The topics of whitewashing and racebending always makes white people tense up and freak out. While white people are 100,000% A-OK with turning Major Mokoto Kusanagi into Major Mandy Kennedy, they tense up and bristle when an actor of color is casted as Nick Fury.
In Dragon Age 2, there is a mod for Isabela called “More Attractive Isabela”, where the dark-skinned, dark hair rogue is white skinned and blonde.
The fact that Isabela is seen as less attractive because of her skin tone is racist as fuck. In Western games, it’s still pretty uncommon to have a black character in a game, let alone as a playable protagonist. When white people willing whitewash a PoC character, they’re willingly admitting that they are racist. They find something unsettling about skin that isn’t white.
When you bring up the top of racebending, however, white people get all up in arms about it. ‘BUT, WHAT IF BLACK PANTHER OR LUKE CAGE WAS WHITE, THEN WHAT?’ Then, you know nothing of how those two black characters get their powers. They get their powers from racism and just BEING black. There’s enough fictional white characters to go around, I’m sure making 10 out of the 1,000 black or another PoC race won’t hurt anyone.
Isabela isn’t the first PoC character to get whitewashed. There have been 12 others who have had their skin lightened and their uniqueness removed.
The whole concept of whitewashing is just gross. The fact that white people don’t feel comfortable with PoC playing roles for THEM, but feel comfortable with other people put on black or yellow paint on a white actor’s face, while doing HORRIBLE stereotypes of caricatures of PoC is just them being comfortable with being a casual racist. They don’t mind if a white person does blackface because “it’s just acting”, but if a black person does a role that was “traditionally” white, they foam at the mouth, claim erasure of… something and cry.
White people have no problems with whitewashing but have a problem with “white face”, which is odd, because white face has no racist history behind it. It’s like how they can’t “see” real racism, but can call out reverse racism at the drop of a hat. When called on their bullshit and fuckery, they somehow feel persecuted, when in reality it’s just black people and other PoC are tired of their shit. How are you gonna say racism isn’t a thing anymore, it’s in the past blah blah blah, but then cry reverse racism when you get called Becky or mayo eater? You just said that racism isn’t real, so how can there be a “reverse” of anything?
My only gripe with white people and whitewashing is that I wish white people would just admit that they are racist when it comes to black people and PoC in media. I wish they would admit that seeing black and brown faces in media and not behind the scenes makes them uncomfortable. They need to own up to the fact that they are harboring internalized racism from generations past and do better.
Or, they can catch a block.