July 8, 2013
Well. There sure won't be if your take on things prevails. I feel like I watched some other movie. I watched a movie about two broken people, a white man and an Indian, finding unexpected friendship and a quest to right an injustice. I have studied some of the prominent characters of the early west due to working with and tutoring students at a neighboring reservation. I was pleased to see that the blame for broken promises and bloodshed was somewhat more evenly spread around than in the history books and western movies I was weaned on. In fact, if anything, evil was most plainly exhibited by the actions of the white peoples. But not all of them were evil, either. The fact that good and evil reside in all races is honest. I also see no reason for embarrassment over early native customs or dress. Tonto could have been portrayed as merely crazy, rather than with the sly wisdom, cunning, and humor [put to good use] that so frequently rescued the naive white man from his own ignorance. I think to find reconciliation, you have to be looking for it.
I know it would have sold even less (when you subtract Depp fans), but it would have been better with an actual Native American playing the role of a Native American.
I did appreciate the movie highlighting the atrocities that occurred in our quest for the west, but it wasn't enough.
Oh, and I thought it was more Jack Sparrow not Willie Wonka. :-)
I still think this is a generous reading, but I like your point about being willing to look for reconciliation, rather than being eager to take offense. The latter is a hallmark of divisive political correctness. My fear with The Lone Ranger, however, is that we go too far the other way and fail to call out what I see as a true barrier to reconciliation, simply because it's in a big Disney movie or because it involves Johnny Depp.
There is a terrible double standard at play here as we would never accept a white actor playing a character with African heritage (a la Laurence Olivier as Othello) but for some reason it is still socially acceptable to cast a white actor as a First Nations person.
Even in the original TV series Tonto was played by Jay Silverheels who was Mohawk. In that regard, we have actually regressed since the 1950â€™s.
Iâ€™m sure an actor from the Potawatomi or Ojibwe Nations could have played the part with sly, wily humour but also serve as a role model for future generations of First Nations actors.
It is important for Christians to be aware of Hollywood â€˜whitewashingâ€™ and all forms of racial prejudice. We cannot be mired in the past but we must understand how the past has shaped the present. We wonâ€™t be on a path to true reconciliation until we realize that we still have a long way to go.
And if we do reach true reconciliation, Whitney, then the day will come when any person of any skin color can play a role of a character with another skin color and not elicit comment. I bet we never reach that day short of Jesus' return.
So Jim Carrey has been signed to play Buckwheat in a grown-up version of Our Gang? I call type-casting!
I agree, true reconciliation comes through Jesus, the one sent to reconcile!
In the meantime, I believe that we must dignify the struggles of people who live with the kind of racialization that as a white woman in a colonized country, I can only imagine.
We are all one in Christ but we were also given origins on this planet. Our beautiful cultural differences remind me that human beings are each unique reflections of our creator. It is through uniqueness in creation that I learn about the various aspects of God.
Where's the "Like" button when I need it?!
well Johnny Depp Has been adopted into the Comanche Nation and he is likely partially Cherokee so i would not call his performance undue cultural appropriation.
I've read reports that Depp's claims to Native-American ancestry are tenuous at best. Yet even if he was 100% Comanche (or Cherokee), I'm not sure it would necessarily justify the performance. No matter who played him, this Tonto is still built on centuries of cultural stereotypes and stands in the way of both racial reconciliation and ultimate restoration.
I too have wanted a like button a few times on these comment threads. But maybe the lack of like is a blessing because it leads to more communication?
We've talked about adding "like" buttons on TC, Whitney, but you've hit upon one very good reason we haven't yet. The thing we most want to encourage in these comment threads is thoughtful conversation. Thanks for helping with that!
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