The blogosphere let out a collective jolly good earlier this month upon learning that a white gentleman had been selected to represent Doctor Who in his eponymous television show. God continues to save the Queen.
True devotees of the television event had understandably been rather worked up in advance of the announcement, for there had been a number of outrageous rumors and suggestions regarding the nature of the future Doctor. Insufficiently British commentators had the gall to imagine the venerable man as something quite unsuitable—namely, a man of color or, worse, a woman!
Fortunately, cooler (and paler) heads prevailed, and one “Peter Capaldi” was selected to carry on the white man’s burden of pretending to be an alien on television. But even with the question of “diversity” settled forever, there are still some who insist on picking up pitchforks:
I’m not saying Peter Capaldi isn’t talented. I’m not saying we should all riot with pitchforks and torches against the casting director. And I’m certainly not saying I haven’t loved the previous doctors. All I’m saying is, it’s about time for a little change.
Fortunately, Coleman Gray comes out swinging in today’s Bottom Line against this outrageous attempt to undermine one of the last opportunities for white male employment:
The recent Doctors of Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith have all been excellent actors, and I would like to think that all future regenerations will feature similarly talented actors chosen based on performance alone. Even though the casting of a female or racially diverse Doctor might be appreciated by some, I would be just as excited and apprehensive as I am over the casting of any other new replacement actor. But, if they were to cast an individual because of the grumblings of an upset minority and not because of acting talent, it would be a mistake. After all, as a creature nearly a millennium old and bouncing about the utter limits of both time and space, the Doctor should be above current political and social trends.
Mr. Gray admits that “there are many strong female and racially diverse characters” in the series, but points out that while female and racially diverse actors do a good enough job in supporting roles, they just aren’t as good as white men. The choice of a woman and/or person of color to play Doctor Who would be a politicized choice, biased by current social trends, in a way that the selection of a white man is not. Decades from now, we will look back and laugh at the idea that a creature nearly a millennium old and bouncing about the utter limits of both time and space could ever be accurately portrayed by anyone but a white man from a small island in the Atlantic.
Because trends come and go, but white men are forever.