Tie dying the past

I've noticed a lot of recent movies and tv shows set in the past have had really racially diverse casts. Apparently small town medieval Britain was even more well blended than modern day London. I know the intention is to make the setting more palatable to a modern audience, but isn't it as bad as whitewashing? A way of hiding the ugly past/ covering up the fact societies the whole world over were very homogeneous until the 20th century?


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nothing new about migration!

Mar 19, 2017 at 2:47pm

Throughout human history, people have been moving from place to place, seeking better opportunities, fleeing conflict, and being transported as chattel, prisoners, and slaves. Research shows that during the medieval period, one out of every one hundred people in England was an immigrant. Seeing as England only had a population of two million at the time, that is a considerable number. Also, remember that Britain was occupied by Rome for 400 years, and the Roman Empire extended deep into the Middle East and Africa. Any Roman citizen could move freely throughout the Empire, so there would have been all sorts of faces represented in Britain from early in the common era. Jewish people were first brought to Britain by William the Conqueror in 1070, and many had origins in South and Western Asia. I'm not sure which movies or television shows you're referencing, but rest assured that homogeneity of populations is a rare phenomenon.

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white washing the UK

Mar 19, 2017 at 3:52pm

1. Until the 20th century? Not eve. Britain has always been fairly ethnically diverse to varying degrees. There are no "british" people. The UK has been colonized in repeat succession, and the romans brought people from all over. The flow did not really pick up again until after the crusades, and reached it's climax in the early Victorian period. Those wanting a white Britain are repeating Edwardian values, not reality.

2. Do your tv shows have dragons, ghosts, and curses in them? I find representations of people that may actually exist far more accurate than the above.

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Mar 19, 2017 at 9:12pm

you weren't there.

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Mar 19, 2017 at 10:24pm

I await a film about China in 1000 BC where some people are black, some are white, etc!

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Right you are

Mar 19, 2017 at 11:10pm

I've been thinking the same thing.

I don't feel upset if a tv show or movie set in old Asia or Africa or India doesn't have a equal number of white people in the cast. It would seem unrealistic if it did.

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Mar 20, 2017 at 2:39am

"societies the whole world over were very homogeneous until the 20th century"?
Maybe you should study history.

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I don't understand...

Mar 20, 2017 at 8:16am

The medieval times is the 'ugly past' because of the homogeneity of the population back then!?

Yes it's exactly the same as whitewashing, - just don't say anything (she says in a hushed whisper)

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Shows always reflect their creative times

Mar 20, 2017 at 10:28am

A science fiction movie made in the Fifties does not look like a show made in the Eighties or presently, and you can almost always tell by the costumes, hair, dialogue, and cinematography.

Of course shows have more diverse casts now. Today's audience does not expect or want a lily white set of actors, for various reasons. Anyway, if it is the realism you want, why do you subject yourself to fictional tales at all?

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Mar 20, 2017 at 10:16pm

Because Hollywood movies are always completely historically accurate, right? No. They always use British accents, despite the time period or area. A spartan with a Scottish accent? We live in a time when Hollywood is finally attempting to be diverse. You want to complain about that? It is nothing like white washing. White washing is racial exclusion. Are you sad that some white actors have to share roles now? Jesus, what a thing to bitch about.

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So you would rather

Mar 20, 2017 at 10:44pm

Non-white actors get fewer opportunities to be in films, for a trivial reason

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