Q:Hey I totally agree that there should be more POC princesses but it simply doesn't make sense to make Merida Hispanic or Elsa African. Just like it wouldn't make sense for someone to make Pocahontas white. Like it has everything to do with background and nothing to do with racism. I think it would be totally awesome if the next princess was a POC but I also want to watch a good movie so I want the background to match aswell. Like maybe a cool Spanish folk tale or something. That would be great!
Except Pocahontas is a real freaking person who actually existed and lived and Elsa is a fictional story that could literally be set anywhere in the world and still make sense.
Not really… places that are cold generally have people with fairer skin because they receive less direct exposure to the sun. With like the exception of Eskimos. That’s why POC generally live closer to the equator because their darker pigmentation is better adjusted to the amount sunlight their skin receives. So unless you set the story in a more modern time era, it wouldn’t make sense to make the characters of Frozen of darker skin tones.
(Also did you fail to notice that the winter in Frozen is *gasp* because of magic gone wrong??? A situation that could happen anywhere?!?! And doesn’t need to be set in a cold climate???)
A topic I can relate with, “you dont look latino” A born—with identity people want you to try out for…
People have always been eery about what “i am”. To me, i am just the darkest person in my family; so I think nothing of it. I always like to have people guess, the ignorant ones assume. The responsive have been:
Chinese. Korean. Philippine. Japanese. Colombian. Dominican. Saudi Arabian. Indian(India). Puerto Rican Guatemalan and Spanish?? Hondurian and Spanish? Italian?? The list grows everyday. I don’t walk up to people and ask them what they are?? So… What’s up?? People wait until its one on one. I HATE that people assume my “best qualities” MUST HAVE came from Europe…. Not even slightly!!
I love to dance and I will be out dancing ( because I’m at salsa) and someone will say, “Oh a gringa doesn’t dance like that, you MUST be Latina.”…
I am Cherokee and Creek Indian, African from the Americas and Cuban. All of it at the same time, not in pieces, or in blood quantum. I am who I am. People try to erase your ethnicity, your identity, your cultures when you don’t match to image that has been portrayed on TV to fit their expectations.
In the instances when POC say shit like ‘Oh I can’t stand white folk’ or ‘Damn white people’, they aren’t saying ‘Oh I think they are inferior, I want to humiliate them, abuse them, enslave them and wipe out their people!’, they’re saying ‘Damn, after a couple hundred years of white people thinking I’m inferior, humiliating me, abusing me, enslaving me, and trying to wipe out my people, I don’t wanna deal with them.’ The context is completely different.
Black women/ black trans women go through childhood being conditioned by society to believe they aren’t good enough to be a scientist, and yet they still make it. They go through early education being conditioned to the same. They go through high schools and colleges being conditioned to believe in this false unworthiness, and some (a very few) still make it. They make it to professional statuses that are meant to identify us as “now worthy” while still being conditioned to believe they’re not good enough because they are non-male and black.
It’s sad to think of but black female scientists have to be one of the most discouraged members of the scientific community, so when you see a black fem scientist it’s a great moment, it’s beautiful because just about every part of society throughout time tells them they can’t make it, they’re not supposed to be there, and they still make it only to be shitted on by cis straight white male supremacy. So frustrating just to think about, I can only imagine the hell that is experiencing all that. Trying to bloom only to have some dickhole blocking your sunshine cause I know for sure that if the opportunity, resources, communal support and solidarity was there.. black women as a whole would astound the whole world with how amazing they’d be at science due to all those centuries of repose under racist and sexist idealism within these communities.
I’d like to bring up my godmother, her name is Jean Andino and last year she won a Fulbright award for her work in biochemical science. She’s a boss, and even though she’s proud of me and my BFA, I still kind of wish I’d completed school with a BS instead. She’s I think Puerto Rican and black and has succeeded in science. She’s a boss, she’s a genius and she’s incredibly kind.
Her biography from Arizona State University’s website:
Dr. Andino’s research focuses on chemical kinetics and mechanisms as applied to the fields of atmospheric chemistry, air pollutant sensing, and air pollution control. She worked at Ford Motor Company characterizing the reactions taking place on novel materials to be used in catalytic converters and determining the air quality impacts of fuels and alternative fuels. Dr. Andino has published numerous journal articles and is a registered professional engineer. Dr. Andino has also received numerous prestigious national awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER award at the start of her second year as a professor.
Body Positivity for the win.
9 out of 16 are WoC from 9 different nationalities - Spanish, Native American, Middle Eastern, Greek, Hawaiian, South African, Indian, African-American and Chinese.
Even the “white” people don’t all come from the same place - French, Irish, American, Scottish, German, and English.
I’m really sorry if I left out YOUR nationality or YOUR body type, but if I kept going to include every single possible woman in the world I’d never have time for sleep or school work.
The Black Avengers - Darryl Ayo
This comic book “Mighty Avengers” is essentially “the black Avengers,” because most superhero comics feature mainly white characters and this one features not one, not two but several black characters. Mighty Avengers also features white characters but it is a huge leap into a vision of reality that comic book fiction has traditionally ignored: black people do things also.
Stories matter, fiction matters. Representation in stories helps to shape a culture and society’s view of people and peoples. Blacks have traditionally been excluded from mainstream cultural representation unless in subordinate and subservient roles–and even then, as members of an indistinguished mass of background figures. Society has been trained by culture to perceive black people as background data; set dressing, noise. Only intervening in real people’s lives to offer assistance or to present an obstacle/threat. Black characters often have no internal lives and if they do, their internal lives are exceptional in their vagueness and vacuousness. There is little thought or imagination expended on black characters and as such, society internalizes this shallowness and non-black people in real life tend to assume that blacks have shallow/hollow lives.
They look at us like we’re automatons.
Mighty Avengers is important simply in its existence because it shows black characters doing things. By extension, it works to override society’s perception of black people as non-active, non-entities. In most mainstream stories, black characters’ highest functioning capacity is as mild stimulus for non-black characters. Creatures on the sidelines. Possessed of more depth than animals by a slim margin. In this Mighty Avengers comic, black characters have ideas.
Spectrum has ambitions, Luke Cage has problems, Power Man has frustration. Besides having varying temperaments, the black characters in Mighty Avengers look different. Power Man is an all-out superhero, Cage essentially has no special uniform, Spectrum has gone from being a plainclothes superhero with no codename to adopting a full superhero getup. These are characters, not brown-hued robots. The way they look means something about them.
Additionally, the black characters do something else important: they interact easily with non-black characters. I don’t mean that the characters get along. Luke Cage and Power Man clearly clash with Spider-Man and White Tiger. What I mean is that their stories are intertwined and (for lack of a clearer term) integrated with the stories of non-black characters. This is particularly interesting because it raises a binary issue of how black characters might appear in fiction. On one hand, there is the idea of black autonomy, wherein black characters have minimal interactions with white and non-black characters to better focus on black stories. On the other hand, there is the idea of showing black characters as part of a diverse world with other characters of other backgrounds.
In some ways, insisting that black characters must be shown interacting with non-black characters is an insult after decades of insisting that white characters don’t need to interact with anybody else at all. The desire to look upon the page and see black characters acting completely independent of a white world is strong in the black community. Some people derisively call refer to this as creating a “ghetto” for black stories. I see it as creating a home for black stories.
To the opposite point, it seems important to show a general audience of people who still fear blacks and regard persons of African descent as threatening, that black people can and do routinely interact with whites and other non-blacks.
These two story types are equally valid but they underscore an important cultural point: there is more than one “Black Story” and multiple versions of “The Black Experience” are urgently required both for the black communities and for the non-black communities.
Representing a useful breadth of black experience is more than one story can handle. Which is as it should be. Mighty Avengers is a good start but the objective of “increasing diversity” must ultimately result in a multitude of different stories and ideas and focuses and themes.
I enjoyed this discussion on black characters that Darryl presented. It is influenced specifically from The Mighty Avengers book, which I have no opinion on having not read it (that part’s interesting too) but this in an important discussion. How do black character influence and interact with the rest of the world, but also how are black characters seen by white creators and white characters.
From Josie and the Pussycats, meet Valerie Smith! I’ll let Wikipedia do the work…A headstrong African-American young lady, Valerie performs back-up vocals (in the comics and the movie) and occasionally sings lead (nearly always in the TV series) for the Pussycats. She is also the group’s main songwriter. In the comics, she plays the bass; in the cartoons, she plays tambourine. She is the character who saves the day the most often, thanks to her street smarts and her mechanical and scientific genius. Valerie is notable as the first African-American cartoon character on a regular animated television series.
Here’s an interesting tidbit about the cartoon version of the character, voiced by the late and great Patrice Holloway…In 1970, [Patrice Holloway] auditioned for producer Danny Janssen, winning the part of Valerie Brown in Josie and the Pussycats, alongside Cathy Daugher (Josie) and Cheryl Ladd as ditzy drummer Melody. Patrice therefore had the distinction of being the first African-American to voice the first African-American regular series character on cartoon TV. However, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera balked at Patrice’s involvement, demanding she be recast and that Valerie become Caucasian. It’s worth noting that, in the original comic, Valerie was always intended to be African-American.
Janssen refused to back down, resulting in a 3-week standoff between the producer and Hanna-Barbera. H-B finally relented, allowing Janssen to keep Patrice in the show, and keeping her character African-American.
This is another show that needs to be rebooted. As long as Cree Summer doesn’t voice Valerie because hey, there are more black voice actresses besides Cree Summer.
ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND I didn’t know any of that. Sheesh. What a great story!
One of my dreams is to work on a Josie and the Pussycats show, but I think the rights are a mess or something.
I always wondered why Melody had those little musical notes in her speech bubbles when she talked. I always found them kind of distracting.
And then, in 2010, Marvel Comics presented a Spider-Man (the ‘Ultimate’ version) who was 13 years old and brown. To see Spider-Man pulling his mask over a tiny brown chin – to see a boy with short curly hair sticking to the ceiling of his bedroom— well, something happened. Dagim has been Spider-Man for two Halloweens in a row. He takes a bath with his Spider-Man and a toy killer whale. He has Spider-Man toothpaste and a Spider-Man toothbrush. If Spider-Man offered medical coverage, I think he would want that, too.
I thought for a while that my son would never be interested in my comics. I was afraid they would just represent another club he couldn’t join: all those big-jawed white guys with their hair parted to the side. But thanks to Spider-Man, my son imagines himself jumping on giant robots and saving the city. I hear him doing that behind the door of his room.
① University of Michigan’s DJ Hadeel Al-Hadidi created and broadcasts her own hour-long radio program.
② Scholars teach that Islam encourages sports and physical activity for all, wrote Sayed. The prophet Muhammad is said to have invited his wife Aisha to a foot race.
③ Nadia Afghani, left, and Nadia Chohan make up Hijabi Deafness, a Muslim punk rock/hip-hop band.
④ Michelle Yim, a network engineer, skis, swims, body surfs, rides motorcycles – all while wearing the hijab.
⑤ Atlanta-based Mariem “Punchenella” Brakache (5-5, 1KO) is a former IBA Junior Middleweight Champion, boxing coach and renowned trainer.
⑥ A ballerina and tap dancer from Texas, Hiba Awad is anxious to prove “how versatile and unique a Muslim woman can be.”
⑦ Nousheen Yousuf said the practice of tae kwon do “taught me to treat daily prayers as a real meditation, where the focus is on my relationship with God.”
⑧ Nosheen Cassim, a part-time makeup artist and full-time mother of two, was born and raised in Illinois, but has been threatened by strangers who told her to “go back to where she came from.”
⑨ No matter how different they may look from other beachgoers, Sama Wareh, left, and Aurelia Khatib believe in doing what they love, including surfing.
⑩ Asma Azim, a step-grandmother from Pakistan, has been a manager of mechanics and a truck driver for more than a dozen years. She said her male contemporaries treat her with respect – especially when they discover she can repair her own engine.
So many people had pointed out to me that as black girl in Canada it was great just to see my face on the screen and so I continued on.
Recently I had a conversation with a filmmaker in Canada who had worked with me while I was on Degrassi and he unfortunately confirmed to me the feelings that I had always had but never wanted to admit to. Degrassi had an issue with my race. He told me how the writers and producers had no intentions of developing the story lines of a black female character unless it was to enhance the story of one of their other white characters. They had some plans for some of the other black characters on the show but their ideas were only to cover the usual stereotypes that we see of people of color on television - teen pregnancy, petty theft, basketball, broken family homes etc and he usually had to fight with them to think out of the box with those characters to not have them go down the road of the usual cliches. He told me to get them to do the one major story line that my character had was like pulling teeth and after a few more years of working on the show he had to leave because of the blatant hierarchy system that they had in place and he couldn’t work with people who didn’t share the same beliefs.
- A REAL conversation about Degrassi, Andrea Lewis (Hazel)
A lot of truth there guys.
I recommend reading her entire post here:
If I wasn’t before, I’m now officially done watching this show.
havent watched it since andrea and her peers were on. good riddance. (via native-detroiter)
So, this same thing could have been written by Nichelle Nichols about Star Trek. In fact it basically was written by Nichelle Nichols. But let’s keep pretending that we’re post racial. Or something.
Describing Skin Colors
Having trouble finding synonyms for ‘white’, ‘black’, ‘tan’, etc? Have any clear idea what tone you’re going for? Here’s some web pages for skin tone description and references:
Handy Words for Skin Tone (Includes palettes and comparisons)
More Tone Synonyms w/ Pictures
7 Offensive Mistakes Writers Make (includes more than just skin color)
Helpful resources for you horror writers.
Just want people to know that some of these references suggest linking skin tone to food (~chocolate~ ~mocha~) and that’s gross and fetishizing of POC, so hey, don’t do that.
This is useful. I’ve always found it weird that black people are so often described as food, and I’ve never seen people who matched those descriptors, it’s also really weird. I dunno, be careful and consider connotations of the words when using them, and most definitely avoid food descriptors, those are kind of just weird.
The closest I ever got to a Disney movie starring characters that look like me and theoretically don’t cause some sort of disconnect is The Jungle Book which was based on a story written by a big dumb racist and is all about some idiot kid raised by animals and it doesn’t really require a big stretch to see my issues with that
The closest that black people ever got stars a girl who spends well over 75% of the movie as a frog
It’s fun as a kid to be able to place yourselves in the shoes of the protagonist but when you’re not white, the ethnocentric nature of the world effectively others you and you spend the rest of your life struggling with that dichotomy
You grew up not having to think about that so when you do see it you’ll exclaim “keep your social justice bullshit out of my Disney” and other moronic and fallacious catchphrases
The truth is you guys have gotten well over half a century of animated stories to relate to and honestly, not even being confrontational, it’d be nice to see some change there
I agree with this so much. I get tired of of the social issue discussions and would rather work to create narratives with broader representation of characters of varying backgrounds but it is important to recognize that Disney is far from perfect with their range of races represented in their animated-human movies.
Kiara Muhammad is the young voice actress of the titular character in the Disney show Doc McStuffins, which is the top rated cable show for kids in the 2 to 5 year old demographic.
(This means that alongside The Legend of Korra, which took top ratings in kid and teen demographics, lead girl characters of color are rocking this year! Additional credit to Disney, too, for casting an actress of color to voice the lead role behind the scenes!)
African American history through “Life” magazine:
- November 1, 1954 - “Dorothy Dandridge: A Fiery Carmen Jones”
- April 18, 1958 - “Willie Mays and The Giants to San Francisco”
- June 26, 1963 - “Medgar Evers’s Widow and Son”
- March 6, 1964 - “Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali”
- March 19, 1965 - “Civil rights face-off at Selma”
- March 26, 1965 - “Memorial at Selma”
- February 4, 1966 - “Sammy Davis, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier”
- April 15, 1966 - “Louis Armstrong”
- July 15, 1966 - “Watts still seething: Young black militants”
- December 8, 1967 - “Well Hello Pearl!: Pearl Bailey”
- April 12, 1968 - “Murder in Memphis: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
- April 19, 1968 - “America’s Farewell in Anger and Grief: Coretta Scott King”
- September 20, 1968 - “The Icy Elegance of Arthur Ashe”
- November 22, 1969 - “The Search for a Black Past: Abolitionist Fredrick Douglass”
- September 12, 1969 - “He Had a Dream: Coretta Scott King”
- October 17, 1969 - “Black Models Take Center Stage: Naomi Sims”
- September 11, 1970 - “The Making of a Fugitive: Angela Davis”
- October 23, 1970 - “Look out, he’s back!: Muhammad Ali”
- March 5, 1971 - “Backstage With Ali and Frazier: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier”
- March 19, 1971 - “Norman Mailer on the Fight: Frazier pounds Ali”
- September 24, 1971 - “Rock Stars at home with their parents: The Jackson 5”
- August 4, 1972 - “On the road with Flip Wilson”
- December 8, 1972 - “Diana Ross”
- September 1, 1984 - “Michael On Stage & Off: Michael Jackson”
- June 1, 1985 - “America’s Funniest Father: Bill Cosby”
- July 1, 1988 - “The Lady and the Champ: Robin Givens & Mike Tyson”
- June 1, 1993 - “Michael Jackson with Animals”
- November 1, 1993 - “When a Father Dies: Arthur Ashe’s Daughter”
- September 1, 1997 - “Between the Covers: Oprah Winfrey”
- December 1, 1997 - “Michael Jackson & Son”