So, if you didn't already know, there's a remake of the Broadway musical "Annie" in the making. Except, instead of being set during the Great Depression, it will be set in modern-day New York.
Additionally, Quvenzhané Wallis, a 10-year-old black girl, is playing Annie. And Jamie Foxx is playing Daddy Warbucks, redubbed as "Benjamin Stacks."
And this is where we cue the "I'm not racist, but..." comments. It's about as bad as you would expect — like that Cheerios commercial all over again, but much worse. There's been much contention about the color of Little Orphan Annie's skin, and it seems to have many people shaking in their boots.
I wish I could say I'm even a little surprised.
The same explosion of racist resentment occurred when Michael B. Jordan was chosen to play The Human Torch in The "Fantastic Four;" when Idris Elba played Heimdall in "Thor;" when Samuel L. Jackson was Nick Fury in "Iron Man."
I could go on — there was even a negative reaction when a black actress portrayed Rue from "The Hunger Games," even when Rue had explicitly been described as black in the book.
You can't make this stuff up.
I always find this type of reception simultaneously hilarious and terrifying: it's perfectly fine when white actors in a film portray actual, non-imaginary people of color; but, God forbid a non-white person play a traditionally white fictional character. Oh, the humanity.
In the world of Hollywood where the vast majority of dynamic characters are white and male, women and people of color are expected to simply take what they can get.
When a person of color calls out whitewashing or a lack of representation in casting, their attitude will likely be seen as "oversensitive." But make a traditionally white character not white and everyone's up in arms.
I've navigated the tweets and comments sections so you don't have to. The curious phrasing "Ghetto Annie" has been bandied about. Also, apparently black girls aren't ever called "Annie."
Hold on, I need to call my mama so I can tell that her she broke the rules.
The general sentiment is that making Annie black makes her less innocent and less a character that others can relate to. A slew of racial slurs and insults have been hurled at Wallis — who, I remind you, is a 10-year-old girl, which is about as innocent as it gets.
So, what gives? Is it really a question of "tradition" or "accuracy?"
If anything, this rendition of Annie is far more realistic for today's time — a disproportionate number of orphans in today's foster care system are black.
I think it says a lot if people find it impossible to stomach a rendition of Annie in which all of the characters are not white. People can sympathize with aliens, vampires, sociopathic detectives and cannibals — but not a black Annie. Nope. Can't have that.
But seriously — if we had to put up with a white Cleopatra, then you guys can deal with a black Annie.
Turnabout is fair play.
Andrea Richardson is a sophomore in anthropology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.