The film Ghost in the Shell was relatively decent, although not amazing. However, I primarily want to discuss the objections which have been raised towards having Scarlett Johanssen playing the lead character, when the lead character is oriental in the original comic (it should be noted that the body of the character is an artificially designed shell into which her brain is inserted – this is not a spoiler, you find this out in the first two minutes of the film – so obviously, the manufacturers would be free to make the body look like whatever they wanted, but that is not good enough for those who call this ‘whitewashing’).
I don’t agree with those who think the race of a character must stay the same when transitioning from source material to film (unless the race of the character is somehow relevant to the character, like if a book is about an Australian aboriginal, then you need someone who looks like one to portray them). However, what particularly bothers me is the inconsistency with which this is applied. We have one group of people complaining about Ghost in the Shell, saying the lead should have remained oriental. We have a separate group of people who complained about the Marvel Cinematic Universe casting black actors for Nick Fury and for Heimdall.
I don’t care in either case. Samuel L. Jackson is a perfect choice for Nick Fury. Idris Elba is one of my favourite actors, and the Asgardians are portrayed as having racial diversity, so there’s no problems with him playing Heimdall (I mean, one of the Warriors Three is oriental, one is British – I would have objected if Heimdall were the only non-Nordic Asgardian in the entire MCU, but since they portray the Asgardians as being diverse, it’s fine with me). If anything, the only problem is that Elba is rather underused, considering his great talents. I also don’t care about who plays Major in Ghost in the Shell.
However, if you want to claim that races should remain the same on film as in the source material, I disagree, but I can respect your claim, provided you simply think that the film should try to stay faithful to the source or something. But try to be consistent. If you are going to object to Ghost in the Shell, then object to the MCU’s version of Nick Fury and Heimdall. If you are going to object to the MCU, then object to Ghost in the Shell, as well. At the very least, if you care about the race switching in one case, try to be a little more understanding when other people care about other cases of race switching, and stop just calling them racists.