An illustration of Thalia the muse of comedy and Melpomene the muse of tragedy shown as black and white people. By Oddball Times

For all those who defend mainstream Hollywood casting decisions that favour straight, white, male actors (people usually heard yelling “it’s an actor’s job is to play somebody they’re not” or “an actor should be allowed to play any character”) here’s a handy little guide for you to peruse…

  • Can a white male actor play a white male role? Yes.
  • Can a white male actor play an ethnic minority male role? Yes.
  • Can a white male actor play a real-life or historical white male role? Yes.
  • Can a white male actor play a real-life or historical ethnic minority male role? Yes.
  • Can a white male actor play a female role? Yes.
  • Can a white male actor play a gay male role? Yes.
  • Can a white male actor play a transsexual role? Yes.
  • Can a white male actor play a disabled person’s role? Yes.

How utterly fantastic! (as long as you’re a straight white male actor that is) but what about everybody else?

  • Can an ethnic minority actor play an ethnic minority role? Only if “there’s a market for it”.
  • Can an ethnic minority actor play a real-life or historical ethnic minority role? Only if there’s protests or a backlash against white actors playing all real-life historical ethnic minority roles.
  • Can an ethnic minority actor play a real-life or historical white role? No.
  • Can a female actor play a female role? Only if “there’s a market for it”.
  • Can a female actor play a male role? Only if there’s protests or a backlash against male actors playing all male roles.
  • Can a gay actor play a gay role? Only if there’s protests or a backlash against straight actors playing all gay roles.
  • Can a gay actor play a straight role? Only if the gay actor hasn’t publicly come out.
  • Can a transsexual actor play a transsexual role? Only if “there’s a market for it”.
  • Can a transsexual actor play a non-transsexual role? Only if there’s protests or a backlash against non-transsexual actors playing all non-transsexual roles.
  • Can a disabled actor play a disabled person’s role? Only if there’s protests or a backlash against non-disabled actors playing all disabled roles.
  • Can a disabled actor play a non-disabled person’s role? No.

And people say “actors” are just “actors”! If you’re a female ethnic minority transsexual disabled actor, by Hollywood standards, you’re essentially not an actor.

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