To those who missed it, Skrein----known for his role as Ajax in Deadpool (2016) as well as a brief stint as Game of Throne's Daario Naharis before Michael Huisman swooped in----has rejected the role of Ben Daimino in the upcoming Hellboy after learning that the comic book character is of Asian heritage. What was initially sparking outcries is now being hailed as a firm step in the right direction.
Admittedly, Hollywood often gets a lot of praise for doing the bare minimum, their white actors even more so, but here I think celebration is in order. Not because Skrein has done anything heroic, but because he's still one of the few who's bothering to do anything at all. It's like if your house was on fire and your next door neighbor Joe threw a single pail of water on the blaze. He sure hasn't solved the problem, but he's done more than all the other neighbors just standing there gawking (or lighting more matches...) Why, just imagine if every neighbor got a bucket and started pitching in. The house might actually be saved!
Awful metaphors aside, we do need more Joes in Hollywood. More Skreins. He's set the example and now we can only hope that others will follow his lead. Because make no mistake, whitewashing remains at an all time high, from the recent Ghost in the Shell, to Gods of Egypt, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Doctor Strange, Netflix's newly dropped Death Note...
Actually no. I'm sorry. I shouldn't even remind you of that thing's existence. Please don't give Netflix any traffic for that crap.
The point is that fantasy/sci-fi settings can no longer "justify" whitewashing. Saying it's good business can't justify it. Nor can the claim that there are no actors for the parts. (Newsflash: there are actors of every race, heritage, orientation, etc. that you need. And disabled characters? If the actor can't do the thing you want them to do, then neither can the character.) Nothing justifies this anymore----nothing ever has. So yes, a small step, but one that's sadly still needed.
Ed Skrein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Skrein
Ben Daimino: http://hellboy.wikia.com/wiki/Benjamin_Daimio
Doctor Strange: http://metro.co.uk/2016/05/01/marvel-defends-decision-to-cast-tilda-swinton-as-the-ancient-one-in-doctor-strange-5852791/
Ghost in the Shell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oQsVUkVay4
Death Note: http://elitedaily.com/entertainment/film/death-note-netflix-whitewashing/1834792/
Star Trek: http://www.racebending.com/v4/featured/star-trek-whiteness/
Gods of Egypt: https://meagainstiniquity.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/boycott-hollywood-films-that-continue-to-whitewash-african-history-the-latest-films-being-exodus-and-gods-of-egypt/