Back in March, Zendaya was cast in Spider-Man: Homecoming, a reboot that takes place during Peter Parker's high school days. Now The Wrap has revealed who she's playing: the superhero's longtime love interest Mary Jane Watson. Fans are excited for the franchise to finally have a person of color in a starring role. Judging by the social media reactions, people are fed up with the expectation that only white people should play traditionally white characters.
However, a look through Twitter also reveals that this expectation and its racist roots are alive and well. Some are saying it's not about race; it's just about hair color, since Mary Jane is a redhead. (They failed to acknowledge that Kirsten Dunst, a blonde, previously played the character.)
Zendaya's supporters had a response to that, too.
Given that it's a fictional story, Black people can be redheads, Zendaya herself has had red hair, and Mary Jane hasn't even always stuck to her original color, the only grounds on which people can actually make this argument is racism. And thankfully, people have called it out for exactly what it is. [Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that Emma Stone played Mary Jane Watson. Stone portrayed Spider-Man's other famous girlfriend, Gwen Stacy.]