Thoughts on a writer’s responsibility to stop “whitewashing” characters
Q: Do you think its your responsibility as a creator/artist to give more opportunities to people of colour or people who are not well represented in the media?
A: I think it’s my responsibility as an artist to paint the most complex, beautiful, interesting piece I can. And for that I need to include many different types of people. I’m concepting a series right now, and to make sure I am not leaning into something too whitewashed, I keep an ethnicity chart, making sure I am making the characters as different and interesting as I can.
With that said, I wouldn’t change a character who was formulated as they were for a reason. Meaning if all the characters in a story were Asian, black, white, etc for a solid reason, I wouldn’t compromise on it. But that has to be an important reason.
Also it’s good to keep in mind the resources of the creator. If I were to make the series above with FOX or NBC, I would have access to thousands of talented actors of many different ethnicities. I’d have my pick of the litter, and I would be sure I could find a very talented actor in the race I specified in writing. But in independent film, you often have to cast what you have at your disposal, meaning whoever is the strongest performer is the one you often have to go with, regardless of their race.
What I’m saying is many, many things affect a story-teller’s ability to tell their story properly. Maybe a network is dictating who can be what race. Maybe a creator has looked everywhere and can’t find the right actor in the race they wanted. Regardless, it comes down to the artist to make the call on what they will or will not compromise on and to stick by that.
6:43 pm • 14 June 2013 • 89 notes