Identity politics are getting bizarre. It wasn’t that long ago that “social justice” activists on the left were loudly complaining about too few black actors being cast in Hollywood … but now the same activists are up in arms because a black actor has been cast in Hollywood.
On Monday, the entertainment news outlet Deadline reported that Will Smith has been picked to play the role of Richard Williams in an upcoming biopic. Williams is the father of legendary tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, who are among the most successful African-American sports figures in history.
But not everybody was thrilled with the casting. As the news broke, pundits took to social media to complain that — you guessed it — Smith isn’t black enough.
“Colorism matters … love will Smith but there are other black actors for this role,” scolded Clarence Hill Jr., a prominent sports reporter who writes for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Thousands of other Twitter users agreed by “liking” that post.
Colorism matters..love will Smith but there are other black actors for this role https://t.co/qrV1QuBiJH
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) March 5, 2019
He wasn’t alone. “Why is he always cast in roles portraying dark skin men like there aren’t tons of black actors that would make more sense for the role?” another Twitter user complained. Again, thousands of people “liked” the tweet.
Why is he always cast in roles portraying dark skin men like there aren’t tons of black actors that would make more sense for the role? https://t.co/1VcZyCmwTK
— Pikliz Papi (@so_rudez) March 5, 2019
So why Will Smith, indeed? It apparently hasn’t occurred to these race-obsessed leftists that Smith was probably cast because he’s an incredibly talented actor.
Many actors are hired to play emotionally complex characters, not because their skin pigmentation perfectly matches someone else’s. And Smith has made a name for himself by proving that he has the acting chops for decades, portraying a wide range of nuanced roles over the years.
Indeed, he already has experience playing real-life people in serious biography pictures. Smith earned critical acclaim for playing Muhammad Ali in 2001 — yes, despite the fact that their skin tones aren’t perfectly identical. It’s called “acting.”
And act he did, receiving an Academy Award nomination for “Best Actor.” Smith then went on to play another real-life figure, Chris Gardner, in “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Nobody seemed to have a problem with the variation in skin shade between Smith and Gardner.
But here we are in 2019, at a strange time when the American left seems absolutely obsessed with race and skin pigmentation. Whatever happened to not seeing color?
Instead of judging people based on their character and abilities, leftists act like they want to hold up a color palette and judge everyone based on where they fall on a meaningless scale of blackness.
This is the opposite of progress, and it’s the result of identity politics exploding out of control. When an entire political movement is based on jamming people into boxes and assigning them a hierarchical value based on external traits, chaos reigns.
The problem is that “social justice” busybodies are never satisfied. Give them an inch and they’ll demand a mile. Their vapid worldview is based on criticizing and tearing down everything, with no end in sight.
What’s next? Should it be off limits for a gay actor — Jim Parsons, say — to ever portray a straight character? A British actress can never use an American accent in a film? Are we supposed to ban blue-eyed actors from playing brown-eyed people and only cast left-handed actors for left-handed characters?
It devolves into absolute insanity. But here’s a wild concept: Let’s try letting actors act. Let’s suspend disbelief for two hours during a movie, and allow amazingly talented people like Smith use their gifts on screen.
And let’s stop being so obsessed with color and — deeply ironically — “racial purity” that we lose the ability to see past the superficial level of skin.
It’s a crazy idea, but it just might work.
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