Norwegian forest cat chasing a fox
If you’ve seen Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, you may have noticed something a little weird about the semi-Biblical, semi-apocalyptic cast of the movie: they’re all white. Even the extras.
In an interview with The Higher Calling, Noah screenwriter Ari Handel spoke about the reasoning behind the lack of racial diversity in the cast.
“From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise. You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to it, or you just say, ‘Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with everyman.’ Looking at this story through that kind of lens is the same as saying, ‘Would the ark float and is it big enough to get all the species in there?’ That’s irrelevant to the questions because the questions are operating on a different plane than that; they’re operating on the mythical plane.”
In summary, white people are stand-ins “for all people,” and no other race could possibly qualify for “everyman” status. Ari Handel’s reasoning is that the only way to dispense with the issue of racism is to remove everyone who isn’t white. Asking what happened to all the other races is akin to nitpicking about whether the arc would float or not. It’s just silly, OK? “The race of individuals doesn’t matter,” which is why they made absolutely sure that all of those individuals were white. Or something.
Unintentionally, Handel managed to illustrate everything that’s wrong with the ongoing attitude towards casting actors of color in major Hollywood movies. White people are the norm, and everyone else is just a distraction. God forbid anyone attempt to be as diverse as the cast of the Star Trek, which debuted in 1966 and included a grand total of two non-white characters.
Tiny Griffin! The first in a mini series of mini mythological creatures.
MY ULTIMATE CREATION
Friends, let me tell you about Rebecca Gomperts.
Rebecca Gomperts is a sea captain, a certified physician, and the founder of Women on Waves, a Dutch pro-choice non-profit organization that brings reproductive health services to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws.
This is how it works:
- Rebecca Gomperts and her team installed a specially constructed mobile clinic aboard a commissioned ship.
- They sail to countries with restrictive abortion laws, answering phone calls and e-mails from women who need another way out.
- Upon landing, they take the women who come to them aboard the ship, and then they take the ship out into international waters.
- There the laws of the flag ship are in effect.
- They then perform non-surgical medical abortions, while walking the women through the process.
- They sail back to shore, and once they depart, they continue to follow up with their patients to ensure they remain healthy and safe.
In response, Rebecca Gomperts and her team have been:
- hit by eggs thrown by physically violent pro-life activists
- met with resistance by government officials of the countries they visit
- been forced to disguise themselves and their patients to save the women who come to them any public shaming (which the media helps to perpetuate)
- and once, harassed by two war ships sent out by the Portuguese military
And yet they continue to answer the calls and e-mails of women who want their help, providing reproductive counseling and teaching them how to circumvent the dangerous laws of their country when necessary.
Director Diana Whitten is telling their story in her documentary, VESSEL. It’s a beautiful doc, a necessary doc, and the film is premiering this week at SXSW. Please show your support for these women on social media. It’s so incredibly important.
If you’re in need of reproductive counseling or an abortion service, you can find Women on Wave’s international support and informational collective on Women on Web.
These people are heroes. Rebecca Gomperts is a hero. What they do has and will save countless lives. It’s so incredibly important that their story is told and the struggles of women living in countries governed by restrictive abortion laws (including the United States) are brought to light.
"And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought…Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?"