Since there has been a lot of uproar lately about the casting of the latest reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise, I think its time we all calmed down for a second.
I, personally, applaud Josh Trank's decision to cast Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. I know that immediately sets off alarm bells in a few of your heads, but hear me out.
Ultimately, what really disappoints me about all of the backlash over the decision is not that people "just aren't politically correct enough" or are "inherently racist" for bemoaning the casting. It is the simple fact that by making Sue the adoptive sister of Johnny Storm, many believe that their relationship means nothing.
I come from a mixed-race, blended family. We generate questions and confusion wherever we go. Out of five children, only two of us have the same pair of parents so, as you can imagine, we all look quite different. Of course, people often try to fill in the blanks themselves and come up with outlandish explanations for how we all came together. There are times when it's amusing. There are times when it is just flat-out ignorant. What's really interesting, though, is that in all of the strange assumptions we encounter, most people (of all backgrounds) refuse to believe that there are any biological ties between my half-black step-siblings and our clearly white, middle-class parents. There is nothing more frustrating than watching complete strangers applaud my step-mom for being "kind enough" to adopt.
It is as if, somehow, the simple act of adoption renders your family "less real", that it is an act of charity to go through the motions of treating adopted children like human beings deserving of love and dignity and, therefore, is a charade that needs constant positive reinforcement from outsiders to stay alive. It sickens me that there are people in this world that honestly believe that a lack of blood ties instantly means that there is no "real" connection. Adopted love is not fake love. Even if you are sheltered enough to never have met someone who is adopted or has adopted a child, surely you can understand that demeaning those relationships as somehow less than more "traditional" family ties is wrong. Love is universal. Just because you do not share the same genes as another person does not mean that you can't be connected to them, feel empathy towards them, protect them, or even consider them family.
And here is where my problem lies with most of the Fantastic Four naysayers. Are you seriously saying that, just by virtue of being adopted, Sue can never truly be a part of the Storm family? That the fact that she doesn't look like her parents or siblings instantly means that she is undeserving of their affection?
Say what you want about the quality of the movie after it premieres this week, but please, please think twice before dismissing the Storm family as "unrealistic" because I can attest to the fact that it is not as unrealistic as many people (regardless of race or experience) seem to think.