What’s the easiest way to anger an SJW (which by the way, tends to be an MRA or MGTOW, or a closet racist, rather than their insistence that it’s anyone who wants, you know, equality)? You cast a black actress to play a character that was originally white. Cue lots of faux outrage from people angry at this apparent assault on white people. Cue all kinds of whining that it’s not fair, or accurate.
Black actress Noma Dumezweni will play the character of Hermione Grainger in the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, set several years after the events of the original seven books. The most obvious response to this is to say ‘who cares, it’s the 21st Century’, but this isn’t good enough for some. Apparently the colour of someone’s skin is still enough of an excuse to kick up a storm.
Hermione Granger is white. I don’t even care if J.K.Rowling (all hail) has forgotten her own words. Saying the character is black is a retcon. It’s not even like saying Dumbledore is gay, as this is left genuinely ambiguous in the books. No, this would be like saying the Dumbledore is actually a bald, overweight guy from Kentucky who sells Sherbet Lemons on the side.
But back to the point, so what exactly is the “problem” with a black Hermione? It is a surrender.
If the people wanting to create a “black Harry Potter” had a shred of integrity, dignity or creativity, here’s what they’d actually do. They wouldn’t just go and cast black actors to play a bunch of very English characters, speaking English, in a book set in England, written by a blonde white English woman. It is about as intellectually lazy as I can imagine.
Hermione Grainger is a character in a book. A book which also happens to be a work of fiction. It is not immutable.
Instead, if you had any decency, you’d create your own series with specifically black characters, hopefully set in a black country, with its own black culture. Trust me this isn’t hard. In fact, we’ve seen it done before. The first example that comes to my mind concerns Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg’s historical epic about the holocaust. If you were a social justice warrior, you might be jealous of the film’s success. How dare a Jewish director cast white actors in a film set in Europe during World War Two?
Blatant racism. Apparently a black person cannot be considered English – because black actors can only represent black countries. I guess this means Mo Farah isn’t a four-time British gold medallist? How dare he (or anyone else who is black) represent anything other than a ‘black country’ (and what the hell is a black country anyway?).
Simply casting a Swaziland actress as Hermione Granger doesn’t make the film one iota more about Africans. It does nothing to help the promotion of black culture. If anything, it’s a surrender. You’re literally admitting—“well no black author could ever write a story this good, better just copy what that blonde white English woman did and call it a day…”
Here’s the thing. Casting a black person is not supposed to make the film more about ‘Africans’ or black people. In this day and age, that shouldn’t even matter. It’s about showing that black people exist, and that they are human beings, and that they can be as English as anyone else from England, or as American as anyone else from America. The very fact that people can write articles like this only serves to highlight why moves like this need to be made.