Critics of black James Bond take hypocritical, ignorant position

The James Bond franchise is one of the most beloved in film history. Since the 1960s, audiences have been wowed by the charm and swagger of the British government’s favorite secret agent.

To land the role of Bond is an enormous honor, one with which only six men have been graced so far. Late last year, thanks to a leaked email by a top Sony executive, we had confirmation of the actor who has long been rumored to be the seventh to order his martinis “shaken, not stirred.”

That man is Idris Elba, famous for roles in TV shows like “The Wire” and “Luther,” as well as films like “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” Elba is an Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor who possesses all the skills necessary to take Daniel Craig’s place after his contract expires following the upcoming Bond film, “Spectre,” in 2015. Elba has already stated that he would “absolutely” take the role if it were offered.

Elba would be the first black man to play the role of James Bond – something people like conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh have already criticized, as if on cue. Critics of the decision (which hasn’t even been officially made) say that Elba simply can’t play the role of Bond because James Bond is a white man of Scottish descent.

“He was white and Scottish, period. That’s who James Bond is (and) was,” Limbaugh said on his radio show.

This is an ignorant and ridiculous position to take.

Bond is said to be Scottish with dark hair, yet he has been portrayed by Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, Australian actor George Lazenby and blond actor Daniel Craig.

Elba is, in fact, dark-haired and British, so he already meets the major physical requirements for playing Bond.

As for the race issue, do these critics seriously want to take a look at the number of times a white actor has played a non-white role, even when portraying historical figures? The list is endless; from Johnny Depp portraying Native American Tonto in the 2013 rendition of “The Lone Ranger,” to Ben Affleck portraying CIA operative Tony Mendez, who had Mexican ancestry, in the Oscar-winning film “Argo.”

If Hollywood can overlook a film like “Argo” using a white guy from Boston to play a role with the last name Mendez, I don’t think a black man playing James Bond will be the end of the world, especially when you consider that it might be by an actor as talented as Elba.

Cheyene Miller is the assistant news editor of the Kentucky Kernel.

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