The anti-woke backlash the reboot of CW’s 4400 is currently facing is not new. Over the last decade, people have been getting their panties in a bunch over diversity in films and television.
Before the series even premiered, people were complaining about its predominately black cast. From calling the casting racist to criticising the CW for being “woke”, people have had a lot to say.
One of the justifications I’ve seen used from the outrage machine is the various iterations of the percentage game. So according to the machine, black people only make up 14% of the population of America and therefore having a large per cent of the cast being black is unrealistic.
If you applied the percentage game to all minorities, we would never see any progress or main character representation in the arts. LGBTQi+ and people of colour exist in the real world and enjoy sci-fi and fantasy shows too and it’s great to see more shows choosing to tell stories that include us.
Claims of racist casting are nothing new though. People have been wringing their hands over the “woke” and gay” agenda for some time now. Marvel’s Black Panther received similar backlash for its mainly black casting. Other shows and films have been criticised for casting women, people of colour and LGBTQi+ people even in minor roles.
Toxicity reared its ugly head in the Star Wars fandom when Samuel L Jackson was cast as Jedi, Mace Windu in The Phantom Menace. Fans were upset that someone who cursed in his other movies and played a drug addict that one time, shouldn’t be allowed to play a sacred Jedi.
Prior to the release of the Last Jedi, Kelly Marie Tran who played Rose Tico had racist comments aimed at her for being an Asian female in the films. Someone went as far as to update her Wookieepedia page with some nasty stuff. See the image below:
Even after the film was released she was subject to backlash and bullying. In the end, she quit social media. John Boyega who played Finn also received some serious trolling and hate based on his race.
It’s not just the Star Wars fandom that has shown its toxic teeth. Star Trek: Discovery received backlash over its casting before it even premiered. Some so-called fans raged about the casting of Sonequa Martin-Green. They couldn’t wrap their head around a black female lead. Despite having the chance to warm up to a female lead since Kate Mulgrew sat in the captain’s chair in Star Trek: Voyager back in 1995.
And of course, Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz play a gay couple on the inclusive Discovery ship. People wrote the show off for its lack of heterosexual white male leads. Some went as far as to call the casting decisions “white genocide.” The histrionics over this were ridiculous.
And of course, let’s not forget the outrage from the Doctor Who fandom when the BBC cast Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor. The internet was ablaze and the fandom meltdown was a sad and laughable sight to behold as people vowed to never watch the show again.
To add insult to imaginary injury, the BBC followed up by casting a person of colour as the Doctor’s long-time nemesis, The Master. The show was written off as “too woke” and yet, it thrives.
I’ve noticed the collective group think from various fandoms, the same phrases being used over and over to justify their opinions. The comments on Twitter, Reddit and YouTube from people saying they want to watch a show to escape from reality, without being subjected to woke bullshit. So do we! Why do these people believe a show with black, brown or LGBTQi+ people immediately equals “woke”? I wonder if these same people would say this to real people in the real world.
Give it a chance
As for 4400, we are only two episodes deep and I’m watching to see what the writers have in store for the characters. The show has LGBTQ+ and disability representation which is a huge plus point on its side. Will it pass my four episode test? I loved the original series and want to love this one too. Whether I make it past the first four episodes or the first season will be based on the writing, not the colour of the cast.
Online isn’t real life
Offline is a place often referred to as real life. A place where getting caught up in groupthink is limited to the people you interact with on a regular basis, the books you read, the TV shows you watch and of course family and friends.
It can be a great space where you have the opportunity to think for yourself, apply critical thinking and reach decisions based on reasoning, analysis and your own moral compass.
There is some deliberate race-baiting happening online. Some YouTubers are happy to make their money that way. These people are quick to call you racist or assume that you are about to call them racist if you challenge their opinions. People who are easily led should take a pause and try to think for themselves before joining in with the anti-woke groupthink and ask themselves these questions:
- How do I really feel about this topic?
- On a scale of 1-10 how much does this bother me?
- Will this still bother me in 1 year, 3 years or 10 years from now?
- Am i being groomed to think this way?