In my opinion, Saldana has shown us all that not only is she correct in not claiming to be a black American but she has also shown us that she's pretty much been socialized to be an entitled, colorblind, white woman.
I can't really parse her stance any other way. Can you?
1) WHITE ENTITLEMENT
Saldana has basically been saying,
I AM ENTITLED to
NOT IDENTIFY as black
yet play a black woman
who VERY MUCH identified as black
because I WANT to honor MY African Heritage
while calling ignorant*
the thousands of black women who have said
we don't want you to represent US.
This is very much like white entitlement. In fact, I think it is white entitlement.
Who else but white people think they are entitled to erase racial others? How is her attitude much different from the white men that produced "Gods Of Egypt," starring white men? (a movie that is also flopping - yippee!!!)
Saldana's behaving just like that white woman who had lived as a white woman white for 30 years before finding out that her great, great, great, great grandfather was a Native American. She decided it was not cultural appropriation when she found a Native American headdress to work on Halloween because she believes that 1) race is biology rather than sociology and that 2) respect for a racial/ethnic group not her own is irrelevant and subordinate to whatever makes her feel whole or simply entertained at any given moment---same as Saldana
Saldana clearly believes in critical aspects of colorblind race theory, which has been identified by most sociologists as a form of racism practiced most often by white people.
Saldana appears to have decided to not-see that her skin tone and her white features are the very thing Nina Simone did not have that would have made her quasi-acceptable in white society? Or if Saldana does see it, she's decided that this is so small an affect that black face and a nose prosthetic will cover it. Isn't this denial of outcome a form of racism/colorism blindness taken directly from colorblind race theory?
It seems to me that white people deny different life outcomes based on skin color most often, with light people like Vanessa Williams doing it too often for my taste too. But, aside from white people, I am beginning to think that those claiming blackness/African-ness who are NOT socialized as black people by black parent(s) proud who are proud to be black have their toes sunk into colorblind racism as deeply as any white person might.
Saldana actually used Elizabeth Taylor's portraying Cleopatra as evidence that what she's doing now is okay because it's "art" The likely reason she didn't list God's Of Egypt casting as a-okay with her is because it didn't occur to her.
Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/11/zoe-saldana-nina-simone-criticism_n_7564452.html
If most people had only read her words and had never seen a photo of Saldana, most would believe that she is an entitled, possibly racist, white woman.
Saldana's own words:
If we question why Michael has been cast to play the Human Torch in Fantastic Four then we must also question why Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra, why Angelina Jolie played Mariane Pearl in a Mighty Heart, why Laurence Olivier played Othello, Burt Lancaster in Apache, and the list goes on....and on....
Women of color DO question all of these things.
And many, if not most, people of color do not equate the e-race-sure of black and brown people from their own real stories WITH a black actor playing a white cartoon character that was created during the decades and decades of ComicbooksSoWhite.
After reading this ignorant explanation of her position, is it any wonder that Saldana
1) saw nothing much wrong with donning black face to play Nina Simone
2) thinks of Nina's black looks as not much more important to the story than proper costuming.
Saldana does not identify as a black woman. She does not deserve to identify as a black woman. And she does not deserve to be cast as a black woman because she's not a black woman and presents like a white woman.
Her colorblind-white-person attitude almost has to be directly linked to the environment she was raised in and lives in now.
I really can't come up with a thing that might be different in the Spears-alike argument.
And I know why I can't imagine the arguments being different from one another.
The arguments wouldn't be different because Zoe Saldana has been socialized, in some significant ways, to be what's usually recognized as a white woman in the United States.
You don't have to explain to most light-skinned black women or light-skinned women of color that "Black face is black face." 999 times out of 1,000 you only have to explain THAT to white women.
All of this together makes Zoe Saldana walking, talking, living proof that race is not biology but sociology, that race is, indeed, a sociological construct.
When anybody talks to Saldana or about her, they should understand that they are not talking to a black woman, that they are not talking to a woman of color, but a white woman with a confusing outward appearance.
I'm not usually into saying who is really black and who isn't black. And I'm not here since Saldana has already said she doesn't identify as black. But what I am saying is that it is questionable that she should even be welcomed into the group we call "Women Of Color."
Maybe she's just an airhead. But this smells like an everything white-is-right belief system to me. If she should get drunk and start spouting white supremacist garbage it wouldn't surprise me one bit.