Michelle Rodriguez Totally Misses The Point About Diversity Casting
After leaving a sushi restaurant on Friday night, Michelle Rodriguez said some pretty offensive things about minorities in Hollywood. TMZ's cameras asked the actress if it's true she is going to play the Green Lantern and Rodriguez said "that's dumbest thing I've ever heard" and went on to complain that "because of this whole 'minorities in Hollywood' thing... it's so stupid. Stop stealing all the white people's superheroes." (She even used air quotes around the "minorities in Hollywood thing," just so you know.) After a completely white-washed Oscar season, what is Rodriguez talking about?
On Saturday, we got a little clarification. The 36-year-old took to Facebook to address her comments, which overnight had sparked quite the conversation. Fans and media, disgusted by her ignorant remarks, let it be known that Rodriguez's attitude toward minority roles in Hollywood is part of the problem. So, since it's 2015, the Fast & Furious star decided to upload an apology video from her bed.
Shyly giggling, she starts her video with "I stuck my foot in my mouth once again." She continued:
I guess it got taken out of context because a lot of people got offended or whatever. I have a tendency to speak without a filter — sorry about that. What I really meant was that… I think there are many cultures in Hollywood that are not white and that can come up with their own mythology. It doesn't matter what culture you come from. I'm just saying that instead of trying to turn a girl character into a guy or instead of trying to turn a white character into a black character or a Latin character, I think that people should stop being lazy and people should actually make an effort in Hollywood to develop their own mythology.
She has a point. But she's also totally missing one. There are indeed a plethora of cultures with their own mythologies that could and should have their stories represented in Hollywood films, but at the same time, reserving roles for white actors does not help anything. The origins of many of the comic book stories we see represented on the big screen (Spider-Man, Batman, Green Lantern, The Hulk, Human Torch, etc) were written by white men, for white men.
Now, decades after those stories hit comic bookstore shelves, we're able to address the need for diversity and allow casting that is not one color, nor one note, that can therefore reach a modern audience.
As for those rumors that Rodriguez, a Latina woman, would play Green Lantern, traditionally depicted as a white man, she is not on board. In her apology, she said:
It's not about taking Catwoman or Superman or Green Lantern ... and trying to make them fit to whatever cultural background you are. I just feel like it should be more creative than that, and I think that people need to stop being lazy.
Again, she has a point, and then totally misses one. There's no reason we can't do both. Let's start writing more complex roles for women, let's start telling more stories from different cultural backgrounds, and let's diversify casting. There's no reason we can't do both.
At the end of her video, Rodriguez says she's putting her money where her mouth is.
I'm considering this while I'm out there coming up with projects to do and things to write. It's time to stop trying to take what's already there and try to fit a culture into it. I think that it's time for us to write our own mythology ... every culture.
As Selma star Carmen Ejogo tells Bustle about diversity casting in Hollywood: “I think in some ways it’s gotten better,” Ejogo says. “But there’s always room for improvement.”
Images: Getty Images