It’s a sign of the times when a movie studio feels compelled to issue a statement defending its casting of a white actor. But that’s what Marvel Studios has done in response to criticism of their forthcoming Doctor Strange. The film stars Tilda Swinton as a character called The Ancient One, traditionally portrayed in the comics as Tibetan. From the statement sent to Mashable:
Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life. The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.
The notion that Marvel has “whitewashed” its films proves laughable. Consider the cast of Thor, a film ostensibly centered around gods of Norse myth. Yet the denizens of Asgard emerge as racially diverse as their mortal counterparts. Consider also the cast of Captain America: The First Avenger, a period film set in World War II. Despite its setting in history, the film’s Howling Commandos are a racially integrated squad with Asian-American and African-American members.
Clearly, Marvel has gone out of its way to diversify its casts. But because a single character in an Asian setting is not herself Asian, Marvel is supposedly “whitewashing.” The pettiness of political correctness knows no bounds.