This conversation has been going on for a couple of days. We've had this conversation many, many times in the past (movies, manga), fired it up again due to the Misty Knight situation and my using the shorthand of "whitewash" for it. Placing it here mainly for my quick reference, and so I can have an easy place to track contenders as we come up with them. Every time something like this comes up, we return to this ranty conversation.
"Whitewashing" is when a character of Ethnicity X is shifted to Ethnicity White. It is a very specific phenomenon, RE: Earthsea in Clorox. This is not the same as taking an ethnic character and removing *just* enough to deemphasize the ethnic qualities so as to make the character more white and thus allegedly more appealing. A new term is needed to describe this action. These are the ones we've come up with over time:
- "Went Sara Jane" Problem: Vast numbers of people wouldn't get it and you'd have to explain it every single time. Also, what she was doing was trying to pass, whereas what we're talking about is trying to pass off. Still, this one remains our favorite, probably because we're stubborn.
- "Pulled A Pinky" Problem: The above movie was better. Also, same problem. Also, too cutesy. Also, 'pinky' is an irritating word.
- "Went High Yellow" Problem: Requires blackitude cultural explainer. Also would be confusing for some situations, opening the door for people to take offense if they don't know the origin/useage of the term 'high yellow' within the black community.
- "Whited It Up" Problem: None, really. It's direct, clear, short. It just feels a little boring. In general this one has been in third place.
- There is one more, actually, but I'm gonna be a wuss and not post it. It's even more obscure than the first entry, it's an inside joke, it Invokes a celebrity and, so we discovered when a certain somebody blabbed outside of the circle, it pisses off black men. So we'll keep that one to Ourselves. Still, it's our second favorite!
Though this is a conversation among my friends, I think it's all right to open it up to others who might be interested in participating. Email addy can be found over there on the siderail, or if you have your own online outpost, play along there and let me know if you come up with anything good.