We live in a world dominated by people of European descent, and they determine whose tales get told, and who gets into their historical epics, whether they are fantastical (Game of Thrones) or factual (Braveheart). Whites are raised believing they are masters and commanders. The only history that matters is theirs. To appease the fragile sensibilities of whites (white supremacy), all characters and histories are whitewashed—real people (Genghis Khan played by John Wayne), legendary people (Jesus Christ) and mythical people (Memnon in The Odyssey; Andromeda in the story of Perseus—Clash of the Titans).
And then there is Alex Proyas’ 2016 release, The Gods of Egypt. Continuing with the themes of “cultural appropriation” and Anglophilia which are popular in Hollywood, British-ish actors will play the MAJOR trinity of the Egyptian pantheon of gods—Seth, Horus and Osiris.
Why? A British accent is the sound of civility (to white people) and Hollywood dogma stipulates that every movie made about the ancient world must cast actors who are British or who can speak with British accents. Never mind that civility and civilization predate the British, or that the Ancient Egyptians did not speak with British accents; nor did they know anything about Britain, which did not geopolitically or geo-culturally exist yet. Heck, by the time Rome and Greece flourished Egypt was already an ancient civilization.
Whitewashing, through cultural appropriation, says that we must put not just a white face, but a British face and/or accent on all civilized cultures/history—we must forge a tie between Britain (the modern face of civilization to white people—who swoon, his accent is so sophisticated) and all ancient cultures. This way, when anyone thinks of the ancients, or “civilization” he or she will think of Russell Crow speaking with a British accent (yes, I know Russell Crow is Australian, moron). They will assume that the British and their descendants are not just heirs, but founders of ancient civilizations. Now, Ancient Egypt will have a white British face and British accent, too.
Of course, critics will bring up Heimdall, a minor Scandinavian god, portrayed by Black British actor Idris Elba, who appeared for a total of ten minutes in the first Thor movie, and fifteen minutes in the second. Seth-Osiris and Horus are not the equivalent of Heimdall. They are the equivalent of Thor-Odin and Loki, or Zeus-Hades and Poseidon. I have yet to see Thor-Odin or Loki portrayed by blacks or browns.
The problem with whitewashing—through Hollywood (so liberal, right?)—is that it maintains the status quo—the longstanding belief that the most interesting people in the world/ history are/were white or Caucasian (an umbrella term that expands and contracts at the choosing of people of European descent; example: Yes, Middle Easterners are white, so Jesus is white. No, Osama Bin Laden and the 9/11 hijackers are not white).
Whitewashing establishes whiteness as the norm—the center of the world. Only white people lead interesting lives. When interesting (non-race specific roles) come about for non-whites, even those are given to whites. Angelina Jolie played Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart (2007) and Tom Cruise’s cousin William Mapother played Marine Sergeant Thomas (a black soldier helping out during 9/11 in 2001) in Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center (2006). In the 2013 Bling Ring movie, the focus was on the white character played by Harry potter actress, Emma Watson. As it turns out, the leader /mastermind of the Bling Ring robberies is Asian-American. Director Sofia Coppola said she focused on Emma Watson’s character because she was the most “interesting”—to whom? Whitewashing establishes non-whites as sidekicks/background and secondary actors to whites—not worthy of center stage.