Just a few weeks ago, Marvel announced that Captain America would become the next superhero to piss off white fans and become a black person. Commenters on the website threatened to burn their Captain America shirts and ragequit the Marvel fandom. One even said that Marvel was ruining his favorite superhero. Another said that Captain America should always be white because he’s an ICON (sic). White audiences have grown increasingly critical of what they view as “politically correct” culture, in which people of color are being thrown into roles that are historically white simply to please some unspoken rule of diversity.
These commenters, wherever they may pop up on the internet, typically try to phrase their racism in an objective way. They claim that their outrage isn’t because the new character is black, but because the change alters canon, or is historically inaccurate, or is done only for financial reasons. “What if Black Panther became white?” fans often ask, suggesting that the same kind of backlash would be warranted for if the inverse example ever occurred.
And here we have Exodus: Gods and Kings, a movie starring a white guy playing Moses. Moses is a Hebrew born in Africa to an Israeli mother but raised by an Egyptian family. Christian Bale playing Moses is a change of canon. It is historically inaccurate. It is done for financial reason, because Christian Bale is a box office draw. It certainly looks like Exodus fulfills all the checkboxes white fans find so offensive when a black character happens to wander into their line of sight. Yet, there’s so far been nothing but silence from white audiences about the upcoming Christmas blockbuster. Why isn’t anyone threatening to burn their Moses shirts and convert to Buddhism?