Jamie Oliver, “Jerk Rice”, And The Outrage Of Cultural Appropriation And Whitewashing

Jamie Oliver has released something called “Punchy Jerk Rice” and there have been mainly two reactions: annoyance at cultural appropriation:

And a reaction to the reaction, which runs along the lines of “don’t be such snowflakes” and “what about…”:

Also, it’s nice to know that “dick” can now be used as an insult for women too. That’s a kind of progress.

I haven’t tasted it, but can imagine my reaction would be something like this:

What I think is important is that people are consistent. Take movies for example. When white actors play characters that are historically not white, there is normally criticism like this:


Take Cleopatra (1963)

Elizabeth Taylor.gif

Elizabeth Taylor was in the lead role with Richard Burton supporting her. There was such outrage at the whitewashing that it *squints* er, was nominated for 9 Oscars, winning 3.

What about A Mighty Heart?

Angelina Jolie.gif

The film, based on the true story of Mariane Pearl, a journalist of Afro-Cuban descent, was played by prominent Afro-Cuban actress…Angelina Jolie. The outrage was…non-existent.

As it was when Noma Dumezweni, award winning actress, was cast as Hermione Granger in the stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There was
Cursed child 1.png

no backlash

Cursed child 2


And the response to actors of colour in the film version of The Hunger Games was a shoulder shrug. Colour doesn’t matter. It isn’t cultural appropriation.

Hunger games racism.pngThat’s just a few cranks…

Hunger games racism 2.png Oh.

To be fair, that matches the outrage and condemnation there was when Joseph Fiennes played Michael Jackson in Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon (2016). Look at all this outrage and venom:

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Perhaps the best example of how equal the outrage is on both sides is to compare the reaction to Exodus: Gods and Kings with the suggestion that Idris Elba could play the next James Bond.

Exodus gods and kings.png
If I can be really real for a second, the most offensive thing about that picture is the nose on the sculpture

I like this. It’s “camp” and “devout” but not “offensive”. There was some backlash, with snowflakes complaining at the whitewashing. I’m glad there was backlash, because I don’t want to live in a world where Ridley Scott, the director, never said:

“I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such,”

That lead to one of my all time favourite conversations with a friend of mine, reproduced here for your pleasure.

Mate: I have looked up the Spanish tax rebate form. There is a section that says “Is your casting all white? If yes, please skip to section 7. (If you have any ‘Mohammed such and such, you may still be entitled to a rebate. Please go to section 6)”

Me: Lol. Is there a special section that explicitly states all enemy combatants have to be ethnic minorities in order to access special tax exemptions and rebates?

Mate: Great point…Just reading the form…Yes it says, “Have you ensured all baddies are devious coloureds?”

Me: Lol

Mate: “Have you ensured that a white lady is being molested by a devious coloured at some point in the film? You may qualify for a rebate if so.”

Me: Lol. Is there a bit on the film about historical accuracy in casting?

Mate: One sec…no. There’s absolutely nothing on historical accuracy, although this bit is interesting:
“Have you ensured that there is one coloured goody? And that within his role he dutifully serves the white hero – sacrificing his life for him in combat?”

Me: Is there some kind of tax sweetener for that?

Mate: No but it’s a precondition for the tax rebate

I’m gonna get a movie commissioned. It’s called Mandela, with Nicholas cage playing Mandela…

And lastly we get to the idea of a black James Bond:

Bond racism 2Bond racism

“Too street” and “doesn’t fit”.  What’s that sound?

dog whistle



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