I didn’t intend on writing a blog post about this, but I was compelled to. There’s a new movie coming out called Thor about a Norse god and other gods, roles that traditionally were played by white men. But now actor Idris Elba will assume the role of Heimdall, one the greek gods (not Thor). As you can see, he’s black. Well some white racists, a white supremacy group, are in an uproar and plan to boycott the movie saying that white people should have some things unique and sacred to them.
Ok, so people have their opinions and they feel the way they feel. As a journalist who loves the fact that this country allows us to voice our likes and dislikes, I say more power to them and let them protest their discontent. It’s the American way.
However, on my Facebook page I was a little disturbed by a black woman who said (and I quote)
“IDK about this one… Why is Thor being played by Idris anyway? Just a thought. I mean he was a Norse god in Germanic mythology. Not that I would protest it but I don’t think I’d want someone specific to our culture played by someone white either. Just saying.”
It’s interesting to me when black folks talk down about equal rights. Because this is exactly what this falls under EQUAL rights. So is this woman saying that Idris should not have auditioned or won the part even if he was the best person who auditioned for it? Is she saying that his talents should have been overlooked because his skin is too dark and lovely?
That’s exactly what she’s saying in my book.
So why don’t we tell every little child in the world who wants to audition for a play or any role that was traditionally played by a white kid to just “forgettaboutit.”
Just last week a theater near where I live, held auditions for the play Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and my 6-year-old daughter wanted to audition for the part of Violet, the white girl who chewed bubblegum and blew up like a balloon.
We didn’t go because I didn’t prepare her monologue but there was never, EVER a moment in my mind where I thought she shouldn’t audition because she was black and Violet was white. And if I did go, there would have been an uproar (BY ME) if anyone even remotely said “Take your black child back home because this part is solely for a little white girl”
In fact you know how we found out about the part? My daughter’s WHITE teacher suggested I take her to audition because my daughter is so spunky and SO dramatic, she thought she’d be perfect for the role. That white teacher obviously looked at my daughter’s talent and looked past her skin color.
Actually saying Idris Elba shouldn’t play Heimdall is like saying why allow a black man to “play” President of the United States because it was always played by a white man! We can’t have those kind of thoughts. We’ve got to do away with that.
There’s a children’s book I love called Amazing Grace where the little black girl wanted to play Peter Pan in a play and all her classmates told her no because she wasn’t a boy and she was black and Peter was white. Well she auditioned anyway and got the part and there were some really good lessons in there from her mom and grandma about how she could do and be anything she wanted to be even if the role was not traditionally played by someone her color. I bought the book for my kids so they can embrace that lesson.
This situation with Idris is the same thing. We’ve got to do better about how we think. If we set limitations for our kids based on their color, no one would ever allow them to do anything, including trying to run this county. It’s acting. It’s a role. What’s the big deal? It’s a made-up pretend character and you’re telling me even when we make up characters we still can’t get in because we don’t fit in? Shame on anyone who is still hung up on skin color. Everything is not just black and white. So how about we look beyond that into the spectrums of someone’s true talent!
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