, there isn’t a problem. Changing the Human Torch, for example, to a African American actor doesn’t change the foundation of the character. Just like if you changed the X Men character of Bishop to white. Changing a character like Storm to white, or Khan to white, does do that, however.

  • jesseacosta

    I am so glad someone else saw this. I am not a Star Trek fan, but I have definitely enjoyed the last two films. According to fans and what I have read online, these new movies *aren’t* reboots, they are alternate timelines. If this is the case, as I’ve asked fan friends, why did Kahn turn from a Mexican into a British guy?
    While my question was slightly in jest at first, it also was loaded with truth. As a person who is of parents who are Mexican American and Irish American, I am always looking for more latinos in film and television. Even in Latin-American the fairer actors get roles on television and film more than the darker “morenos.”

    Thank you for a great article!

  • Sarah Warren

    It’s somewhat strange to me that if they just had to have Cumberbatch, why didn’t they draw from the huge canon of ST and give him an appropriate baddy to play?

    I mean, there are all kinds of problems with casting him as Khan, but this is the one that I find less offensive and more pure old baffling/weird.