What the F#@k Is This?

[Content Note: Racism.]

This is an actual article written by an actual person for actual publication in the actual year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and fifteen: "Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings–About Time or Too Much of Good Thing?"

And this is how it actually starts:
There was a noticeable shift toward minority castings last season, with more parts opening up to ethnic actors, a casting term used for non-Caucasian thesps. It was a concerted effort, with more than one instance where a family member role was rewritten as adopted to make them ethnic. Then, following the success of freshman series How to Get Away with Murder, Black-ish, Fresh off the Boat, Jane the Virgin and especially Empire, which launched to huge ratings at the kickoff of pilot casting season, ethnic castings exploded this season.

The change is welcomed by talent agents who no longer have to call casting directors and ask them if they would possibly consider an ethnic actor for a part, knowing they would most likely be rejected. "I feel that the tide has turned," one agent said. "I can pitch any actor for any role, and I think that's good."

But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal.
Holy shit. HOLY SHIT.
A lot of what is happening right now is long overdue. The TV and film superhero ranks have been overly white for too long, workplace shows should be diverse to reflect workplace in real America, and ethnic actors should get a chance to play more than the proverbial best friend or boss.

But replacing one set of rigid rules with another by imposing a quota of ethnic talent on each show might not be the answer.
REVERSE RACISM!!!!11!!eleventy!!1!!!

The author, Nellie Andreeva, provides one example of a white actor who was not given a job because the network wanted diversity in the cast: "In one instance, after a number of actors of different ethnicities tested for two roles in a pilot this year, two Caucasian actors ended up being the top choices for the two remaining regular parts. However, because of a mandate from the studio and network, one of the roles had to diverse, so the pilot could only cast one of the top choices and pass on the other to fulfill the ethnic quota. 'They need to say the best man or woman wins,' one rep suggested."

So, basically, this is the solution being proposed: Pretend like racism is over, and just hire the "best man or woman" for every job, as if a rank legacy of white supremacy in mainstream casting doesn't exist and no longer has any influence. Sounds perfect!

Everything, everything, about this is terrible, but perhaps the worst of it is the idea, threaded through the piece but never explicitly stated, that people of color have got a few shows now where they see people who look like themselves in the primary cast, and they should be grateful for that and stop being so greedy.

Because, hey, one white actor supposedly lost a job because the network wanted someone "ethnic." OH THE HUMANITY! SLIPPERY SLOPE! We'd better nip this in the bud before white people lose their undeserved chokehold on jobs that are ostensibly designed to tell stories about the breadth and complexity of the human experience.

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