Just FYI Khan was supposed to be from northern India and yet he was played by Ricardo Mantelban who spoke with a Latino accent so it’s not like they got his race right the first time either (ﾉ´ヮ´)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
A) There were immigration restrictions on Asians during the fifties/sixties. This means it is entirely possible that they may not have actually been able to find an Indian actor to play the role. I can’t find the source where I originally read this, so never mind. If anyone has a link please let me know so I can have all my receipts.
B) So yeah, they fucked up in the 60s. But there’s this magical thing called progress, which means that by now we should be able to get it right. There is no dearth of brown actors in this day and age. There is no lack of great Indian actors. There are many who have the acting chops and are of the right race to play Khan.
C) At least Montalban was a POC playing a POC. There is a major distinction between that and a white person playing a POC.
D) Cumberbatch is a white man playing a POC. There are already so few roles which are written/given to POC and the number has now been significantly lessened.
E) Khan was genetically engineered to be a better human. He’s stronger, smarter, faster than any other human, including the white male protagonist. He was genetically superior to all others. And he was a POC. This, written in the 60s, was earth-shatteringly progressive. It is still progressive today, as most heroes are still white. Having such a vital character taken from the ranks of great roles for POC (of which there are very few) is incredibly upsetting and problematic.
F) Usually when POC are cast as villains they are thuggish, dull, and ineffective. Khan was none of these things. He was sympathetic. He was complex. The role of Khan is a great one and it is absolutely important that he was specifically written to be a POC.
G) Star Trek was ground-breaking for providing major roles for POC actors in a time when there were few. Uhura and Sulu, a black woman and an Asian man, were main characters. Martin Luther King Jr actually spoke with Nichelle Nichols and asked her to remain on the show when she wanted to leave because of how important it was that there was a prominent black female character on television. Star Trek was a show about racial progress in the media. It was about moving forward. Casting Cumberbatch as a character who should be played by a POC is a step backwards.
H) There’s some really gross history between India and Britain, which adds to how problematic it is that a British actor was chosen to play an Indian character. So not only has Khan been whitewashed, he’s been whitewashed in an historically despicable way.
I) Stark Trek: Into Darkness was distributed by Paramount Pictures, the same studio responsible for whitewashing the Avatar: The Last Airbender movie adaptation.
Representation is important and it is incredibly hurtful that so many people do not see how important Khan as a character of color is.
>Johnny Storm, a character with immense history and who the public knows quite well, is rumored to be race changed (but his biological sister is staying white) and Tumblr doesn’t bat an eye
>Not being upset that Cumberbatch ended up being Khan instead of Alternate Universe Evil Picard
Also, whitewashing was your problem with The Last Airbender? Holy shit, it’s like you honestly think that was the problem of that movie. Was the whitewashing terrible? Holy shit, yes! Is that what to focus on when talking about how bad that movie was? No.