Before I start, I’d like to ask that Moff’s Law be kept firmly in mind. Race and representation in media is something that many of us feel very strongly about, so please honor the spirit of the discussion and refrain from dismissing or derailing the conversation.
I can’t speak to the POC perspective, but I think that a lot of the whitewashing tends to come from the fact that a) whiteness is often assumed to be the default in cases of uncertainty, and b) Lana is light-skinned, and given the way that her hair and make-up are done on the show, I can easily see some people not acquainted with her biography assuming that her ancestry is Mediterranean and not (also) Latina. Plus, as you noted, the writers have never explicitly made it known that Regina is Latina (or whatever the Enchanted Forestian version is), so I think that’s where the white-is-default lens kicks in.
Right. I get all the reasons why people would assume that Regina is White until proven Other (despite the physical body of the Latina playing her), but what I want to dig into is what it means that we frame things in such a way. What does it say about what we believe to be true about people of color and how Whiteness affects how we are able to even perceive a person of color as a person of color?