Today I learned, via Japundit, about a new comedy whose plot involves a movie being filmed about the Vietnam War. Robert Downey, Jr. is playing a actor who has taken a role originally written for a black man. Rather than having the role rewritten, his character, one of a group of very pompous actors, is playing it black.

when did Ben Stiller get ripped?

Given my previous discussions of race issues, you might expect me to be upset about this. I kind of expected me to be upset about this. But this is actually pretty awesome, for two reasons.

1) It’s hilarious. I mean, this has got to be one seriously self-involved character, to think he can “play” another race. I’m pretty excited to see what kind of jokes come out of it. Done well, this could be truly effective modern satire.

2) Look at this:

side by side comparison

I think this is pretty successful. And I don’t think the message is that it’s easy to make a white person look like a black person. I think the message is that we don’t really look that different.

Hair, eyes, skin color, size…those can all vary. But at the core, we’re all human beings. We’re made of the same stuff, just in a thousand beautiful variations.

I think that’s a very positive message.

Images courtesy Daily Mail