hellooo, i saw your post where you said "historical accuracy = no creator accountability" and it was smthg you said you always referred to--can you please expand or point me to your other posts? i'd like to understand more about this! thanks :D
So, say someone makes a show set in Victorian London. There are no characters of color on the show.
Someone watches the show and says, “Hey, why is everyone on this show white?”
The creators of the show, rather than accepting responsibility for 1. choosing the setting of the show in the first place or 2. their own casting choices, say, “Hey! That’s just historically accurate, there WERE no PoC ‘back then’!!”
Basically, it’s about trying to pass the buck onto “history” for creative choices they made. Like: “OH, I didn’t WANT to exclude anyone, but I HAVE to be loyal and accurate to the true history!”
And everyone just accepts that as if it’s true, and as if that is a good reason to make a show that consists entirely of white people.
This is about dodging accountability in that they chose a setting they assumed would have only white people in it, and then made that true. And that has happened so many times that the myth just keeps perpetuating itself. Rather than consulting actual history or demographics, they base this idea on TV shows, books and movies that have already recreated some version of “Victorian London” that contains nothing but white citizens (in much the same way the citizens of supposed “New York City” in countless sitcoms are inexplicably white); media from ten years ago, 20 years, 50 years, and so on.
That establishes the context. Now, the facts.
A glimpse into the lives of the thousands of Africans living in eighteenth century London.
Photograph of John Archer, Mayor of Battersea, South London. England, 1913
When he was elected Mayor of Battersea, John replied to press speculation about where he might have come from with the remark that he had been born - “in a little obscure village in England probably never heard of until now - the city of Liverpool”. He went on to declare - “I am a Lancastrian bred and born”.
Characteristically pugnacious, but he had been stung by reports which, guessing wildly, said that he had been born in Rangoon or somewhere in India. He was actually part of the already well-established black population in Liverpool.
Lady Sarah Forbes Bonetta, goddaughter to Queen Victoria herself.
London is and was a vastly multicultural and diverse city. Even before the 1800s and photography, surviving artworks depict a massively diverse populace:
Here’s a link to the British Library’s resources on people of Asian descent living in Britain. The history of the Chinese community in London goes back for centuries.
You also have:
Sailors of South Asian origin (known as Lascars) based out of London, for the most part:
I could keep going.
But the point I’m making here is that claiming your whitewashed media is somehow “historically accurate” is total bunk.
If someone creates something that has nothing but white characters, it is that way because they CHOSE to make it that way. There is every opportunity and every reason to create media with characters of color in it, and trying to blame history for whitewashing is about dodging accountability.