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 Skin color- how much does it matter?

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Kojiyumi

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:25 pm

Again, the ENTIRE meltdown on that thread when you break it down is not that this one person did it, it's that the inappropriate practice of brown/red/blackfacing was swept under the rug during the course of discussion, to the point of it being said that it was okay, and that people who were upset and offended further were disengaged and ignored. It was allowed to disintegrate into a racial mess.

The first thing that has to be noted is there is a lot, and I mean a LOT of ugly racial tension right now in the US, to the point of demonstrations, peaceful and not, over the situation. It hearkens back to the 60's. People are trying to be proud of the skin they're in. Cool

And as a cosplayer and convention go-er... Yes, if you're light and cosplay dark, you'll get comments, but nowhere near as nasty as what comes in the other direction if you're darker and cosplaying a light character. Still, if I want to play a Valkyrie, I'm not going to have my skin painted cream to do it. I'm going to work a costume that screams what I am without any need to change WHO I am. afro

I should say the same goes for males playing females and females males, and people of different weights cosplaying. Cosplay is supposed to be about fun, but without offending others. As I said in other thread, this year's comicon, I'm cosplaying a white male character. But I'm not going to airbrush myself a lighter shade of pale to do it. I'm just hoping they don't confiscate my Nerf guns at the door! Part of the costume and all.

In regards to the cosplay itself... Until someone pointed it out, I wouldn't have thought it was makeup necessarily just looking at it from the screenshot. It could have been a real tan, or even just someone with naturally darker skin but Caucasian facial features. I've seen women who are naturally darker tan told to ease up on the spray tan... when they don't use it. It's their skin tone. Or she didn't use spray on tan specifically for this photo shoot but because she thinks it's awesome (Ever watch Jersey Shore?). I don't know. I can't see the details as they're too tiny on my screen and I jettisoned Facebook a while ago. I live in a desert state (Arizona, USA). We ARE the Sun Village. It gets to be over 110F/40C in summer for months at a time. Step outside for more than fifteen seconds in the baking heat, you get a tan. I see a lot of skin tone variation out here. Even my skin lightens and darkens visibly during the changing of the seasons and sun intensities. I perpetually have sock and farmer tans in summer.

The question should be that knowing people were offended by it, would she do it again?

And FTR this has happened before, I believe with an Ember cosplayer. I don't recall where the firestorm was on that one, though, FB or DA. ༼ ͒ ͓ ͒༽

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:50 pm

As others have pointed out, the reaction is more about the Pinis response to the upset than about the cosplayer. Maybe she is really naturally tan - I live in Australia, my husband is *really* tan right now. But to just brush off the hurt caused without a qualm is just nasty and arrogant.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:02 pm

@Stargazer wrote:
As others have pointed out, the reaction is more about the Pinis response to the upset than about the cosplayer. Maybe she is really naturally tan - I live in Australia, my husband is *really* tan right now. But to just brush off the hurt caused without a qualm is just nasty and arrogant.

How well do you think "While we understand your feelings of hurt, we are not changing our opinion on this matter" would have gone over?

This is why putting people on pedestals -- anyone, for any reason -- is a bad idea. The reaction when they inevitably fall off.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:22 am

@Davrille wrote:
@Stargazer wrote:
As others have pointed out, the reaction is more about the Pinis response to the upset than about the cosplayer. Maybe she is really naturally tan - I live in Australia, my husband is *really* tan right now. But to just brush off the hurt caused without a qualm is just nasty and arrogant.

How well do you think "While we understand your feelings of hurt, we are not changing our opinion on this matter" would have gone over?

This is why putting people on pedestals -- anyone, for any reason -- is a bad idea. The reaction when they inevitably fall off.

Likely a lot better, at least from my experience. People would likely have been upset still, but it would at least have been an acknowledgement of understanding and less likely to lead to a flashfire. Less. No guarantee it wouldn't have anyway, but sometimes the acknowledgement is all it takes to quell the flames. Disengaging the PoC in the conversation was definitely gas on the fire.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:31 pm

Hey guys.

I want to add to this. I didn't closely examine the picture of the cosplayers to determine whether or not it was 'blackfacing', I'm gonna take it on good faith that she's a white Dane and she tanned, or was shopped for this photo shoot.

First of all, I do agree with the point that this is less about the picture than the reaction by the Pinis.

That seems to be agreed upon. That being said, there're things I don't feel are being taken into consideration here. First of all being cultural significance. I'm not ignorant of European slave trade, but it's important to know that in Denmark there's a much more open, liberal thought process behind this. I doubt any ethnic group in Denmark, apart from radicals, would've seen this and feel offended. That's just not how it is. For this reason I see no fault with what the danish cosplayers have done in this case.

On the other hand, I'm very aware of the racial divide in America. It's always been of interest to me, and now that I live here it's something I've had more of a chance to understand. I get the fact that people are upset about this, and I would personally put that on the Pinis (as far as I can see, they were the ones to share it and bring it here?). But on the other hand, this just reaffirms my impression of America as a country that wants everyone else to align with their culture and their idea of what is wrong/right.

EDIT: my post is kinda disjointed, pardons, I'm conversing while writing, if my point didn't come across, please alert me.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:25 pm

i'm uh....i'm just gonna say i honestly cannot understand the problem with using make up to darken your skin for a cosplay. i say this because i myself am a cosplayer, with OCD, so for me, being as accurate as physically POSSIBLE makes the cosplay better to me. would i spraypaint myself with some brown pax to cosplay as Leetah, because i'm pale as can be? hell yah i would, because to me, that's LEETAH. this beautiful dark beauty, and i want to be accurate, so i will try to be a dark beauty for the duration of the convention only.

i'm not going to lie though. when i see darker people cosplaying as a lighter character, the OCD in my head screams for a second, until i remind myself, "it's COSPLAY. it's suppose to be fun, and about being the character you love. get over it girl, and focus on the overall costume" and usually, IT'S AWESOME! so i follow the rule of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it". would i care if they sprayed themselves caucasian? no. probably the only thing that would bug me is the hue, if it was off. same thing with people who darken their skins. i'm more focused on how it's rather orangey instead of a good dark brown.

honestly though, while i'm extremely aware racism still exists far too much for any level of comfort, i...kind of have difficulty hearing it from black people, only because a fair number will drop the race card like THAT just to avoid responsibility for something, or push the blame onto someone else. i distinctly remember such an occurence happening at work during the holiday rush. i firmly believe this only because my boyfriend, who IS black, explains frequently about how everyone he knows does that. they think because they were oppressed in the past that they STILL are, despite the fact that the majority of time, it's their own stubborn and disrespectful attiude or laziness that gets them into trouble, not their skin color.

sorry for the LONG major rant, but this is something very personal to me, and a subject of vast disappointment for me and my boyfriend. i'm not saying my opinion is right, or that people don't suffer discrimination, just that it is not 100% the case.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:00 am

I kind of think you missed the point.

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:23 am

Me or V Luna?
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:14 am

probably me....^^0
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:06 pm

Yes, I think Jeb was pointing out where the misunderstandings are coming from. I think Vaeri is experiencing the misunderstanding. I think I can explain it in a very simple way.

It's as offensive to paint your skin dark to play a dark character as it would be tape your eyes slanted to play an asian character. Does that make sense?

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:35 pm

It's interesting how, when faced with the idea that painting one's skin dark can echo a horrible tradition, hurt people intensely(and yes, there was blackface and minstrelsy in Europe), so many people's reactions are, "But I waaaaant to!" It somewhat echoes the Pini's reaction, to downplay it and the historical traditions behind it, because, you know, it's uncomfortable to think about.

To be perfectly blunt, the cosplay was not the worst part of this. The worst part was, and continues to be, the reactions of fans and creators, who either ignore it, downplay it, or act like it's not a problem.

Actually, Elfquest has a racism problem. It has from its very beginnings, with its opening scene, one familiar to pulp novel aficionados and old movie buffs, wherein an innocent young(usually white) person is about to be sacrificed by a tribe meant to echo, to viewers, either Indigenous Americans, or Black people(generally African, or Aboriginal Australian). The treatment of humans, especially POC, really never improved, they were either portrayed as savages, or, patronizingly, as childlike simpletons in need of saving by the (almost all white) elves. Even the slight attempt to subvert this, in TSATS, didn't work, considering that none of the insect people, except for Bee, is really fleshed out. Even Nunkah is quickly reduced to a simple villain, and his society is similarly reduced, whereas, in reality, a society like that would have been much more complex.

The problem isn't just with humans, either. The Sun Villagers need saving, too, apparently. First Dewshine must introduce Wolfrider(western?) style feminism into the village, then Dart(at the time a white teenager), must teach them to "fend for themselves". There is of course the fact that they are the only nation of POC elves seen thus far, and finally, the implicit "getting paler" comment, which, like it or not, does have real world connotations, made no contributions to the story, and distracted through controversy.

Then the only predominant male POC in the series for DECADES is generally either an antagonist, or an outright villain, and his redemption arc is never fully seen, just hinted at. Thankfully, unlike in other fandoms, we have a dedicated group of defenders for him(whether you agree with all their points, or not, the Rayek Contingency can sometimes be a relief).

The problem with the cosplay is the lack of appropriate creator response. The problem with racism in the comics is much more than face paint and tanning spray.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:44 pm

Also, where can I get one of these race cards?

Hey, if my brother had had one would the police have still devoted minimal resources to investigating his murder, or would he still have been "just another dead Indian"? Would my friend's baby, if she had had one, not have been subjected to racist remarks about her appearance from age six months on? Would I still freak out when my sister goes out at night, but how much would having one reduce her chances of being one of the thousands of missing and murdered First Women in Canada?

If Walter Scott had had one, would the cops still have extrajudicially executed him and tried to plant evidence on his body?
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:31 pm

My question in all of this is this:

How can we move on to a society where race genuinely does not matter if we keep making it matter?

It clearly does still matter - I'm not saying we're making mountains out of molehills. Katheleen's brother and Walter Scott and the missing and murdered First Nations women are real lives and real tragedies.

But if Leetah's (for example) being a POC is so important, isn't it equally important to represent it? Blackface was about exaggeration and mockery. Changing your skin tone to match the character you are portraying is about respecting the character. As long as the portrayal is a respectful one, I don't understand why it would be hurtful.

I guess maybe someday any cosplayer of any color will be able to paint themselves whatever color they want. But until no one does it, or remembers it being done, maliciously, it won't be time.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:34 pm

@Lunakat wrote:

It's as offensive to paint your skin dark to play a dark character as it would be tape your eyes slanted to play an asian character. Does that make sense?

This. I am with you on this, Luna. And I'm a Scandinavian so there goes that excuse too... *poof*

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:52 pm

@kathleen3.0 wrote:
It's interesting how, when faced with the idea that painting one's skin dark can echo a horrible tradition, hurt people intensely (and yes, there was blackface and minstrelsy in Europe), so many people's reactions are, "But I waaaaant to!"

I think it's a step forward that people do want to - but again, when done respectfully, not maliciously.

@kathleen3.0 wrote:

Then the only predominant male POC in the series for DECADES is generally either an antagonist, or an outright villain, and his redemption arc is never fully seen, just hinted at. Thankfully, unlike in other fandoms, we have a dedicated group of defenders for him (whether you agree with all their points, or not, the Rayek Contingency can sometimes be a relief).

Hail from the Rayek Contingency Chief.  Wink

@kathleen3.0 wrote:

The problem with the cosplay is the lack of appropriate creator response. The problem with racism in the comics is much more than face paint and tanning spray.

I see your point there in a way I haven't before, but what about the Djunsland humans?  They're treated the same. The racism I see there looks more like the usual "Look the elves are so wonderful and evolved and the humans suck!" racism that's been here awhile.

Hm, what about Dart and Newstar? They became "of color." Mender was born "of color" to pale elves. Does that count towards anything?


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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:58 pm

I have found these two articles by Judy Wu Dominick to be very helpful in this kind of discussion:

Understanding the Racial Empathy Gap, Part 1

Understanding the Racial Empathy Gap, Part 2

Some quotes from the articles:

Judy Wu Dominick wrote:
In general, whites have no problem feeling compassion for an individual of any ethnicity or class if they are given a story to which they can personally relate. That’s why so many of them love and follow Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York photography blog. But when they are asked or required to redirect their empathy from a single individual to an entire demographic group, namely young black men, several challenges arise. One of them is that doing so goes against a deeply held cultural belief that all merit, even empathy, is meant to be deserved and delivered at the level of the individual. Most (not all) whites genuinely believe that the United States operates as a meritocracy, which means that if you do the right things (work hard, make good choices), you will be rewarded; and if you do the wrong things (slack off, make poor choices), you will experience negative consequences. Since a significant portion of their personal experiences support this belief, they have little vision for the existence of factors beyond individual actions that may disprove it.

Judy Wu Dominick wrote:
Beginning with the generation that grew up on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, a new ethos of anti-racism began to replace the expiring ethos of racism. While this shift was a good one, it was accompanied by a nagging sense of shame that threatened to indict white Americans as historically bad, immoral people. People were freshly facing the horror that their beloved country, which supposedly stood for freedom and democracy, had used ethnic differences to justify and endorse terrible acts of violence and oppression against an entire people group for hundreds of years. It made them want to rewrite history. So a new shame-based, reactive narrative set in: Forget the past. We are not racists. We are anti-racists. And we are colorblind. This new narrative unwittingly undermined progress even as progress was being made. First, it imposed a willful forgetfulness on one of the nation’s most traumatic and formative experiences, which desperately required thoughtful, collective, and public debriefing, not consignment to cold storage. Second, it introduced taboo-like sensibilities into the very act of dialoguing about race and ethnicity, which, instead of being helpful, has proven to be very damaging for blacks and other non-whites who wish to have their distinctives recognized, validated, and celebrated alongside those of whites, rather than denied and left unacknowledged.

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:01 pm

@manga wrote:
My question in all of this is this:

How can we move on to a society where race genuinely does not matter if we keep making it matter?

To this I can only answer, we will never get to a place where it genuinely does not matter UNLESS we keep making it matter until we as societies have resolved and redressed our own institutional racism, and healing is complete.  Otherwise, we're trying to put a bandaid on a gaping wound.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:36 pm

I think Krwordgazer hit the nail on the head.

I am editing this post because I went and over explained.

What I said is that asking someone to "just get over it" or to stop being so sensitive about something like racism, antisemitism, homophobia or whatever is a lot like punching someone in the face and then saying "What's the big deal? It's in the past!" The person isn't going get over it until they are ready to- and definitely not until the other person acknowledges what happened in a respectful way and apologizes for it- and changes their behavior.

I think, when it comes to racial issues, people definitely have a right to feel sensitive. And it's the responsibility of society, as the entity that did the punching- to acknowledge, apologize and make amends.

I think that if someone tells you that a costume you are wearing is offensive- it's important to listen to that. Because you don't want to be part of the problem. You want to be part of the solution.

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:47 pm

I also get what you are saying about Cosplay not being that big a deal. I agree. It doesn't seem like it should be. It's for fun- and it's supposed to be lighthearted. I think it wouldn't really matter- if in a dozen other ways, that kind of message wasn't being projected. Like, say... if the Academy Awards had not nominated almost all white actors for major awards. Or if Arizona didn't ban ethnic studies programs in schools for being too "divisive." Or if the complaint of people being hypersensitive about race or that it's "in the past- so can we get over it" didn't crop up every time the subject gets publicly mentioned. Then it would be no big deal. But as it is, it seems like it's just contributing to a pattern. Even if it doesn't mean to be. I don't know if that makes sense...?

And please someone (who isn't white) correct me if I'm way off-base. Because I am white- so that means I'm just making an educated guess here. As a white person, I can't really know how someone who is not white feels about racism. I can only go by what people say.

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:04 pm

@kathleen3.0 wrote:
The problem isn't just with humans, either. The Sun Villagers need saving, too, apparently. First Dewshine must introduce Wolfrider(western?) style feminism into the village, then Dart(at the time a white teenager), must teach them to "fend for themselves". There is of course the fact that they are the only nation of POC elves seen thus far, and finally, the implicit "getting paler" comment, which, like it or not, does have real world connotations, made no contributions to the story, and distracted through controversy.

Then the only predominant male POC in the series for DECADES is generally either an antagonist, or an outright villain, and his redemption arc is never fully seen, just hinted at.

This! I have ALWAYS found the Sun Folk-Wolfrider interaction just brimful of Unfortunate Implications. Particularly the notion that no one was inspired when Rayek showed himself to be a proficient hunter at a young age, while the "ravvits" fell over each other trying to emulate 13 year old Dart.

Now, granted, as it was pointed out in the Great Rayek-Gate of 2015 (the Final Quest... 8 discussion, on the Forum if I recall): we never SAW Rayek offering to teach the Sun Folk - he may have been an arrogant brat who wanted to keep all the glory for himself....

Which would mean the creators decided that the only hunter of color would be the selfish one, while the white hunter is all keen to educate the poor pacifists. Which is just a buffet of Your Fave (comic) is Problematic.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:07 pm

I think there are two aspects to it, from the white perspective.

A comic from "Stone Soup" by Jan Eliot sums up one.  Evie (white senior) and a neighbor (black senior - sorry, only a minor, recurring character and her name is escaping me at the moment) are sitting on the porch together.  Evie asks Mary (just gonna give her a name) why she seems down.  Mary spends a few panels talking about how there are more black seniors in poverty and other distressing facts.  They look at each other - no words but it's very empathetic.  Then Mary says there's a spot on her shirt and Evie says "I can help you with that."

The statistics are as overwhelming as they are damning.

The other aspect is this:
http://i19.servimg.com/u/f19/19/18/45/54/dont_w13.jpg
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:16 pm

Did we just agree on something, or am I still feverish?
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:32 pm

Been reading and re-reading all the posts here and I still don't get what it's all about.

HOWEVER, it made me think of a few things :

. THE scene that I find absolutely SHOCKING in Elfquest, is the one with the totally brutish "primitive humans" able only of violence against the beautiful elfin firstcomers. I know it's an "old tale" imagery, and yet.. everything I know about paleontology and anthropology had me totally revulsed at the stupidity of such a scenery, from the very first time I read it. And I still am.

. The Sun Folk ADAPTED themselves for many generations to having a high melanin rate, and probably from... initially VERY PALE SKINNED elves ( Savah mentioned that her family came from wooden lands ). Which has been happening to some human populations on our world, all along human history (and from dark to pale skin, as well).






As for the "race" discussion, just be aware that science has demonstrated that there exists only ONE human race on our world,
since Homo Neanderthalensis and some more recent varieties went extinct :

Homo Sapiens Sapiens...

...with now more than seven billions representatives of that human race living or surviving on our one-mooned world.




Footprints of mother and kid
~ 3.8 millions years old


And another thing that should make 'racists' think :

Our genetic variability is a big part of what makes our race strong and prone to survive even the worst events.


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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:48 pm

@manga wrote:
My question in all of this is this:

How can we move on to a society where race genuinely does not matter if we keep making it matter?

It clearly does still matter - I'm not saying we're making mountains out of molehills.  Katheleen's brother and Walter Scott and the missing and murdered First Nations women are real lives and real tragedies.

But if Leetah's (for example) being a POC is so important, isn't it equally important to represent it? Blackface was about exaggeration and mockery.  Changing your skin tone to match the character you are portraying is about respecting the character.  As long as the portrayal is a respectful one, I don't understand why it would be hurtful.

I guess maybe someday any cosplayer of any color will be able to paint themselves whatever color they want.  But until no one does it, or remembers it being done, maliciously, it won't be time.

this. this thank you. sorry i missed the mark originally guys! but i absolutely agree with this, and this is how i feel, especially the bolded. i absolutely understand racism exists, but i wish it didn't...on ANY side.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:42 pm

First off, there is no way to respectfully change one's skin colour to match a character. It's still blackface, still intrinsically linked to a practice of dehumanization, and it will not be possible within our lifetimes to remove that stigma.

It would be no more possible to remove the stigma of Nazism from the swastika. Once a favoured religious symbol of not only Hinduism, but also the Navajo, Apache, Tohono, O'odham, and Hopi nations, the latter nations, all indigenous Americans, renounced its use entirely post WWII, out of respect for those killed or harmed by the Nazi regime. One of the sad things about that, by the way, is the fact they renounced that at a time when certain areas of the USA and Canada still held that it was illegal to practice their religion.

And you guys can't lay off the brown face paint.

Let me assure you, if you want to dress up as Leetah, or Ember, or Rayek, and your skin is paler than theirs, people are still going to recognize you. Its not like anyone could mistake their clothes, hair, or jewelry for anyone else's. And it's still going to look good.

But honestly, if you think you can't pull it off without pulling out the spray tan? Save yourselves and us all a headache and go as someone else. You'll avoid the drama, and everyone will have a better time.
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Skin color- how much does it matter?
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