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namuhna

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:06 pm

Right... gotta give them credit for not being as racist as they could have been...
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:21 pm

Yes. Give them credit for being ahead of their time-- and criticize them for being a step behind ours. I think it's a safe guess that what's making us uncomfortable in the story are the manifestations, not of outright racism-- but of unconscious biases.

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namuhna

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:48 pm

Ok. Credit them for being subtly racist in the seventies, way more subtly racist than you would expect for their time. Now please, can we all get on with the criticism?

White people attack darkskinned people. A white person should NOT lead the darkskinned people to defend them. Can we all please at least agree on that?
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:36 pm

Sure. I agree with half of what you just said.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:22 pm

I agree with you , Lunakat, they were once way ahead of their time and then just kind of fell behind in some ways. It happens with art, politics, lots of stuff. I guess I just wish they were more diverse in other ways in their work, especially since the work is supposed to be about a very all encompassing kind of diversity. It's annoying and to me glaringly obvious what goes on otherwise, but they're not going to change it. They just won't.

Really, it's the New Age-y thing sort of bugs me out the most, that's pretty new actually and it feels like the preachiness of it is something I don't like. You take Shuna, who already is kind of this very white savior character (as Namuhna's put it) and then you align her with the New Age-y missionary thing and it's like maaaaaaaan, that is one character which I reaaaaaalllly can't get into at all lol.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:40 pm

Ahead of their time... hmm...oh jeez, and I'm half right? So writing white saviors now is bad but back then it was ok because at least dark-skinned elves were included?

You know what? (sarcasm off) 10 years ago I might've actually been inclined to agree with you all that they were brave with the keeping characters darkskinned in the 70s. But then they pretty much proved that they're totally ok with withewashing in the final quest as long as it's on their own terms, so integrity and racial awareness is really unlikely to have been a factor in them doing the right thing back then no matter how they or you all try to spin it. Especially when one considers how insensitive they've been concerning other racial issues.

They did extremely well with representation of darkskinned as beautiful and, imo. still not fetishising it, that can be very hard to do, (and a potential elven trait, we still need more non-white elves!) and that's as far as I'll go in giving them credit for anything.

But they've been, and are, clearly writing about white characters taking care of non-whites throughout the entire run of the comic. That's pretty racist, then and now, and it's supercreepy that people here cannot acknowledge this.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:13 am

Yeah- I think people change. I think they became different people over a period of forty years. And they respond differently and their attitudes are different. I think it's possible to give someone credit for what's positive and also criticize what's negative. They aren't mutually exclusive. Nobody is a solid black or white, good or evil, or whatever. We're all a mixed bag. I think we all have internal biases. And however repugnant racism may be to the Pinis-- and however much they may have tried to write against it In the past-- they have probably (apparently) unconsciously internalized the subtler aspects of racism that pervade our culture-- and have difficulty seeing it because it's more subtle.

I think every point made so far has some validity.

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Lunakat

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:16 am

Quote :
They did extremely well with representation of darkskinned as beautiful and, imo. still not fetishising it, that can be very hard to do, (and a potential elven trait, we still need more non-white elves!) and that's as far as I'll go in giving them credit for anything.

But they've been, and are, clearly writing about white characters taking care of non-whites throughout the entire run of the comic. That's pretty racist, then and now, and it's supercreepy that people here cannot acknowledge this.

See- I think really gets at the crux of it.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:17 am

Looking at it more...I think it's not so much "taking care of", as it is taking leadership of.

Bee takes care of Shuna-- but he submits to her as well. Nonna is cared for by Adar-- by she educates both him and his darker skinned tribe. The Sun Folk take care of the Wolfriders-- but then they need to be taught by them and learn to follow them. (Although that, to me, was balanced by the fact that the Sun Folk did also teach the Wolfriders and had a clearly more advanced and sophisticated culture.) I do think there is sort of a "great white savior" thing happening. I don't think it's intentional-- but it's uncomfortable.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:07 am



And of course, Rayek has to submit to Cutter and will not accept it, and we see what happens when he doesn't. He becomes transformed from merely arrogant to pretty much villainous Razz

As an aside, but also sort of part of this ongoing theme, I'm reminded of one of my least favorite parts in KOtBW: When Rayek flew everyone back to the Sun Village for a reunion, and Cutter tells them all that deal is Rayek controls the palace, while he, Cutter, tells him when to use it. It struck me as kind of arrogant actually, like Rayek was just some chauffeur or something lol. Of course Rayek gets super pissed off (but, you know, it's because of his PRIDE, not because maybe, I don't know, that's kind of a shitty thing to just loudly announce to the guy's home village), and then the Wolfriders start publicly making fun of Rayek about how he's Cutter's bitch (obviously they don't use those words but it's along the same lines). Just distasteful. Can't blame the guy for completely flipping out and flying the palace out on his own to a different time.


Anyway - the way all of this is written is, I am sure, all very unintentional, and, I'm sure it's also well-meaning...reminding me of my favorite saying about how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.


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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:17 am

Wow... It seems some people are overly sensitive to the melanin levels in the skin of fantasy characters ( if you cannot perceive the level of irony and sarcasm here, I cannot do anything more for you... )

Racism is an issue on OUR REAL world, mainly because, historically ( and VERY recently, never before 1650 ), it was found VERY convenient, by the invaders, to de-humanize their victims this way.

During the 19th century, the victors of this EXTREMELY BRUTAL worldwide colonization system even tried to FORMALIZE that shit into some "theory of races", by trying to identify some "races" within the human gene pool and with some races supposed to be "superior" to others... until the logical conclusion of this awful process reached its peak with the nazi madness.

Science debunked that completely, since then, by demonstrating that there is only ONE human "race" on our world : Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

You might notice that, since the very first page on, Elfquest is NOT about such things, but, on the very contrary, is all about TOLERANCE, learning to live TOGETHER, to identify 'evil' for what it truly is, mainly: the result of the combination of ignorance and fear.

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Elwing

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:23 am

I'm sorry Namuhna, no deal.

Nobody is claiming this comic is perfect, and there are some very questionable elements to it, but you are taking this way out of context. You seem to be looking desperately for things to be offended by.

Please cut out the drama.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:38 am

And by this logic here, nobody can write a book with a positive, white male protagonist who goes around helping people any more. Racist and sexist! Either because he comes and saves people of color, or even worse, there are no people of color! Because people of color*must be* victims!

This is taking political correctness to the point of absurdity. It does nothing to improve the situation of minorities- All you try to do here is enforce an abstract idea of moral purity.

And also the "white man's burden" narrative that was brought up has to do with the long history of slavery and colonization that the human race has. This history does not apply in this fictional universe. Elves never enslaved each other. The Wolfriders do not attempt to colonize Sorrow's End.

At some point Cutter starts wearing a Sun folk style woven shirt. It guess that counts as "cultural appropriation" now?


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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:41 am

PCoquelin wrote:
Racism is an issue on OUR REAL world, mainly because, historically ( nnd VERY recently, never before 1650 ), it was found VERY convenient, by the invaders, to de-humanize their victims this way.

Ehn.... I think the Ancient Greeks would be quite offended by that statement considering they invented the termbarbarian, and were - to judge by the ancient sources - rather proud of it.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:43 am

Elwing wrote:
And by this logic here, nobody can write a book with a positive, white male protagonist who goes around helping people any more. Racist and sexist! Either because he comes and saves people of color, or even worse, there are no people of color! Because people of color*must be* victims!

Well, that's how you get Disney's Tarzan.

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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:44 am

Elwing wrote:
The Wolfriders do not attempt colonize Sorrow's End.

And... yeah, not to be That Guy, but... what else do you call the Jackwolf Riders?
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:45 am

This is not Disney's Tarzan we are talking about. Leave out the straw man fallacies.


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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:46 am

the Jackwolf riders were a mixed group that worked under Savah's authority?
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:50 am

Conceived entirely because a 13-year-old Wolfrider savior took it upon himself to "teach them how to fight for themselves." Yeah. A Wolfrider CHILD magically did what no Sun Folk could ever manage to do.

That is just one giant three-layer cake of Unfortunate Implications, right there.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:04 am

Yes. But colonization is something entirely different. meanwhile, the Redlance is being tought about agriculture, even if it does not stick. The Wolfriders start wearing more refined clothes, and enjoy the local parties. This is not a story about a group coming in, taking over authority, and forcing their culture on another group. This is two groups meeting, and exchanging ideas.
But one group is white  and the other group black and suddenly is it a huge issue. (though it is not even worth mentioning to them!)
I understand that the problem in this lies with the fact that the Wolfrider group is written as aggressive and pro-active, and the Sun Folk group is written as more passive. In racial context it is not ideal. But calling this colonialism is way over the top.
I think the writing is done this way to suggest the youthful brashness of Cutter's group, as opposed to the mature wisdom of Savah's group.

Oh and also a Sun Folk child already did exactly that. His name is Rayek. Except he went at it all alone, I guess.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:57 am

Looking back at last night, I can't believe I fell for negotiating racism. Even after mocking it. I take back all my replies except the first one.

namuhna wrote:
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   Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:09 am

The underlying theme with the Wolfriders and Sun Folk was that in spite of their differences, the two tribes were compatible and willing to learn from each other. True some Sun Villagers adopted the ways of the Wolfriders, but still Rainsong,Woodlock and their children all but became Sun Villagers in all things minus their mortality. It went both ways. And yes, Rayek considered himself the Savior and Champion of Sorrow's End and was treated as such. And he was much worse to him than any Wolfrider including Strongbow.

As for the term 'barbarian', yes it was an Ancient Greek word, but they never used to describe themselves. Rather foreigners who were mostly from North European tribes, Huns,or anyone outside the Greco-Roman culture. It was always a term for the outsider, the enemy.
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:56 am

Yes, the depiction of humans in "Fire and Flight" is different from the way humans are depicted later on. The humans are presented as little above beasts and their racial status is vague. And then Cutter comes in and kills one stone dead without blinking. Meanwhile, the female Wolfriders are cowering in their trees with the children. The art is completely different from all that comes after it. This came out in 1978.
It looks like Richard and Wendy did this, went back to the drawing-board and decided this was not how they wanted to tell their stories.
After that, traditional themes of gender and race are deliberately subverted. Maybe not perfectly by modern day standards, but for the time very successfully.  It seems they needed a little time to find their footing- like most artists do.

If you want to find sticks to beat a dog you will always find some, but I don't think it is fair when it comes to these early books. But after ca. 1990 the whole thing seems stuck in a timewarp.
And meanwhile, the world has moved on. What was progressive in 1982 does not seem like much now. Mankind has moved forward. Can we for a moment pause and consider how awesome that is?

Namuhna, Lunakat, Kathleen...I don't know anything about you. You are apparently angry about the racism in this world. And there is plenty of racism in this world to be angry about.
But you must consider how you post here...using capitals, accusing sounding words ("eurosplaining? What does that even mean? Sounds accusatory though!"). People easily get worked up when confronted with language like that. Throw in an unrelated problematic cultural concept. I mean Tarzan?! And when I get defensive, you can go "See? She is sooooo racist!".

You are picking arguments with your friends here. It's unpleasant and unproductive.

And Namuhna, what does your last comment even mean?
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:32 am

Prism wrote:
As for the term 'barbarian', yes it was an Ancient Greek word, but they never used to describe themselves. Rather foreigners who were mostly from North European tribes, Huns,or anyone outside the Greco-Roman culture. It was always a term for the outsider, the enemy.

That was the point, I think. PCoquelin said the de-humanization of the "other" never existed before 1650, and Wingthing was refuting that claim by pointing out that the ancient Greeks de-humanized outsiders as "barbarians", or even as outright monsters (they described numerous African and Indian tribes as being cannibals, walking on all fours, with heads in their stomachs, their feet on backwards, covered in hair, or with various animal features.)
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PostSubject: Re: racial perception in ElfQuest - split from issue #18 discussion   Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:07 pm

Lunakat wrote:
Elwing wrote:
And by this logic here, nobody can write a book with a positive, white male protagonist who goes around helping people any more. Racist and sexist! Either because he comes and saves people of color, or even worse, there are no people of color! Because people of color*must be* victims!

Well, that's how you get Disney's Tarzan.

So-- the criticism of and point of curiosity about Disney's "Tarzan", when it came out, was that it told a story set in Africa that had no black people in it. The speculation was that Disney was trying to avoid any awkwardness associated with depicting European-African interactions... So this isn't exactly a straw man argument. It's not an argument at all. It was (what I thought was humorous) real world illustration of the hypothetical scenario Elwing described.

Btw:

www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-tarzan-colonial-stories-feature-20160621-snap-story,amp.html?client=safari

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