During an interview, BBC diversity chief claims Luther isn’t an ‘authentic’ Black lead. This highlights why we’re failing. Idris Elba’s portrayal of Luther could be argued to be the perfect way to include diversity without emphasizing heavenly on the character’s race! The show had a good story, strong characters, and overall was entertaining. So hearing BBC diversity chief claim that Luther isn’t an ‘authentic’ Black is not only backward but insulting to some degree.
Can you imagine? We’ve spent years trying to get people away from stereotypical roles for various races, to now complaining that a certain character isn’t acting like he/she should be based on his/her race. It’s ludicrous!
Miranda Wayland made headlines after criticizing the BBC crime drama, saying:
“When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there – a really strong, Black character lead,” she said. “But after you got into the second series you got kind of like, OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.”
Thankfully Idris Elba disagreed with her backwards thinking and responded:
“We must not pull ourselves backwards, only push ourselves forwards. IE,“
Now, here’s what makes this whole ordeal even funnier to me! As it turns out, not trying to write a Black character, led to us getting the Luther we see today!
John Luther was not originally written as a Black character. Neil Cross previously said: “I have no knowledge or expertise or right to try to tackle in some way the experience of being a Black man in modern Britain.
“It would have been an act of tremendous arrogance for me to try to write a Black character. We would have ended up with a slightly embarrassed, ignorant, middle-class, white writer’s idea of a Black character.”
Now imagine if Neil had tried to write a Black character with the mindset of Miranda Wayland, it would have likely had been a disaster. This is what happens to a lot of writers today, too fixated with writing a Black/Asian etc character instead of writing a real character.
Unfortunately, the film industry thinks the way Miranda does, and because of that, we’re going to continue getting mediocrity until they get it through their heads that a character’s whole identity should not be based solely on his/her race.