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Doctor Who: What NOT to Do if You're Accused of Being Racist

Doctor Who: What NOT to Do if Your Show is Accused of Being Racist

| On 05, Jun 2013

So you may have seen the headline that swept the Doctor Who fandom last week. No, not that one–not the one concerning Matt Smith, that is. The other one. It was carried by a large number of major news outlets, as well as all the sci-fi, geeky, and television websites that usually report on the show. In fact, if the BBC hadn’t chosen this weekend to reveal Matt Smith’s decision, maybe this would have been the biggest headline in Who.

The headline being some variation on the following: Doctor Who is not racist.”

It’s quite a good headline, in the sense that it catches your attention and makes you want to read more. But it also completely misses the point. The point being, of course, that it doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to realize that this show, in fact, really is. But let’s back up and take this from the beginning.

The impetus for this claim is a book that’s due to be published next month, called Doctor Who and Race. It’s a collection of essays edited by Lindy Orthia, on all kinds of aspects of race in the long-running sci-fi show. You can read all about the latest hype on it here, as well as read bios of the contributors, and abstracts of all the articles.

Personally, I think it looks fascinating. There’s been online commentary on the way that the show treats race for years, and I think it’s about time the topic had its own anthology. As well as treating some of the more obvious issues like casting of the Doctor (always a white male) and his companions (only two individuals of color, both of whom have had their identity minimized), the essays also discuss race as an allegory, the show as a product “of its time,” its portrayals of colonialism and slavery, and its dealings with alien races.

But here’s the thing: The book isn’t even out yet–not until sometime in July. I’d guess that a grand total of ten people have read it, if that. So all these articles? Well, they’re just rumors gone viral, nearly all badly rewritten versions of one another. And nearly all of them quote, completely out of context, a passage that calls the show “thunderingly racist.”

And as a result, the BBC felt the need to issue this statement:

“Doctor Who has a strong track record of diverse casting among both regular and guest cast. Freema Agyeman became the first black companion and Noel Clarke starred in a major role for five years. Reflecting the diversity of the UK is a duty of the BBC, and casting on Doctor Who is color-blind. It is always about the best actors for the roles.”

Newsflash: to claim that your company (or show, or organization, or individual) is color-blind means that you are so privileged you aren’t even aware of it. To claim that you always pick “the best actors for the roles” (or the best person for the job) indicates that you don’t even think that an actor of color would be suitable for those roles. And to point out that in the 8 years since the rebooted show came on the air (not to mention the previous 48 years), there have been two actors of color is equivalent to saying “some of my friends are black!”

It is, in short, a completely unacceptable response. The BBC did not stop to listen, or think. Its executives, or content writers, or media liaisons did not pause (at least not long enough) to consider their response. They rebounded right away, going on the defense. Denying everything. Trying to point out how well they are doing at representation and diversity. Using the words “color-blind,” the traditional euphemism for “we don’t have to think about people of color now.” And in the process, they made a pretty big mess.

What they should have done was say yes–maybe we are racist. Maybe we have pretty poor representation of diversity on our show. Maybe we could work on that. And then go forth and do so.

What they forgot was who was posing these concerns. Fans. People who have watched the show for decades, who gush about it to their friends and co-workers, who love it down to its core, are the ones who are criticizing it. That quote about the show being “thunderingly racist”? Well, the surrounding essay was actually discussing the problems of fans who love the show so deeply, and yet are simultaneously disappointed and disgusted by the way it has dealt with race. That’s a bit ironic.

Just because I criticize something does not mean that I don’t love it. On the contrary, if I take the time to study it, to think about its problems, and to write on it, that means that I love it all the more. And that I believe that it has the capacity to be improved.

So BBC, please get off your high horse for a second. Halt those spokespeople for a few days. Quit thinking of your reputation. Instead, please take some time to listen. These issues are important. They deserve to be written about, and deserve to be heard. And do yourself a favor–before you criticize a book, wait until you’ve actually read it first.

Are you planning on reading Doctor Who and Race when it is released? How do you think the BBC should have dealt with this press? Tell me in the comments!

Written by Laura Koroski
Follow her geeky critiques on her blog, Challenge By Geek!

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  • Joshua

    “Reflecting the diversity of the UK is a duty of the BBC, and casting on Doctor Who is color-blind”

    “In our mind, everyone is white! If we pretend race doesn’t exist we can’t be racist”

  • ThreeOranges

    I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen more than two black actors on the show since it relaunched. I’ll have to check.

    • RL Reynolds

      I think they were referring mainly to the “Companions”.

      • CaptainLepidus

        But…Rose, Mickey, Martha, Donna, Jack, Amy, Rory, River, and Clara…that’s 9 companions.

        That’s 2 out of 9 companions being black. I think that’s about equal with the general racial diversity in England, but I could be wrong.

        • Brentagon

          That’s only since the 2005 series began.

          “Doctor Who” has been running since the 60′s…

          • A123

            There must have been even less non-white people living in the UK in the 60′s…

          • Brentagon

            True, but the presence of black characters wasn’t what the article’s complaining about; it was the BBC’s claim that it was “colour blind”, which had the unfortunate implication that they thought race doesn’t matter any more.

          • Kelsey Marie Craig

            Race shouldn’t matter. The entire point of the various civil rights movements across the globe to earn equality for all races was to ensure that there would be a worldwide blindness to color. If the best actors that audition for roles on Doctor Who, or any other television show, are not a part of a minority the production company cannot be blamed for a lack of racial diversity. The fact of the matter is that the majority of people in the UK are Caucasian so it should not be a surprise that the majority of actors are as well. One cannot expect to go into Italy and see a primarily English collection of actors, though there are many Englishmen in Italy. It is not racist, it is a manifestation of numbers and percentages regarding diversity.

          • Brentagon

            “was to ensure that there would be a worldwide blindness to color”

            What??

            That’s not how it works at all… LGBT activism, as a similar example, is definitely NOT a movement intended to ensure that the world pretends that LGBT people don’t exist.

            “If the best actors that audition for roles on Doctor Who, or any other television show, are not a part of a minority the production company cannot be blamed for a lack of racial diversity” <– That's not the issue. The issue was the BBC responded by claiming they were "colourblind". You don't "fix" racism by pretending not to notice that race exists… It sounds good on the surface from a PR perspective, but it has unfortunate implications.

            "It is not racist, it is a manifestation of numbers and percentages regarding diversity."
            THE NUMBER OF WHITE TO BLACK ACTORS IS NOT THE PROBLEM, THE ARTICLE NEVER SAID IT WAS.

            Pretending race and particular ethnic backgrounds don't exist, or that they don't affect people anyway, is not a great way to deal with racial issues.

          • Kelsey Marie Craig

            It’s not a matter of pretending there are not differences between races or ethnicities or sexual orientation, it’s a matter of recognizing that there are and not caring. Complete equality means that there is no difference in the way people are treated due to circumstances they can’t control. The LGBT movement isn’t asking for special treatment, it’s asking for equality. To be blind to differences doesn’t mean you don’t see them, it means you do not let them affect your choices. It is a common phrase employed by plenty of icons from every aspect of our culture and is not often criticized when someone loved says it. People are simply looking for something to be angry about and picking apart the diction of a group reacting to such a serious accusation as racism is an easy way to find one.

          • Brentagon

            “It’s not a matter of pretending there are not differences between races or ethnicities or sexual orientation”

            That’s exactly what the BBC said; that it’s “colourblind”. The term colourblind is itself problematic.

            To quote the actual article: “Using the words “color-blind,” the traditional euphemism for “we don’t have to think about people of color now.””

            It’s a problematic sentiment, even if it wasn’t meant to be. As the article pointed out, obviously nobody from the BBC’s PR gave some serious thought about the unfortunate implication of the statement that suggested that the first world, or even just Britain, is post-racial.
            Apart from a few select moments during Martha’s run on the show, the characters of Mickey and Martha could have been played just as convincingly by white actors… Doctor Who didn’t set out to tell the story of a black character, or even to represent minorities on TV, obviously. It just had some characters who happened to be black. That doesn’t make the show racist, obviously, but they haven’t actually dealt with a racially motivated storyline or subplot for any of the show’s characters. That itself is not the issue either. The only problem are the unfortunate implications of using the term “colourblind”, or expressing the sentiment that racism is over.

          • Kelsey Marie Craig

            BBC is not trying to say the world is past racism, it is saying it as an organization is. As I stated before, people are trying to read into a statement that has no negative implications, unintentional or otherwise. To be honest, this conversation is tiring me and this is my last reply unless proper evidence of the term’s unintended underlying malice can be proven.

          • Brentagon

            It’s not malice, it’s just ignorance. They obviously didn’t mean to say something with the problematic implication that they thought race didn’t matter anymore, but that’s what they said… It was clearly an accident/oversight, as the article stated. Nobody’s saying the BBC’s evil now or anything, they just slipped up and said something with unfortunate implications. There’s no need to make a big deal of it.

          • Consultant_Fangirl

            Yes. But people in the 60′s were not really that open minded were they?

          • Brentagon

            It doesn’t really matter since the article isn’t saying there aren’t enough black characters. There are, obviously. The article’s complaining about the BBC’s claim that its “colour blind”.

          • Honeymaid0

            Well unless you have access to a TARDIS that’s not changing as for the track record after the re-start they’re doing just fine.

          • Brentagon

            The article wasn’t complaining about the lack of black characters.

        • Consultant_Fangirl

          Yeah I agree. But remember in ‘The Next Doctor’ I think its called. Jackson Lake who thought he was the Doctor, had a black companion Rosita. I know it dosen’t really count…

        • Andrew Johnson

          Bit late but what you mean ” racial diversity in England”. Excuse me, the Doctor travels past, future and ALL OF TIME AND SPACE, his companions can be from everywhere, but in 1000+ years he just has 2 companions of colour?

  • Al

    Poor article.

    Applying similar logic, am I racist because I haven’t dated a black person? No.

    The BBC saying it is is ‘colour-blind’ is saying they don’t deliberately not pick black people. They pick them due to their quality of acting.

    By picking someone because they are black is in itself racist. It’s like saying ‘You’re inferior to us so we’re hiring you to show we are not racist.’ It also shows an act of racism against white people.

    Doctor Who is therefore by no means racist.

    • XandGunn

      The point if this article isn’t about the show’s racism, it’s about BBC’s poor response to the discussion. Saying you’re “color blind” is saying nothing. Seriously, nothing. Those words mean nothing to anyone who knows better. I don’t think Doctor Who is racist. Well, not anymore racist than most of the shows on TV right now that have a serious lack of diversity. But, the author is right that BBC should have done a much better job responding to this topic.

    • SerinaLove

      agreed it isn’t racist at all!

  • Al

    Poor article.

    Applying similar logic, does it make me racist because I haven’t dated anyone who is black? No.

    The BBC saying it is is ‘colour-blind’ is saying they don’t deliberately not pick black people. They pick them due to their quality of acting.

    By picking someone because they are black is in itself racist. It’s like saying ‘You’re inferior to us so we’re hiring you to show we are not racist.’ It also shows an act of racism against white people.

    Doctor Who is therefore by no means racist.

    • Théo

      Sorry but that’s again an answer by someone who doesn’t realise the privilege they have. On a feminist blog, that’s really stunning to read such a comment as the same argument is always used by people who fight against gender-equality and will pretend they are “gender-blind”. By the way, dating or hiring are two very different things. Nobody asked you to date Blacks, you only need to consider them equal (and give them equal chances when only professional qualities are required).

      • Al

        I do not understand your point. I have a privilege? You don’t even know me so there’s no way you could suggest that. Surely that in itself is prejudice.

        You have no idea of my age, race or gender. Or even if I’m abled So how can you say I have a privilege.

        Also, what were the BBC supposed to say if it was true? ‘Oh yes, Doctor Who is racist!’ Of course not!

        Dating and hiring are simply used as examples.

        With regards to the Doctors (note I am yet to see any classic episodes) I’m sure you would agree that Ecclestone, Tennant and Smith are great actors. Isn’t there therefore a good chance that they got the job because of their acting ability. There is no evidence that the BBC did not pick an actor because of their race.

        There is also no evidence of racism during the show itself through through the acting and/or dialogue.

        You have completely misinterpreted my initial post.

        • http://saraistheworst.wordpress.com/ Your Mom’s Bra

          luuulz forever at ‘I have a privilege’. basic.

        • Théo

          Sorry about using the word privilege. I actually doesn’t like it either. I’m just more and more used to it since it is very much used on feminist websites such as this one where men are permanently said to have privileges over women.

          As a man myself, I don’t really like being repeated so often that I’m privileged but I must recognize I am (still, unfortunately), even if it isn’t anymore because of the law.

          The same apply to white people over people of every other colour (sorry, no one’s going to make me say race, this word isn’t for humans).

          Reading your post, I bet you’re white (because of the part about dating). If I’m wrong about that, please tell me: I’ll learn not to bet.

          Assuming you’re white, I’m just claiming you’re privileged.You’re right: I don’t know you. I’m white too and I think not having suffered racism anytime in my life is already some privilege. (There aren’t many places where Whites are discriminated against.)

          Finally, your gender, age or ability don’t matter there. White women still have privileges over Black women, disabled men still have privileges over disabled women.

          But no one should judge anyone based on those privileges since we didn’t choose them and are not trying to use them.

          Please understand I wasn’t judging you at all, as well as I don’t want to be judged for being a White, upper-middle-class, abled, cis, quasi-straight man who is riddled with other privileges I could not list there.

          By the way, yes, you may be right about the fact that BBC hadn’t any better way of reacting.

      • Striemmy

        Hi. I’m black and you’re incorrect. I’m not saying your heart isn’t in the right place, but your logic certainly isn’t. In the world of science fiction Doctor Who having black characters that could even be construed as temporary main characters is on the cutting edge of progression, especially when you consider that the majority of widely distributed science fiction writing is written for a white audience and written with white characters. I’ve never felt any worse about Doctor Who than I have about Stargate (with one consistent black character and obvious race analogies in the aliens and that was a recent series), Star Trek (with few consistent black characters no matter which of the series you watched, and with super obvious race analogies in the aliens, also recent) or Star Wars (Jar.Jar.Binks. NISM?) This is an overreaction to an area of responsibility that doesn’t fall on the shoulders of the professionals working on, in, with, and around the Doctor Who show. This is attitudinal and, by and large, universal.

      • Kylie

        I find it incredibly insulting whenever anyone uses the argument “white people are privileged”. Because 1) I have never been privileged in my life. I am 23 years old and I grew up in a broken household, both my parents have been incarcerated more than once, I was literally homeless for almost a year, and I don’t have the money or time to go to college because I have to work more than one job to help take care of my mom, who has health issues. Right now, I’m scraping by on painting portraits for people and can’t find another job because of this crappy job market. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining because I definitely acknowledge God’s hand in blessing me in other areas of my life. He has made me a very happy person. But it’s comical that anyone would say I have been more privileged than anyone else, solely based on skin color.

        The other reason the “privileged” comment upsets me is because, that comment alone, is racist to me. To assume that a black person is incapable of living the same lifestyle, work the same job, have the same friends, live in the same neighborhood as their white counterpart is incredibly insulting. Some of the best and brightest people in the world are black and to suggest that their skin color alone makes them less capable is racist within itself.

        • Théo

          Please see my answer to AI about that http://feminspire.com/doctor-who-what-not-to-do-if-your-show-is-accused-of-being-racist/#comment-925133592

          I agree that it is quite unpleasant to hear all the time that you are privileged. I committed the fault of using some very common argument (on this website for instance) which, as accurate as it may be, is also hurtful. Please receive my apologies. I will stop using this vocabulary that I don’t like either.

          As for the second point of you’re answer, I think you’re wrong. Saying a White is privileged is describing what discrimination is, not stating the Black is less capable. The privilege appear each time you apply for a job, for accommodation, etc. Non white people will be looked at suspiciously by many people (even people who don’t think they are racist). They will have to prove their value much more often.

          That’s right: there are non white people in the best positions too and there are women there too. But as someone I don’t remember the name used to say: “True equality will be when we will hire incompetent women as we hire incompetent men for the highest positions.” That’s as accurate for colour-based discrimination.

  • Sarah

    What a silly article.

    “Doctor Who is not racist.”
    It’s quite a good headline, in the sense that it catches your
    attention and makes you want to read more. But it also completely misses
    the point. The point being, of course, that it doesn’t take much of a
    stretch of the imagination to realize that this show, in fact, really
    is.”

    Wrong is not the same thing as missing the point. If they get that people think it’s racist but disagree they’re not missing the point they’re disagreeing. Basic logic.

    The rest of this essay is just pointless complaining. “We said one thing, they disagreed and that’s *terrible of them*. We’re the fans, we love the show, and we’re entitled to have people agree with us. Even though other fans don’t. But we’re the special fans so when *we* say there’s a problem you have to jump to attention.”

  • Karen

    There was Nashreen in the episodes with the Silurians

  • Neil Beckett

    Before anyone says “There hasn’t been a black doctor, the show is racist”. I’m going to have to interject and say that to purposely have a black doctor or doctor of any other race if it’s not based on if they fit the character or are the right actor is as racist as they are just putting them on the show to say they aren’t racist.

    • Jessica Kelley

      That’s right;. If thousands of actors apply and they pick the next Doctor because they are a minority, they are discriminating against non-minority people. Or if they choose a woman for the simple fact that she is a woman, you are discriminating against men!

  • Hi

    River Song (or Melody Pond) was black when she was Mels!

  • Dolores Lowe

    Um, Martha was a DOCTOR, for heaven’s sake! She’s not just beautiful, she’s smart! And she was a companion who saved the world, unless I missed something. Get a grip. I haven’t counted, but don’t all those aliens come from other races? Gimmie a break. Someone needs a life. No, I won’t be reading this.

  • Lys

    They pick the best actor or actress best for the job is it their fault no good black actors auditioned no

  • Psych-O Beastie

    I disagree with: “To claim that you always pick “the best actors for the roles” (or the
    best person for the job) indicates that you don’t even think that an
    actor of color would be suitable for those roles.” it doesn’t mean that an actor of color can’t be great in the roles, it
    just saying that they aren’t judging on color of
    skin, but on the talent that they were presented with at the time. ex) Billie Piper acted a better Rose than the other
    people who showed up for that casting.

  • Wantedtoreply

    3.3% of Britains population was black in 2011 according to the British office of National Statistics. so having 22% of the companions be black since the reboot is pretty diverse. The show has been running since the 60′s which, fair enough, was probably racist. To call BBC racist now is a little outrageous.

  • Lily

    People who have some sort of inferiority complex is always complaining that the subject of their complex is not emphasized on TV or something else. Whereas other people are not even thinking about that. If someone is fat and feels bad about that, he/she will complain that there are not fat people enough in the show. If another one is bald and feels inferior, this one will find prejudice in every single thing that doesn’t emphasizes or represent bald people… etc. I think the only ones who see racism in the show are that people who is always thinking about their race and feeling inferior about that, they want to be cheered up all the time and if someone forgets them, this is racism. C’mon people, keep calm and stop the “mimimi”. :P

  • Kaii

    I think we’re forgetting that Britain and America are two very different places.

  • Kelly Corrigan

    Okay. Let’s put this into perspective. I will fully admit that I’m not an expert on British population statistics. On the contrary, I’m American and have never even set foot in England. That being said, however, I believe that Black British only makes up about four percent of the population, if that. Assuming that there isn’t a higher percentage of Black British auditioning (why would there be?), it makes perfect sense that a small number of roles would go to them. If it was higher, you could actually accuse of tokenism.

    Think baseball in the United States. Even with the fairly high percentage of African Americans, there are very few in baseball. It’s not because of discrimination; it’s because African Americans just don’t tend to play baseball as much. On the flip side, there’s a lot more African Americans than Caucasians in basketball and American football.

    It’s possible that BBC is discriminating. You could say that with anything, though. You really can’t tell without getting all the information of who auditions and finding a definite pattern. If the book has that, sweet. I’d be willing to believe it. Without some definitive evidence, though, I’m going to doubt. From what I can tell, Doctor Who (at least New Who) seems to be pretty advanced. Let’s remember that this is the same show that has a same-sex trans-species marriage with no fuss (as well as other, more common examples).

    True, perhaps BBC’s response seems defensive and hasty; however, if you were wrongly accused of something as damaging as racism, wouldn’t you want to nip it in the bud?

    Perhaps you should get off your high horse and really think about what you’re saying. Like you said, there’s nothing wrong with analyzing something, especially with the hopes of improving it; however, there’s nothing wrong with analyzing it and finding that, based on what there is to go on right now, your hypothesis is wrong or at least inconclusive.

  • Brooke

    The amount of people missing the point of this article in the comments (Listing all the PoC who have appeared on Doctor Who) actually… Prove the point of the article?? Also why comment on an article you haven’t read, criticizing it, and then announce that you’re not going to read the article? That literally makes no sense.

  • Miyako Kotone

    I believe that this is all pathetic crap. The show is rather diverse when it comes to race. Aside from that, why are you spending your time making an uproar and trying to make haters of the show when you could be spending your time gaining common sense and doing something creative? Just because there hasn’t been too many companions of color, that doesn’t mean that the show is racist. The Whovians accept the companions and have their favorites regardless of race. So, frankly, please do, those of us who like the show and don’t want the BBC to change it anymore than they absolutely have to, a favor and find something else to do with your time that doesn’t involve trying to make everything politically correct!

  • Steven Krank

    What you can take away from this article. When accused of being racist, Agree. Wether or not you are racist is irrelevant any attempt to explain your self will be seen and as you having “privilege”.

    Poor racist BBC/DR WHO is to privileged to see how bad they are….

  • Maria

    I don’t understand why the article writer took the bbc’s statement the way they did. When they say that casting is color blind, they don’t mean that there’s no way a person of color couldn’t have played those roles. It means that when they were casting Donna, for example, they didn’t just audition white women, but people of other races as well, but Katherine Tate just had the best audition for the role. Like when they cast Martha, they likely didn’t just audition black women, it just so happened Freema had the best audition. It doesn’t mean, at all, that they didn’t think a person of color could play certain roles. It means the person with the best audition happened to be white. I don’t know, but I think Billie, Freema, Katherine, Karen, Alex, and Jenna-Louise, as well as Noel, John Barroman, and Arthur, have all been perfect choices for their roles. And I think that having them played by a different actor of a different race, just for their to be diversity, is a worse decision for the show, instead of just picking the best actors.

  • Maria

    Also, it feels like it’s discriminatory against white actors and characters. Saying that a characters should be played by a black actor is just as racist as saying that black characters should be played by white people. Unless there is some kind of racial struggle that the character goes through that means it has to be a certain race, or if they are portraying someone who was actually alive, like a certain celebrity, or historical figure, then race shouldn’t even be a part of casting. Or even an issues people think too long on. At least a show like Doctor Who is fairly diverse. There are other shows, movies, and stage shows, where that isn’t true at all.

  • Kylie

    Let me get this straight: since we don’t pay attention to race, that makes us racist? I will never understand that argument. I will proudly declare that I am color blind because we are all equal in God’s eyes. Am I not supposed to treat my black friends exactly the way I treat my white friends? Am I supposed to treat them BETTER than everyone else? Where does it end? My gosh, with all that is going on in the world, why are we still so hung up on the color of one’s skin? Because, I hate to break it to you, color is the only difference between a black person and a white person. There are privileged and non-privileged found within every race. And the assumption that most blacks come from non-privileged households, that alone seems more racist to me than anything.

    The claim that Doctor Who is racist because there is a disproportionate black to white ratio on the show is absolutely ridiculous because there IS a disproportionate black to white ratio in England. They should be trying to create a realistic image of the country. Which, by the way, England, along with the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, have been dubbed the least racist countries in the world by the Washington Post. All of which, are predominantly white countries.

    We haven’t had a true problem with racism for at least a generation now, besides a few isolated incidents that will unfortunately, never be completely eradicated. Anyone who is still obsessing over it (for instance, counting how many black people have ever been on Doctor Who) has their own deep-seated issues to deal with.

  • jane

    r u guys really the best to be giving advice on this lolololl

  • momazilla

    It is not only about people of color, but of the aliens as well, Throughout the series, the Doctor has always treated all sentient beings as equals. In an early episode, the natives were green, and when a “superior” race treated them with lesser status, the Doctor stood up and spoke out for them even when they tried to kill him. That, my friends, is color blind.

  • Tiffany

    Honestly, I think this article was written terribly, and from a one-sided perspective. The photo chosen to portray Agyemans character on the show only proves that as a fact. There are plenty of photos showing how much stronger and independent she became than the other female companion characters, yet here you show her cleaning a floor. I am disgusted in the manner in which this website has chosen to turn the story for their own benefit. Although, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised coming from this domain. And furthermore, I think that PR like this, for any show, is only going to cause the casting panel to feel pressured into choosing someone because of their race rather than their talent. They will eventually push people into open spots because their skin is a certain color, even if they’re not the best actor for the particular role. The statistics say that 70-80% of Britain is white, meaning that 70-80% of the actors are white. According to casting agents there is usually only 1 in 100 actors that stand out as “great” and with those kind of statistics there’s going to be a 70-80% chance that he or she is going to be white. Now, does that mean that the casting panel should look over a great actor, simply because he or she is white? In my opinion that is racism in itself. I believe the “color-blind casting” is the best casting policy. They’re not looking for colors of skin, they’re looking for great actors. That’s what makes the show great.

  • iPaintedMyToenails

    How many oriental or indian characters have been on the show? How many people from Finland have been hired to work on the show? How many little people have roles on the show? What about people in wheel chairs? Wait, wait – there have been no people with down’s syndrome cast in the show. Do we know how many of the actors are gay? More to the point – WHO CARES? That’s my personal opinion. The show is awesome. The characters are well written, the actors are very talented, the story line keeps me coming back for more – and I’ve been watching for at least 30 years. Keep up the good work and I’ll keep watching. :)

  • kiara

    So Since there no Americans in the show is it anti American? OR do we need to make sure 13% of the people on the show are black??

  • ZoeTheHorcrux

    May I just point out that, maybe I just understand this as an actor, saying that they pick the actors best suited for the roles means as far as acting ability and the personality they want to go with for the characters, the people they’ve cast have fit the “personality profile,” if you will. It does not mean “only white people” fit what they want for the character. Food for thought.

  • Hannah Shipley

    I love DW. I thought Martha was one of the smartest companions but they annoyed me when they made her so over the top in love with the Doctor. Still, I wish she was a companion longer. One of the challenges of being a companion is that they have to deal with sexist and racism when they travel to less enlightened times. How they react to those ordeals is what makes it great. I would like to see more diversity but really, they do way better than most American shows…

  • Liska

    Doctor Who has typically done a great job in making sure their POC characters are strong people. Queen Elizabeth X comes to mind as well as Mels.

  • Lauren

    I think often people truly miss the point when it comes to diversity in casting and the media. It’s not about the way the population breakdown works out (especially considering Doctor Who has a global fanbase and has since the 60s) or being colourblind. It’s about the little kids who grow up watching it being able to identify with people like them (in appearance, culture, etc) in awesome characters. The little Indian girl growing up in London doesn’t care about “accurately depicting the UK population breakdown” she wants to see someone who looks like her defeating aliens. This is why it’s imperative to have women in starring roles in their own adventures, to have POC represented in a myriad of roles (not just the supprting guy or a villain – how about a lead?). So children do grow up with the media telling them, yes, they can do anything. Not just the little white boys.

  • 99problems

    “I don’t see colour, because I generally don’t have to worry about being represented in mainstream media. I wouldn’t be as excited as Oprah was when she discovered someone of her race being portrayed in a rare empowering role.” Would this be said by a white person, or a person of colour? You decide!

  • alwander

    No “hatred” here, just a balanced mind despising some thing that is NOT him.

    “The Doctor calling Kurkutji’s tongue a ‘dialect’ is a diminution of the language to the status of ‘regional variant’, denying its distinctiveness and that of the Indigenous nation it is associated with. This is historically typical of the way Europeans and white Australians have presumed Australian Indigenous cultures are homogeneous.”

    I like this thought:
    “The Doctor plays the ‘doddering imperialist’ embarrassingly well in this story. When Lin Futu introduces his name with the statement, “I am Lin Futu”, the Doctor’s unfortunate ‘joking’ reply is, “Well, I’d never have guessed it, you look in the best of health to me.” The Doc also seems blissfully unaware of the racist implications when he proudly claims to be friends with sixteenth century slaver and imperialist, Sir Francis Drake.”
    I wonder what this gentle man would write if he really didn’t like whites… would he be embarrassed ??

    • alwanderer

      I presume he assumes all whites are closet racists or perhaps are just ignorant in general. Actually English has great influence for being but one of many. For instance: “The world’s major languages” , out of 1000 pages covers English in thirty.
      There is a nice article in wiki bout Drakes and Hawkins ships surviving an attack by the formidable Spanish armada (four didn’t). Yes the Spanish didn’t like the English cutting in on the business. A rough period to be alive. Were I in England at the time it is quite possible I could have been shanghaied by a press gang and taken aboard such a ship, talk about needing a union.
      We who speak English owe a debt to Men like Drake and Hawkins.