At the Los Angeles Review of Books, screenwriter Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn makes a strong and timely case for Hollywood to quit casting big-name white actors no matter the role. Particularly egregious, and absurd, is the idea of Leonardo DiCaprio as the 13th century Persian poet Rumi. Armed with suggestions for brown actors, she points out wryly, “[m]isappropriating the identity of an iconic character like Rumi does not challenge stereotypes, it reinforces them.”

Kirstin Allio is currently a Howard Foundation Fellow at Brown University. Her story collection, Clothed, Female Figure comes out with Dzanc in 2016. Her novel, Garner (Coffee House), was a finalist for the LA Times Book Award for First Fiction. She has received the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Award, a PEN/O. Henry Prize, and has published many short stories, poems, and essays. More from this author →