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Jeppe

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:09 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?

I can't agree with this. Slanting your eyes, whether with your fingers or in this case tape, is a caricature of an Asian person. It's an exaggerated physical feature that I used to poke fun at an ethnic group, which is already kind of stupid. My girlfriend is Asian, she does not have eyes that are anymore slanted than my own. Neither does most of her family. I do happen to work with a girl who, like my girlfriend, is Japanese and another girl who is Korean. They both have slightly slanted eyes, but not to the extent you're referring to here. This is why taping your eyes slanted to play an Asian would be racist, as you are exaggerating a feature to poke fun at them.

Just like blackface is racist. My roommate showed me some pictures from when he did a show in Israel. He and his friend were dancing as black people, LITTERALLY with JUST their face painted a dark brown hue. I've tried explaining it to him and he doesn't understand it, but he's a racist misogynistic fuck and I've given up on him.

But yes, painting your face black and performing a caricature of the 'standard black male' is racist. Especially if you're white, given our history. But there's also a difference between that and doing it for the beauty of it.

An example of that could've been me last year. I performed as the Arabian couple in The Nutcracker. I DO NOT have the skin colour that is associated with this part (I still remember my black ballet teacher telling me stories about him doing Arabia and desperately trying to do anything to look Middle Eastern, with little effect). People walk into the theatre and expect to see two golden brown people performing a sensual dance. So I used a bronze spray tan. Is that racist? By the same logic, I was offending anybody Middle Eastern, from North Africa, etc.

Which brings me back to the fact that this would not have been a huge deal in Denmark. What Wordgazer posted is absolutely right, I agree with it, and it is a huge issue that the USA faces. But these people are, to my knowledge, not american and they do not live in America.
So yeah. I feel sorry for the Pinis for not thinking the situation through and shame on the Pinis for blowing these concerns off like its nothing, when it clearly is. But the fault is on them, not on the cosplayers, who did something that would've been considered, if not normal, then acceptable in their environment.
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Vaeri

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:09 pm

for some people, like myself, accuracy makes for the perfect cosplay. and sometimes we can't be happy unless the cosplay is as close to perfect as possible. even if that means putting pax on our skin to change the color. if it's meant only in the purpose of cosplay to match the character, if there is no malicious intent, then it is not meant to disrespect to what happened in the past. that's a bit like saying i'm not allowed to whip my boyfriend with a cat-o-nine tails during intimate play, because his ancestors were whipped.

though i do have to question, and i'm being serious, does that mean it's insulting someone would make their skin red to match Scanty and Kneesocks from Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt? Blue to be a Na'avi from Avatar? Green to be Piccolo from DBZ?

also for what it's worth, i did ask my boyfriend if it would bother him if i darkened my skin to look black, and he's not the type to cosplay. and he said no, he would not be offended. perhaps it's the type of thing that bothers some people and not others.
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Jeppe

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:25 pm

Hey Valero, I don't have a good answer to your post, so I'll leave the good answer up to someone else, here is a short one though.

I believe to your question, no it would not, and I believe the reasoning would be that blue, green and red (as in actual RED) does not carry any relevance to real skin colours. Yes, I suppose someone could take red as you referring to a 'redskin', so, again, I'll leave it for someone with better answer.

Your last paragraph irks me a little though. I'm sure your boyfriend is fine with that. Not surprised in the slightest. I slit my eyes at my girlfriend some times, and she thinks it's funny. I doubt any of her friends or family would find it funny though, and it would never do that in front of them.
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Jeppe

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:27 pm

@kathleen, can you expand your point on the swastika? Yes, it's a great gesture that the Indian tribes gave up their use of it, but look at most countries in Asia and it's still in use, taken by them to mean... Well, exactly what it means in that specific country. Look at a map of Japan for example and you will see swastikas everywhere.
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Vaeri

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:32 pm

err...actually Jeppe, my questions were directed at Kathleen. i agreed with everything in your post before mine. and what's with the "Valero"?
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Jeppe

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:01 am

Lol, autocorrect, my bad. I was just trying to get across that, if your boyfriend is anything like my girlfriend, things that are racially insensitive turn into things that are completely fine and usually pretty entertaining.
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Vaeri

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:06 am

....yeeeeeah autocorrect is a she-wolf....well i did say "for what it was worth" as much or little as it may be.

but at my boyfriends behest, this seems to be a discussion that has no winner and will only lead to negative feelings, so i will back out of it. i've stated my opinion, and that's good enough, even if others can't or won't agree wih it. it is their Way, just as i have mine.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:10 am

Given the fact that spray tan bronzing has been used in order to cast white people to play the(usually demeaning) parts of Middle Eastern, East Indian and First Nations people(among others) in films and stage shows, I would walk out of a performance that used that type of "spray tanning". I would also leave films and other productions where fake noses were used to portray Jewish people. I don't support that kind of art. Btw, despite what people are "expecting", there ARE white people who live in the Middle East, and so the Orientalists in the audience would have to be contented with that.

And the Na'avi, etc, are fictional. There's no history of oppression to perpetuate there. If someone put twigs in their hair and painted their face green and added some make up to simulate bark so they could cosplay the tree elf girl there wouldn't be any problem there, either. Likewise Snakeskin and other Wavedancer body alterations.

And frankly, it's also been repeatedly explained that the main problem is not the  black/brownfce cosplay, but the history behind it, the lack of acknowledgment on the part of the Pini's and others, and the racism in the comic itself, but people keep coming back to the cosplay as though they expect those of us who find it distasteful to turn around and give blanket permission to do it. Which we, obviously, can't do.

The history behind it and the reasons that people find it hurtful have been laid out, including llinks to more information, videos, and other media. Multiple people have come back saying they don't care about the history or the potential harm they could be doing. Well, there's nothing more that need be added to that part of the conversation, then.

Re my point, which I felt was fairly obvious, if people can give up a symbol so meaningful to them to avoid doing harm to others, surely cosplayers can give up something with so much less meaning. Obviously people in many Asian countries might feel differently, but they're not Hopi, O'odham, Apache, Navajo, or Tohono.

And Vaeri, I know this might be a huge shock to you, but i can't speak for your BF and what he personally finds hilarious, or pretty, or whatever. I can only relay what my friends, who are Black, Middle Eastern, Asian, First Nations, and Indian have told me, and what many other people in their communities share freely on the Internet, and hope I'm not speaking over them. I'm going to give you another website you can use to learn the answers to many of your questions, www.google.com.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:58 am

But is it blackface when it's done for love and accuracy, not for exaggeration and mockery? I had a similar conversation with a black coworker a few months ago when a local (white) principal dressed up for Halloween as the 80's tv personality "Mr. T," including using make up to darken his skin, and was suspended over it and made to apologize.

We didn't get any further than the discussion here has.

Kathleen, I think we keep coming back to the cosplay issue because that was the original trigger for this conversation.

I think in a perfect world, where there are no Walter Scott cases and all the rest of racism's toxin, it would be fine. But we don't live in that world yet.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:46 am

Hey! Vaeri quoted Manga as saying this and agreed with it, I think we are all on the same page now, right?

Manga wrote:
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?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:19 pm

I'm going to agree that Elfquest has some uncomfortable moments with race. And I would also like to add what a great relief it is to be able to have this conversation- because God knows I would never have talked about this on the Scroll!

First of all, I think the Pinis actually did a great job of addressing the nature and origins of prejudice in the story. As a kid, reading it, I came to understand a lot about where bigotry stems from, the many forms it can take, why it's wrong, and how even good people can harbor prejudiced attitudes toward other groups of people. They explored it in many different ways. From assumptions made based on physical appearances, to cultural differences to questions of racial 'purity', to what it means to come from a mixed background and have to integrate that, to why an understanding of your own history is important.

And, while I'm not sure it meant to do so, it echoed a lot of very American (as in- the Americas) themes. The aliens show up as accidental colonizers, looking very European- immediately finding conflict with the uncivilized, indigenous people. Cutter and his pale tribe swoop down and attack the dark-skinned Sun Folk (whose clothing style and design patterns have always made me think American southwest/central Amerian) and their desert civilization for their resources. The whole business with Leetah getting kidnapped, falling in love with the leader of the 'barbarian' invaders, acting later as an intermediary between the Wolfriders and her people, giving birth to the first bicultural children, and ultimately leaving for Cutter's word- that reminded me a lot of the http://www.mexonline.com/history-lamalinche.htm story. (Malinche was the indigenous mistress of Cortez and served as his translator.)

But, at the same time, it's not any of that- because these are fantasy characters and aliens on another world. So, while Elfquest is reminiscent of that- and is making some kind of commentary on it- it's not trying to reflect it. It's just playing with themes.

And it's odd, because... there's something really great and slightly uncomfortable about how the comic does that. The great thing is how well it explores those themes. And you can see that Wendy, just as she deliberately usurped gender stereotypes with her portrayal of Redlance and Nightfall, is trying to flip racial stereotypes by making the barbarians white and the civilized people dark. That's not how Hollywood ever used to do it. That's not how most comics or pulp fiction ever used to do it. And I think this is her full intention.

Except she doesn't quite manage it. PC made this really good observation:
PC wrote:
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.
I totally agree. And even though that also is subverted later- it's still awkward to have as an introduction to the story. Plus.. I'm not sure if it was Kathleen or Manga (or both) who pointed this out, but the next thing that happens is that heroic Cutter (the white hero) defeats the cocky Rayek (the dark anti-hero) and utterly humiliates him because Rayek challenges Cutter's destiny of hooking up with hot babe, Leetah.

So- you have a story where the author intended to subvert all these standard, stereotypical tropes- and yet she uses all of them with a straight face and completely sincere intention. I don't even think she knows she's doing it. And it works- because she also makes them archetypes... and you know that isn't the message she intended to send. But the problematic messages she clearly absorbed from the culture she grew up in- they are seeping through.

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:24 pm

PC wrote:
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.

This is pretty much the ultimate message of Elfquest, right? That it's our mixing and the place of conflict in our identities that make us strong and capable of handling change and upheaval. That's a pretty positive message. And I also think it's very pertinent to being American (not that it doesn't relate to other nationalities as well- but it's specifically applicable to the Americas)- because so many people here are from mixed backgrounds. So many people came from a mix of people who immigrated, intermarried, perhaps had indigenous backgrounds, etc. And our cultures are all a mix of elements. And sometimes that has caused a lot of conflict. Sometimes it's caused a lot of anger or shame- because of the violent history that comes along with it. But it can also, when we accept it, be a great thing- and a strong thing. And we currently have this cultural conflict in the United States over whether diversity should be celebrated or not. The whole message of Elfquest is that it should.

Yeah! So wt-heck with making the Sunfolk turn pale, then? Seriously awkward!

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:28 pm

ps- @Jeppe
Jeppe wrote:
I can't agree with this. Slanting your eyes, whether with your fingers or in this case tape, is a caricature of an Asian person. It's an exaggerated physical feature that I used to poke fun at an ethnic group, which is already kind of stupid. My girlfriend is Asian, she does not have eyes that are anymore slanted than my own. Neither does most of her family. I do happen to work with a girl who, like my girlfriend, is Japanese and another girl who is Korean. They both have slightly slanted eyes, but not to the extent you're referring to here. This is why taping your eyes slanted to play an Asian would be racist, as you are exaggerating a feature to poke fun at them.

Yeah- that was exactly my point. It's as bad to paint your skin dark to cosplay a character as it would be to tape your eyes slanted. I just assumed everyone would see instantly how awful it is to even think about taping your eyes just because you want to play, say, a character from Avatar- and draw the parallel. It didn't even occur to me you could interpret what I said to mean that either of those things are okay. Even if you don't know the whole history of how white actors in Hollywood taped their eyes, stuck in fake buck teeth, adopted exaggerated accents and inane mannerisms to play "oriental" roles.

Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:20 pm

Interesting reading about such a topic in an EQ forum. This topic has concerned me all my life because I was born, grew up and am living in Germany where the majority is white and blonde. I am half German and half Asian, so I often felt like an outsider, although many people said I should be proud of my looks and look pretty with my black, shiny hair and asian features. I have no slanted eyes because it is not common on the Philippines, but I definitily look more asian than German!

I had some kind of an identity crisis when I was a child but now I have no problem with my looks anymore.

But that's why I loved Elfquest from the beginning...every tribe looks different and nobody feels ashamed about it and there are no racism terms whatsoever.

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:18 pm

Lunakat wrote:
... it's still awkward to have as an introduction to the story. ...

NOT awkward AT ALL if it IS an intentional LIE. And you may lose the "if".



Now, just try and guess what this lie probably hides...



...and you'll certainly realize what the global pattern is.

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I reward only curiosity and imagination.

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Leanan

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:42 am

This is slightly different from where this thread has been headed, but I want to say something:

I don't see ElfQuest as racist...

Ever since Obama was elected as president of the US, it has been easy for storytellers to make any character non-white in any story situated in the current time.

In science fiction situated in the future, it has always been easy to put humans of any ethnicity in any role. It's the future, and most of us want a future like that, I think.

But if you write historical fiction and aim for accuracy, you can't have a black Pope or emperor of Rome (but a black Pharaoh of Egypt would be fine). Or if you have them, you also have to give lengthly explanations about how it could have happened.

And if you write fantasy, or science fiction with a fantasy flavor, well, there's many ways you could go about the genetics of human appearance and their effect in society. Ursula K. Le Guin has an interesting approach, making up new races and turning the roles more or less upside down from what we'd expect. Terry Pratchett, to quote 'Witches Abroad', wrote of a world where 'black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green', that is, humans united in distrusting the non-humans.

But most fantasy authors, as part of their world-building, design nations and ethnic groups for their humans (and nonhumans), give each group certain typical appearance, which may or may not be found in our real world, and then give each group a certain common personality and cultural traditions, likewise. If they do their job well and inventively, they do not come across as racist.

And this is a sensible approach because if you write about medieval/feudal/primitive nations, people would not be moving around a lot compared to our world in modern times, and therefore it makes sense for inhabitants of a certain area to resemble each other genetically.

In my opinion ElfQuest doesn't do too badly with this. They have one of the main tribes dark-skinned, and this tribe includes all kinds of personalities from Savah to ShenShen and from Leetah to Vurdah. The fact that Rayek is cast as antagonist (maybe even villain), does not look like racism to me. If a comic writer (for example) is obligated to make ALL their dark-skinned characters good beyond reproach, well, isn't that taking affirmative action a bit TOO far? Can't we move on as the human race and admit that it is possible for others besides white anglo-saxon protestants to be criminals too, even in works of fiction?

What I don't like, when it comes to genetics in EQ, is how there is a complete lack of antagonist/villain characters with blond hair.

Until recently. I haven't read the last issue, but I like where the story is going with Mender. I hope he does go insane... Winnowill

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:37 pm

Leanan wrote:


What I don't like, when it comes to genetics in EQ, is how there is a complete lack of antagonist/villain characters with blond hair.

Until recently. I haven't read the last issue, but I like where the story is going with Mender. I hope he does go insane... Winnowill

Hopefully the tribe doesn't change his name from "Mender" to "Chopper" or "Tormentor" then... affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:13 pm

Fairyring wrote:
Leanan wrote:


What I don't like, when it comes to genetics in EQ, is how there is a complete lack of antagonist/villain characters with blond hair.

Until recently. I haven't read the last issue, but I like where the story is going with Mender. I hope he does go insane... Winnowill

Hopefully the tribe doesn't change his name from "Mender" to "Chopper" or "Tormentor" then... affraid

I vote for "Render" Twisted Evil ohhh I do hope Mender goes off the deep end. He's always struck me as a villain forced by circumstances to play the hero.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:39 am

Leanan wrote:


But if you write historical fiction and aim for accuracy, you can't have a black Pope or emperor of Rome (but a black Pharaoh of Egypt would be fine). Or if you have them, you also have to give lengthly explanations about how it could have happened.


Try googling "Black roman emperors".
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:41 pm

Leanan wrote:
This is slightly different from where this thread has been headed, but I want to say something:

I don't see ElfQuest as racist...
I don't think it is racist. I think it's trying very hard not to be. I just think it is completely unaware of its own, very cliche, racial bias.

Leanan wrote:
Ever since Obama was elected as president of the US, it has been easy for storytellers to make any character non-white in any story situated in the current time.

I don't think Obama started that. People who actively complained that there wasn't enough representation in the media of people of color were the ones who caused that. And it took many years.

Leanan wrote:
But most fantasy authors, as part of their world-building, design nations and ethnic groups for their humans (and nonhumans), give each group certain typical appearance, which may or may not be found in our real world, and then give each group a certain common personality and cultural traditions, likewise. If they do their job well and inventively, they do not come across as racist.
Jar Jar Binks.

Leanan wrote:
And this is a sensible approach because if you write about medieval/feudal/primitive nations, people would not be moving around a lot compared to our world in modern times, and therefore it makes sense for inhabitants of a certain area to resemble each other genetically.
I totally agree that it contributes to the suspension of disbelief and plausibility of the story to have people who live in the same areas of the world resemble each other.

Leanan wrote:
In my opinion ElfQuest doesn't do too badly with this. They have one of the main tribes dark-skinned, and this tribe includes all kinds of personalities from Savah to ShenShen and from Leetah to Vurdah. The fact that Rayek is cast as antagonist (maybe even villain), does not look like racism to me. If a comic writer (for example) is obligated to make ALL their dark-skinned characters good beyond reproach, well, isn't that taking affirmative action a bit TOO far? Can't we move on as the human race and admit that it is possible for others besides white anglo-saxon protestants to be criminals too, even in works of fiction?
I don't think that we need to admit that a non-white character can be a villain. It's not as if there is a lack of villainous non-white characters. In fact, that's kind of a cliche at this point. If it wasn't, no one would be noting this element in this comic book.

I do agree that the best thing to do for a story is not live by PC guidelines, but have fully fleshed out characters, regardless of their skin color, acting in a natural way in the story- doing what the story requires of them. I don't think anyone is complaining that Rayek is a villain. It's just being pointed out that Elfquest is falling into that particular cliche, where the white guy swoops in and saves the day, and his dark counterpart is a semi-bad guy who loses, gets humiliated and learns his lesson. I think the Pinis didn't even think about that when writing the story- cus, you know, they are white.

I think there are a lot of things they didn't think about. For example, you say that the different elf tribes look different from each other. They do subtly... but not really. Their features are all very caucasian. Yes, the SunFolk are dark- but you would never guess that if you didn't see them in color- because their facial features are very caucasian.

And beyond that, they are the only dark-skinned elves in all of Elfquest. So far. Why? didn't any other tribe spend time in the sun? Remember- this whole conversation grew out of the offhand comment that Skywise throws out to Ruffel- that the Palace is making the Sunfolk taller and paler. The only think saving Elfquest from being super whitey white is the Sunfolk. So now, the story is turning them white-- that's kind of problematic.

To be honest, if the SunFolk weren't dark, I would have felt uncomfortable with this comic book- even at eight years old- and never followed it. It has a lot of disturbing tropes in it in Book One- and the only saving grace is that the SunFolk are dark. That's what saves it from being actually racist.

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:09 pm

A while back I wrote a piece on my own blog about silencing techniques. I have not read the conversation on the forum, but from comments here it's clear that Richard Pini used at least one: the appeal to authority.  As the authority on his own work, he tried to silence those who questioned the white privilege and unconscious bias that lay behind the way the story was told.  Using authority to silence dissent or criticism is never a good thing. I try to avoid making statements about other people's motivations, but I will note that white people in general, myself included, find it hard not to get defensive when our white privilege and unconscious biases are pointed out.

Here's a link to my blog post if anyone's interested. (Please note that my blog is a Christian blog, and approaches topics like this from that perspective.  The majority of examples of silencing examples I give, come from that culture. However, I AM NOT trying to impose my beliefs on anyone here!)

Wordgazer's Words: Silencing Techniques


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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:42 am

Lunakat wrote:
For example, you say that the different elf tribes look different from each other. They do subtly... but not really. Their features are all very caucasian. Yes, the SunFolk are dark- but you would never guess that if you didn't see them in color- because their facial features are very caucasian.

I'm glad you pointed that out. Because my gut reaction on reading that remark was "but they totally have... like, Native American features" - and then I realized... but I first saw the Sun Folk in color. So naturally I associate their features with their skin tone in my head.

And then I realized that if I had first seen them in b&w, I would have considered their features as ethnically identical to the Wolfriders. The power of first impressions.
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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:29 am

It's not their features you are thinking of- it's their style of civilization and the designs and patterns they use for their clothing, pottery and jewelry.

That's the thing about it. I actually think that the Sun Folk were meant to invoke indigenous people of North American Southwest or Central America. They were an attempt to be counter racist and inclusive- with the white characters (the Wolfriders) acting as the marauding barbarians. This reversing the stereotypes you would normally have seen in films and tv and comics in the 1970s or during Wendy's childhood.

So it was this good effort. But it's undermined by what is clearly an unconscious racial bias on the artist's part- because the characters are all about as Caucasian as they come (features-wise). Meanwhile, the true barbarians ( the ignorant and superstitious humans-- who totally embody that stereotype) are all over the place- but mostly with dark skin and thick features... except Nonna of course-- oh yeah, and Shuna.

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:45 am

It's funny, cus like- none of it is deliberate... but it's all there if you really think about it. And I don't actually think it's Wendy's fault. I think she had no intention of that-- but it's probably hard to escape the culture you were raised in-- like, that's gonna seep through. And I don't get the impression the Pinis are incredibly prone to any critical self-analysis (just based on a recent interaction).

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PostSubject: Re: Skin color- how much does it matter?   Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:26 pm

wingthing wrote:
Lunakat wrote:
For example, you say that the different elf tribes look different from each other. They do subtly... but not really. Their features are all very caucasian. Yes, the SunFolk are dark- but you would never guess that if you didn't see them in color- because their facial features are very caucasian.

I'm glad you pointed that out. Because my gut reaction on reading that remark was "but they totally have... like, Native American features" - and then I realized... but I first saw the Sun Folk in color. So naturally I associate their features with their skin tone in my head.

And then I realized that if I had first seen them in b&w, I would have considered their features as ethnically identical to the Wolfriders. The power of first impressions.

I have been thinking about this, and I think it actually would have been kind of strange, given the parameters of the story, if the Sun Folk had had features that more closely resembled humans of non-white races.  The reason is the premise on which the whole series is founded: that the Firstcomers took their forms from the images in the minds of humans in Djunsland.  There is, of course, the whole odd circle-thing where it's unclear how much that image was conditioned on memories of Cutter & his tribe handed down from before the long sleep-- but the fact remains that the Djunlanders were white, and would have conceived of elves with Caucasian-style features.

There would be no reason other than protection from the sun for the Sun Folk to change from that original form taken on by the Firstcomers. So other than skin tone, there would be no reason for them to change their features.

I agree that there are unexamined racial biases affecting the series, as is the case with most literature.  But there is a logical reason for the way the Sun Villagers look.

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