Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let The Red Man Get Ahead Man!

You can claim to have loved the character as a child.
You can claim to be "part Cherokee".
You can spin and flip the character's role in the story however you want but in the end it is wrong for a white man to dress up and portray an American Indian.
No matter what.
There are plenty of American Indian actors that would do just fine in this role.
Perhaps they just thought better of it?
I don't believe that though since actors seem to be pretty vain and wouldn't turn down an opportunity to be in a potential summer blockbuster.
This is just another example of how low the American Indian is on anyone's radar.
Was anyone in charge of this worried about offending them?
If they were, then this movie wouldn't be going forward with a white man playing a red man.
And anyone that has any second thoughts about supporting such a move doesn't need to worry because of two special words "part Cherokee". See? It's fine, because Johnny Depp claims to be part Cherokee, oh how convenient!
Because of some undocumented claim to a Heritage that he can only name as "Native American" he gets a free pass to paint his face and play Indian? Oh, and he's going to show Hollywood a thing or two about how to properly portray an Indian while he's at it?
Oh Thanks Johnny!!
Give me a fucking break!
How would this scenario go over?:
Johnny Depp rewrites the character of Tonto for the upcoming Lone Ranger movie as an escaped slave from the South and will play the role in blackface but it's okay because the actor recently discovered that he has a bit of African blood coursing through his handsome veins.
I just don't see the difference, and yet I can't imagine that it would go over very well.


  1. Amen, Kimosabe - and a very thought-provoking rant!

  2. While I get your point, I don't quite agree with it. The ethnicity of an actor isn't the most important qualification for a role. I do think at different races should be more equally represented in the entertainment industry but I don't think it's necessarely racist when actors portray an enthinicity other than their own. It's done all the time: people fake accents, Indians playing Middle eastern, British playing American. Actors are chosen by their talent and posibly also by their fame. Someone like Johnny Depp is so famous that people are going to see the film just because his in it. And as sad as it may be there are none Native american actors in a similar position. I don't think it's racisim, more along the lines of opportunism.

  3. That is true, and given a little time to cool off, I agree about the opportunism. Perhaps if he had just taken the role, and never said anything about his "native american" blood, then I could view it as pure hollywood, actor type stuff. Then it would be like you said, an actor choosing a role. But I think people then would make a big deal out of THAT as well. That is where the interview he did starts to look more like an attempt to preemptively cover his tracks. And you are right, people will see this because Johnny Depp is in it, but I believe he has the clout to tie his name to the project and the movie will still make money. He could produce this film, with a real Native in the role, but then that wouldn't work either because it would be Johnny telling a Native how to act more Native...
    He acts like he is doing Natives a favor by playing Tonto, like this is going to right the wrongs of how they were portrayed in cinema back in the day. Thanks but no Thanks Johnny, stick to playing Vampires, Pirates and Hunter S. Thompson

  4. I think that this is totally uncalled for. Johnny has Cherokee ancestry on both sides and his Native American heritage is quite obvious in his looks. As someone who is also of Cherokee descent, I am very proud that someone who is part Native American is playing the part. Especially a damn good actor at that!

  5. You are missing my point. There are more people out there that are just as talented and way more "Native American" than your boy Johnny.
    Also, please give some exampled of his "Damn good acting" within the past ten years. Thanks.

    1. Anonymous6:53 PM

      Sweeney Todd, Pirates of the Carribean, Secret Window, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Public Enemies. This article is ridiculous. Fine, if there are so many, name just five 'more talented' Native American actors.

    2. Are. You. Kidding. Me?
      This obviously totally flew over your head.
      It's the whole point of a white man playing a...
      Nevermind, NEVERMIND!
      That isn't what is important.
      THOSE are your examples of his acting abilities?
      That so isn't the point, but whatever...
      Secret Window?!
      So YOU'RE the person that saw that movie?
      I hope you didn't pay for that.
      Ya Burnt.

  6. Your Aunt Jude led me to your posting because I had said virtually the same thing on my Facebook wall. I am a caucasian who was born and raised on an Indian Reservation in Northern Wisconsin. It just seems wrong on so many levels to cast a non-Native American in the role. When I first heard about the movie I was really hoping Graham Greene would be cast as Tonto. He is a comedic genius, oh well maybe next time. Thanks for the post


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