For the first time in her career, Michelle Rodriguez made national headlines with her ideals on Hollywood and diversity. A TMZ reporter asked “The Fast and the Furious” actress if the rumors about her playing The Green Lantern were true in which she answered by denying the fact. She also added that minorities should stop being so lazy and stop stealing white superheroes. She drove a nail in the coffin with a suggestion to all minorities: make up your own superheroes.
Michelle Rodriguez later delivered a half-hearted apology for “once again sticking her foot in her mouth”. There was widespread outrage that a minority would make such ignorant comments.
Were her comments really that offensive? Why would a minority make negative commentary about minorities?
Here’s my two cents:
History has proven that cultures borrow from one another. If you doubt that then take a look at general American cuisine, religious practices, and nearly every facet of human existence. However, let’s place the obvious to the side for a second.
The idea that superhero’s are of a “white” culture and only white actors and actresses should portray them is complete and utter ridiculousness. First things first, these are super heroes. They are fictional characters that were originally drawn during a time when white supremacy was at its height. This by no means implies that the comic book artists made up these characters to further that agenda; it just means that at the time this was the trend. Go back and look at some old Tom and Jerry cartoons and you will see a very stereotypical “Aunt Jemima” character.
We can all agree that America has evolved past SOME of its racist ways. If Hollywood would like to further push the envelope and give minorities a different take on America’s classic super heroes’ that would include them. I say that is a GOOD thing.
The point is to end the stereotype that nothing good can come from being anything other than white, straight, and male in America.
Now let’s put a pen there and shift gears. Some of the most popular fictional characters that did derive from minorities have been portrayed by white actors and actress. Characters such as Queen Cleopatra, a real historical figure by the way, was an Ethiopian woman of African descent. In the movie, God’s and Kings, The Egyptians were all played by white actors and actresses. Egypt is in Africa friends, if you did not know, and they were dark-skinned African people. Charlie Chan, a comic book detective who was originally Asian, was depicted by a white actor wearing yellow face, Alicia Nash, a Salvadoran woman in the novel turned film A Beautiful Mind, was played by a white actress, and Tonto, a native American character in The Lone Ranger, was played by a white actor as well. This is just to name a few.
So let’s face it, Hollywood has “white washed” many of minorities’ heroes and heroines. Therefore, Michelle Rodriguez made a statement that lacked comprehension and understanding of the struggle her fellow minority thespians have endured.
And this is why there was so much outrage and it is warranted. Please read a book and understand your history before advising others about their “laziness”.