I had so much love for this show! Too bad its not going to get a second season, at least not according to the showrunner, which makes me only mildly upset, because really, its better to go out on top, then to dribble off in shame. Lindhelof says that what we saw is all of the story, and he doesn’t have any ideas for a second season, although he has given HBO his blessing to continue the show without him. I would prefer that the show simply end now, to introducing a new and mediocre showrunner, for the second season anyway, which is the problem that American Gods has run into.
American Gods should have just stopped at season one, with Bryan Fuller who, no matter which shows he works on, is just really hard to top. The same thing happened with ST:Discovery. On the other hand, if HBO wanted to bring in Fuller, for a second season of Watchmen, I would be totally on board with that. The show is so rich, I just know he’d do some awesome work with it, but as it stands HBO isn’t looking at a second season right now, and the show has not been renewed.
The first link is a list of 84 films that starred or were directed by women of color.
The second link is an article about why Black art and film criticism requires diversity. Because really the only people who can cogently discuss aspects of the culture that are represented in art, are Black people. Its not that white people don’t have opinions, its just their opinions carry less weight because most of them just don’t know enough about Black culture, to be able to speak on it, with any clarity.
And finally, a video on why we need to make more movies about Black people just being happy, and living our lives, without some criminal or racial crisis involved.
Here are a number of opinion posts from The Artifice, on the subject of Horror and its themes. I’m going to urge everyone to visit the site, as it contains some of the best film writing and criticism on the internet. There’s not a lot of diversity, the people there pretty much stay in their lane, and are not professional writers for the most part, but its far better than a lot of the Bro’tube videos about pop culture.
I can’t link to Medium articles here ,but here are some titles and authors to look for, should you give the place a visit. And be sure to check out my last post about Horror movies set in the suburbs.
Recently, Stephen King weighed in on the issue of diversity at the Oscars. (There isn’t any.) Considering that this is the same man who insisted on putting at least one magical negro in every single one of his earlier novels, (and a couple of his more recent ones, too), he really should have just kept his opinion to himself. In all fairness though, after he had the situation explained to him, he did backtrack a little bit on his statement.
Stephen King Needs More Black Friends
As decades of his Black characters show, one tone-deaf tweet is the least of his problems
One thing that is deeply funny about this topic, at least for me, is that I actually have met, what I like to call, “Magical Negroes” in my own life. Several times, Black people have shown up to help me with some issue, and then afterwards they disappeared for me to never see or hear from them ever again.
I was practicing for my driving test one day, in an empty parking lot near my house, and some guy (who was, as King would probably say, “four sheets to the wind”) came along to teach me how to parallel park, and how to back into a parking space. This went on for a while, and he was incredibly helpful, for someone who was very probably drunk. I went home afterward, but I never saw that man in my neighborhood again, although to be honest, I’d never seen him before the event either, and I’m reasonably familiar with the people in my neighborhood. This has happened to me several times in my life. Strangers who show up, help me do something, and then disappear, and well… I have questions!
On this subject, I said in another post, that this is what fandom has devolved to, at this point, where media consumers have become so toxic, that they think they can just harass the actors they don’t like, off social media, since it worked in a few cases. But I have to ask, what do any of these campaigns gain from this? Although such people are incredibly loud, there simply aren’t enough of them, in population size, to affect the bottom lines of any of the corporations these actors work for. Their fleeting victories, sending actors off social media, and downvoting movies on Rotten Tomatoes, and Netflix, are just that. Fleeting, and ultimately unimportant.
Not only have they engaged in harassing movie actors, they have harassed other fans who simply don’t agree with them, (which is separate from the racism and misogyny that normally goes on in fandom). The vast majority of people (and this is just the ones who watch these movies), know nothing about what’s going on, what these people have been doing (beyond what’s been reported in mainstream media), or even why its being done.
These “fans” have accomplished nothing, but have become so used to bullying actors off the internet, that they were really surprised that Boyega didn’t leave, and they most certainly believe they are more influential than they actually are. In fact, like the strong Black man he claimed to be, he stood his ground, took no shit, and clapped right back at them, so that now the White women who started this beef with him, by personally @ing him, on his Twitter account, are now whining that he is hurting them, somehow! It’s all perfectly batshit, and also completely useless. He still has a career. He’s still going to be working, and now that he no longer under contract with Disney, he can say what he wants on social media, with a freedom he didn’t have before.
I asked Nicole (the writer) if I could have her permission to post an excerpt from her Tumblr blog here, and she kindly gave consent. If you’re not familiar with the complete White Feminism Racefail of 2020, here’s a decent rundown of those events.
John Boyega and the Racism of Fandom
A look into the harassment John Boyega has faced at the hands of rabid Star Wars fans
Everything came to a head not just with John’s post about how he felt about Reylo, but he posted a video on his Instagram. In the video, it shows Boyega responding to his harassment by attacking the responses. Instead of realizing they were wrong, many Reylos started to accuse him of bullying them. It didn’t matter if they were the ones who replied to John with racist, degrading comments and it also didn’t matter that the comments they made were public: they couldn’t be held responsible. it’s John’s fault for not taking abuse silently. Some people are so upset about this, they’re already planning smear campaigns for his upcoming movies.
nakia’s dad did not come out here to play with y’all. he’s serving you tribal elder realness with a dash of high level black fashion. that suit cost more than ya rent. givenchy who? gucci who? he don’t know them, he only wearing top tier wakandan designers. t’challa ain’t even got this shit. you see the way he matched the lip plate and gauges to the suit??? y’all keep thinking it’s a game if you want to.
Imagine just being a regular Wakandan during that 2 month period of Civil War and Black Panther
You just reading your Kimoyo bead feed every day like wtf?
Sent aid workers to Nigeria, they get killed in an explosion, your king killed in a terrorist attack, the prince becomes king, like a day or two later, some random outsider comes on, now HE’S king, then a day or two later there’s a big fight in the capital and then the old prince is king again? And then he reveals your nation to the world?
I’m lying here awake because I’m thinking about Shuri, throwing herself into her inventions and designing 2 new Panther suits in a week because the old one couldn’t be worn under a western-style suit and if her father had been wearing the Black Panther suit underneath he wouldn’t have… the explosion wouldn’t have…
Shuri makes notes that the suit needs better ways to absorb impact.
Ok not only that! but! I’m feeling like the reason why N’jobu wasn’t in Wakanda in the ancestral plane is because 1. he wasn’t buried the right way, (if you remember several times throughout the movie, the burial process is mentioned to be extremely sacred and important), and 2. because N’jobu hadn’t died in Wakanda.
This was another reason to point out what Erik and his father were talking about being lost and away from their home. Because N’jobu would never go home, in his former life and the next, he’d always be trapped, forever lost from finding his home
They didn’t hug because Killmonger’s father was disappointed, both in himself and in his son. And yes because toxic masculinity defines our society.
T’Chaka was proud of his son because T’Challa was a good man despite T’Chaka’s mistakes. N’jobu failed his son utterly and completely. He was estranged from Wakanda and so, in turn, was his son.
It was a beautiful scene, full of regret and the ways in which the mistakes of the past can be visited on present generations. The scene was supposed to be our clue that Killmonger was not going to be king. He was not a product of Wakanda. He was a product of that sad, angry room with both the guns and the history hidden behind a painting on the wall.
He was a product of a hidden history and a violent society. So that is where he went, and that is where he met his father forever trapped by the mistakes of men who could not see beyond their own needs. T’Chaka, his need to protect his vision of himself and Wakanda and N’jobu, his need to heal the world by defying his King and country.
The thread running through Black Panther is estrangement. It is the stylised story of a people whose history has been hidden for far too long. It is the story of a people estranged from themselves and their history. It is the story of the Diaspora. It is also a story of choice. We, the Diaspora, choose every day and in every minute our response to that estrangement. Are we defined by the wrongs visited upon us as a people? Do we hold the anger in? Do we explode? Do we make people pay for the hurt, the pain, the indignities? Will we be Killmongers?
Will we meet our ancestors in the sad, dark places of our pain?
That was one of the points of that scene. Erik Killmonger met his father in the sad, dark place of his pain.
I hope that the original cut has another scene. One in which Erik Killmonger joins his ancestors in Wakanda, because in the moments before his death he got it. He finally became a child of Wakanda. He would have freed himself and his father from those chains.
I mean look at how that scene began. Erik learned his history by finding it in the hidden place. His father wanted him to find it, but that is not how you teach children their history. You hold them in your lap and say this is who we are. You tell them stories. You take them home.
Ryan Coogler is trying to show us in a few scenes what estrangement means. What being cutoff from your history means. You are not supposed to find it in a cutout behind a painting sitting next to the guns. And that wasn’t his fault. Other people made bad choices. A society made bad choices and he paid for their bad choices with his soul.
But then there comes a point when you choose who you will be, despite the bad choices that formed you. Killmonger made the correct choice in the end, or at least the only choice he could have made.
His story is heartbreaking. It is Shakespearean. He is the first beautiful villain in the MCU, and I adore his story.
Another thing I love that I’ve probably already mentioned on here is how T’Challa woke up the second time with his back turned on his ancestors symbolizing he was turning his back on their old ways. The symbolism running through the entire movie is intense.
After Black Panther, and Coco, and all the other great films that have come out and boasted great representation (and great Box Office returns) I hope all movie studios are aware that nothing can every go back to the way it used to be.
Like, you know how when you’ve had something high quality, and you just can’t go back to the bargain brand again because you know what this product is supposed to be?
Well, Black Panther and Coco just introduced an entire generation of people (young and old alike) what positive representation is supposed to feel like.
People aren’t going to stand for “This character couldn’t be X because it’s a stereotype.”
People aren’t going to stand for “This character had a small role but it’s fine because X”
People ain’t gonna stand for “Finn can’t be written well because there’s no place for his story to go”
People aren’t going to stand for “Iron Fist couldn’t be Asian-American because it perpetuates a stereotype.
People aren’t going to stand for “We couldn’t find the right type of actor so we just went with a white person.”
People aren’t going to stand for “Let’s make the black woman a frog for the entire movie.”
People aren’t going to stand for “There weren’t any people of color in this era. It wouldn’t be historically accurate.”
People aren’t going to stand for “Well…it’s close enough, isn’t it? Why’re you complaining?”
Movie studios thought it was bad before? Honey. Buckle up.
He does not like superhero movies and normally he falls asleep in the cinema. But not this time, he was on the edge of his seat and he said that he didn’t wanna miss a single moment. He absolutely loved the movie, the first thing he did when we got home was to call his african friend, yelling at him to go watch it as soon as possible. The second thing he did was ask me when the sequel will be out.
I asked my dad what he liked about the movie and he said everything. He loved that almost everyone was black and that they spoke Xhosa. He was so happy that they captured what life is actually like in many african cities in those scenes when they were walking around in wakanda. Seeing the people sit in cafes, buying food from food stands, kids running around with school bags, just people living their everyday life all the while being unapologetically african. He said he felt as if he was back home. And he was so happy that there finally was a movie where africans weren’t starving, or warlords, or dealing drugs. He told me that this is the kind of movie he has wanted to see for years, not alluding to the superhero stuff but the fact that they portray africans the same way that most if not all movies portray white people and not criminalize or dehumanize them but uplifting them. He loved every single character and especially M’Baku but his absolute favourite was the Queen mother Ramonda because she was so calm and collected while simultaneously being this strong queen. My dad, coming from a culture that really uplifts and value mothers and holds them above all, felt like the movie really captured that in Ramonda and that’s why he loved her.
He loved the soundtrack and how they mixed in djembe drums and traditional african singing with modern western music and he loved the costumes because a lot of the clothes look like the things people are wearing at all the african parties we go to.
The only complaint my dad had was that the sound was to high, which was his own fault for insisting that he sit at the end of the row right next to one of the speakers.
So yeah, representation do matter. I’ve never in my life seen him so happy about a movie. And he wanted to talk about it after it had ended which never happens normally. We joked around with the idea of him being a wakandan wardog stationed here and we did Shuris and T’Challas little handshake saying that is the only way we will now greet other africans. This movie gave my dad pure joy and happiness and it gave us a bonding opportunity because we finally have something that we both could geek out about.
Just putting these numbers out here. Actually, I think this is may be from 2014, but really, it doesn’t make much difference. Hollywood talks a good game but is really, really slow to change. I think it takes so long because Hollywood is this big unwieldy ocean liner, and most of the power players on it consider themselves to be above using social media, and interacting with the public. I think most of them consider that to be the actor’s job, and disdain listening to the public themselves. I think if the ones calling the shots in Hollywood do hear about social issues regarding their movies, it’s probably second hand/hearsay. (and the ones who do hear about it, just make excuses for their laziness.)
“You’ve just very bravely cast a white person in a role and people are being very critical of it. Here’s how to handle that backlash as poorly as possible.”
I’ve noticed that the television creators are much more likely to interact with audiences at Cons, and on social media, than the film/casting directors, and money lenders of Hollywood. The creators of television are just much more intertwined with their audiences, and can know what their audiences think about their product, almost in real time.
For example, the creators of Arrow were on social media that first season, probably just gauging reactions to the show. But I noticed a marked change in the show from the beginning to the end of that first season. The show improved tremendously, and I think many of those improvements were based on the critiques they saw in social media. That’s how fast the creators were able to react to audience reactions. Unlike with movies, the creators for TV don’t have to wait until a show’s run is over before finding out what an audience thinks about it.
I’m not saying that television content creators don’t fuck up, (HBO we’re looking at you!) or that there isn’t an element of racism involved in Hollywood’s decision making process. Just that, in Hollywood, change takes a hell of a lot longer to be implemented because so many of these factors seem to work well enough together to delay progress. To the rest of us it just looks like a truculent inability to move forward.
The report “Inequality in 900 Popular Films,” released today, from Smith and the Media, Diversity & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC Annenberg, reveals how little top movies have changed when it comes to the on-screen prevalence and portrayal of females, underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, the LGBT community and individuals with disabilities.
“The deficits we see on screen are worse behind the camera,” said Smith. Out of the 1,006 directors hired on the 900 films studied, just 4.1% were females. Only 5.6% of the directors were Black or African American and 3% were Asian or Asian American. Three Black or African-American women and two Asian women worked as directors across the 900 movies. “When we look intersectionally at directors, that’s where we see just how exclusionary Hollywood is when it comes to the hiring process,” said Smith. “The image of a female director seems to be that of a White woman.”
And riding on the point of that last essay, there’s this one, in response to another essay/rant that, basically, blames identity politics, and call-out- culture, for why certain TV shows fail. Essentially, that person was trying to blame the fans of color for the failure of certain shows. Yeah, that’s not it!
This essay sure sounds like it’s making a lot of sense, but it’s predicated on a bunch of false presumptions.
I agree that hypercritical dogpiling call-out culture is bad. It makes fandom a toxic environment.
Here’s where I find fault in this argument:
Violent fandom backlash/hypercriticism/dogpiling does not actually get shows cancelled, nor does it discourage the creation of future diverse media.
Lord, sometimes I wish it got shows cancelled.
But in reality, when you run the numbers, angry scary fans have a negligible effect on the success or failure of a diverse show.
Shows with a ton of discourse are usually quite successful. Supernatural’s been embroiled in fandom backlash/outcry its entire run and I’ve lost count of how many seasons it has.
Okay but SPN’s not especially diverse, so let’s go to my next example. Speaking of shows I can’t believe are still on the air, Teen Wolf (a show with a non-white lead and numerous LGBT characters) is SIX MOTHERFUCKING SEASONS LONG and fans have been ranting and raving about how shitty and problematic it is since the beginning of season 3 (I myself was one of its loudest and most savage critics back in the day).
Sleepy Hollow was a diverse show that suffered a lot of fandom backlash prior to cancellation. I suppose one might argue that the cancellation was a result of the backlash.
But consider – Sleepy Hollow’s fridged it’s black female lead, Abbie Mills, at the end of its 2nd season, shortly after, The 100fridged it’s wlw female lead’s primary love interest mid season 3.
There was a shitte tonne of *intense* fandom drama surrounding Lexa’s fridging in season 3 of The 100. Every vaguely liberal entertainment news outlet had something to say about “Hollywood’s dead lesbian problem.” A lot of wlw fans wrote scathing rants and swore off the show.
In comparison, fandom was downright quiet about Abby’s fridging. In fact, the very small handful of posts I read criticizing the writers of Sleepy Hollow made a point of also criticizing fandom’s white feminists for their ‘deafening silence’ with regard to Abbie’s death.
Consequently The 100 just got renewed for season 5. Meanwhile, Sleepy Hollow is as dead as a doornail.
Seems to me that silence does a better job of killing shows than any amount of screaming and ranting.
Here’s what actually causes diverse shows to fail:
1) Old white men in power.
@temporaldecay you want to talk revenue? Perhaps you’d be surprised to learn capitalism is not the be all/end all of a tv show/film’s success as people often assume.
For example, we know that movies with diverse casts are more lucrative, yet the industry continues to churn out all-white media. Why? Nepotism. White execs bring in white producers who find white directors to tell white stories and cast white actors.
They keep doing this, even though financially speaking, it’s self-sabotage.
Teen Titans was the most popular show on Cartoon Network when it was canceled because it appealed to an audience (of girls) that wasn’t the intended target audience (boys) and the marketing team didn’t like how this messed up their gendered merchandising strategy. You can read all the details [here]
Which brings me to the next item on the list:
2) Bad marketing (combined with the aforementioned institutionalized bigotry)
There’s a great essay called Shut The Fuck up Marvel that explains in detail the problematic economics of the comics industry – TL&DR, diverse comics are failing not because of fickle and hypercritical fans, but rather because Marvel’s entire marketing strategy is so flawed that fans don’t even find out about diverse comics until they’ve already been axed.
The same is true of a lot of diverse television.
Wonder Woman got hardly any marketing. I didn’t see trailers for the movie. It managed to go viral anyway through word of mouth, and through the inherent publicity of being the first big blockbuster superhero film revolving around a female lead, but it’s the exception that proves the rule.
Still Star-Crossed, a Shondaland period romance/drama based on pro-fanfiction for Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet was recently canceled due to low viewership. The show got next to no marketing. The few people who managed to hear about it from tumblr couldn’t even figure out when it was airing due to the network changing the time slot twice within the first 4 episodes.
Similarly, Sense8 season 2 was under-marketed, as was The Get Down. I must have seen about 8 million ads for that garbage suicide apologia show Netflix has been hawking.
Networks don’t want to market diverse shows. They assume diverse shows will magically sell themselves, and then blame fans when they don’t.
3) Appealing to too small of a niche – Novelty vs. Variety
Consider Agent Carter – this show catered to a niche within a niche within a niche – a period noir drama, that was also a science fiction. Lack of POC meant it had trouble attracting POC as audience members. Lack of LGBTQ rep (queerbaiting doesn’t count) meant it had trouble holding on to LGBTQ fans.
The only audience Agent Carter seemed to want to actively market itself to was ‘straight white feminist-identifying women who like retro noir sci-fi’ – that’s so specific. Too niche of an audience to attract the kind of audience a network like ABC expects for its prime time shows.
Compare that to How to Get Away With Murder – which has a little something for everyone. Ensemble cast, multiple sexual orientations, multiple cultural backgrounds and ethnicities, people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds – Shonda Rhimes knows how to cast a big net.
Or Brooklyn 99 – similar kinda deal.
Having a one member of a marginalized demographic in a lead role is a novelty. And novelty’s good for getting people to watch your pilot, but it wears off quickly. People come for novelty, but they stay for representation. I don’t mean representation as an abstract concept. I mean people continue watching a show when they find a character that they personally identify with and relate to. The more character variety, the greater the number of audience members who feel consistently well-represented.
Discourse is not killing diversity.
This is a lie networks and showrunners tell fans to scare us into silence. They sabotage their own shows and then blame fans for being “too critical” or “too entitled.”
And we buy this bullshit. We buy it and we sell it to other fans. We write big long essays telling fellow fans to count their blessings and stfu.
Fuck that noise.
This one is about how Blade began this whole superhero movie nonsense, that we all love so much. Yes, I blame Blade too. Frankly, even though I was a big Marvel Comic book reader, I had never even heard of this character before the movie was released, but I’m always gonna stan for that first movie, which still holds up very well to this day, and despite that Wesley Snipes is something of an asshole.
I personally consider Blade, and The Crow, to be two of the Blackest superhero movies of the 90s. (I will fight ‘chu!)
And that’s the real difference between Blade and the superhero franchises that have followed. Blade was never a big-name character in the first place. So there wasn’t a whole lot of retro-geek enthusiasm associated with the character. But more than that, Blade, the film, simply isn’t backwards-looking.
There’s none of the Greatest Generation boosterism that clings to the Captain America franchise, for example. Nor do we get from Blade the home front 50s stay-at-home mom-with-kids meme that pops up incongruously in Age of Ultron when we get to meet Hawkeye’s secret, perfect family.
Instead, Blade is deliberately, defiantly hip. Motherhood isn’t idealized; on the contrary, one of the queasier moments of the film involves Blade ruthlessly offing his feral, incestuously sexual, evil vampire mom. If there is nostalgia, it’s for blaxploitation’s up-to-the-minute cool.
The movie’s first grinding, sweaty, sex-and-blood drenched night club scene hasn’t dated at all. Nor has the Afrocentric incense store where Blade buys his formula fix, nor the black, brotherhood embrace between that store’s owner and the hero. There’s a notable lack of cell phones, of course, and the computer graphics prophesying the coming of the blood god look rather dated. But there’s little question that, as much as it’s able, the film is looking forward not back.
And part of the reason it’s looking forward, I think, is race. Blade—unlike most superhero films—is set in a meaningfully integrated world. That Afrocentric shop suggests, quietly but definitely, that Blade is part of a black community and that that community matters to him. One of his two crime-fighting companions Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright), is also black.
The diverse cast, and the acknowledgement of diverse communities, is part of why the film still feels and looks relevant. Here, after all, is a narrative that was fulfilling the call for more diverse superhero movies before superhero movies were even a thing.
But beyond that, Blade makes clear the extent to which nostalgia and whiteness are inextricably bound together in so much of the superhero genre. Retooling old, old pop-culture heroes means, inevitably, dreaming about white saviors and about a time when white people were the only ones who were allowed to be heroes.
A lot of us have talked a lot about how Blade started the current superhero domination in Hollywood and how current films forget that; and though it’s important to ask what kinds of behind-the-scenes decisions have caused that, I like this analysis about how Blade is fundamentally different from what we’re getting today and how that film is, in many ways, incompatible with today’s Ant-Men and Men of Steel.
Another argument for why HBO’s new idea for a show, Confederate, (about an alternative world in which the South won the Civil War), is a truly bad idea:
I’ve been thinking a lot about Confederate, the upcoming project by the creators of game of thrones. I’m not alone in actively hating the idea for this, but it took me a while to figure out why the idea for this show bothers me so much. Part of it is the current political climate, part of it is the idea being not nearly as new or interesting as the creators think it is (sci fi and fantasy is full of stories about chattel slavery in more modern/technologically advanced societies), and part of it is just me not trusting these two guys with this kind of story.
But what it really comes down to for me is this: even if I could buy that the south won the war, I do not buy that black people, in a majority black country, would be content to live in the only slave-holding society in the world for another 150 years. And the fact that the creators of this show can imagine that says a lot about how they feel about black people and their agency.
Like to put that idea in perspective, black people waged a successful national campaign to end jim crow in a majority white country and it didn’t take them 150 years. Haiti rebelled in 1804, and while we can talk current economic conditions (and how frace is primarily to blame for that), what you can’t say is that chattel slavery exists there now. Like what world are you living in where black people aren’t resourceful, smart or motivated enough to end chattel slavery 150 years after the entire world decided that maybe chattel slavery was doing too much.
The entire premise doesn’t work as alternative history because its not an alternate world, its a complete fantasy – a fantasy where black people are not only subjugated but incapable of taking steps to end that subjugation. And that leads to all the “who is this for” and “why would you do this” questions that smarter people than me have talked a lot about.
And here’s my man, Ta Nehisi Coates, laying it out, in his own very eloquent way, why the writers of Game of Thrones, and HBO, need to catch some hands:
HBO’s Confederate takes as its premise an ugly truth that black Americans are forced to live every day: What if the Confederacy wasn’t wholly defeated?
Of course, any time Black people hold discourse on a subject that directly affects our lives, you’ve got those white people crawling out from under the baseboards, to defend this wtf*ery, because for them Black life is no more than an intellectual exercise, and we should get over it, because it’s messing up their ability to be entertained by our misery.
This is one of the most cogent arguments I’ve ever read against financial inequality. I also had no idea of the history of the game of Monopoly.
We played this game all the time in our house. My Mom was, naturally, the Banker, and we always played it Socialist style, I guess, with everyone getting the same amount of money, and being treated the same, following the same rules. Of course she always won, up until we were teenagers, and started learning more about how to handle money, like how to plan ahead, and how to delay gratification.
Monopoly isn’t maybe the best way to learn about money, but it does teach you something about how financial systems work.
You know what, I’m going to tell you guys a story.
In my Sociology class a few semesters ago, our prof had us break off into groups and, much to our naive joy, began distributing Monopoly boards! We had no idea what was going on but yay! Games! Of course, once our group, and a number of others, got the board we began to work at setting up and distributing the money…
until suddenly our prof told us to put the money down and pick up the dice.
“Roll the dice and sort yourselves from highest to lowest,” our teacher commanded. “Now, the highest number is the upper class. The next one is upper middle class. The next two or three are middle class. The last person is in poverty.“
Well, as the person who rolled a two this was startling and not wholly welcome news.
From that point the game changed entirely. We had to hand out the money so that the “upper class” had this fucking mountain, and then less for upper middle, even less for middle, and I didn’t get any triple digit bills. We would all collect different amounts from passing go as well.
The biggest change though? Going to jail. Upper class didn’t. Period. Upper middle class could go but they only had to stay for one turn or they could immediately pay their way out. Middle class had some pretty easy guidelines for when they could pay to get out. As lower class, it was really easy for me to wind up in jail and REALLY hard to get out. But since I was working with so little money when everyone else had so much I was in jail all the time because there was no “game over”. If I couldn’t pay I had to go to jail for a certain period of time. I had to take out loans with interest I could never pay back just to get out only to wind up back in it again, rolling dice turn after turn hoping to be able to get out.
It was simultaneously the most enlightening and most awful game I had ever played. I was bored and frustrated and a little terrified about it all. And it wasn’t only me. I would never win, I sort of accepted this, but it was amazing how the middle classes reacted as well. They were stressed. Because they were always that close to either being able to one-up the upper class or from crashing into poverty with me. They had to fight constantly just to stay in the middle.
(I should also mention that the upper class player in one group felt so bad for the lower income players that they ended up overhauling their entire game and creating a “socialist” society instead. I’m not sure how our teacher felt about that one.)
Worth stressing this is entirely in the spirit of the original designer’s aims for Monopoly.
Monopoly’s original form of The Landlord Game which was explicitly designed to teach people about the unfairness of rent systems. To quote from the wikipedia entry, just as it’s the easiest source to hand…
Magie designed the game to be a “practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences”.She based the game on the economic principles of Georgism, a system proposed byHenry George, with the object of demonstrating how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants. She knew that some people could find it hard to understand why this happened and what might be done about it, and she thought that if Georgist ideas were put into the concrete form of a game, they might be easier to demonstrate.
When the usual suspects start making “don’t bring politics into games” noises, I roll my eyes pretty hard. They have no idea of the history of the form.
This final topic speaks to the idea of accurate Representation from a Historical perspective. One of my biggest pet peeves is the bigoted argument against diversity and inclusion, in Fantasy media, coupled with the erasure of PoC from Historical narratives, and not just because such an argument is irrelevant to a discussion of Fantasy based world-building.
As an amateur Historian, I’m sick and tired of seeing the argument about Historical accuracy, from the mouths of lazy, sometimes bigoted, individuals, who have done no research, who have only ever gotten their ideas about what History was like, from various movies and TV shows, trying to uphold the pop culture status quo, by saying we don’t belong in Fantasy environments.
I have found that even the most well intentioned people are deeply, deeply, ignorant of History, having gotten most of their ideas about it, from whitewashed movies, television shows, and History classes, in which the contributions (sometimes even the presence) of PoC are erased. When you consider that the vast majority of the world is made up of PoC (Chinese, for example) and that those who are most definitely considered to be “White” Europeans (whatever that may mean) made up only about 11% of the world’s population in 2010, and by 2060 are set to become less than 10% of the world’s population, I find it more than a little hinky that such people would argue for Historical accuracy.
And now we have the Alt-Right attempting to lay claim to this same argument in an attempt to bolster their racist beliefs that PoC contributed nothing to Historical narratives, and that all of the humanity’s major contributions to Literature, Science, and Art, were only done by White men.
Part of the problem is that Historians need to make clear that PoC were History. We were everywhere, not just invented in certain eras, and trotted out when White men needed to conquer somebody. History is far more nuanced and complicated than most people know.
Medievalists, Recoiling From White Supremacy, Try to Diversify the Field
By J. Clara Chan
—-The criticisms of the conference’s diversity stems from problems in medieval studies for decades — that it is still too Eurocentric, male-dominated, and resistant to change. But as the medieval era has become increasingly prevalent in rhetoric used by white supremacists to advocate for a return to racial, ethnic, and religious purity, many nonwhite medievalists are feeling a new urgency to combat the stereotypes that accompany the field.
We invite your thoughts on an exhibition-in-progress at the Getty that addresses the persistence of prejudice as seen through lingering stereotypes from the Middle Ages.
As curators in the Getty Museum’s department of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, we are interested in how books, and museum collections more broadly, can spark dialogues about inclusivity and diversity. Our manuscripts collection at the Getty consists primarily of objects from Western Europe, which can present challenges when trying to connect with a multicultural and increasingly international audience.
We are striving to make connections between the Middle Ages and the contemporary world—connections that may not be immediately evident, but are powerful nonetheless. Museums are inherently political organizations, in terms of the ways that collections are assembled, displayed, and interpreted. This year’s meeting of the Association of Art Museum Curators addressed how institutional narratives and implicit bias can skew ideas of history and culture in ways that exclude minorities and gloss over the shameful aspects of our past. Groups such as the Medievalists of Color, the Society for the Study of Disability in the Middle Ages, the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, and the Society for the Study of Homosexuality in the Middle Ages, among others, are applying similar lines of inquiry, seeking to decolonize and diversify the field of medieval studies. We stand with these groups.
We were also inspired by Holland Cotter’s call to arms, as he exhorted museums to tell the truth about art, “about who made objects, and how they work in the world, and how they got to the museum, and what they mean, what values they advertise, good and bad. Go for truth (which, like the telling of history, is always changing), and connect art to life.”
Here is our description of the exhibition, still in draft form:
Medieval manuscripts preserve stories of romance, faith, and knowledge, but their luxurious illuminations can reveal more sinister narratives as well. Typically created for the privileged classes, such books nevertheless provide glimpses of the marginalized and powerless and reflect their tenuous places in society. Attitudes toward Jews and Muslims, the poor, those perceived as sexual or gender deviants, and the foreign peoples beyond European borders can be discerned through caricature and polemical imagery, as well as through marks of erasure and censorship.
As repositories of history and memory, museums reveal much about our shared past, but all too often the stories told from luxury art objects focus on the elite. Through case studies of objects in the Getty’s collection, this exhibition examines the “out groups” living within western Europe. Medieval society was far more diverse than is commonly understood, but diversity did not necessarily engender tolerance. Life contained significant obstacles for those who were not fully abled, wealthy, Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual, cisgendered males. For today’s viewer, the vivid images and pervasive narratives in illuminated manuscripts can serve as a stark reminder of the power of rhetoric and the danger of prejudice.
“If you don’t know you have a history, it can be hard to believe you have a future.” —-National Museum of Stockholm
James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
*I know I said I wasnt going to say anything more about Iron Fist but hey! I’m not saying all of this! Someone else is saying it so…
Basically Iron Fist was always a problem, and always gonna be a problem, even in the comic books. I love the character that was created in the comics but that doesn’t preclude me from acknowledging that its still the Mighty Whitey Trope. So are a host of other characters I love, from Dr. Strange, to Tarzan, to The Last Samurai. But just because I really like these characters doesn’t make them right, or that we should keep doing it. There are other stories to be told that don’t feature White men in the middle of them. And if you do use the Mighty Whitey trope, you need to at least acknowledge it or say something new about it.
Hi, I am Singaporean Chinese. Yes, Netflix is available here and yes, they are trying to sell this to us.
Secondly: I do read comics, but the whole “he was white in the comics” thing does not fly–see article for context. This is 2017, not 1974.
Thirdly: the creators of Iron Fist were fetishising the heck out of kung-fu movies when they wrote the comic back in 1974. And they are crusty old relics that use the word “Orientals” even though it’s 2017 and they know it’s not the right word (but use it anyway in interviews).
Fourthly: Iron Fist is not one person–it’s a power that is passed onto people that subsequently bear the title. Only two of them have been white. However this is is not important, because they changed almost everything about Danny Rand (and 90% of his backstory and even what the Iron Fist is for) except the bit about him being white. So the less deliberately obtuse understand that this was the most important thing to the writers, directors and producers. Lewis Tan also auditioned for the same role, so most people know that they did not pick the best actor for the job–unless you think white actor = default best lead actor.
Fifth point: this show had awful writing. And that’s even without the Orientalism and pseudo Buddhism. However, this dissection will be focused on this point.
Warning(s): Death, drug overdose, needles, guns, violence (kinda slow violence but still), Orientalism, lazy writing, car crashes, mangling of Mandarin, drugging someone against their will, forced institutionalisation, ableism, plane crashes.
Opening is … eh, kung fu in slow-mo. On a mountain top. With stuff like black ink. Like Chinese calligraphy. Only without any calligraphy. Just the vague aesthetics of calligraphy. *sighs* This is going to be painful.
In the first bit, Danny Rand returns to New York and tries to get into his parents’ company’s building. It goes as well as expected. His ex-childhood buddies treat him like shit. (He doesn’t get shot for assaulting security officers–this article explains why.) He also does not know that people think he’s dead–after 15 years, who would have thought, eh? Action scene was kinda slow. His ex-childhood buddies are also greedy cynical capitalists, so they have no reason to believe him.
I have to stop to ask: Can someone please tell me why this guy is barefoot? Other than bad writing (bad characterisation and bad worldbuilding)? Shoes were invented a long time ago and while a lot of Asians take shoes off when they enter a dwelling, we understand the need to wear shoes outdoors. Someone will no doubt write a fic where Danny gives his shoes up to some other homeless person. But there is no reason why he should be barefoot in that scene.
(How did this guy get to New York anyway?)
Back to Danny Rand, trying to get back into his old place. Ah, his other skill is animal communications or something??? His ex-childhood buddy Ward was a douche way back when. Still is. It gets creepy because Joy lives in this house now, so DR looks like a stalker.
Homeless in the park with DR. Time for him to use his iPod and read a book written in … I can’t make out what language that is but I know what they want me to think it is. (Stereotyping: your mind fills in the blanks with pre-existing scripts. Lazy writing.) Unless someone can tell me that this book is significant in some way later on, I’m going to call it unnecessary window dressing for that “Asian flavour”.
Translation: the original comic creators were crusty old relics that wanked over the aesthetics of 70s kung fu movies and the producers and writers of this show are not much better. I kid–it could be line of poop emojis and we would never know.
In a scene that would have been much nicer without the extra window dressing, DR makes a friend. Big Al shows him Google search on an iPhone so that DR knows that people think he’s dead. His uncle is also apparently dead. The only person to be nice to him the whole day is another homeless person. Maybe we can focus on the plight of the–nope, not going that way.
The next morning, DR is very persistent. Joy feels (rightfully) harassed and calls people. That car-jumping scene was … um. Really extra. Let me try to articulate this, okay? This is 2017, people have access to decades of martial arts movies. (The Matrix was 18 years ago.) The action sequences in this show will compare very badly to those movies. So even people watching this for fight scenes will not be entertained.
First meeting with Colleen Wing, she gives him money and he mangles Mandarin without subtitles (for subtitles please look at gif set exhibit A under the link: white man polices biracial woman’s identity) and she says she hasn’t spoken it since she was a kid (rather than punching him for that). Man, if you wanted a job, you could have said so in English. Why do you suppose Colleen would know how to speak Mandarin?
This is so uncomfortable on so many levels. If magical K’un Lun is not of this world, then why would they speak Mandarin? If it was truly isolated in another dimension, then K’un Lun would have its own distinct dialect, like most regions in China and most countries.So DR speaking (mangling) Mandarin is also BS. (Not even talking about the yoga-like poses in the park.) This would mean so much more if it was Chinese American DR, who was never very good in Mandarin class, and Colleen Wing, who might be able to relate.
Back to the more douchy sibling and DR. Apparently DNA tests cannot be done because Danny has no living relatives. (That’s BS too, btw.) Way to be ableist, Ward. (The only thing I like is that major douches in MCU are named Ward.) However, Danny is not as peaceful as his initial appearance suggests. We get it, he’s traumatised by the deaths of his parents–why does it get expressed as him being rather violent in a car? Apparently he’s not out of touch enough to not know how guns work (or maybe all kids know how to use guns in the US or K’un Lun–I dunno).
More job-hunting in vain. It’s not like it isn’t obvious that a) she practices a totally different school of martial arts in her dojo and b) she doesn’t have the money to pay another instructor. Yes, kick him out, Colleen. That’s what he gets for trying to police a biracial woman’s identity–is he trying to flirt with her? Ew. (Colleen Wing obviously cannot afford to pay DR–her dojo is sharing space with AA meetings. But she gives him shoes. It’s almost as if everyone who is nice to DR in this show are not very well off and–yeah, it’s very unsubtle.)
Then DR gets attacked and chased into Chinatown (while Colleen Wing watches from above). Where a parade is happening. With lion dancers, dragon dancers and fire crackers and everything. But why? Is it Chinese New Year? What is the context for this?Can someone tell me why this is necessary? Or is this a way to claim that this show is diverse because there were something like 100 Asian extras in that scene? Way to endanger the lives of all the people in the parade, DR. Fight scenes are a yawn. Even though the mask DR is wearing in no way hides his curly mop of blond hair in this parade of Asian people–who do not notice the fighting at all.
(I feel that this scene is a metaphor for the whole show.)
On one hand, I hope the extras were paid a reasonable rate and had a good experience. On the other hand, I have a feeling that when it comes to telling the kids about how Mum/Dad/Second Aunt/your Cousin were extras on this show, it would come with the caveat that they shouldn’t try to be actors–because they’ll probably wind up as extras in a show (with not very good fight scenes) that needed a parade of Asian faces for reasons unknown. Representation matters.
(Story time: there were Chinese actors from my tiny state that tried to make it to Hollywood. Shanghai Knights was back in 2003 and Fann Wong is still mostly known as a local actress. Lau in The Dark Knight might still be Ng Chin Han’s biggest role to date in a major movie right after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Currently, he’s got a part in Gh0st in the *hell–not sure if he gets more or less lines than in Captain America. Most parents here still don’t encourage kids to become actors because there’s so little room for them.)
Back to Ward, the more evil sibling who sends people to assassinate homeless dudes–he has reasons for being a terrible person. Reason number one being his dad (supposedly dead but still alive???)–who is probably why Ward is the nice cuddly guy he is. Wow, every baddie has a backstory. Probably affects plot in future. But is anyone interested? (I loved the art deco style building this scene supposedly took place in. Anyone know where it is?)
Remember DR’s one friend? His one friend is now dead of a drug overdose. Why? Maybe Big Al was around for for one Google search, some food and to allow DR to mouth some platitudes over his body? Or to highlight the plight of the homeless by ki–that’s really … really not good storytelling.
Security at Rand Enterprises is dreadful–DR has no problem sneaking in again. (Or maybe it’s that other thing.) Cut to Joy, the nicer sibling. Who is very calm for a woman that’s just found a strange guy in her office (again). Maybe it’s because she might believe him. Or is being swayed by his rhetoric. (”It’s a Zen saying” … gag me with a spoon.) His backstory is taking way too long … So Joy drugs him. I take everything back, she’s just as bad.
DR wakes to … a very troubling scene of forced institutionalisation at the end. As if everything else had not been bad enough.
Plot: It’s all over the place … Not sure if the writers know what DR is supposed to be. He has trauma, tries to be a pacifist but is really angry inside? What is the message here? Wall Street is evil? Problematic portrayals all over the place? The plight of the homeless and people with mental health issues? Not enough women with lines? Colleen Wing needs her own show with Misty Knight!
Orientalism: Check, aesthetics over substance, mangling of Mandarin despite the fact that DR has no reason to be speaking Mandarin, Zen sayings, yoga poses, a huge Chinese New Year-style parade in the background for reasons unknown (oooooooor they just wanted a certain type of backdrop for a not very good fight scene). One East Asian character with lines.
Asians in the background: around 100 of them perhaps, no lines, much firecrackers. Not sure if they were Chinese-American, Korean-American, Japanese American, Hmong-American … because they have no lines.
*Tomato Lacochran just got fired from The Blaze. I had written about this no-nothing twenty something, who had the gall to wag her finger at Black people, about subjects on which she hadn’t done her homework.
Naw! I’m still not calling her empty headed ass by her actual name.
I also kind of thought of her as tofu. She’s the kind of person who has no real thoughts of her own, like an intellectual mimic, she just takes on the flavor of the strongest brain, in her orbit.
*I am loving this analysis of The Hobbits from Lord of the Rings:
6) Tolkien’s hero was average, and needed help, and failed.
This is the place where most fantasy authors, who love to simultaneously call themselves Tolkien’s heirs and blame him for a lot of what’s wrong with modern fantasy, err the worst. It’s hard to look at Frodo and see him as someone extra-special. The hints in the books that a higher power did choose him are so quiet as to be unnoticeable. And he wouldn’t have made it as far as he did without his companions. And he doesn’t keep from falling into temptation.
A lot of modern fantasy heroes are completely opposite from this. They start out extraordinary, and they stay that way. Other characters are there to train them, or be shallow antagonists and love interests and worshippers, not actually help them. And they don’t fail. (Damn it, I want to see more corrupted fantasy heroes.) It’s not fair to blame Tolkien for the disease that fantasy writers have inflicted on themselves. […]
Fantasy could use more ordinary people who are afraid and don’t know what the hell they’re doing, but volunteer for the Quest anyway.
It’s misinterpretation of Tolkien that’s the problem, not Tolkien himself.
The whole point of The Lord Of The Rings… like, the WHOLE POINT… is that it is ultimately the hobbits who save the world. The small, vulnerable, ordinary people who aren’t great warriors or heroes.
Specifically, Sam. Sam saves the world. All of it. The ultimate success of the great quest is 100% due to a fat little gardener who likes to cook and never wanted to go on an adventure but who did it because he wasn’t going to let his beloved Frodo go off alone. Frodo is the only one truly able to handle the ring long enough to get it into Mordor – and it nearly kills him and permanently emotionally damages him – but Sam is the one who takes care of Frodo that whole time. Who makes him eat. Who finds him water. Who watches over him while he sleeps.
Sam is the one who fights off Shelob.
Sam is the one who takes the Ring when he thinks Frodo is dead.
Sam is the one who strolls into Orc Central and saves Frodo by sheer determination and killing any orc who crosses him. (SAM THE GARDENER GOES AND KILLS AN ACTUAL ORC TO GET FRODO SOME CLOTHES LET’S JUST THINK ABOUT THAT). And then Sam just takes off the Ring and gives it back which is supposed to be freaking impossible and he barely even hesitates.
Sam literally carries Frodo on the last leg of the journey. On his back. He’s half-starved, dying slowly of dehydration, but he carries Frodo up the goddamn mountain and Gollum may get credit for accidentally destroying the ring but Sam was the one who got them all there.
Sam saved the world.
And let’s not forget Pippin and Merry, who get damselled out of the story (the orcs have carried them off! We must make a Heroic Run To Save Them!) and then rescue themselves, recruit the Terrifying Ancient Powers through being genuinely nice and sincere, and overthrow Saruman before the ‘real’ heroes even get there.
Let’s not forget Pippin single-handedly saving what’s left of Gondor – and Faramir – by understanding that there is a time for obeying orders and a time for realizing that the boss is bugfuck nuts and we need to get help right now.
Let’s not forget Merry sticking his sword into the terrifying, profoundly evil horror that has chased him all over his world because his friend is fighting it and he’s gonna help, dammit and that’s how the most powerful Ringwraith goes down to a suicidally depressed woman and a scared little hobbit.
Everything the others do, the kings and princes and great heroes and all? They buy time. They distract the bad guys. They keep the armies occupied. That is what kings and great leaders are for – they do the big picture stuff.
But it is ultimately the hobbits who bring down every villain. Every one. And I believe that that is 100% on purpose. Tolkien was a soldier in WWI. His son fought in WWII. (And a lot of The Lord Of The Rings was written in letters to him while he did it.)
And hey, look, The Lord Of The Rings is about ordinary people – farmers, scholars, and so on – who get pulled into a war not of their making but who have to fight not only because their own home is in danger but so is everyone’s. And they’re small and scared but they do the best they can for as long as they can and that is what actually saves the world. Not great heroes and pre-destined kings. Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things because they want the world to be safe for ordinary people, the ones they know and the ones they don’t.
Ordinary people matter. They can save the world without being great heroes or kings or whatever. And that is really important and I get so upset when people miss that because Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli and Gandalf and all the others are great characters and all but they are ultimately a hobbit delivery system.
It is ordinary people doing their best who really change the world, and continue doing so after the war is over because they have to go home and rebuild and they do.
If nothing else, I have to reblog this for the phrase “hobbit delivery system.” So accurate it hurts.
What I love too is how even the foretold king and the assorted great heroes themselves all come to recognize that their main (and by the end, only) role is to distract Sauron. To the point that by the end they’re all gathered up before the black gates of Mordor in order to keep his attention focused on them, with only the hope – not the certainty – that they can buy Frodo whatever remaining time he needs, if he’s even still alive.
One thing the movies left out but has always been such a key part of the books for me was how when the hobbits returned home, they found that home had been changed too. The war touched everywhere. Even with all they did in far-off lands to protect the Shire, the Shire had still been damaged, both property and lives destroyed, and it wasn’t an easy or simplistically happy homecoming. They had to fight yet another battle (granted a much smaller one) to save their neighbours, and then spent years in rebuilding.
*Nick Spencer is the current writer for the Captain America series, which I have not read. Earlier this year, he got into some fandom trouble for revealing Captain America to secretly be a Nazi. Then he put his foot in it again with Sam Wilson. Now I am a huge Sam Wilson fan, although I have not read the Sam Wilson version of Captain America. Apparently, he wrote a scene where a Black man apologizes to a White man for being socially active. And Spencer keeps up this trend of being an old White guy yelling at clouds, by mocking and deriding Social justice activists by creating nasty caricatures of them:
Source: hellotailor@ @*One of the more popular critiques of people who argue for representation, is the idea that they should make their own, which ignores that we do in fact make our own, but when the means of distribution is controlled by Straight White men, its extremely difficult to do this. From Bigskydreaming again, this is a gorgeous essay on how difficult it is to make your own representation, hampered as he is by the gatekeepers of various popular media.bigskydreaming
This shit makes me so mad, not just as a bisexual man, but as a bisexual creator.
Because it wasn’t even a week ago that I talked about a fantasy pilot I’m shopping around town about supernatural teens where the main character was a gay teen boy.
And I got a very well intentioned message about it and how I was likely going to have to make the lead straight if I ever wanted it to have a chance to get picked up by a major network like the CW. And they follow me and know I’m referencing them lol and please know I’m not trying to call you out or anything, because their message was never the problem.
The problem was they’re not wrong. Like, I’m well aware of how this town works, and the limitations it puts on creative content including marginalized characters, let alone REVOLVING around such characters. I’m well aware of how every creative industry is about that, and how audiences and readers are about that.
Even in industries that are supposedly actively seeking out diverse works by marginalized creators, there are still limitations, still quotas. Yeah, the YA publishing industry wants books about teens of color and various sexual orientations, but not TOO many. Trust me, I know. For every book that gets accepted for having a gay lead character, there’s another book that gets rejected because that publishing imprint already has a ‘big’ book coming out with a gay lead character and there’s such a thing as too many of those as far as publishing is concerned. And so every time I see a book getting published by a major imprint about gay characters that isn’t written by a gay author? It fucking hurts, because I know damn well just HOW MANY talented gay writers there are out there desperate to get their stories boosted to wider audiences, marketed by a major publisher….they just got there too late, their spot had already been given away.
I’ve shopped scripts in Hollywood. I’ve had pitch meetings, I’ve sat with people who have the power to buy my scripts and boost them to the next level. And you wanna know what note I get over and over? Too many LGBT+ characters. There’s just too many in my stuff.
There’s something so deeply fucked up and insidious about industries and atmospheres that don’t even bat an eye or show the slightest bit of awareness while telling marginalized creators to limit how much of themselves they pour into their work.
These people, to my face, have made it perfectly clear – they WANT my stories, they WANT my imagination, they WANT my writing….they just don’t want it to look or sound too much like ME, the person behind the story, the person who dreamed it up…..because apparently that just makes it too damn hard to market it to anyone who isn’t just like me.
Since I was a kid, I’ve heard it over and over – you want better representation, make it yourself. And its like yo, fuckwads, we’re fucking TRYING over here. But even when we do, you keep putting limits on it, or telling us you only had the budget to give one or two stories about marginalized characters a chance and oh wait, you already spent that money on straight white men telling these stories for us.
Except those stories? Not written by us? That’s how you end up with the homophobic version of MISERY, with tons of visibility and all the things actual LGBT+ creators would kill to have for their stories about LGBT+ characters….and its not just that the story exists. Its not just the knowledge that something that fucking eroticizes homophobic torture porn has thousands of fans. It’s the awareness that the visibility of THAT piece of work actually detracts from the visibility of actual LGBT+ creators’ work, because hate to say it, but marginalized works ARE still very much a zero sum game.
And to be perfectly clear, its not that you have to be of a specific identity to write a realistic representation of that identity. No, that’s an excuse that people who don’t want to put in the work to do just that love to fall back on, but like. Research. Educate yourself. Put in the time. Put in the effort. You can absolutely represent anyone realistically.
The problem with marginalized works being created primarily by people of non-marginalized identities isn’t in their ABILITY to represent non straight white male identities realistically. The problem is with PRIORITIES.
Because guess what? I’m greedy. I don’t just want to see more bisexual characters on TV. I don’t just want to see a realistic depiction of someone like me, if that means they’re just as likely to get hurt or abused or killed off like the straight characters there just so happen to be twenty replacements for, already to go, just waiting in the wings.
If that was all that mattered, like, I’d sink my money into making a Where’s Waldo book with a gay or bi character on every page and just print those up and hand them out on street corners.
But realistic representation is great and all, but its still not the only thing. There’s nothing realistic about decades and decades of stories where it just so happens that coincidentally, the straight white male character always gets what he wants out of the story even as the black character dies first, the gay character sleeps around but never finds true love, and the disabled character is inspirational, but not much else.
No, representation isn’t just about being able to point at the screen and go, there I am, that’s me, he’s just like me. It’s about getting to see characters like you get everything the other characters get.
It’s about seeing the gay and bi characters get to be the heroes, to save the universe. To be put in life-threatening situations and ESCAPE in spite of the odds, to live to fight another day. To have love triangles and options instead of being paired up with the only other gay character onscreen by default. THAT is what true representation is. Anything less than what straight white audiences take for granted is still just half-assing it.
And as for marginalized works still being a zero sum game, well, you can tell me they’re not, that there’s plenty of room for everyone. The internet is a big place. Yup, yup. It is. Its so big, in fact, that shockingly enough, things like funding and budgets and marketing departments and publisher backing and corporate sponsorship and name recognition all make a difference between you producing content that people can find and enjoy and boost and you just shouting into the void.
Don’t tell me that marginalized works aren’t a zero sum game when I have literally sat in meetings with people who are perfectly conciliatory when explaining that sorry, this is just the way the world/industry/game works.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. This is just me ranting, this isn’t me saying anything that any and all marginalized creators don’t already know for themselves and its certainly not going to do anything to change the minds or priorities of the people who have the most power to do something about this in the shortest span of time.
I know this is essentially me shouting sour grapes into the void. And yeah, I’m perfectly aware that the grapes here are very sour, that I am absolutely 100% bitter about seeing works with shit or even actively harmful marginalized representation get prioritized over the works of actual marginalized creators when it comes to resources, visibility, acclaim.
But just cuz I’m bitter while I’m saying it, doesn’t make what I’m saying untrue.
*There is a huge argument on Twitter involving those who revere Kylo Ren from the Star Wars movies and people calling them out on this. It also involves shipping, and the idea that Kylo Ren fans engage in racism against Finn, to prop up their White male villain:
(Sorry if this submitted twice. For some reason it showed up on my own blog and I was confused.)
I think a huge problem is the lack of diversity in the casting of characters I call “the delicious villain.” When I was little, I used to watch soap operas with my mom, and there were always those “bad boy” characters who were absolutely the villains of the shows, but who were also absolutely known for their sex appeal.
We see these characters in mainstream cinema in the likes of Loki, the Joker, Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera, Jack Ripner (Red Eye), Spike (Buffy), etc. Is there some internalized misogyny at play that attracts us to these characters? Probably. But we have to acknowledge the popularity of these characters nevertheless, and we can’t ignore the fact the that they are all white.
We have to question why POC aren’t cast as “the delicious villain.”
We have to question whether we would woobify Kylo Ren if he were played by a POC.
Characters like Kylo Ren can actually be fascinating because they are villains that are written with a touch of humanity (Kylo Ren still feels a pull to the light) unlike the Darth Vader-type villains who are there simply to evoke fear. There is no reason not to cast POC in these roles except for the inherent racism that blinds white audiences to the humanity of anyone who isn’t white.
I’m posting this for the excellent clapback against critics of what used to be called “Political Correctness”, but now, in an effort to try insulting Black people in a different way, is now called “Identity Politics”.
The other day on Twitter, a man posted a picture of my coloring book he’d given his daughter for Christmas. He was excited to give her a coloring book full of badass intersectional feminists. He wanted to thank me for creating it.
“I don’t know,” chimed in a random stranger (because Twitter), “Sounds like identity politics to me.”
Hell yeah it does.
“Identity Politics” is now thrown about as an insult at many progressive activists. Critics say that Identity Politics make everything about gender, everything about sexuality, and everything about race. And to this I say: yes, yes, and hell yes.
Call it what you want. I don’t care. Complain that we’re making shit about race — you know what? We are. Complain that we’re keeping the left from focusing only on class — yup, and proudly so. Complain all you want because I am not and will never be ashamed of focusing on the politics of identity. I will not feel a moment’s guilt for slowing this whole train down to make sure that everyone can get on and we’re on the right track. I will proudly own up to making shit hard for you.
Thank god for Identity Politics.
You know why? Because you know what we had before Identity Politics? I’ll tell you.
We had White Dudes.
We had white dudes as the pinnacles of power. We had white dudes on all our TV screens, we had white dudes reporting all our news, we had white dudes writing all our books. Sometimes they were accompanied by attractive white ladies (as all the white dudes were straight). But mostly, we had white dudes.
And if you were not a white dude? You didn’t exist. Laws were not written for you, infrastructure was not built for you, history was not written about you. You did not exist in film, television, or novels. You were not a part of the American dream.
And do you know what has been changing all of that? Do you know what has been saving this country from the monotony and tyranny of white, cis, heterosexual dudes? Identity Politics.
Identity Politics are everything that its critics fear. Identity Politics are decentralizing whiteness, straightness, cis-ness, and maleness. Identity Politics brought you equal marriage, the voting rights act, and abortion access. Identity Politics has got people believing that black is beautiful, that disability is nothing to be ashamed of, that fat people deserve respect, that a woman can say no. Identity politics are forcing the world to consider what it has spent hundreds of years ignoring — everyone else.
Without Identity Politics, we wouldn’t all get along better, we’d just cease to exist. And know, that is primarily what those who decry Identity Politics want. They want the world of the past, where we existed in the shadows, where they never had to consider race or gender, because everything was only about their race and gender. They want a world where nobody raised a hand and said “what about me,” because the only people allowed in the room were those whose needs had already been meet. They want the simplicity and power that comes with being the default.
So yes, Identity Politics are the threat to both the right and the left that its enemies are making it out to be. Because our system is still mostly white dudes, on both sides of the aisle. Their fear isn’t wrong; Identity Politics do threaten their way of life and their idea of progress and unity. Identity Politics will tear down everything they have built because everything they have built is oppressive and exclusionary and wrong.
We are not going back to a time where we were overlooked, dismissed, invalidated, and discounted. We are not going back to not existing. Our Identity Politics are here to stay.
And some Introvert stuff:
Just some of my various readings around the Internet last week.
*This person hit the nail right on the head. I had been wondering why out of all the female Ghostbusters, that it was Leslie who got attacked. This man is right in that the a**holes who came after her, thought they could get away with attacking, what they thought, was the weakest link, the one person that no one would defend or care about. They didn’t plan that Black women would stan for Leslie, the way we did. Their mistake was in thinking no one would have each her back, because they perceive the rift between Black and White women to be a rift between ALL women. I’m so proud of black women for doing this.
*I laughed too hard at this one. Its so true, but its still a little confusing how I would die, as a member of several different fandoms
In The Flesh: first to go, tried to befriend the zombies
Welcome to Nightvale: second to go, purposefully became zombies
Sherlock: got fed to zombies by other fandoms for being a know it all prick all the time
Doctor Who: caught and eaten by the Hannibal fandom during an argument among themselves
Torchwood: died avenging Doctor Who fandom’s death
Hannibal: mistaken for zombies while eating someone and killed by Supernatural fandom
Marvel: dies being unnecessarily heroic
DC: dies trying to prove they could survive the thing Marvel died doing
Homestuck: sacrificed to hoard as a distraction
Star Wars: killed by Star Trek in the midst of peace negotiations
Star Trek: killed by one of their own, sick of how much everyone hates Voyager
Harry Potter: eaten by zombie after they attempted to defend themselves with a spell
Supernatural: almost survived the whole thing before sacrificing themselves under the belief they’d come back
Walking Dead: survived the whole thing
*What happens with a shallow reading of Civil War is that Tony looks like a sympathetic character.
Once you look beneath the surface of the movie you understand that Tony comes across as a first-class dick.
These guys looked beneath the surface. And what catalyzed them apparently, was that scene I mentioned in a similar post, where Tony strikes out at my boy Sam, for Vision’s mistake. They caught a little bit more than I did, because at no point afterward does Tony chastise Vision for what happened to Rhodey, (I was expecting that, too.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still crazy about Civil War but Tony is not the good guy in this movie and is gettin’ no love from me. I liked him alright in Iron Man 3, but in Civil War, Tony is one of is a bad guy.
It’s been months and I’m still not over tony blasting sam when he was just trying to help after rhodey fell, but giving vision no type of slack for being the one to miss his shot. rhodey is paralyzed because vision wasn’t paying any fucking attention to what he was doing. in the hospital scene tony doesn’t even look like he’s mad at vision and in the end of the movie we don’t even get to see rhodey show any emotions about his new condition like the narrative still tries to make us feel bad for tony even though rhodey is sitting there fucking paralyzed.
This was a fundemental problem with the movie. Rhodey wasn’t a character in that moment, he was a plot device to further make the audience feel bad for Tony (similar to how he recent death in Civil War II was a plot device to instigate the “war” between Carol and Tony). Tony’s story in Civil War, I feel, can be summed up as “please feel bad for him” so that the audience wouldn’t turn on him for opposing Steve in his own movie. Rhodey suffered because of this.
He was reduced to a shock value moment where he was shot down and paralyzed so that the audience would have yet another reason to feel bad for Tony Stark. There’s next to no follow up for this except for Tony’s perspective on the course of events and the fact he doesn’t even hold the person responsible (Vision) responsible for it because the movie is so concerned with half developing the romance between Wanda and Vision and didn’t want to make Vision the bad guy.
So Sam pays the price (by getting shot out of the blue by Tony for doing nothing wrong) to showcase just how upset Tony is, and Rhodey pays the price to provide one more thing for the audience to pity Tony for. It’s extremely frustrating that two good and under utilized black characters were essentially used to further the emotional story of a white character.
A hijab-wearing Muslimah headlining a show in a primetime slot on BBC One is so so bloody awesome. Such a warm, genuine and lovely woman too. Chronicles of Nadiya is only the best comfort-viewing ever. Pumpkin cake and all.
– is now unavailable Wednesday nights –
Just funny pictures from Tumblr. The irony of Obama blaming himself for his own easily solved cookie problem …
*Here, have some more Obama: The caption for this would be, Representation Matters!
White people act like people of color made themselves into stereotypes, as if they didn’t fabricate, spread these lies, and sabotage groups of people to make these lies “true” lmao. Disprove stereotypes my ass. They’re never been proven. They’re based on lies. Maybe y’all should stop being gullible pieces of crap just to make yourselves feel superior.
We shouldn’t have to tip toe around, pretend to be something we’re not, or teach our children to act a certain way just because y’all are liars, and on top of that, won’t let go of your willfully ignorant views.
Bigsky is now my new favorite poster. When you have other White people coming for ya’, ya’ know you need to fix your shit.
Telling oppressed people they can’t hate their oppressors is tantamount to saying they can’t be angry about their oppression or have an emotional reaction to their trauma.
It’s an insistence that they never require accountability from those perpetuating oppression.
It’s a stark demand that they centre the feelings of the oppressor group above their own emotional needs.
Stop telling victims not to hate their bullies and start telling bullies to back off. Because when you tell the victims that they need to respect the bully’s feelings more than their own? You become a bully too.
*This has been this way since before the Civil War, when rich White men created White supremacy to keep other White people in line. White supremacy wasn’t necessarily created to keep slaves in line (that was just one of its many purposes), we were already where rich people wanted us to be: enslaved. But the wealthy also needed a way to keep from being overpowered by poor whites who had left their home countries, fleeing the wealthy people who kept them down there, and who might decide to team up with the slaves to overturn the status quo, here.
One way to hold off the rebellions, that occurred in other countries, was to get poor White people to do the work of keeping themselves down, by taking the wealthy White men’s side, against people they considered lower on the totem pole than them: Blacks, Natives, and Mexicans.
People from impoverished countries have enough of an incentive to succeed in the world : Not wanting to be poor!
White girls realizing white isn’t supreme after all. #Love it!
The fact that she basically said that they look like men…😒😒😒
They thought way too highly of themselves and finally stepped out of their mediocre environments to realise they’re not all that good.. So they end up blaming their poor performance on 3 amazing and hardworking African athletes.
Step your pussy up.
It’s ironic how white people have literally held black people back for so long that they really convinced themselves they’re naturally better than us, and they STILL hold us back at every chance and cheat us and give themselves unfair advantages
And we–even after all the stumbling blocks and unnecessary hurdles they put in front of us–we are STILL as good as they are
And without those hurdles we are BETTER because we always have to try harder just to get ANYTHING.
(This is what happens when you don’t let your competitors enter the race AT ALL for years, and you get complacent and convince yourself you MUST BE the best. And then the training wheels come off and you have to face someone who has had to work ten times as hard to get to where you are and you CANNOT COPE.)
Let’s repeat that last one:
(This is what happens when you don’t let your competitors enter the race AT ALL for years, and you get complacent and convince yourself you MUST BE the best. And then the training wheels come off and you have to face someone who has had to work ten times as hard to get to where you are and you CANNOT COPE.)
*Here’s some Misty Knight fax:
ART IMITATING (BLACK WOMEN IN) LIFE: MISTY KNIGHT’S GLOW UP AND BLACK LOVE ON TOP
Once again, the discussions on Tumblr break it down, regarding the rules and regulations of intersectional femininity, and race.
My thoughts on being a person of color in Hollywood: nicolebyer:
The New York Times asked me to write about being a person of color in Hollywood. I wrote it but they didn’t like what they read I guess??? I say that because they decided not to run it. But I think I actually wrote something good. Thank you to my dear friend Madeline Walter for proofreading and editing it. Have a read will ya?
Hmmmmm… oh boy. Imagine my surprise when I opened an email and saw that the New York Times wanted to know my opinion on being a person of color working in Hollywood. To me, that sentence is a crazy sentence. Like my life is crazy and the fact that I am working in Hollywood is crazy. Also my friends barely want my opinion on anything, and the New York Times is, like, a news source that intellectuals in coffee shops read.
But, down to the actual question that has been posed to me… what is it like being a person of color working in Hollywood? Well I’ll tell you, it’s a real roller coaster, because not only am I a person of color, but I am a woman and an overweight one at that. I’m like the least traditionally fuckable of all the women you could gather and put on TV/film. Now you’re probably thinking, “OH NICOLE! DON’T SAY THAT ABOUT YOURSELF! EVERY BODY IS A BEAUTIFUL BODY!” That’s a very nice thing for you to shout at me, but I already know that. I love who I am right now, and I’m not the one who’s telling myself I’m unfuckable. It gets beaten into my brain from audition notices that say, “looks like a linebacker”…“woman who is fat and disgusting but still somehow has sex”… “fat black waitress”… “hooker”… “black bus driver.” A lot of under-five characters I would audition for don’t even have names. Instead, they’re named by their race, body type and/or profession. They’re not given real names, which to me, means they’re not viewed as real people. Which is super helpful, ‘cause, you know, in case I forget what I look like, some cool writer or casting director will remind me.
Also, I’ve done a handful of voiceover and on-camera jobs where I’ve been asked to “be blacker.” Which is code for be sassier, more ghetto, more neck rolls and snaps. I even wrote and shot a video about it with some dear friends (please take a break from this and YouTube it). A lot of the time I wouldn’t know where my next paycheck was coming from, so I would just sass it the fuck up when someone asked me to. That’s not to say that being sassy isn’t fun. It is… just not when it’s asked of you everywhere you go. Because you start to feel that nobody cares what else you have to offer. Now before you think, “Nicole, nobody escapes typecasting,” I say, “Oh fuck you, take a nap, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Typecasting is a thing, but when it involves race, it narrows the roles available down to an almost comically small amount.
On the flip side (told you it was a roller coaster), now I do get to audition for things that are not defined by race. I’m very lucky that in most of my jobs now, I’m able to just be a “funny person” as opposed to a “funny black person.” I perform at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where my race and gender are rarely pointed out. I just worked on a new sketch show for Fox called “Party Over Here,” where sketches were written for me because of my funny and not my race. MTV’s “Girl Code” was one hundred percent me… that show allowed me to really fine tune my comedic voice. Now, I’m currently writing and about to star in my own scripted show for MTV, where race and gender play a role but are not the star. Maybe you’ll see me take off a wig or get my brown makeup on the cheek of a white person and then discreetly try to rub it off without them noticing… I mean, you guys, there are so many funny (and some not funny) stories that people of color can tell without race having to be mentioned overtly.
You know, I think Viola Davis really hit a home run with “And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
I constantly see shows that seemingly have diversity but fail to realize that you don’t have to hide people of color in the background and in under-five roles. You can give them fully three-dimensional characters who return in multiple (dare I say all?) the episodes in a season.
So, when I think about being a mildly successful person of color in Hollywood, I think that change IS happening. If you look at me on paper, I shouldn’t have the things I have. I should thank Queen Latifah, Gabourey Sidibe, and Monique for being trailblazers by not adjusting their bodies to industry standards. Their careers have made it easier for me to exist in this world. Also changing what the standard is; is hard. Maybe now you’re thinking, “Nicole shouldn’t the best person get the job, regardless of race or gender?” Yeah, they should, but in this business, “best” is subjective, and people tend to like what they know. And more times than not, it’s a bunch of old white men making the decisions. If you’re white, you know white… which isn’t on purpose, it’s just embedded in our heads. Systemic racism/preferential treatment is real, and it’s something I could go on forever about but, my friends, I have a word limit.
Listen, I don’t wish we existed in a colorblind society, because what a boring fucking world that would be. Also, saying you’re colorblind is essentially taking the color away from people, just lumping everyone together into one big beige ball. I don’t ever want to be just a basic bitch lumped together with a bunch of other basic bitches in one big basic bitch beige ball. I want to wave my color proudly. I want to bring my color and background to the table, because it makes life/entertainment more interesting. And, I want people to embrace differences and maybe step outside of their comfort zones. I know I think we just as people in entertainment and in life need to be inclusive… I don’t know. I hope that wasn’t too ramble-y.
Okay bye bye!
I agree. Both the casting directors and writers need to be taken to task for their shameless inability to use their imaginations in creating roles for people outside the straight, white cis-gender male gaze.)
An this is another excellent article about Sleepy Hollow and the importance of representation for WoC, From The Mary Sue:
Spoilers for all of Sleepy Hollow to follow.
“Ichabod, everything we’re striving for here, fighting with our dying breath to create for this country a free land of opportunity for all Miss Abigail Mills represents. She is the American dream.”—Benjamin Franklin 2×18: Tempus Fugit
If someone had told me that in 2016 Bonnie Bennett would be practically leading The Vampire Diaries and Abbie Mills would be dead on Sleepy Hollow, I would have called them a liar. Abbie was safe—she was the main character on a FOX show with a huge cult following!—and despite the writing failures, there was no denying that Abbie was important to the show. Then she was killed off, and I was forced to realize that there was no safety.
Throughout science fiction and fantasy there have been female characters of color, but many have been either hated (Doctor Who’s Martha Jones), sidelined (BBC Merlin’s Gwen), or just never allowed to real their full potential (Teen Wolf’s Kira Yukimura). There are others that exist, but on smaller shows on cable television: Z Nation,Hunters, Dark Matter, and Killjoys, to name a few.Sleepy Hollow held the hopes of a huge population of black fans who were looking for a place on a major network in genre television.
The announcement of Nicole Beharie as the lead actress of Sleepy Hollow was exciting, but I remember that year was also the year Elementarycame out and there was a lot of joy about seeing more women of color leading a show that wasn’t written by Shonda Rhimes (she can’t do everything y’all). In season one, despite a few pitfalls, the show really balanced out its core cast and the intense chemistry between Ichabod and Abbie (Ichabbie) is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen. Not only was there Abbie, but she had a sister, Jenny; and Frank Irving was a black male character in power who was kind, wise and had a family of his own. We had multiple layered POC and it was excellent.
Then in season two, they began to bring the foolishness.
Abbie, Jenny, and Frank took a back seat to the Crane Family Viewing Hour and we were treated to the angst of Ichabod’s relationships with his wife Katrina and evil son-demon, Jeremy aka Henry aka Horseman of War. Slowly but surely Abbie’s narrative dwindled into a single episode that was totally centered around her, “Mama,” and while we were shown a tiny sliver of what the show could be, it returned to assuming that the only way it would prosper is by Crane leading the path. Even though people kept talking about how important Abbie was to the show.
People were screaming for more Abbie at the end of season two and not just screen time, we wanted Abbie to have a life. Despite living in Sleepy Hollow her whole life Abbie had not one friend to go to. With the exception of her sister, Jenny, Abbie was denied having real outside relationships with anybody throughout her run. That was despite the immense thirst coming from: Hawley aka Worst, Andy aka Cho-tastic, Random Angel Guy who never came back, Hot Camera Guy who never came back, and Ichabod Crane himself. Meanwhile not only did Ichabod have his relationships at the very forefront of the show, he was allowed to have friendships and his random knowledge almost always led to the resolution of the story’s main mystery.
But, like a thirsty man in the desert, fans hoped beyond hope that season three would be different. With Katrina dead and Hawley gone it was time for Abbie (and Jenny) to get their screen time back. Then everything changed when Betsy Ross appeared.
Betsy Ross will go down, in my humble opinion, as one of the stupidest things this show did. For a show that was celebrated in season one for its diversity, it continued to peel back its characters of color and add the most irrelevant white characters they could dust up. Betsy Ross was the cream of the crop, second only to Hawley, in being a huge waste of time. Plus, guess who got a relationship story again? Oh that’s right: Ichabod. One in the past with Betsy, and one in present day with a colonial history-buff Zoe.
What was Abbie’s storyline? Well, she got sucked into a tree once. After being brought back into reality with help from Ichabod, Abbie did have a fairly good storyline dealing with her PTSD from being in a world devoid of time, but even that in the larger picture was too little too late. Even her eventual relationship with Daniel, her boss and former flame, got very little development and the timeline itself is wonky at best.
Then after all that, she died since she “served her purpose” by helping Ichabod. Excuse me while I go scream into my pillow.
Abbie’s death isn’t upsetting just because she died, but because the show really thinks it can survive without her. The actress wanted to leave, and rightly so, considering the material she was getting, but that is the problem—the story made her want to leave. Sleepy Hollow, whether itwants to admit it or not, got its fanbase because of diversity and because of viewers who enjoyed seeing Abbie Mills as the lead characters. There are people who, despite the poor second season, still stuck with the show because they wanted to see Nicole as Abbie Mills.
Let us not forget that during the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. asked actress Nichelle Nichols to stay on Star Trek because of what her image meant to black female viewers. The sad reality is that hunger, that need to see ourselves, still exists in media and with every step forward, there are several steps back that only reinforce the need to see the few that do it well survive.
As a black woman I don’t just want Empire andBlack-ish. We don’t want television that people assume is just “for us,” we want to be a part of stories that people have assumed we have no place in.
Abbie Mills was supposed to be our Buffy, our Scully. Not because black women or other women of color don’t enjoy those characters, but it means something to see a woman who is brown and beautiful and smart be on screen, being called “The American Dream” in a world that constantly questions your humanity. Abbie Mills held in her the hopes and possibilities of what a dark skinned black woman could be on a network sci-fi show. And it failed.
Sleepy Hollow reinforced the expendability that black bodies are in genre television, and proved that protagonist protection does not extend to us. As I watch shows like Elementary, Wynonna Earp,Killjoys, and Z Nation that have non-white characters as “leads,” I fear for their safety constantly.
We are not safe. Not in this world or others. I mourn Abbie Mills and as I look at my old television flame, The Vampire Diaries, I just keep hoping that Bonnie Bennett will make it out alive because I need someone to.
Princess Weekes is a full-time writer, part-time Barista originally from Brooklyn, but camping out in Queens, NY. When she isn’t catching up on Netflix or stressing about student loans, she reads about dead white royality. She runs a small YouTube Channel under the username Melina Pendulum and hopes to someday finish that novel. Find her on Twitter orYoutube.
As a black woman I don’t just want Empire and Black-ish. We don’t want television that people assume is just “for us,” we want to be a part of stories that people have assumed we have no place in.
Abbie Mills was supposed to be our Buffy, our Scully. Not because black women or other women of color don’t enjoy those characters, but it means something to see a woman who is brown and beautiful and smart be on screen, being called “The American Dream” in a world that constantly questions your humanity. Abbie Mills held in her the hopes and possibilities of what a dark skinned black woman could be on a network sci-fi show. And it failed.
*(Editor’s Note: Yes, I’m still grieving over the loss of Abbie Mills. I will never forgive Fox for this. And I should have known better after the cancelation of Now and Again, and Firefly. I’ve been burned by Fox too many times to ever trust them again. Abbie was one of the primary reasons I started this blog, and one of my first posts was about her existence in the genre. My statement still stands, as important as ever:
WoC like to have adventures, too.
Its so sad that the PTB, can’t see beyond the white male narratives they like, to the idea that ALL the other people who exist in this world, want to see reflections of themselves that don’t tear them down and break them up .
This is why representation behind the scenes is so incredibly important. Its extremely obvious that the white, middle class, straight men, who run these systems, cannot/will not see beyond their own whiteness. If whiteness is universal, then how hard is it to apply the universality of their emotions to other people? To understand that PoC, LGBT, Latinx, and others fantasize about many of the same things they do, (being beautiful, being powerful, loved, and special,) and make us part of the narrative as something more than ” expendable help”. But what’s really sad is, not only are our lived experiences not safe, we aren’t even allowed to have fantasies where we are safe from harm.
Not Your Asian Ninja: How the Marvel Cinematic Universe Keeps Failing Asian-Americans
Daredevil’s second season was great—except for the endless Asian stereotyping. When will the Marvel Cinematic Universe wake up?
I liked Daredevil Season 2 a lot. I didn’t like it quite as much as Season 1, but it was always going to be impossible to find someone to live up to Vincent D’Onofrio’s take on Wilson Fisk (who still effortlessly steals the few scenes he gets this season). But the writing and the acting for Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, is compelling as hell, enough to spark a lively debate about the appeal of vigilante justice and gun violence in American culture.
The tangled, messy web of corruption behind the death of the Punisher’s family, the complicity of the state and the media in creating him, his turnaround in becoming a criminal defendant in the Trial of the Century, and the moral ambiguity of Castle’s past as a soldier who exposes the American public’s hypocrisy by bringing the brutal logic of the overseas War on Terror stateside—that’s all great stuff.
The news ripped the Band-Aid over the still-sore wound that the movie, produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, and Heroes’s Masi Oka, will star Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley. In case you couldn’t tell by the names, both actors are white. Like, very white.
Among the chorus of voices decrying the latest case of Hollywood whitewashing was Asian-American actor and Death Note fan, Edward Zo, who brought both a personal and insider perspective on the situation.
His video, Racist Hollywood?, has been seen almost 57,000 times and in it, he speaks in detail about how his excitement over news of the adaptation quickly turned to ash when he found out he wouldn’t be “the right fit.”
“Through the grapevine, I was told to my face that they were not looking to see Asian actors for the role of Light Yagami,” he said.
I feel about this issue, the same way I feel about Asian Representation in Hollywood. It is not Black People’s job to fight for other people’s representation. It is other culture’s job to speak up and let Hollywood know they are dissatisfied with their treatment, and only they know how they would like to be depicted onscreen.
My mom has a saying, “A closed mouth does not get fed.” If Latinx people are upset about their treatment in media, they need to let the PTB know it, and why. Don’t yell at black people about it. We’re not the ones who make such decisions. Tell those who can do something about it.
Black people have enough to do fighting our own battles, we cant fight everyone else’s too. But what we can do is support Latinx/Hispanic actors and signal boost any messages Latinx want to send out into the world. If you put yourselves out there, we got your back. We can do that.)
I think y’all should be grateful that you get to see black actors in MCU because I’m latina and there’s literally no Latino/a characters in MCU. Like none.
Don’t do this. Things like this are why solidarity is largely a myth.
1. Who is “y’all?”
2. We *are* grateful and excited, that’s why my Black ass was in a theater watching a Captain America movie I couldn’t give less of a fuck about precisely because T’Challa was in it.
3. Black people don’t have to settle for mere existence. When we *are* represented, it needs to be positive and respectful. I don’t have to sit back and let folks potentially shit on the legacy and importance of Wakanda AND Black women bc “oh well at least Massa let us have a movie, I’s best ta behave.” Nah, miss me with the bs.
4. It is definitely fucking wrong and egregious that the MCU doesn’t have any Latinx characters, but if you wanna send anonymous messages about it, you should send them to someone who can do something about it, like, idk, the white folks writing the scripts and comics who are responsible for the overwhelming whiteness of superheroes. Messaging Black folks who are demanding that Black characters are treated with respect to tell them to “be happy with the scraps you got” is not productive and is antiblack. Latinx characters not existing is in no way shape or form the fault of Black people or existing Black characters.
5. That you are implying that I need to stop complaining and just be happy Black characters exist instead of fighting alongside me to make sure Black characters get the respect they deserve is proof positive that you aren’t here for solidarity.
6. I’m here for all people of color getting representation. Message me when you start campaigning for the inclusion of Latinx characters and I’ll be right there with you. But as long as you are on this antiblack nonsense, stay out of my inbox.
I’m not in support of “Keep white people out of the black panther movie” because I do not want Black Panther to be written off as just a black character IE since he’s for black people only I don’t have to empathize with him. He’s off to the side away from my favs.
No. I want black kids to feel proud and I also want white kids to grow up in an a film environment where their heroes don’t have to look like them to be heroes basically how all minorities have to watch films anyway.
I am in support of “Don’t let white people overrun the film” but a small cameo like Sam Wilson in Ant-man would be alright with me.
There are hundreds of all white movies without a single solitary character of colour. Hollywood is still erasing us from our own films; Asian people aren’t even allowed to play Asian characters. Hollywood is still portraying us as stereotypes.
We have no problems empathising with white people without seeing ourselves represented. If they’re going to write t’challa off as “just a black character” because there aren’t any prominent white people in the movie, they’re racist period point blank. There’s absolutely no reason we should keep having to accommodate whiteness when white people already have everything. Stop giving white people the impression that they absolutely need to be represented in marginalised spaces in order to empathise with people of colour. This is the type of thinking that leads to all white dystopian films where white people are the ones being oppressed.
I’m not adverse to relevant non black characters being in it (i.e. I wouldn’t mind seeing Steve or Bucky in a cameo, I’d have a blast if they showed up) but I don’t subscribe to the idea that we owe white people representation under the assumption that they won’t know how to relate to us without a white body on screen. They’re more than capable of relating to us without having to use a white body as a proxy, they just choose not to because that’s how racism works. They can deal with it just like we do in pretty much every other film.
Remember that whole brouhaha over queer baiting, with shows constantly teasing Queer representation, without ever promising to follow through, just to keep certain shippers watching a show (although now, they seem to have exchanged that bait and switch tactic with bait and kill). Well, this is the same thing only its called “race baiting”. It’s a common tactic where shows claim, and sometimes even promise diversity, start those first couple of seasons with a very diverse cast, and over the years, slowly whittle out all the PoC , replacing them with white males. Heroes did it, (they were a lot more subtle about it), The Walking Dead still can’t keep any black men in its cast, and Sleepy Hollow clumsily, stupidly, engaged in this practice.