From reasonably content to furious off beyond reason within an instant. And how, you might ask?
In general: Last week the BBC picked out a new DoctorDoctor Who. It happened to be Peter Capaldi, whom I’ve seen once outside of Doctor Who. Now what should follow this announcement is a time of wondering what kind of Doctor he’d be, what kind of stories are coming, this that and the other thing.
But nopers. Some “fans” can’t do that. Some “fans” have to piss and moan because he is another white guy. The horrors.
Not whether he’s qualified for the part. No. Because he’s not the right skin color.
Now me, because I’m an open-minded person, I don’t what color the Doctor is. Back in the day (right or wrong) I thought a guy like Lenny Henry (the lead on the BBC comedy Chef!) would be a good choice. Currently I think Craig Charles might be interesting in the part, but his connection to a certain other Sci Fi series might make that a pure pipe dream.
How did I make this miraculous opinion? By judging their performance. That’s it. Simple as that. If the next Doctor is black, white, Asian, or some fungus from Yoggoth, I don’t care so long as the individual can act. That is the important thing. That is what really matters.
In a world that is really just, really “color blind” in terms, that’s the way you do it.
Which leads us to the specific: this article over at IO9.
To be more specific, this dumb ass, almost indescribably racist comment. I have emphasized the important parts:
I saw Neil Gaiman’s thing [here] where he talks about the new guy being the best successor to Matt Smith and it’s better to have a female/black Doctor next time. But what the hell? [Peter Capaldi] is an old white guy, and the Doctor has been an old white guy at six times before. Over HALF of the Doctor’s regenerations have been old white guys. What’s the benefit of having yet another one?
Thus the light dawns. For years I thought each Doctor was different in nuanced ways. But no. No, they were all completely and totally identical in every way, shape or form. They were white, after all, and all white people are exactly alike in every way. There’s a reason vanilla is white, after all.
Try this out another way. Let’s do a little thought experiment for you at home. Let’s switch a few words around for a part of the above comment. For the experiment I change the word “white” to “black”. For clarity of intent, I change “Doctor” to “character” and “regenerations” to “portrayals” Oh, and the actor’s name to Lenny Henry, just to seal the deal. Let’s see what we find.
[Lenny Henry] is an old black guy, and the character has been an old black guy at six times before. Over HALF of the character’s portrayals have been old black guys. What’s the benefit of having yet another one?
Is this or is this not a racist statement? Is it not suggesting that the performances were all alike not because of the character involved, but because of skin color? Is it not suggesting that people be excluded based not on the content of their performance, but the color of their skin? And is it not implying that it would be better to hire someone based not on that same characteristics, but because he’s the “right” skin color?
Of course it is. There is absolutely no other way to look at it.
Both are bigoted, racist remarks no matter the skin color.
To reject the latter and not the former is the height of hypocrisy.
You’d think that little factoid might come up somewhere at some point in the article. But no. No, that we don’t get. Instead, there’s a long-winded speculation about how all of this is setting up for such a change, ended with this brilliance:
Of course, if the next Doctor is another white dude, then we should all probably freak the **** out.
If what Gaiman said is true (that the only reason the Doctor isn’t black is because the actor they wanted refused), all of this looks like something to be celebrated: a major hiring force choosing an applicant based on skill and performance and not race. It’s the way it should always be in a truly just and equal society.
I realize that the commenter, the writer of the article, and those like them no doubt think they are pushing for such a society. They most emphatically aren’t. Like with my little game above, they are just switching words around, doing nothing more than encouraging the replacement of one prejudice with another prejudice every bit as bad. If we are ever to get a world were everyone is treat based on who they are and not what their skin color is, this needs pointing out every time it comes up.