Entertainment

These Movies Based On True Stories Totally Changed The Real Peoples' Race

List Rules
Vote up the most heinous examples of whitewashing and ethnowashing in movies based on true stories.

Whitewashing in film isn't anything new. In 1921, Italian-American Rudolph Valentino played an Arab in The Sheik. Three years after that, Douglas Fairbanks did the same in The Thief of Baghdad. Most movies that changed a character's race are entirely fictional, and while the systemic racism on display in this practice is intensely problematic, it's not nearly as heinous or brazen as when it happens in movies based on real events. 

Unfortunately, whitewashing isn't as simple as gut-reaction racism. Executives aren't making decisions like "Oh the woman was half black? That won't do. Let's cast Angelina Jolie." Rather, movies that whitewashed characters are part of a complex, systemic problem involving economics, history, and corporate practices that extend beyond the movie industry (don't forget, movie studios have parent companies). Whatever the reasons, the practice is distinctly American, and part of an industrial entertainment industry that has a long tradition of sanitizing, whitewashing, and desexualizing history and culture in an effort to offend no one, and thereby reap the largest possible profits.