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 racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion

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kathleen3.0

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PostSubject: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 10:35 am

Oh, awesome, more indigenous people being used for cannon fodder and shock value. How unique and unusual, that's certainly not one of the stock imagery of Native Americans in media. But wait! A white person(you might even say a white saviour) is coming to the rescue! Wow! How new and exciting!!!!

And thankfully, no one is using a pejorative statement like, say, "gone native" to describe this brand new and not at all tired and played out storyline. I might have just lost all faith in this forum and this fandom if they had. Wow, what a time to be alive!!!
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Redhead Ember

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:17 am

Naaah, they'll probably all be fighting together! Humans, elves and - maybe, hopefully - trolls. Taking up arms against the invaders is by far better than the these foreign people have weapons/technique beyond what we have, the must be gods! version so often seen, unfortunately in real life too.
Shuna has "gone native" - for lack of better words because she, as far as I can see, consider the people of Iceholt her people.

To me using the people of Iceholt as cannon fodder would be a situation like with the people of that Fishing Village, who seemed to literally be used as cannon fodder/target practice? There was no military reason to attack them, it was just that ass-hat commander being mean! Using the people of Iceholt as cannon fodder would be a situation like the Longriders, who were tricked into supporting Angrif, only to be turned upon and used as slaves. Using the people of Iceholt as cannon fodder would be having the Djunlander armada move from village to village, slaughtering everybody just because.
This, on the other hand, looks to be a case of people being willing to fight - and possibly die - in order to defend their home, no matter how much stronger the invaders might seem.


@Lunakat wrote:
I'm confused-- why do we think that Shuna is going to lead the native people to fight the Djun?

Doesn't the teaser-text pretty much say so? Or maybe she'll just go "You have the strength to do this! I can't help you fight, I'm an old woman!"


Yeah... I just quoted a post made after this post. Magic! Cutter Cool

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Lunakat

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:28 am

I'm confused-- why do we think that Shuna is going to lead the native people to fight the Djun?

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:40 am

@Lunakat wrote:
I'm confused-- why do we think that Shuna is going to lead the native people to fight the Djun?

It says that she and her elfin allies (Kimo and Shenshen?) prepare the "native humans" of Iceholt for the invasion. It doesn't say that she's going to lead them anywhere.
I can't imagine what an old woman, a midwife and a shapeshifter can teach them... Kimo never struck me as a very good warrior. I thought that's why he wanted to learn how to shapeshift; so he could defend the ones he loved better.
Maybe more elfs will join them?
Well, I don't know, either...

Anyway, I am not holding my breath for this issue.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:48 am

@Lunakat wrote:
I'm confused-- why do we think that Shuna is going to lead the native people to fight the Djun?

Like Redhead Ember I would also interpret the sentence

"Elsewhere, Shuna feels a resurgence of the warrior spirit she once embraced as she and her elfin allies prepare Iceholt’s native humans for invasion."

that way, that Shuna plays a leading role in defending against the invading fleet.

Edit: What Sifra said, I was typing to slow...

On the one hand I'm happy that Shuna seemingly remembers that she once was a "Joan of Arc", but on the other hand I also fear a "White Savior"/"Mighty Whitey" stereotype/trope.


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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:09 pm

OH MY FREAKING GOD. DO NOT EUROSPLAIN YOUR USE OF A RACIST TERM AWAY.

First off, she actually HASN'T joined the people of the old land in any conceivable form. She's become a missionary, extolling some kind of unknown virtues/religion/possibly just word of the "good spirits". You never see her interact with the peoples living in that country besides her immediate family in any meaningful way and that's been the case since SATS. She clearly does not identify with these cultures, and she's rarely shown interacting with them for extended periods of time in a nonviolent or intimate capacity. She's not one of them, she's the crazy lady down the road who won't stop talking to you about accepting Christ/Buddha in your heart.

Secondly "gone native" is insulting to indigenous people the world over, but particularly in North America. It's been used to imply a loss of manners and civility in a negative way far too long to be casuallly used in conversation about a white woman who is never actually shown "going Native" in any meaningful way.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:19 pm

Yeah, Shuna's character always kind of got on my nerves if only for the whole missionary thing, but yes her skin color lighter than everyone else making her therefor more 'civilized'. I liked SATS but I did notice the skin color difference significantly...also, the one 'good' male in the tribe that she ends up with is also fair and lighter skinned. It's just very obvious to me. I chose to look beyond that and read anyway and I liked the story itself. But still, this is a very old, worn out stereotype, they really need to move away from it, but I think it's too late now.

One thing I am excited about though is seeing Shenshen again! I've missed her!

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:21 pm

@kathleen3.0 wrote:
She's not one of them, she's the crazy lady down the road who won't stop talking to you about accepting Christ/Buddha in your heart.


This just made me laugh, it's so true

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:58 pm

Shuna is sort of like a variation on Nonna.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:15 pm

I didn't think Nonna was a good character either, and for much the same reasons.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:16 pm

They're kind of alike in terms of character but it looked more like Nonna was trying to reconnect with Adar's tribe and needed help. I'm much more forgiving of Nonna. She had her whole reality of the elves being perfect shaken and she had her eyes opened. She didn't become some missionary in the end, that would've been too much like Shuna.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:50 pm

what Cutter really needs at this point is a get his nails did.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:12 pm

Maybe that isn't blood on his hand, but red nail polish , and he really is lousy manicurist. Maybe on the other side of the door is a spa Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:28 am

@kathleen3.0 wrote:
OH MY FREAKING GOD. DO NOT EUROSPLAIN YOUR USE OF A RACIST TERM AWAY.


Secondly "gone native" is insulting to indigenous people the world over, but particularly in North America.

I wasn't going to bite, but- I'm European. Many people who post here are. you are apparently very angry at us for not fully understanding North American history, and the (probably quite justified!) taboos that result from this. Is that fair? We have different cultural backgrounds, and sometimes different cultural taboos. If there are sensitive matters that bother you, discuss them with us. But don't yell about "Eurosplaining". It's not constructive.



I think Wendy Pini has always been careful in avoiding direct parallels to real life racial and cultural situations. Nona and Adar were from different tribes, but apparently they were from similar racial and cultural background, and also, similar levels of technology. The Djunslanders- they seem very racially varied, and they are not nazis, not scary Russians, not marauding mongols......They have elements of each "bad guy" stereotype, but they do not fit any particular stereotype directly. Which is why they are interesting.

We don't know what is going to happen to Shuna, and it is way too early to cry "racism"!
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:02 am

I'm not a fan of yelling either, but I appreciate kathleen3.0 "wake up call", thank you for that kathleen3.0!  
I'm European without an oppressed/discriminated/minority ethnical background. I studied among others Cultural Anthropology and I know that to be critical about terms is important. I think I'm aware of the existence of such oppressive language and tropes and my own privileged position, but non the less I make mistakes and learning is an ongoing process.
I wasn't fully aware that the term "going native" is such a racist term in North America. I first heard it in Cultural Anthropology as a warning to Cultural Anthropologist who are doing field research with a long participant observation. That there is the risk of "going native" to be not academically neutral/objective anymore.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:05 am

OK, contact between Europeans and the natives of Americas/Oceania did not start off with a violent invasion. That happened later around the times of the Conquistadors. Secondly, not many parallels between the Iceholt/Native Americans and Djunsland/Europeans that I'm seeing. Then, I've never heard the term Going Native being referred to as racist, tho some use it as an insult. Thirdly, would there be such a stink if the Djunsland humans resembled SubSaharan Africans like Cam Triompe? Then yes, Shuna can be grating, but she has way too many issues to qualify for MarySue status. As far as Bee being lighter than Spider, only that he was blonde not brunette,plus Spider was the worst human asshole we've seen in the series. Hell, I'd rank him with Two-Spear for the top 2 assholes in Elfquest. However, Nonna does have a warrior spirit and that might help with the allies she's gained in Iceholt without going White Savior. Lastly, Rayek of all people was outraged by the invasion and went on a Winnowil fueled rampage himself, so for Shuna to not do something is out of character.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:56 am

Well anyway Elfquest is racist from page one. It still is.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:56 pm

(...The humans in OQ always looked rather like modern day Caucasians dressing up as palaeolithic humans for me than 'natives'. Yes, their skins were dark, but their faces had European bone structures, sometimes for obvious reasons (Nonna and Adar)...)
Wendy is really bad at depicting human ethnicities other than Caucasians*, the Longriders (?) are supposed to look North-east Asian, but they don't. The character spider has the built and the face of a Djunsmen, so I would argue there are only "white humans with different skin tones". Admittedly, the humans with fair skin are more technically advanced in EQ than those with darker skin.




*a lot of Western comic book artists are, not just her. A lot of Asians have troubles portraying Westerners as well. Actually, Wendy is not really good at drawing humans in general... Shuna doesn't look realistic at all.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:10 pm

There's some difference ethnically between Iceholt humans and Djunsland humans. Iceholt humans tend to have bigger,rougher facial features with the Djunsland humans somewhat more refined. And the Longriders seem to have the look of Central Asians/Eurasians which was typical for Huns and Mongols.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:15 pm

..If you seriously can not see how Shuna is your standard white savior in a fairly racist story then you all need to get educated. She is. And if she leads the native people of Iceholt against the djuns it's seriously gross. Maybe they'll introduce a new actual native human character, or at the very least let her son be a major character, to lead the battle and maybe have shuna as an advisor or something, but I doubt it.

See also how Ember, Venka and Savah, three capable darkskinned ladies, all wait for the much needed learedship of your extremely white GaryMary-StuSue. The same garymary who led the Go-Backs to war and taught the sunfolk to fight back. It's pretty gross, and it's very much a recurring theme throughout Elfquest. I'm not saying you need to hate and ban elfquest as racist propaganda, but the least you can do is acknowledge its faults.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:31 pm

Nonna and Adar and Olbar always looked white to me. More like stone age Europeans than Native Americans. but I guess that due to 15 year old me being white? I guess we all project- but damn, you are projecting a lot there.
* edit* I have always thought that Nonna and Adar's people were inspired by "clan of the cave bear". Very popular book around that time, and with a similar Mary Sue-like main character. it's a series of novels about the confrontation between Neanderthal and Cro-magnon peoples in an ice-age European setting.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:47 pm

Thank you, Elwing, for this and your previous post. You've worded what I'd like to express much better than I'm able to do.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:52 pm

@namuhna wrote:
..If you seriously can not see how Shuna is your standard white savior in a fairly racist story then you all need to get educated. She is.

See also how Ember, Venka and Savah, three capable darkskinned ladies, all wait for the much needed learedship of your extremely white GaryMary-StuSue. The same garymary who led the Go-Backs to war and taught the sunfolk to fight back. It's pretty gross, and it's very much a recurring theme throughout Elfquest. I'm not saying you need to hate and ban elfquest as racist propaganda, but the least you can do is acknowledge its faults.

AMEN! cheers The cultural imperialism of the Wolfriders has always enraged me. The overarching theme of the original quest could be read pretty much as "The Wolfrider's Burden"
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:25 pm

I think that Elfquest was published in the 70s. We have to admit it was progressive for its time. They had interracial couples. The heroine was dark skinned. Their children were mixed. When the Pinis were offered the chance to turn Elfquest into a Saturday morning cartoon, they turned the offer down because the networks demanded that they change the skin color of Leetah and the twins to white skin. They refused to do it. They wrote stories about the nature of prejudice and explored that topic from many angles. They also created a story that felt somehow inclusive of different sexual orientations. Even though the main characters were a heterosexual couple-- the main character was hinted at being bisexual with his best friend. I mean- we all picked up on that.

That was pretty forward thinking.

However, society has since caught up with this comic book. And yes, it has some elements that are not great. For example-- like you guys pointed out, Shuna. The consistently European facial features on all of the elves. And heck-- everything else we've talked about.

I think Elfquest ended up being a well intentioned mixed bag. But you have to give credit to the author's intentions and integrity in turning down their chance at an animated television show to stand by those intentions.


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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:33 pm

Lunakat, I competely agree with you.
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