Its been a week. Something, something about being a college student and not meeting expectations or satisfying standards. Chances are I’ll go a month without writing something only to come back and drop some mentally thermonuclear bomb. Anyways, I spent the last week preparing for a couple exams I had. God forbid I pay no attention to major news sources so, no, I won’t be talking about how everyone just found out Trump’s clandestine and unpredictable mentality; being that he’s a pretty typical, sexually-charged man.
The last few days New York has been hosting it’s annual Comic Con. For those who don’t know, this is one of the many Christmases for nerds and super geeks. Yesterday, Marvel released a trailer for their next cinematic property on Netflix, Iron Fist. To make a long story short, Iron Fist is about this guy from New York that loses his parents in a mystical realm, is adopted by monks in said realm, beats the living hell out of a dragon, and gets super powers.
Does this sound like a white guy? Cause I’m thinking white guy, which he has been since his creation in the mid-70’s. Aren’t we supposed to hate people who are white nowadays? Shouldn’t we especially hate this white man because he’s mastered a factor of asian culture and for some reason that’s impossible to achieve unless you’re Asian?
Sharing this trailer actually doesn’t enforce my point any further, its just really cool.
Moving on then. This is less about wondrous superheroes and their origin stories and more about the problem with white people doing things in movies.
PC culture never seizes to amaze me. What with it’s backwards, reaching out for straws that aren’t even there thinking and hypocrisy. For the uninitiated, PC stands for political correctness, a standard trait of the exotic species Liberalis internet userus. PC liberals are about as bad, if not worse, than the superior morally righteous christians that plague the right. A lot of PC culture isn’t super bad, in fact, like anything else its more of a vocal minority. Everyone is PC to a certain point but when Jerry Seinfeld refuses to do shows on college campuses because 20 year old liberals are scary, you know you’ve gone too far. In this world we are seeing breakthroughs of things that have always existed, albeit in secret, into the mainstream and a lot of people are struggling to find comfort in these new things.
Transsexualism, gender theory, and homosexuality are in full force more than they ever have been and probably ever were expected to be. As a supporter of all these things that define multi-faceted human life, I can still understand why someone would struggle to cope with, or even fear, what’s going on in the world. While that’s a great write up, it’s falling from my argument. PC is 60% “Hey, be respectful of other people and how they wish to live their life” and 40% “Labels are life, we must draw lines everywhere to appreciate a diverse society”. In truth, PC is actually furthering divisions of race and the pushing away the acceptance of non-binary affiliated people from the general population.
Let’s get back to Iron Fist, a white dude doing things apparently only Asian people should be doing. I went through several comments on the trailer I showed above through Facebook, Youtube, and Reddit and saw largely the same things. Super nerds bursting at the seams about the show , normal people who think it looks alright, angry people that hate super-hero cinema, and everyone else yelling about Iron Fist being white-washed.
White-washing is a term used to describe the act of a white, usually male, actor taking the place of a character of another race in a story that race or culture. The most recent example I can think of is the movie “The Great Wall” which features Matt Damon in medieval China. I mean, come on, that’s incredibly laughable. What’s Jason Bourne doing fighting Genghis Khan? The director has stated that he’s apparently playing a role not meant for a Chinese man which could be done, maybe a European traveler just decided it’d be cool to traverse an entire continent.
Operating under that definition, Finn Jones is certainly not white-washing a character by the name of Danny Rand. The problem people are having is that he’s a white guy (Honestly I think the problem ends there) that becomes a pupil of Asian monks and turns out to master their super kung-fu and kills a dragon which no one else could do. Isn’t it more racist to say a white person can’t do that rather than the act of telling the story of a white person doing that? I don’t see in color, I just see people. Color introduces different heritage and culture, it doesn’t differentiate humans from something else. With a little bit of thinking (Oh no!) you can take a way a lot of the structure that the PC argument stands on here.
If these monks were to train a young Danny, why would they waste their efforts in not training him to be the best? Color doesn’t matter in that aspect does it? With the training and experience, a white person could achieve anything an Asian person could do because Asian people are just as predisposed as anyone else in mastering an art like kung-fu.
Now one could further argue that the problem isn’t with the actor and that the character is the white-washed part and this is where it gets trickier. Its not wrong that white people dominate movies, television, and other graphic media. 85-90% of main characters in anything are white, and that’s totally not generalizable to the world as a whole. Honestly though, does anyone really want to see another stereotypical Asian story about kung-fu? I would truthfully see that as insulting to have the same story told again and again.
Staying on my point, considering the fact that this story is about a New Yorker, there’s a higher chance he’s going to be a white character. That’s just statistics and shouldn’t come as a major disturbance to anyone. A New Yorker becomes a modern master of an ancient fighting style sounds totally believable and it is. For some reason people become massively polarized when you add a race before the words “New Yorker” and for a group that strives for the acceptance of everyone and the destruction of the racial divide, PC liberals tend to get set off the most in that aspect.
If you’re telling a normal story about an American, 70-80% it’s going to be about a white character because that’s just how many whites are in this country. While I do think there are too many white driven stories, it makes sense for there to be generally more. I think the problem lies with the exposure and yeah, sorry to burst your bubble but, old rich white guys like to make movies about white people which go on to make millions. If you really looked into your issue you’d know about all the smaller budget and unknown movies continually releasing that feature minorities in lead roles.
At the end of the day it’s another thing to create an outcry about. As someone who generally supports multicultural and racial cinema and some PC values, Iron Fist isn’t worth the calamity that this small group are beginning to claim is. Jackie Chan made more kung-fu movies than anyone is comfortable with admitting, if that’s your cup of tea go marathon those for the next few hours.