You know, people tend to think it’s not a big deal that someone’s drawing a non-white character as a white person.
Imagine for a second that someone’s drawing Godfather fanarts, and their Corleones all look Japanese. I think the story still would make sense - if anything, it would only need minor adjustments. But everyone would shout “Hey! The Corleones are Italian! Are you fucking out of your mind?”. Rightfully, I think!
Imagine for a second that you’re browsing through Duke Nukem fanart and you stumble accross a black Duke Nukem. Well, he’s the same character, it’s from the same game, and nothing has changed. Yet, can you imagine yourself having a reaction different than “what the fuck but he’s blond and he looks like Guile from Street Fighter!”?
Imagine for a second that lots of people have suddenly begun to draw Final Fantasy X’s Yuna as an Indian woman. You’re browsing through fanarts, trying to find some amazing new artist to follow, and image after image picture only this strange, unfamiliar… Indian Yuna! How would that be acceptable?
You can argue that Yuna is Japanese and not white. Well, have you tried finding pictures of her online recently? Almost all fanarts show a very, very white European woman. (I also believe she looks pretty white on the videogame too, but I haven’t actually played it, only seen official pictures) Why do we do that? Why do we bleach all non-white characters if we wouldn’t accept our white characters to have a different ethnicity?
Imagine that someone has just written a secret about how they’ve always thought Hermione was actually black. Crazy, right? It happened once; someone did say that, and justified themselves by saying that the books never state that she’s white. Almost everyone simply laughed at this person and their justification was: of course she’s white, Jo would have stated if she wasn’t.
Being white is the default - just like everyone assumes you’re male unless you state otherwise or do something that’s considered feminine, and just like everyone assumes you’re straight unless you do something “gay” or state otherwise. Being white is the norm. I’m within the norm - sort of. I have the lightest skin I have ever seen and that grants me a. lot. of. privilege. Tons of it. And you want to know one I only just realized?
I will never, ever, have to see a white person like me from my favorite book, game, or movie be depicted as non-white.
I was happy when I saw Chell from Portal. She looks Latin to me. That’s probably because I live in South America and even though I don’t have that skin color I have Latin ethnic traces, speak a Latin language, and identify with a Latin culture. So there she was, this woman - which is awfully rare in videogames, specially if we’re talking about characters that aren’t based on male gaze -, and Latin to boost! Sadly, she isn’t Latin or anything but white to almost everyone who draws her. She’s not Latin or anything but white to almost everyone who plays videogames. She’s not Latin, or anything but white, to almost everyone who is white, because people who matter in any given media are never anything but white.
If you still think there’s not a single problem in drawing a non-white character as white, well. If you’re white or are treated as a white person, you might want to have this privilege checked. If you’re not, consider how many times you see your ethnicity properly depicted anywhere, and how often your ethnicity is treated like something normal, something you never have to think about.