upcoming hollywood racism: White woman to portray native American Tiger Lily

If this new Tiger Lily is not a person of color, why is her dad so dark?

A poster and movie trailer for Pan, the Peter Pan prequel planned for a summer 2015 release, is giving the public a first glimpse of actress Rooney Mara in the role of Tiger Lily, a Native American character in J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play. The visuals have reignited the controversy that broke out in March over the casting of Mara, a non-Native actress, in the role. Reporting on the choice touted the film’s “multi-racial” world and “a very different [Tigerlily] than was originally imagined.”

But there was concern and even outrage over Mara’s casting. An online petition was started to urge Warner Brothers to “Stop casting white actors to play people of color!” On Twitter and other social media, many people voiced disappointment in Mara for accepting the role.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/11/26/rooney-maras-tiger-lily-could-not-be-less-native-thats-problem-158028

Hollywood whitewashing: Rooney Mara cast as Tiger Lily in Joe Wright’s Pan



Joe Wright’s Peter Pan origin story starring Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard andGarret Hedlund as Hook has potentially found its Tiger Lilly. If negotiations work out, the iconic role of the young Native American princess will be played by none other than Irish-Italian actress Rooney Mara. The film is being billed as a “new take on the classic story,” and in this case, that “new take” extends the old tale of Hollywood whitewashing characters of color. (Recently, Johnny Depp tried to skirt controversy by being “formally adopted” by the Comanche Indians before playing Tonto in the Lone Ranger film.)





and once again the fans of  red head Anne of Green Gables that are outrage over the use of  a blonde woman to portray Anne is silent on his issue.

Native Americans Are Not Munchkins: An Open Letter to Michelle Williams

Aura Bogado on March 12, 2013 – 11:20 AM ET





Dear Ms. Williams,

I cringed when I saw that you “dressed up as a Native American.” While some have called your decision “risqué,” I’d call it deeply offensive. Still, I was going to ignore your foolish costume until I saw a recent interview in which you shared your inspiration for Oz the Great and Powerful. In it, you compared Natives to Munchkins, and I knew then that this letter was necessary. What you’ve said and done is not only disrespectful—it’s dangerous. I hope you’ll read through this letter and think twice before once again choosing to participate in actions that preserve deeply racist convictions in popular culture.

By wearing a braided wig and donning feathers, and calling that “Native American” in a photo shoot, you’re perpetuating the lazy idea that Natives are all one and the same. Because you were born and spent your childhood in Montana, I expected more from you. Montana is home to seven reservations, where Natives from more than a dozen state or federally recognized tribes and nations reside—each with its own history, culture and language.

The United States federally recognizes and has established government-to-government ties with nearly 600 Native nations. And while these nations share in common that they constitute the people who descend from the continent’s original inhabitants, they are otherwise unique (and not one of those nations wears braided wigs and feathers as if to represent their people). By dressing up as an imaginary Native, you’re working to conceal both the history and the presence of real ones.

I suppose that, had you chosen to wear a headdress, it may have been worse—but the critique remains the same. As Adrienne Keene eloquently points out, playing Indian not only promotes stereotypes, but violates profound spiritual significances, is tantamount to wearing blackface and prolongs a violent history of genocide and colonialism. You’ve done all of that with your photo-shoot costume.

But it’s not just what you wore, Ms. Williams. It’s also what you said. In an interview published in the Los Angeles Times last week, you claimed that it is difficult for you to grasp Oz because “Quadlings, Tinkers and Munchkins didn’t mean much to me; it wasn’t my language.” I don’t blame you—I wouldn’t know what to make of these fictional roles, either. Your character in the film, Glinda, holds dominion over these adorably named personalities, and I imagine you had to dig deep in order take charge and lead them. But rather than delving more intensely into the fantasy of Oz, you declared that when you thought of these Munchkins “as Native Americans trying to inhabit their land or about women getting the right to vote, it made a lot more sense.”

Native Americans are not Munchkins, Ms. Williams—and neither were the suffragettes who fought for your right to vote. To even suggest a comparison between imaginary Munchkins in a film and Natives in real life fighting for untold stakes is perilous because it sustains the entirely racist notion that Natives are cute creatures that require safekeeping. Unlike the costume you wore and later discarded, Natives cannot shake off five centuries of injustice after a photo shoot. There is no photo shoot. The struggles for Native land, sovereignty, healthcare, education and even running water remain real yet silent. That silence is only deepened when you make ludicrous statements that liken Natives to Munchkins.

Your remark illustrates that in your imagination, the struggle for land and women’s suffrage are battles that took place in a distant past. But while reality indicates that women have long secured the right to vote, Natives are still fighting—not only for land, but also for voting rights. In your 2010 film, Meek’s Cutoff, your character defends a conveniently unnamed Cayuse played by Rod Rondeaux. I take it you know that Rondeaux grew up on the Crow Nation, not terribly far from your hometown of Kalispell, Montana. But did you know that Native voters living on the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations weredisproportionately disenfranchised in the last election—an essential repeat of every election since Natives were granted US citizenship in 1924?

Along with many others, Tom Rodgers (Blackfeet) fought tirelessly for Natives to have equal access to early voting and late registration through satellite offices in Montana, but was stalled at every turn by nearly unbelievable odds. One of the people who blocked those efforts is married to a direct descendant of George Custer; another is a judge whose racist e-mails drew outrage, although he kept his powerful post. November’s election came and went, and after a long series of legal maneuvers, the case heads to court one week from today, when opening briefs in federal lawsuit will be heard. Rodgers, whose commitment is finally beginning to pay off, isn’t new in the political arena—in fact, he blew the whistle on Jack Abramoff, and is a powerful strategist fighting on behalf of Natives. Needless to say, he’s no Munchkin. The fact that I’ve had to spell that out for you in this letter might be funny if it weren’t so preposterous.

One line I remember from the original Oz is that “There’s no place like home.” Yours is Montana, Ms. Williams. In an interview a couple of years ago, you explained that your great, great grandmother stowed away on a boat from Norway to Ellis Island. This undocumented immigrant ancestor of yours then traveled in a covered wagon to Montana—which is how that became your childhood home. It’s good to know where we come from. In your case, your home state boasts one of the highest Native populations in the United States. I would hope that you learn a little more about it. Since you made the decision to talk about “Native Americans trying to inhabit their land,” I suggest you start by learning about the struggle of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians—there’s no place like home for them, either.

Aura Bogado


A Philadelphia Parade’s “Tradition” of Racial Insensitivity

culture of racist stereotyping on display


If you’ve never lived in Philadelphia, you may not know that every New Year’s Day—going back, in some form, for centuries—the city holds a carnival-esque event with roots in European and minstrelsy traditions. It’s called the Mummers Parade. And the 2013 edition, like many before it, has generated controversy. This year, the primary target for criticism (though certainly not the only target) was a musical skit featuring an apparently all-white group advocating against the outsourcing of jobs by dressing in stereotypical Native American and Indian garb. As Philadelphian Dan McQuade wrote yesterday, the event has always been deliberately subversive and provocative. But, as he himself asked, does that make this sort of thing OK?


No. “Indi-Insourcing,” the skit in question—in which the performers inexplicably dance to “Gangnam Style” and “Apache”—tries to use wordplay to comically comment on the loss of American jobs to foreign competitors. A sign changes from “New Delhi Call Center” to “New Jersey Call Center”; and “Native” Americans represent U.S. citizens, while the Indian characters are unwanted job stealers from across the globe. The “satire” falls flat, however, in its wild misappropriation of both Native American tradition and Asian culture, and ultimately highlights, not intentionally, the xenophobia that so often creeps into the outsourcing debate.

The skit looks even worse when you consider it alongside the parade’s tradition of stereotyping minority groups. In the event’s earliest days, debauchery and revelry were celebrated in the streets against a backdrop of class and ethnic tensions. The young, male Philadelphians who participated were a mix of working-class Germans, Irish, and blacks. According to Susan G. Davis, members of the community “impersonated” types, with “Chinamen,” “Dutchmen,” “Red Indians,” and a blackface “Jim Crow” making regular appearances each year. By the late 1800s, the raucous activities were moved to the more secular New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day holidays. Despite the pervasive use of blackface, some black Philadelphians did participate back then—the Golden Eagle Club reportedly marched with 300 black members in 1906, for instance—but minority participation has tapered off almost completely in the last 70 years.

Blackface was officially banned from the event in 1964, but it hasn’t completely disappeared. During this year’s event, a “tribute” to the minstrel show was performed. No dark makeup was used, but it’s hard not to see this as a sly way of holding on to a questionable tradition while whitewashing its inherent racial overtones. There are ways to honor the festival’s history without stereotyping multiple ethnic groups in the process. But the “tradition” defense doesn’t cut it. That one’s been used before.