We’ve all seen the various controversies over the years, both contemporary and retrospectively, about an actor cast in a role that does not match their personal reality, e.g. Fisher Stevens (self-described “White Jewish guy from Chicago”) playing stereotypical Indian caricature “Ben Jabituya” in Short Circuit (1986).
Aside from race, there have also been issues raised at various times over sexual orientation, heightism (Tiptoes, looking at you), deaf/hearing, sighted/blind, other physical disabilities, changing characters from the original material, etc.
The latest one, apparently, according to Sarah Silverman, is “Jewface.”
On the one hand, I get it.
On the other hand, it’s called “acting.” If you just want everyone to only ever portray characters that match exactly who they already are, that’s called a “documentary.”
Am I, a middle-aged average-height cis Asian man, ever allowed to portray a Black lesbian little person, or is that completely off the table? Am I really limited only to characters that are middle-aged average-height cis Asian men? Am I allowed to play a Christian if I’m an atheist?
Where do you think the cutoff should be?
Is the answer just, “On a case-by-case basis, I’ll know an offensive portrayal when I see it” or should there be an agreed-upon list of “ABSOLUTELY NEVER DO THESE THINGS,” or something somewhere in between those two?