Helen Mirren, Golda Meir, and the Question of Jewface

Representation both on the screen and on the page is a powerful thing. For those who feel maligned or ignored, seeing themselves in the media as fleshed-out human beings is an experience that can only be described as life-changing. It also changes minds and hopefully opens the door to understanding one another.

When it was recently announced that Helen Mirren is starring in an upcoming Golda Meir biopic, some people accused her of playing Jewface.

I have mixed feelings about this. Golda Meir was Israel‘s first female Prime Minister and a woman to be reckoned with. The actress who plays her has to have that same energy and presence. Mirren is clearly up for the job.

The problem (which I understand) is that Mirren is not Jewish. When she spoke to the director before she took the role, she understood the criticism that was potentially coming her way.

“[Meir] is a very important person in Israeli history,” Mirren continued. “I said, ‘Look Guy, I’m not Jewish, and if you want to think about that, and decide to go in a different direction, no hard feelings. I will absolutely understand.’ But he very much wanted me to play the role, and off we went.”

“I do believe it is a discussion that has to be had – it’s utterly legitimate. [But] You know, if someone who’s not Jewish can’t play Jewish, does someone who’s Jewish play someone who’s not Jewish?”

This is not the first time that she has played a Jewish character. In both The Debt and Woman in Gold, the women she played were of the faith. But neither of the women who she temporarily inhabited were in the position that Meir was in. What I think makes this question of Jewface more complicated is that Ashkenazi Jews (for the most part) are Caucasian. The question of the entertainers’ skin color is less important than their ethnicity or family heritage.

I have no doubt that Helen Mirren will be nothing short of fantastic. I have been a fan of hers for a number of years. My hope is that she will do Golda justice. But for now, we can only wait and see how the movie is received when it hits theaters.

Thoughts On The Calls for Ralph Northam to Step Down

Doing and saying stupid sh*t is part of life. Especially when we are young. The goal is to learn from that stupid sh*t we did so that we do not repeat the same actions or statements. These days, it’s not uncommon to relive the stupid sh*t we said and did via social media.

The most recent political scandal comes from Virginia and her current governor, Ralph Northam. Pictures from his medical school days in the early 1980’s have surfaced. In the pictures, two men are dressed up in costume. One man is in blackface, the other is wearing KKK robes.

When the accusations became public last week, Governor Northam initially admitted that he is one of the men in the pictures. As of earlier today, he has changed his statement, denying that he is in the picture. Despite calls for him to step down from the office of Governor, he remains in office and appears to ignore those who are calling for his resignation.

Of course, you know who had to add his own two cents to the conversation.

Should he be given a pass for making a stupid mistake that is often the mark of a young person? I don’t know. I don’t know because these pictures are offensive, then and now. The excuse of stupidity of youth can only go so far. By a certain age, we all know right from wrong. It’s matter of choosing to either do the right thing or do the wrong thing and face the consequences.

The fact that Governor Northam first stated that he is in the picture, then said he wasn’t is questionable. The answer to the question is a simple yes or no. Any other answer brings up more questions, including if he is able to do the job the voters of Virginia hired him to do.

I’m sure that some Republicans are literally jumping for joy that a Democrat has been accused of racism. This issue does not belong to any specific political party. Racism and prejudice, no matter where one stands on the political aisle. We are all Americans, we are all human beings and we all deserve the same respect, regardless of what we look like.

 

 

 

Too Little, Too Late Megyn Kelly

There is a shameful history of blackface in American culture.

Earlier this week, Megyn Kelly made some rather controversial comments in regards to blackface when it comes to dressing up for Halloween.

As of earlier today, her show is likely cancelled and her contract with NBC is likely to be nullified.

I am not African-American, but I am a part of a minority group. The pain of being stereotyped and dehumanized for someone else’s entertainment when you do not have the power to respond and/or protest is a feeling that I would wish on no one.

While I would not wish anyone to be fired from their job, in this case, I believe that cancelling the show and firing it’s star is the right way to go.  Racism and discrimination in 2018 should be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, Megyn Kelly’s comments proved that once again, both are alive and well in America.

 

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