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Sosa lola
28-11-18, 09:49 AM
I was listening to the new Still Pretty podcast about "Bad Eggs" and they mention a moment in which Cordelia asks a black girl, "Is that your real hair?"

The show does better with feminism, but with PoC, like Buffy making fun of Kendra's accent and the First Slayer's hair, and Xander speaking slowly to Ampata (though the last one I feel the show is aware of how silly Xander was being, when you see Willow and Buffy roll their eyes at his behavior)....

There are very few PoC characters, especially in the early seasons, it does get better by S7 when the show introduces more people of color like Wood, Rona, Kennedy, Chao-ahn and Xander's date in First Date.

Personally, not having many PoC characters doesn't really bother me. I think the small moments like Cordelia asking the black girl if it's her real hair bother me more because that joke was said to make us laugh, sure it's about Cordelia being shallow, but why a black girl? Perhaps if Cordelia said, "Are your shoes real Gucci?" or something? Or said the real hair thing to another white girl.

HardlyThere
28-11-18, 10:23 AM
Cordy makes fun of everyone including white girls. The first slayer's hair is filthy and full of mud. In neither case are they mocking the coarseness of the character's hair or the aspects typically attributed a PoC's hair (unless someone is claiming filth is one of those attributes). Buffy does not make fun of Kendra's accent. Xander mocking Drac? THAT is making fun of someone's accent, which has nothing to do with race, btw.

In other words, the act the same toward Kendra, Sineya, etc., as they do toward everyone.

TimeTravellingBunny
28-11-18, 04:29 PM
Well, the fact that almost everyone is white even though, I believe, that's not exactly the racial makeup of southern California, is a problem. It's not like they were making a statement, they just ignored the existence of POC, for the most part.

But the most blatant example of racism in BtVS is the "Gypsy curse". These are some old, tired, bad stereotypes about the Romani.

Joss joked in the DVD commentary that he likes "classics" and that "Danish curse" wouldn't have sounded as good. Why not? Danish curse would have been much better, it would have subverted stereotypes instead of playing into them unironically.

Rebcake
28-11-18, 05:59 PM
Buffy does not make fun of Kendra's accent.

Yes, she does. It may not show up in the shooting script — because intonation is everything — but she does a bad imitation (right to Kendra's face) a couple of times. I suppose a case could be made that she also makes fun of Giles' accent, though.

HardlyThere
28-11-18, 06:26 PM
Yes, she does. It may not show up in the shooting script — because intonation is everything — but she does a bad imitation (right to Kendra's face) a couple of times. I suppose a case could be made that she also makes fun of Giles' accent, though.

I'm aware. She is, however, not mocking it. They are well on their way to friendship when she says "I think we might make him" and are friends when she does it again Becoming. There is no malice in either exchange. There is more animosity in her using Spike's accent when walking home in Gone than there.

There are certainly things you can poke at in the shows regarding race. The lack of POC in SD being the biggest and mocking/doubling down on said mocking of the Romani are some examples. Trying to use teasing exchanges between the characters that do it to each other constantly and trying to pass it off as racism is just reaching. It'd be xenophobic rather than racist anyway.

Rebcake
28-11-18, 07:18 PM
Well, the fact that almost everyone is white even though, I believe, that's not exactly the racial makeup of southern California, is a problem. It's not like they were making a statement, they just ignored the existence of POC, for the most part.

Yeah. For me, it's the most major problem of the whole show. I love it, obviously, but it failed almost completely on that level. The invisibility of Latinx characters (except one villain, see below) until S7 bothers this California girl. Worse, those characters are as minor as possible. Very few have more than a couple of lines total. Carlos in Lessons, Tomas in Help, Caridad in Dirty Girls are memorable to me, but probably only because I was looking for them. I don't think that Kennedy is coded as Latinx in any meaningful way — any more than Cordelia is — even if both actresses have a Hispanic background.

There are a few prongs to this issue:

1. Are there meaningful characters from a wide spectrum of ethnic backgrounds?

Yes and no. We do get some terrific black characters — Kendra, Trick, Counselor from S3, Forrest, the Woods, Rona — most of whom appear in multiple episodes and have a real impact on the story. Not so much with any other ethnic groups.

2. Are POC just stand-ins for "POC X" or characters in their own right?

The show does stand-ins a lot: Hus, Jenny's uncle, the First Slayer and the Shadowmen, even Chao-Ahn. I think they tried with Ampata and her bodyguard, but didn't succeed in making them much more than "The Incans". There's a case to be made that the references to the Masai in The Pack (complete with pounding drums) is pretty reductionist, but they are only characters in the off-screen sense. Nikki Wood could be seen as a stand-in for "tough '70s black chick", but I love her too much to put her in that corner.

3. Are the cultural nuances right?

There are purists who argue that white folks shouldn't write other ethnicities, because they are invariably tone deaf to the cultural nuances. I don't agree, because if representation matters then people should be encouraged to include POC, whatever their own background. I do think that writers have a responsibility to do the work to get things right, however. If that means bringing in people to check your work, it doesn't seem like too high a bar to me. I think the Buffy writers could have/should have done better.

- - - Updated - - -


It'd be xenophobic rather than racist anyway.

We'll have to disagree about whether Buffy was mocking or teasing in every instance. But I agree with your assessment that it's not necessarily racist.

SpuffyGlitz
28-11-18, 07:35 PM
I think I would agree with Rebcake - in that particular instance, Buffy is definitely mocking Kendra's accent. It needn't have been racist, but it was mocking. I don't see how it can be looked at as anything else considering they don't know each other well enough for it to constitute teasing at that stage (even if they're trying to work as allies by then). It's also consistent with how Buffy wasn't all that bereaved by Kendra's death so they definitely weren't especially close (she regrets Kendra's death obviously but seems to move on fairly quickly from it in her negotiations with Spike). It may not have been intended as racist but it comes off incredibly grating to me every time I see that episode, despite Buffy being my favourite character.

I don't think there were any other overt examples that could be construed as racist in tone (not with surety, anyway). And Kendra's being a Slayer kind of undercuts any racism thankfully, but she's still pretty much a caricature serving as a foil to Buffy in What's My Line. That definitely wasn't the case with Nicki Woods. Overall, I go back and forth on whether BtVS was racist, I'd like to think it wasn't really.

HardlyThere
28-11-18, 07:51 PM
I think I would agree with Rebcake - in that particular instance, Buffy is definitely mocking Kendra's accent. It needn't have been racist, but it was mocking. I don't see how it can be looked at as anything else considering they don't know each other well enough for it to constitute teasing at that stage (even if they're trying to work as allies by then). It's also consistent with how Buffy wasn't all that bereaved by Kendra's death so they definitely weren't especially close (she regrets Kendra's death obviously but seems to move on fairly quickly from it in her negotiations with Spike). It may not have been intended as racist but it comes off incredibly grating to me every time I see that episode, despite Buffy being my favourite character.


They'd just bonded over the involvement of emotion in their slaying. Literally 1 interaction later they almost hug before Kendra backs away. Stop working backwards. Please stop the veiling also. It does the opposite of what you think it does.

SpuffyGlitz
28-11-18, 08:03 PM
They'd just bonded over the involvement of emotion in their slaying. Literally 1 interaction later they almost hug before Kendra backs away. Stop working backwards. Please stop the veiling also. It does the opposite of what you think it does.

Huh? I'm not sure what you mean by "veiling". I just stated my opinion, which I'm sure is as valid as yours. I may change my mind if I revisit the scene. It may not have been racist, I agree with that, but when I first watched it, it seemed mocking, that's all. We can agree to disagree? :noidea:

HardlyThere
28-11-18, 08:13 PM
Huh? I'm not sure what you mean by "veiling". I just stated my opinion, which I'm sure is as valid as yours. I may change my mind if I revisit the scene. It may not have been racist, I agree with that, but when I first watched it, it seemed mocking, that's all. We can agree to disagree? :noidea:

Agreeing with Rebcake is an opinion and a valid one. Your support for it is what was challenged because it's inaccurate. 1 scene after the exchange in WML, Buffy goes to hug her. When she returns, Kendra gives her her prized stake. After she's killed, Buffy reaches to touch her face before the cops show up. She tells Spike she lost a friend that night, which he made a joke about and got punched for it. She showed as much for Kendra as Tara, about all she could given the Angel's going to end the world scenario at play. Unless we're meant to understand she's lying about the friend thing...

I think we can all agree race had nothing to do with it. That's not the matter of contention. There's about as much ill-intent in those scenes as Buffy saying I'm-so-stuffy-get-me-a-scone.

SpuffyGlitz
28-11-18, 08:28 PM
Ah - well, to me, moving to hug her goodbye doesn't necessarily make the mimicry any less mocking. It's partly got to do with the way, on a Doylist level, Kendra felt like a bit of a caricature in contrast to Buffy. I'm not saying they didn't become friends, they definitely have a friendly, banter-y vibe in Becoming when Kendra comes back. The mocking may even have made sense because textually, Buffy is shown as resentful of Kendra hitting it off with Giles in that episode. But I have to revisit it.

a thing of evil
28-11-18, 09:41 PM
I love it, obviously, but it failed almost completely on that level. The invisibility of Latinx characters (except one villain, see below) until S7 bothers this California girl.

The lack of POC in SD

I understand that a third of the state's population is Hispanic but isn't the backwoods/small town California significantly less diverse? Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think it would be that hard to find a Sunnydale-sized Californian town where 90%+ of the population is white and there are almost no Hispanic people. I mean, I'm looking at the population data right now and, sure enough, towns like that do exist.

Anyway, I don't think that it even matters. Sunnydale is not a real place, obviously, but it's not even a representation of a real place. It's fiction based on fiction. It's a generic horror movie town. It's inspired by 70s slashers and 80's direct-to-video horror flicks. It's literally a trope from a cultural product that was already dated in 1997. I understand the lack of diversity argument but I just can't get myself to care because of how undeniably not-real Sunnydale is.

Rebcake
28-11-18, 10:03 PM
I understand that a third of the state's population is Hispanic but isn't the backwoods/small town California significantly less diverse? Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think it would be that hard to find a Sunnydale-sized Californian town where 90%+ of the population is white and there are almost no Hispanic people. I mean, I'm looking at the population data right now and, sure enough, towns like that do exist.

Not really. It would be a rare town in California, especially Southern California that did not have a substantial Hispanic population. I've lived in the central valley as well as in many towns up and down the coast, and never once found an all-white enclave. Unless we define an enclave as a neighborhood. There are many all-white neighborhoods, to be sure. And I might perhaps grant you Carmel-by-the-Sea: I don't remember it having much of a Hispanic presence, but there certainly was in the towns bordering it. Santa Barbara, the closest equivalent to Sunnydale, is very multi-ethnic. In fact, most of coastal California was settled (pillaged) by the Spanish, and so were Hispanic long before they were Anglo.

One thing that makes it hard to track "race" accurately is that all the census forms we fill out are multiple choice as to ethnicity. Most Hispanics in California are categorized as white AND Latino, to differentiate from, say, Cuban-descended black AND Latino people. It's a bit of a statistical slurry. A town could be 99% white and still be 33% latino, if you see what I mean.


Anyway, I don't think that it even matters. Sunnydale is not a real place, obviously, but it's not even a representation of a real place. It's fiction based on fiction. It's a generic horror movie town. It's inspired by 70s slashers and 80's direct-to-video horror flicks. It's literally a trope from a cultural product that was already dated in 1997. I understand the lack of diversity argument but I just can't get myself to care because of how undeniably not-real Sunnydale is.

You are certainly entitled to not care, but to me it would be a better piece of work if it did reflect the multi-facets of reality along with its unreality.

Of course, I'm biased because I grew up in Santa Barbara, with its mission, university, train station, airport, beach, zoo and all the rest. Sunnydale is a representation of a place that's very real in my life. The only thing they got wrong was the population, so the lack of POC is glaring to me.

Willow from Buffy
28-11-18, 10:28 PM
Just for the record, it is perfectly possible to like someone and be friends with them and still have prejudiced opinions about their cultural heritage, race or something else that is important to their sense of self.

To me, Buffy mocking Sineya's hair is the moment that really stands out. I find that one hard to excuse.


Stop working backwards. Please stop the veiling also. It does the opposite of what you think it does.

Please stop attacking SpuffyGlitz's credibility. It does the opposite of what you think it does.

HardlyThere
28-11-18, 10:47 PM
Just for the record, it is perfectly possible to like someone and be friends with them and still have prejudiced opinions about their cultural heritage, race or something else that is important to their sense of self.

To me, Buffy mocking Sineya's hair is the moment that really stands out. I find that one hard to excuse.

Good to know you associate filth with black women and you think they do as well. You notice how Kendra doesn't get that? Do you have the same reaction to Will making fun of her teeth?


Please stop attacking SpuffyGlitz's credibility. It does the opposite of what you think it does.

No, it actually doesn't. One has relevance to the discussion and the other does not. And no, I won't. Bullshit is bullshit. If you have something to say, say it. Believe in it and don't hide behind irrelevant blanket self-descriptions that have nothing to do with the point you're about to make. All is does is defeat itself.

TriBel
28-11-18, 11:03 PM
Hardly There


In neither case are they mocking the coarseness of the character's hair or the aspects typically attributed a PoC's hair (unless someone is claiming filth is one of those attributes).

And therein lies one of the problems because historically black hair has been seen as signifying filth. There's an article here (she does say that the myth is perpetuated by black people as well as white people. I presume they've internalized white attitudes):
https://qz.com/africa/1215070/black-hair-myths-from-slavery-to-colonialism-school-rules-and-good-hair/

I don't like the opening of WTYL2. First there's this:

Kendra: Wiggy?
Buffy: You know. No kick-o, no fight-o?

and then this:

Buffy: Yeah. As in person you hang with? Amigo?

There's a possibility the programme intends to gently mock Buffy, making her the butt of the joke because Kendra (despite her accent) uses "correct" English but, IMO, all it succeeds in doing is casting Buffy as the villain of the piece. I really don't like her in this scene. To me, she comes over as petty, insular, jealous and - yes - racist. Perhaps I'm missing the wider picture :noidea:

I also dislike the "Pink Ranger" and "Dark Power"references - both take on extra significance in the context of the scene.

Rebcake:


I suppose a case could be made that she also makes fun of Giles' accent, though. Personally, I don't think it can. While a white middle-class English accent can be mocked as stuffy, the owner of that accent has never been oppressed or discriminated against because of his hair, his skin colour or the way he talks. His "voice" (and I use voice in the abstract, impersonal sense) is the voice of power - and power can accommodate the mocking. In fact, I'd argue it's one way in which power maintains its hegemony. The two seem to cancel each other out but, in Giles' case, the mocking carries no threat to his sense of self or his identity (rather, it confirms his Englishness). In fact, Buffy's racialized put-downs of Kendra are possibly the result of Buffy's own insecurities about herself. Not only does Kendra threaten her singularity as The Chosen One - she also threatens to displace her as Giles' "Chosen One". Kendra's presence dis-organizes Buffy - is this why she looks so disheveled? :noidea:


I understand the lack of diversity argument but I just can't get myself to care because of how undeniably not-real Sunnydale is.

I get your point - and - TBH, I'm less concerned about the number of minorities portrayed than how the ones we see are portrayed. However, where do you draw the line? Is Buffy's depression, her "PTSD", not real because it's not diagnosed by a doctor? Is the AR not "real"because vampires don't exist? Genuine questions. It doesn't bother me because I read it all as representation. I'd argue that while Sunnydale is not a place it is a space. It's the suburbs and the suburbs can be a "character" in their own right - hence films such as Pleasantville.

I thought it was generally accepted that race, and BtVS's handling of race, was an issue? There's enough academic essays, metas and other writings on the topic.

HardlyThere
28-11-18, 11:37 PM
Hardly There



And therein lies one of the problems because historically black hair has been seen as signifying filth. There's an article here (she does say that the myth is perpetuated by black people as well as white people. I presume they've internalized white attitudes):
https://qz.com/africa/1215070/black-hair-myths-from-slavery-to-colonialism-school-rules-and-good-hair/

Indeed, but that has little to do with the show. When it comes to that, it's across the board. Hell, Buffy makes fun of herself for having dirty hair after a fight. It's a situation where when frame in the correct context, the offense just isn't there. Were the hair of Kendra or Rona mocked, that'd be something.


I don't like the opening of WTYL2. First there's this:

Kendra: Wiggy?
Buffy: You know. No kick-o, no fight-o?

and then this:

Buffy: Yeah. As in person you hang with? Amigo?

There's a possibility the programme intends to gently mock Buffy, making her the butt of the joke because Kendra (despite her accent) uses "correct" English but, IMO, all it succeeds in doing is casting Buffy as the villain of the piece. I really don't like her in this scene. To me, she comes over as petty, insular, jealous and - yes - racist. Perhaps I'm missing the wider picture :noidea:

I also dislike the "Pink Ranger" and "Dark Power"references - both take on extra significance in the context of the scene.

[/QUOTE]

How so? I think I see what you're getting at, but it comes off as more making fun of the Buffy speak as you say, which again is pretty common. Giles does it. Wes does it. Of course Kendra would also given her schooling. A more pure instance of what you're describing I think would be Giles talking to Chao-Ahn, where he's made to look an ass. Is that what you mean?

I don't see what you mean with the Amigo thing. You mean Kendra has been written as naive? The situation is Willow walks in and Kendra goes to attack her, Buffy says she's a friend, which Kendra doesn't get, slayers aren't supposed to have friends. It's the standard clash of Council ways vs Sunnydale ways. That's really the crux of it. Kendra is pure slayer, schooled from a very young age in the way of the watchers vs our gang that makes it up as they go.

The characters are the characters. They tease each other and themselves. They poke fun. The connotations of that don't change because the new character is of a different ethnicity. There are things that, yes, could be taken a certain way if you isolate them, which is what people do. Xander jokingly calls Buffy a slut and people are like aaaah, but he's joking.

Why stop there? Is Buffy fatshaming in Hush? Should the show be called out for insults to short people? Manlets are people, too, Buff!

KingofCretins
28-11-18, 11:52 PM
If was twitter, the whole thing would get a clap-emoji punctuated "stop trying to make 20+ year old shows comply with your Year Zero sensibilities". Just seriously piss on the whole thing. This is exactly how things like Tom Sawyer end up getting banned and the pool of human art and knowledge gets smaller.

bespangled
29-11-18, 12:08 AM
One positive is Willow is not only openly Jewish, she manages to avoid a lot of Jewish tropes. Jews are POC - we've never been accepted as white. In world history when Jews have been assimilated and feeling secure, that's when the massacres begin to happen.

There are micro-aggressions against POC, and Hispanics are completely absent - except as servants. That is an issue. The way the Chumash nation is treated is ghastly. I was so appalled to discover that this is not a fantasy nation. These are real people being treated as a plot point with their entire culture and customs being ignored and/or distorted in extemely ugly ways.

The Rom are also treated in the same way, with outright hostility - Gypsys are filthy people (spits on the ground) and we will speak of them no more. This show manages to encompass and celebrate so many ugly racist tropes here. Dark skinned people have magic, and they are vengeful - this applies to both the Chumash and the Gypsys. I don't recall any other defined racial or ethnic group being used that way.

Yes, the show is racist in a lot of areas of both omission and commission. I tend to wave a lot of it away because things were different 20 years ago, but that doesn't mean that I will ignore that it exists. I also find the all white cast increasingly odd to view.

TriBel
29-11-18, 12:20 AM
If was twitter, the whole thing would get a clap-emoji punctuated "stop trying to make 20+ year old shows comply with your Year Zero sensibilities". Just seriously piss on the whole thing. This is exactly how things like Tom Sawyer end up getting banned and the pool of human art and knowledge gets smaller.

I'm really flattered you think me a "snowflake" :lol: Sorry to disappoint but the 1990s weren't the bloody Dark Ages! In fact, I'd argue that in many ways we were more forward thinking than today. It's nothing to do with 2018 sensibilities (d'you really think race criticism emerged with Twitter? :rotf:). I'd have said exactly the same thing when it was first aired. Conrad's Heart of Darkness is still on my bookshelf (as is Tom Sawyer). It's more than 40 years since I last read them but, to the best of my knowledge, they've yet to be pissed on.

bespangled:


I tend to wave a lot of it away because things were different 20 years ago, but that doesn't mean that I will ignore that it exists.

As above, I'm not sure they were - I think it's just that the objectors have more platforms to shout from. That said, I was teaching at University before Buffy aired - perhaps I'm too immersed in it.

ETA

I've just found an essay published in 2000 in Fantasy Girls: Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television. It's calling BtVS out over its marginalization of the racial other.

bespangled:


Gypsys are filthy people (spits on the ground) and we will speak of them no more. I hate that - I hate that it uses the discourse of hygiene. I hate that Buffy uses similar words to Spike.

KingofCretins
29-11-18, 01:14 AM
I'm really flattered you think me a "snowflake" :lol: Sorry to disappoint but the 1990s weren't the bloody Dark Ages! In fact, I'd argue that in many ways we were more forward thinking than today. It's nothing to do with 2018 sensibilities (d'you really think race criticism emerged with Twitter? :rotf:). I'd have said exactly the same thing when it was first aired. Conrad's Heart of Darkness is still on my bookshelf (as is Tom Sawyer). It's more than 40 years since I last read them but, to the best of my knowledge, they've yet to be pissed on.

If you keep up with changes in what are welcome on public school reading lists, you'd be surprised that those titles aren't being proffered to students; if you have them on your shelf you are either older than the new order or came to them word-of-mouth . It's getting thin on the ground for books that are deemed to contain Wrongthink.
Only reference to Twitter was the use of imperatives punctuated with clap emoji.
hit a quick CTRL+F 'snowflake' on this page and tell me what you find.
Year Zero phenomenon wouldn't imply 'race criticism' was born this year, but rather that it is appropriate (or at least isn't batsh*t crazy) to pretend that all the world's proper ethos forever and in all contexts started right here and now, and that all of history and art must be viewed through that lens with no context. But it's not appropriate, and is batsh*t crazy. It's myopic thinking whether applied to cultural shifts of 20 years or 2000.

Willow from Buffy
29-11-18, 01:37 AM
I don't get it. Should I read Tom Sawyer like I imagine a 19th century kid would have?

TriBel
29-11-18, 02:19 AM
If you keep up with changes in what are welcome on public school reading lists, you'd be surprised that those titles aren't being proffered to students; if you have them on your shelf you are either older than the new order or came to them word-of-mouth . It's getting thin on the ground for books that are deemed to contain Wrongthink.
Only reference to Twitter was the use of imperatives punctuated with clap emoji.
hit a quick CTRL+F 'snowflake' on this page and tell me what you find.
Year Zero phenomenon wouldn't imply 'race criticism' was born this year, but rather that it is appropriate (or at least isn't batsh*t crazy) to pretend that all the world's proper ethos forever and in all contexts started right here and now, and that all of history and art must be viewed through that lens with no context. But it's not appropriate, and is batsh*t crazy. It's myopic thinking whether applied to cultural shifts of 20 years or 2000.

As far as I'm aware neither Huck Finn nor Tom Sawyer are banned in the UK (although I think the latest edition of Huck has had some "offensive" terms removed). I first read Tom Sawyer when I was about 8 - roughly 1965. So yes - I'm a lot older than the "new world order. The point I'm making is - we weren't oblivious to racism in the late 1990s and, while I'm prepared to accept "of its time" reasoning for many 60/70s texts (and earlier) I'm less inclined to be tolerant of later works - particularly works that take pride in being "progressive". In the case of Buffy, I'm not sure it's "accidental" or simply implicit and of its time (though some of it could be). I think - perhaps - Whedon uses it to make a point about "othering" and to draw parallels (IMO, it's possible to read the opening of Lessons with reference to Edward Said's Orientalism). However, like a lot of what Whedon does, sometimes the lines are too blurred. As I recall WillowfromBuffy wrote an interesting piece on Pangs.

I don't think it's wrong to observe that racism exists in a text but I'd never be in favour of banning art or actively sanitizing it. Ideally, it would be thoughtful enough to police itself.

WillowfromBuffy


I don't get it. Should I read Tom Sawyer like I imagine a 19th century kid would have?

I dunno...do you have a flat cap and a pair of short trousers? :lol:

bespangled
29-11-18, 02:28 AM
I've just found an essay published in 2000 in Fantasy Girls: Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television. It's calling BtVS out over its marginalization of the racial other.

No, it was an issue of the time, and still is an issue. Fantasy shows seemed to have laggged behind when it comes to a lot of representation issues. Supernatural hasn't had any POC in continuing roles. Charmed also is pretty white. The same goes for LOTR. The only POC in the movies are the urukai - at least those were the only characters my nephew felt he could identify with.

TriBel
29-11-18, 02:52 AM
No, it was an issue of the time, and still is an issue. Fantasy shows seemed to have laggged behind when it comes to a lot of representation issues. Supernatural hasn't had any POC in continuing roles. Charmed also is pretty white. The same goes for LOTR. The only POC in the movies are the urukai - at least those were the only characters my nephew felt he could identify with.

I've lost the plot. Were we disagreeing? :confused: My argument (and it's an observation - not an argument), is the writers often seem aware of what they're doing. Hence the following:

WOOD: Talk like that is taken pretty seriously where I come from.
BUFFY: The hood?
WOOD: Beverly Hills... which is a hood.

I think race is often a vehicle for something else - or else the racism is deliberately structured in to say something about the characters. I agree with the under-representation BTW.

bespangled
29-11-18, 04:38 AM
That was a no of agreement - you need to fine tune you mind reading skills...;)

vampmogs
29-11-18, 09:05 AM
Why stop there? Is Buffy fatshaming in Hush? Should the show be called out for insults to short people? Manlets are people, too, Buff!

I mean, and please correct me if I'm wrong because may I genuinely just don't know, but there isn't a (pretty recent) history of short people being slaughtered, hung, ostracised from society, locked into intermittent camps, massacred etc for being short the way people have been as a result of racism. There's pretty obvious reasons why people treat racism differently than prejudice against short people or even fat people and why people would be particularly sensitive to jokes or lines that they perceive to be racist. Equating all these things together is pointless.

IMO, Buffy *was* absolutely making fun of Kendra's accent/manner of speaking. I agree with you that there was no real malice behind it and in Becoming I she was affectionate, even, but there's no doubt she was poking fun at the way Kendra speaks. She was very clearly mocking Kendra's accent. It doesn't mean Buffy's a hateful racist that loathes black people or that she was intentionally trying to upset Kendra (and I don't know if it even would upset Kendra) but it can mean that Buffy is being racially insensitive or ignorant even if there was no malice behind it. People are racially insensitive all the time without intending to be. Casual racism is a big thing the same way casual sexism is (think back to Buffy and Oz's exchange in Helpless about ice skating - "Ok, so it's a big dumb girly thing but I love it" "It's not so girly. Ice is cool!" - the implication is that "girly" and "dumb" are one in the same and Oz goes nah it's not "girly" because, unlikely "girly" things, it's "cool")

Likewise, even *if* Buffy is merely commenting on all the dirt and mud in the First Slayer's hair and, IMO, you're right, she probably was, the joke is still *very* racially insensitive. I mean, she's not even just insulting/making fun of a black woman's hair which could be deemed insensitive in itself, she also specifically says "what kind of impression am I making in the work place" which is a *really* loaded comment as black women *specifically* face discrimination from employers who criticise them for their appearance and/or not "grooming" themselves appropriately for work because there's such a prejudice against the way a lot of black women's natural hair looks. So even if Buffy wasn't deliberately saying that the joke is still really tone-deaf and racially insensitive.

I think the important distinction is that most of the criticism's are levelled at the show rather than Buffy specifically herself. She's at best criticised for being ignorant but the majority of the scorn is directed at the writers or the series overall. So there's really no need to defend Buffy because nobody thinks Buffy is a racist.


I also agree with those who are saying that the 1990's weren't the dark ages and that it's wrong to judge Buffy with our 2018 mindset in mind. Things may have changed, yes, but I've seen criticisms about how the show handled race for many, many years now. The writers even address it back in *Season 3* when Mr Trick points out how caucasian Sunnydale is which the writers admitted back in 1998 was a reference to discussions about how bizarrely white Sunnydale was.

Alce
29-11-18, 09:42 AM
Sometimes I feel bad about modern writers. From one side part of the loud progressive crowd demands more diversity from them, but from other same loud crowd criticizes every non-white character if he/she isn't paragon of virtue and nitpick every little moment about them. No surprise that some of writers prefer not to bother with writing interesting non-white characters and just use them as tokens for racial quota. Can't really blame them for that too. Nobody want to make himself a target like in recent idiotic Simpsons debacle with Apu character. And just as with Simpsons case where allegedly show runners just wrote off Apu completely, some of the writers just prefer to take easier way with that.

TriBel
29-11-18, 10:14 AM
Sometimes I feel bad about modern writers. From one side part of the loud progressive crowd demands more diversity from them, but from other same loud crowd criticizes every non-white character if he/she isn't paragon of virtue and nitpick every little moment about them. No surprise that some of writers prefer not to bother with writing interesting non-white characters and just use them as tokens for racial quota. Can't really blame them for that too. Nobody want to make himself a target like in recent idiotic Simpsons debacle with Apu character. And just as with Simpsons case where allegedly show runners just wrote off Apu completely, some of the writers just prefer to take easier way with that.

I'm not sure...and that's a genuine "not sure". I don't disagree with you but I think, with care, it can be done. I really liked the Giles mini because of Roux - a vampire, a watcher and a slayer. But, bugger me...it was complicated! :p Plus fans didn't like it. Simon managed it with The Wire (:hug:). For me, the secret is exposing the historical /social/economic forces that bring the character forth and that's not easy to do without seeming didactic. I'm concerned that Dr Who is going to fall into this trap.

As I recall, Hill Street Blues also made an excellent job of handling race and multiculturalism.

Vampmogs

Nice post. I agree BtVS is very self-knowing, self-referential but, as with all forms of irony, it's damaging when not recognized. Randy Newman's song Short People springs to mind. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_People

HardlyThere
29-11-18, 11:07 AM
I mean, and please correct me if I'm wrong because may I genuinely just don't know, but there isn't a (pretty recent) history of short people being slaughtered, hung, ostracised from society, locked into intermittent camps, massacred etc for being short the way people have been as a result of racism. There's pretty obvious reasons why people treat racism differently than prejudice against short people or even fat people and why people would be particularly sensitive to jokes or lines that they perceive to be racist. Equating all these things together is pointless.

Not when one leads to the other. What was a criticism of the Chosen spell way, way back in 2003? Hey, it's great we have all these different race of slayers now, but where are the overweight slayers?

Pointless is also trying to use an emotional argument to back up a logical one.


IMO, Buffy *was* absolutely making fun of Kendra's accent/manner of speaking. I agree with you that there was no real malice behind it and in Becoming I she was affectionate, even, but there's no doubt she was poking fun at the way Kendra speaks. She was very clearly mocking Kendra's accent. It doesn't mean Buffy's a hateful racist that loathes black people or that she was intentionally trying to upset Kendra (and I don't know if it even would upset Kendra) but it can mean that Buffy is being racially insensitive or ignorant even if there was no malice behind it. People are racially insensitive all the time without intending to be. Casual racism is a big thing the same way casual sexism is (think back to Buffy and Oz's exchange in Helpless about ice skating - "Ok, so it's a big dumb girly thing but I love it" "It's not so girly. Ice is cool!" - the implication is that "girly" and "dumb" are one in the same and Oz goes nah it's not "girly" because, unlikely "girly" things, it's "cool")

That's what mocking and making fun of is. It's a malicious intent to hurt someone's feelings. It's what separates it from simple banter which the show is chock full of. It's partly why Whedon and Williamson stuff was successful, the witty back and forth dialogue. People loved it back then but read too much into it now. That group teasing each other and mocking are two very different things. We're shown numerous times Buffy, Will and Xander can rip someone down very well. There is a very distinct contrast between them, highlighting the banter vs the maliciousness.


Likewise, even *if* Buffy is merely commenting on all the dirt and mud in the First Slayer's hair and, IMO, you're right, she probably was, the joke is still *very* racially insensitive. I mean, she's not even just insulting/making fun of a black woman's hair which could be deemed insensitive in itself, she also specifically says "what kind of impression am I making in the work place" which is a *really* loaded comment as black women *specifically* face discrimination from employers who criticise them for their appearance and/or not "grooming" themselves appropriately for work because there's such a prejudice against the way a lot of black women's natural hair looks. So even if Buffy wasn't deliberately saying that the joke is still really tone-deaf and racially insensitive.

And this is what it really boils down to and is the crux of what alce has said. Everyone seems to be in agreement there was no ill intent there and these comments would have been made no matter the race of the characters being spoken to, but they shouldn't have been said simply because of the race of the character. They're not allowed to be treated the same. If the First Slayer was white, Buffy would still say the same thing, Willow would still say she had bad teeth and we wouldn't be having this conversation about it. They all say stuff that could be considered insensitive toward every group imaginable. It's not race-specific.


I think the important distinction is that most of the criticism's are levelled at the show rather than Buffy specifically herself. She's at best criticised for being ignorant but the majority of the scorn is directed at the writers or the series overall. So there's really no need to defend Buffy because nobody thinks Buffy is a racist.

You can't separate the two. It's self-affirming, circular logic. The question begins: "Is BTVS/AtS racist?" Now we go back and pick this line or that, remove context and apply words like "tone deaf" and "racially insensitive", both of which are rooted in emotion and are only attempts to selectively expand the definition of racism . When challenged, the response is the same. "I'm not saying race had anything to do with it, but race had something to do with it."

We need more POC slayers. Spike has killed two of them. Is the show racist because the two he killed were nonwhite or would it be racist if they were made white? It's canon all past slayers died. Writers were in a rock and a hard place. You look at the Kendra->Faith swapup. People now consider this to be whitewashing, removing the POC for the white character. Strip the context and it is. The reality is Faith was just another character meant to die, but proved very popular so they kept her. If Faith didn't prove popular, she'd be dead. It was business. Kendra is a fan favorite now, she wasn't all that popular then.

vampmogs
29-11-18, 11:49 AM
That's what mocking and making fun of is. It's a malicious intent to hurt someone's feelings. It's what separates it from simple banter which the show is chock full of.

I don't really see much distinction. I think friends can "mock" each other without malicious intent. It just seems like an argument of semantics. Nevertheless, Buffy didn't mock/engage in "banter" with Kendra over her personality or something she did or said - she mocked her for her accent. Thus, she obviously felt her accent was something funny she could imitate/mock/joke around about.


And this is what it really boils down to and is the crux of what alce has said. Everyone seems to be in agreement there was no ill intent there and these comments would have been made no matter the race of the characters being spoken to, but they shouldn't have been said simply because of the race of the character.

Well, yeah. That's reality. We're not all the same and context matters. If one person is part of a race that is historically discriminated against and demeaned for their hair then obviously making a "joke" about said person's hair is going to carry a different weight behind it then mocking someone whose race has *not* been discriminated against for their hair. I think people may mean well but I think they're terribly naive when they want to treat everyone as the same when we're *not* the same and these jokes doesn't exist in a vacuum. Different cultures are sensitive to different things and you can dismiss (?) that as being "rooted in emotion" but those emotions come from real, factual, historical prejudices that people have faced.

I *like* snarky and mean humour. And, for instance, as a gay guy I think I can probably take a lot of humour at the expense of my sexuality in comparison to many others. However, as a general rule, I think with any kind of humour, you should generally aim to "punch up" and not "punch down." There's nothing greatly funny to be found in knocking down people who are already marginalized and stepped on throughout society. It carries more weight behind it. And this comes with an acknowledgement that certain jokes are only acceptable under certain contexts and, yes, sometimes even when only aimed at certain people. If you were to make a joke about a straight person's sexuality it is not the same thing as making fun of a gay person for there's. Straight people aren't ridiculed, demeaned and ostracised in society for their sexuality. Likewise, Buffy making a joke at another white, Californian blonde about the state of her hair in the workplace is *not* the same thing as Buffy making that joke towards a black woman given how racially charged it is and the discrimination black women face for that very subject. It's just naive to believe otherwise. We should try and put ourselves in somebody else's shoes every once in a while.

HardlyThere
29-11-18, 12:39 PM
I don't really see much distinction. I think friends can "mock" each other without malicious intent. It just seems like an argument of semantics. Nevertheless, Buffy didn't mock/engage in "banter" with Kendra over her personality or something she did or said - she mocked her for her accent. Thus, she obviously felt her accent was something funny she could imitate/mock/joke around about.

You don't see a distinction between Pack!Xander and regular Xander? Dark Willow and regular Willow? Buffy in WSWB and her normal tones? There's a big difference.

Are you kidding? Buffy totally is at odds with Kendra's stiff personality, just as she is with other characters.


Well, yeah. That's reality. We're not all the same and context matters. If one person is part of a race that is historically discriminated against and demeaned for their hair then obviously making a "joke" about said person's hair is going to carry a different weight behind it then mocking someone whose race has *not* been discriminated against for their hair. I think people may mean well but I think they're terribly naive when they want to treat everyone as the same when we're *not* the same and these jokes doesn't exist in a vacuum. Different cultures are sensitive to different things and you can dismiss (?) that as being "rooted in emotion" but those emotions come from real, factual, historical prejudices that people have faced.

We're not all the same, which is why the argument fails. Black women who face/d discrimination of their hair didn't/don't have their hair caked full of mud and grime. The argument itself is creating the parallel and the fact that so many rely on it is weird. Black women, like most women across the US, take very good care of their hair. They're discriminated against because of their skin color and the innate qualities of their hair. Of which, dirt isn't one of them. There is no reason to equate the two.

It is rooted in emotion. That's why you can't apply the proper words and phrasing to it and have to rely on tone deaf and insensitive. It's "tone deaf" in the current climate to question the story of an accuser, but if the facts aren't adding up then they aren't adding up. The whole thing relies on throwing rational behavior out the window in favor emotion because of the past.


I *like* snarky and mean humour. And, for instance, as a gay guy I think I can probably take a lot of humour at the expense of my sexuality in comparison to many others. However, as a general rule, I think with any kind of humour, you should generally aim to "punch up" and not "punch down." There's nothing greatly funny to be found in knocking down people who are already marginalized and stepped on throughout society. It carries more weight behind it. And this comes with an acknowledgement that certain jokes are only acceptable under certain contexts and, yes, sometimes even when only aimed at certain people. Buffy making a joke at another white, Californian blonde about the state of her hair in the workplace is *not* the same thing as Buffy making that joke towards a black woman given how racially charged it is and the discrimination black women face for that very subject. It's just naive to believe otherwise. We should try and put ourselves in somebody else's shoes every once in a while.

So you don't actually like snarky and mean humor. You like snarky and mean humor directed at people you think deserve it. You use the arguments "we're not all the same" yet act like everyone in a certain group is the same. Not true in the slightest. Not everyone in any group can take a joke. Take two people, same race, class, size and gender and make a weight joke. One might laugh it off and the other develops a complex that ends up ruining their health and life. Why should one get over it if that's your belief and the other not if the response of the group outweighs the individual?

You can't put yourself in someone else's shoes because you project your own junk into it. I could tell you to put yourself in the shoes of a blonde Californian girl, but you'd only be filling that with your own views of how their life is and confirming your own beliefs.

As a relevant aside, that's bizarrely common among self-described progressive people. There's a lot of talk about how a character is "coded" as if groups act the same. Take Kennedy or even Cordy. Both are played about non-white actors, yet few accept the characters as POC because they're not coded as such. As if there is a distinct way either *should* act based on their racial makeup as opposed to their own individual backgrounds. It's as if everything has gone backwards. It's not new, either. You had the whole Gunn is an Oreo thing way back. Who is trying to pigeon-hole who in these discussions?

vampmogs
29-11-18, 12:58 PM
You use the arguments "we're not all the same" yet act like everyone in a certain group is the same.

I explicitly stated - "And, for instance, as a gay guy I think I can probably take a lot of humour at the expense of my sexuality in comparison to many others." If that's not an acknowledgement that not all people of one group are the same then I don't know what it is.

I don't see the point in going around in circles about this. And to be honest, I lost my enthusiasm to continue as soon as conversation turned to telling me what kind of humour I *really* like or don't like as as according to a stranger on the internet who apparently knows me better than I know myself :coffee:

Besides that, there's things creeping up in these conversations that I find ugly and I'll see myself out for my own benefit.

DeepBlueJoy
29-11-18, 01:22 PM
As a person of color, I would have liked to see more people of color on the show, and it would have been more true to California of the late 90s/early 21st century. That said, I don't see either Buffy or Angel as racist. Occasionally racially tone deaf, yes, but racist no. Mr. Trick addresses the whiteness of Sunnydale in a pointed, funny moment.

Sweet as played by Hinton Battle, was one of the coolest villains in the entire series.

Both series raised a lot of complicated questions about being different and accepting people who are 'not them' -- so in a way it addresses racism and prejudice more than a lot of other shows. Can you accept someone different and judge them for the content of their character, rather than whether they are 'human'?

Angel, the series was better than Buffy both about cast diversity and about addressing questions of difference. They even had Asian characters. Angel and his group also actually helped demons as well as humans - something that showed a mindset of inclusivity that was much stronger than in Buffy.

Though it's not as colorful as California, Angel is more diverse, and one major character is a person of color, which is about right for a mostly white grouping -- California is less white, but in real life, most black folks don't hang out with a group of white folks. It is not that uncommon for a group of white folks to have that 'one black friend', however. I've been that one black friend. The sad truth is that although our world has more integrated use of facilities, and it's legal for people who are different colors to mingle, they tend to mingle in mostly 'like' groupings.

What the show also did right (something that major shows fail at a lot still) is not to stereotype black/Hispanic people as thugs/bad guys. Even though Gunn's gang was a group of poor kids living rough, Gunn and co were fighting vampires -- so they were (mostly) the good guys. The bad guys weren't bad black guys, they were bad demons... all colors. What happened after Gunn left wasn't a stereotypical thug thing. In fact, it addressed something real: bigotry on the part of people who happened to be black -- in this case aimed at the peaceful demons. Talk about nuance!


Fanfic, however... that is often a major fail -- and it is something that sometimes makes me FURIOUS. Many, many, many fanfics that are set when black characters should appear in either series, the first act is to kill off all or most of the black characters as soon as possible, often in the first chapter. Gunn, Robin and Rona die early, and sometimes die horribly, even if NO ONE else dies. That hurts.

So, my verdict? Buffy and Angel are less racist than most other TV shows, even though people of color are not as well represented as they could be. They should have more Chinese, Korean, Indian or Japanese American characters as well. One of the bigger missed opportunities was the Thanksgiving episode. They could have found a native actor to give them help, but they did not. As the country where Native Americans actually are the original population, they are seriously underrepresented on TV and in film. I found Spike's speech actually quite honest in its acknowledgement of our reality. Those who came after the native Americans did take what they had.

Fanfic, by contrast to the actual shows, is often racist or racially insensitive. Often it is lily white. Where they do occur, black characters get disproportionately negative portrayals. Sometimes, I suspect it's simply that fanfic writers decide they cannot write black folks and decide to kill them so they don't have to deal. That bothers me.

I'm a person of color. I write fan fic of white folks. Stretch yourselves fellow fanfic writers. It will make you a better writer, and make your writing more fun for people of color who are fans.

Blue

BTW: Kendra's accent? Who the hell thought that up?! (I was born in Jamaica, btw. that accent makes me want to get out my railroad spikes)

HardlyThere
29-11-18, 01:38 PM
I explicitly stated - "And, for instance, as a gay guy I think I can probably take a lot of humour at the expense of my sexuality in comparison to many others." If that's not an acknowledgement that not all people of one group are the same then I don't know what it is.

And yet... This is why veils do nothing. Any argument stands on its own no matter who makes it.


I don't see the point in going around in circles about this. And to be honest, I lost my enthusiasm to continue as soon as conversation turned to telling me what kind of humour I *really* like or don't like as as according to a stranger on the internet who apparently knows me better than I know myself :coffee:

Besides that, there's things creeping up in these conversations that I find ugly and I'll see myself out for my own benefit.

You said it yourself. You like mean-spirited humor but only directed at certain groups because in your view, they can (or should be able to ) take it.

It's a socio-political thread. Of course it will be tension-filled and ugly things will pop up. The thing of it is, no one really wants to discuss any of it, they only want agreement so goalposts get picked up and carried around until it does go in a circle.

TimeTravellingBunny
29-11-18, 04:40 PM
Not when one leads to the other. What was a criticism of the Chosen spell way, way back in 2003? Hey, it's great we have all these different race of slayers now, but where are the overweight slayers?

Pointless is also trying to use an emotional argument to back up a logical one.



That's what mocking and making fun of is. It's a malicious intent to hurt someone's feelings. It's what separates it from simple banter which the show is chock full of. It's partly why Whedon and Williamson stuff was successful, the witty back and forth dialogue. People loved it back then but read too much into it now. That group teasing each other and mocking are two very different things. We're shown numerous times Buffy, Will and Xander can rip someone down very well. There is a very distinct contrast between them, highlighting the banter vs the maliciousness.



And this is what it really boils down to and is the crux of what alce has said. Everyone seems to be in agreement there was no ill intent there and these comments would have been made no matter the race of the characters being spoken to, but they shouldn't have been said simply because of the race of the character. They're not allowed to be treated the same. If the First Slayer was white, Buffy would still say the same thing, Willow would still say she had bad teeth and we wouldn't be having this conversation about it. They all say stuff that could be considered insensitive toward every group imaginable. It's not race-specific.



You can't separate the two. It's self-affirming, circular logic. The question begins: "Is BTVS/AtS racist?" Now we go back and pick this line or that, remove context and apply words like "tone deaf" and "racially insensitive", both of which are rooted in emotion and are only attempts to selectively expand the definition of racism . When challenged, the response is the same. "I'm not saying race had anything to do with it, but race had something to do with it."

We need more POC slayers. Spike has killed two of them. Is the show racist because the two he killed were nonwhite or would it be racist if they were made white? It's canon all past slayers died. Writers were in a rock and a hard place. You look at the Kendra->Faith swapup. People now consider this to be whitewashing, removing the POC for the white character. Strip the context and it is. The reality is Faith was just another character meant to die, but proved very popular so they kept her. If Faith didn't prove popular, she'd be dead. It was business. Kendra is a fan favorite now, she wasn't all that popular then.

Huh?! Who ever said that "whitewashing"?! I've never seen that anywhere.

If someone has said that, they don't know the meanings of the word. That's not what whitewashing is. Whitewashing would be if Faith were a book character or a real life figure who was POC, but was cast with a white actress.( For instance, what happens in almost every adaptation of Wuthering Heights, when they cast white actors as Heathcliff. That's whitewashing. Introducing a white character in place of a POC one who was killed off may be criticised on racial grounds, but it is not whitewashing.)

- - - Updated - - -




As a relevant aside, that's bizarrely common among self-described progressive people. There's a lot of talk about how a character is "coded" as if groups act the same. Take Kennedy or even Cordy. Both are played about non-white actors, yet few accept the characters as POC because they're not coded as such. As if there is a distinct way either *should* act based on their racial makeup as opposed to their own individual backgrounds. It's as if everything has gone backwards. It's not new, either. You had the whole Gunn is an Oreo thing way back. Who is trying to pigeon-hole who in these discussions?

Charisma is not white? I need a source on that. According to Wikipedia and other websites, she is Spanish, German, French, Irish and Scottish.

As for Iyari Limon, in the US she would, I guess, automatically be considered a POC because she's Mexican American, but in general, USA is the only country where "Hispanic" or "Latinx" is considered a race. Considering the demographics of Mexico, there's a high probability that she doesn't have a 100% white/European background, but it's not guaranteed. There are plenty of white people in Latin American countries (though only Argentina and Urugway are majority white countries).

But racial categories are generally questionable, arbitrary, changeable and a social construct.

DeepBlueJoy
29-11-18, 06:07 PM
Regarding Charisma and Iyari, what race they are considered depends on who is perceiving and when. Iyari is 'Hispanic' and Charisma is 'Mediterranean'. Neither is entirely 'Caucasian' by Aryan standards. Then again, since both are pretty and successful, it's likely they will get a 'whiteness' pass. Someone who is going by the 'one drop rule' would probably not accept them though. And if they were male, they would definitely not be 'white enough'. White men often 'whiten' the women they marry -- b/c the man's racial bona fides tend to be more important, and the wife tends to be considered 'exotic' -- which is sexy. One reason you see some pretty bigoted men marrying women who are 'dark and lovely' - oriental, middle eastern, even like a certain prince, biracial or 'half black' (something that isn't actually true, but that's neither here nor there b/c race is a construct). Megan Markle is just 'white enough' not to upset the apple cart.

Sadly, I doubt one of the royal females could have married a man as exotic as our fair princess... but since the prince wanted her, he got what he wanted. Just as his dad got to marry a divorced woman... but the a few decades earlier, a princess or two was denied that chance. Social power is a complicated animal. Race, class, gender. All play a part.

Race is a traveling target.

Since race is, in reality, a social construct, it actually doesn't exist. We all come originally from Africa. Appearance and physical characteristics is just the way that largely the same genes have adapted to environment. There's no such thing as white or black, there's just a continuum.

When Italians first emigrated to the US, they weren't considered quite white. Variously, there have been racist exclusions of Italians, Jews, Chinese, Japanese and Hispanics, and of course, people of African origin. Middle eastern people are often considered non-white now, because their star has actually fallen somewhat... but in the 1940s through 9/11 and still often by demographics, they're listed as 'white'. I've met Egyptians with curly hair and olive skin, who had 'white' on their paperwork... even though they are darker than me, my paperwork says 'black'.

What is white is often in the eye of the beholder, b/c whiteness gives privilege and those who like to control that privilege open or close the gates depending on whether it's in their interest to increase or decrease the number of people who are considered white.

I'm sure that Charisma's papers say 'white'. Not sure about Iyari. Given the Spanish sounding last name, it's likely she's listed as Hispanic. Even if she's 100% genuine 'white'.

What is true? The world is racist. What is also true. Race is not real. Except for one thing. The consequences of bigotry are always real.

TimeTravellingBunny
29-11-18, 10:17 PM
Regarding Charisma and Iyari, what race they are considered depends on who is perceiving and when. Iyari is 'Hispanic' and Charisma is 'Mediterranean'. Neither is entirely 'Caucasian' by Aryan standards.
Wait, so Mediterranean is considered non-white now? That's news to me. I've been told I look "Mediterranean" (or specifically Greek, Italian or Spanish), though a lot of Serbian people look like that (I've always thought we just look like regular non-Nordic white European people) and I don't stand out at all on that front, and Southeast Europe is a part of the Mediterranean region, I think. Can I then start calling myself a WOC? LOL, no, I don't think so. I'm well aware that I don't stand out among any other white people (unless I were to be surrounded by Nordic-looking, blond and blue eyed people and really pale people), unless, say, my friend who is half-Indonesian, or any of the Romani minority, who are extremely discriminated against, and who can usually be easily recognized by their looks.

It would also be odd to consider Spanish or Portuguese people POC, when it's the Spanish or Portuguese who were the standard of whiteness as colonial masters in South America/Mesoamerica or other colonized countries (e.g. Philippines).

But yes, the standards and boundaries of what is considered "white" have been changeable. There is still the gradation of being more or less 'white', with the Nordic blonde and blue eyed standard still promoted in the Western media as the superior standard of beauty. Then again, there's also gradation based on other factors. The Irish were also considered inferior and discriminated against, in spite of being some of the lightest skinned, whitest people I can think of. Eastern Europeans are seen as inferior regardless of how pale and blonde some of them may look. It's not all about whiteness as a racial category.

Nazi ideas about the Aryan race were pretty weird. The very word "Aryan" originally referred to an ethnic group from India. (I don't know what British neo-Nazis would say about that - as far as I'm aware, South Asians have been their main target for decades.) The Nazis maintained that Slavs were a slave/inferior race, in spite of being white, but Hitler was also ready to grant the Japanese the status of honorary Aryans, for... reasons. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Then again, since both are pretty and successful, it's likely they will get a 'whiteness' pass. Someone who is going by the 'one drop rule' would probably not accept them though.
Charisma would be considered white by every modern standard. Americans think that "Hispanics" are not white, but that doesn't apply to the actual Spanish people, or people of partially Spanish origin. Ditto Italians. The common (US) wisdom says that anyone who is European is white (even if they look quite dark skinned, as e.g. many Greeks, Sicilians and southern Italians, or Spaniards do), while everyone from Latin American countries is not (even though many people from those countries are of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian... and also, German etc. origin). That's how Floriana Lima, who is of Italian, Portuguese and Spanish (as well as English and Irish) descent, and is quite dark skinned, came under fire by 'woke' fans of Supergirl who accused her of "pretending to be a WOC" (?). I'm not in that fandom, but I'm guessing the issue was whether she qualifies as "Latina" - which, in the US, apparently means anyone from a Latin American country or originating from a Latin American country, but not actual Italians or Spaniards of the Portuguese - even though that's who the term "Latin" (as in Latin people) originally referred to. Go figure. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


And if they were male, they would definitely not be 'white enough'. White men often 'whiten' the women they marry -- b/c the man's racial bona fides tend to be more important, and the wife tends to be considered 'exotic' -- which is sexy. One reason you see some pretty bigoted men marrying women who are 'dark and lovely' - oriental, middle eastern, even like a certain prince, biracial or 'half black' (something that isn't actually true, but that's neither here nor there b/c race is a construct). Megan Markle is just 'white enough' not to upset the apple cart.

Sadly, I doubt one of the royal females could have married a man as exotic as our fair princess... but since the prince wanted her, he got what he wanted. Just as his dad got to marry a divorced woman... but the a few decades earlier, a princess or two was denied that chance. Social power is a complicated animal. Race, class, gender. All play a part.
See, that "white enough" discourse tends to make me really uncomfortable. I've seen way too much of that used to attack biracial people, in really ugly ways. Like making them feel like they don't belong anywhere and can't qualify as any of the strict racial categories, so therefore they are lesser and just 'half' and not full anything. Like implying that they are not "dark enough" for their experiences with being targets of racism to be recognized as valid, even while others use racial slurs and clearly show that they are not "white enough" either. That's the kind of thing that's the reason why "mixed race" people often suffer from anxiety and have identity issues. I was shocked when my biracial friend admitted how incredibly insecure she used to be when she was younger (I would never guess that someone so gorgeous and intelligent and outwardly confident would have that problem), and how many identity issues she had. And the "you are attractive by white people's standards, therefore you have it easy/you are privileged" argument is something that pops up, and not just in relation to women. There is, for instance, an infamous tweet from a few of years ago by a certain influential blogger/'superfan' of a certain CW show, who tried to deflect a discussion about racial issues on that show by claiming that men of color get "white male privilege" from fans if they are "attractive by white girls' standards". Those kinds of arguments are, IMO, utter garbage, and really harmful, as they're a way to put down interracial relationships and multiracial people.
Not to mention, sexual appeal has never stopped anyone from being discriminated against. Nor do non-white people need to be biracial and part-white to be sexually appealing to white people. If white Americans slave owners didn't find their black slaves attractive, they wouldn't have raped them so often.
People can indeed be very racist and still be sexually attracted to those belonging to the groups they're racist towards. And that doesn't apply just to men finding women attractive.
But there's also a lot of really creepy racism and possessiveness from people from various racial and ethnic groups that happens when they decide they have the right to expect people from their racial / ethnic group, usually those of the opposite sex, to be 'faithful' to their race and only date those from their racial or ethnic group. Just go anywhere on the Internet, and that kind of crap is everywhere. You get it from whites and non-whites, and I used to think men were worse in that respect, but women do it as well.


Race is a traveling target.

Since race is, in reality, a social construct, it actually doesn't exist. We all come originally from Africa. Appearance and physical characteristics is just the way that largely the same genes have adapted to environment. There's no such thing as white or black, there's just a continuum.
It doesn't exist as a biological category, but it does exist as a sociological one.


When Italians first emigrated to the US, they weren't considered quite white. Variously, there have been racist exclusions of Italians, Jews, Chinese, Japanese and Hispanics, and of course, people of African origin. Middle eastern people are often considered non-white now, because their star has actually fallen somewhat... but in the 1940s through 9/11 and still often by demographics, they're listed as 'white'. I've met Egyptians with curly hair and olive skin, who had 'white' on their paperwork... even though they are darker than me, my paperwork says 'black'.
That's the problem with the obsession of classifying everyone into strictly defined 'racial' categories and groups.

People still can't even decide how many supposed "races" there are. Many still believe and will tell you that "there are just 3 races, Causasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid", which is something that I used to read in old encyclopedias published in 1980s. "Caucasian" used to mean white is, BTW, a ludicrous and inaccurate term (and, amusingly, has caused some really bad translations from English - I almost fell off my chair when I once saw the sentence "suspect is a Caucasian male, 30 to 40..." translated as "suspect is a man from Caucasus"). The term it goes back to the German 18th century scientist Johann Blumenbach, who differentiated between the following 5 "races":

"Caucasian" or "white"
"Ethiopian" or "black"
"Mongolian" or "yellow" (North East Asians, Central Asians)
"American" or "red" (Native Americans)
"Malayan" or "brown" (Southeast Asians, Pacific Islanders)

Then I guess, along the way, people mostly forgot about the "Malayans" (which is why so many Western people are still confused why people from, say, Philippines or Indonesia look so different from the Chinese or Japanese, unless they happen to be of Chinese origin), though "brown" is the only one of the color descriptions that can be considered accurate. "White" and "black" are not really accurate, and I have no idea how "yellow" or "red" are supposed to make any sense.
So most of the time, I used to hear about the 3 races, or 4, if one counted Native Americans as separate.

Some later added the "Australian" race (Australian Aborigins) as another race. (Interesting fact: the indigenous people of Southeast Asia and Oceania are also black, but are less genetically related to the Sub-Saharan Africans than any other racial group in the world, in spite of having a very similar phenotype. They were probably among the earliest groups of people who left Africa and settled other continents and islands, but due to the warm climate, did not change the phenotype the way many other groups did.)

But not only were Middle Eastern and North African people counted as "white", but so were South Asians (though that seems to be a thing of the past), which never made the slightest sense to me. It was probably very convenient, though, for those in my country and other European countries where the Romani are the most significant non-white minority (and by far the most discriminated against one) - because, if you somehow count South Asians as "white", then the Romani (who originate from the Indian subcontinent and look similar to South Asians) are also "white", and you can pretend that bigotry against them is not racism, even though they're easily distinguished by their skin color and/or facial features, and considered inferior and second class citizens based on their looks and origin, which is what race/racism is supposed to be about.


Denying the POC status can be a very useful tool for hiding discrimination and deflection of any discussion or racial issues. I know plenty of (hypocritical) people who will claim that "Serbian people are generally not racist" and try to argue that to foreigners (meaning that the majority is not going to be particularly racist when they see a very rare black person, who is 99% likely to be a well off foreigner, or isn't racist towards any of the Chinese immigrants who tend to stick to their own community while providing everyone with great stores of cheap goods that everyone likes to shop in), but when I reply with "...How about the Romani?", they will start saying the most racist things imaginable ("they are dirty, lazy, beggars/thieves" etc.). Racism isn't necessarily based on how dark or how different someone looks compared to us, and it doesn't have to be about hating all non-white people. It can targeted towards specific groups, and it is often very class-based. Romani people are typically the poorest group and live in the most squalid conditions. And lately, there's been increasing racism towards the Middle Eastern people, now that there are so many Syrian refugees in Serbia or passing through it - as opposed to the times of the socialist Yugoslavia, when Middle Eastern people you saw, just like blacks or Asians, were usually diplomats, businessmen or sons and daughters of the elite from the Asian and African countries (that were a part of the Non-Aligned movements together with Yugoslavia) who did their studies abroad at the Belgrade university.

ghoststar
30-11-18, 12:59 AM
Not to offend anybody, but... Do Romani really look that distinctive to other Europeans? Granted, as far as I know, I’ve never met any Romani, but most of the ones I’ve seen in news stories, etc., could pass for white of the “has some Cherokee in them” variety in the U.S.

TimeTravellingBunny
30-11-18, 01:31 AM
Not to offend anybody, but... Do Romani really look that distinctive to other Europeans?

Yes.


Granted, as far as I know, I’ve never met any Romani, but most of the ones I’ve seen in news stories, etc., could pass for white of the “has some Cherokee in them” variety in the U.S.
I don't know who you have seen in news stories. I do know, however, that the Romani in Hollywood movies (Brad Pitt?! WTF??) look nothing like the Romani I know and see every day.

These are some of the photos of Romani people in Serbia from news articles:

http://i68.tinypic.com/do1njd.jpg
http://i66.tinypic.com/2150eon.jpg
http://i66.tinypic.com/2qltoxc.jpg

The President of the National Council of the Roma National Minority in Serbia:

http://i64.tinypic.com/dcd7ok.jpg

The late Romani recording artist Šaban Bajramović:
spoiler tagged for size

http://i66.tinypic.com/2rxgvvb.jpg

ghoststar
30-11-18, 03:51 AM
Thanks a lot for the pics. I can see why people would notice difference between Romani in a group and the average non-Romani European, but I admit, I'm still not sure how people could tell if they met an individual Romani. The National Roma Council president actually looks a lot like my paternal grandfather, while the girl on the far right in the group picture has similar features and eyes to mine (although my hair and skin colors could be described as "Drusilla" and "Inara," respectively.)

I'm reasonably certain that I have no Romani ancestors, and I've always lived as a white person, but ethnic ambiguity is of some interest to me, in part because my paternal grandfather was "black Dutch." For those who haven't lived in the rural U.S. South, "black Dutch" has a basic regional meaning with localized variations. Where I grew up, in northwest Alabama, it was a euphemism used by old people for families that weren't so obviously African-derived that anyone could've proved it, yet also produced a suspicious number of kids whose appearance was a little "less white" than you'd expect. They weren't subject to Jim Crow laws, at least not in my county; however, the term "black Dutch" did get some ironic usage by people who didn't buy it.

So, are there any European countries with similar customs? For that matter, how likely is it that Sunnydale has them?

Alce
30-11-18, 08:40 AM
If white Americans slave owners didn't find their black slaves attractive, they wouldn't have raped them so often.

That's not how this works unfortunately. Being just unattractive isn't protection from rape.




People still can't even decide how many supposed "races" there are. Many still believe and will tell you that "there are just 3 races, Causasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid", which is something that I used to read in old encyclopedias published in 1980s. "Caucasian" used to mean white is, BTW, a ludicrous and inaccurate term (and, amusingly, has caused some really bad translations from English - I almost fell off my chair when I once saw the sentence "suspect is a Caucasian male, 30 to 40..." translated as "suspect is a man from Caucasus").


Yep, that was also surprise for me when I first encounter that term. In big part because that phrase "suspect is a man from Caucasus" never was just bad translation in my country. In fact because this phrase was heard almost every day, it was outright forbidden to mention ethnic of suspects in criminal news.



White or not-white isn't big deal outside of USA. Not because people are more tolerant in Europe or Asia, but because unlike USA where people were cut from their roots and for that reason usually have no strong ethnic identification beside being American and white/black/Latino etc, European and Asian people have no need to identify themselves by their race. They are just seeing themselves as Italians/Poles/Germans/Russians/Chinese etc. And when we want to feel prejudice to any other ethnic group we don't feel the need to rationalize it with difference in race, it well enough that they aren't Italians/Poles/Germans/Russians/Chinese etc and therefore they are different from us.

If to be precise I'd say that racism probably isn't right term for that. It's more of Xenophobia than racism. Although is not like the one is any better than the other.

- - - Updated - - -


Not to offend anybody, but... Do Romani really look that distinctive to other Europeans? Granted, as far as I know, I’ve never met any Romani, but most of the ones I’ve seen in news stories, etc., could pass for white of the “has some Cherokee in them” variety in the U.S.

They do have darker skin, but it's not uncommon in my country, so it usually simpler to recognize them by their clothes. Many still prefer dress like in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmhA1993LWY

TimeTravellingBunny
30-11-18, 09:53 AM
Thanks a lot for the pics. I can see why people would notice difference between Romani in a group and the average non-Romani European, but I admit, I'm still not sure how people could tell if they met an individual Romani. The National Roma Council president actually looks a lot like my paternal grandfather, while the girl on the far right in the group picture has similar features and eyes to mine (although my hair and skin colors could be described as "Drusilla" and "Inara," respectively.)

I'm reasonably certain that I have no Romani ancestors, and I've always lived as a white person, but ethnic ambiguity is of some interest to me, in part because my paternal grandfather was "black Dutch." For those who haven't lived in the rural U.S. South, "black Dutch" has a basic regional meaning with localized variations. Where I grew up, in northwest Alabama, it was a euphemism used by old people for families that weren't so obviously African-derived that anyone could've proved it, yet also produced a suspicious number of kids whose appearance was a little "less white" than you'd expect. They weren't subject to Jim Crow laws, at least not in my county; however, the term "black Dutch" did get some ironic usage by people who didn't buy it.

Very easily? :confused: I'm not sure how you could not. Every single person in these photos is immediately recognizable as a Romani, both by skin color and by facial features. Maybe only the woman in the middle of the 2nd picture doesn't have that obvious Romani features, but she has dark skin, and the boy on the left of the 3rd picture is relatively light-skinned but his features would still get recognized as Romani.
There are some Romani that could maybe pass as white, but they're rare. There has been extremely little interracial dating or intermarrying between the Romani and any of the white population in the region.
Maybe it would be different in USA, where there are so many more POCs, but since Romani are the only non-white ethnic group in Southeast Europe that has been living there continuously (not counting the smaller numbers of recent immigrants), in the region where all other ethnic group are white people who can't be distinguished from each other, and everyone knows what they look like, most people can immediately tell them apart.
It would be fortunate if that were't the case, because they would then be far less exposed to every abuse and mistreatment and worse.

Some of the ignorant and racist people can, however, mistake any 'brown' person for a Romani. It happened several years ago when a security guard stopped a Cuban woman (I don't remember if she was a diplomat or just a tourist) from entering a new commercial centre because he thought she was a Romani, which created a huge scandal. The sad thing is that, had she been an actual Romani Serbian citizen, no one would have batted an eyelid, that happens all the time.
It only becomes something that the majority of people are shocked by when a person is actually murdered, which happened with a 13 year old boy who went to buy coke in a store and was beaten to death by some teenage neo-Nazis over 20 years ago.

There was also a case when this actor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragan_Maksimovi%C4%87) was beaten to death by neo Nazi football hooligans who thought he was a Romani (I'm not aware that he had any Romani ancestry).


That's not how this works unfortunately. Being just unattractive isn't protection from rape.
Yes, I am aware of that. However, since white slaveowners tended to do that a lot on a regular basis and father children with their black slaves, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that maybe, just maybe, they didn't actually find black women in general sexually unattractive.



They do have darker skin, but it's not uncommon in my country, so it usually simpler to recognize them by their clothes. Many still prefer dress like in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmhA1993LWY
Well, in Serbia and the region in general, most don't. Most of the Romani dress just like everyone else, like the people in the second and third photo I posted.

ghoststar
30-11-18, 03:36 PM
There are some Romani that could maybe pass as white, but they're rare. There has been extremely little interracial dating or intermarrying between the Romani and any of the white population in the region.

I wonder if this is why the Kalderash chose Jenny for the mission in Sunnydale, over people who might've been more devoted to the family traditions. Given Angel's history, perhaps they were afraid that Angel would recognize their identity and start piecing things together. Mind you, I've never been sure why telling him about the spell is against the rules: You'd think he'd suffer more and kill less if he knew.l

Rebcake
03-12-18, 05:29 AM
Fanfic, however... that is often a major fail -- and it is something that sometimes makes me FURIOUS. Many, many, many fanfics that are set when black characters should appear in either series, the first act is to kill off all or most of the black characters as soon as possible, often in the first chapter. Gunn, Robin and Rona die early, and sometimes die horribly, even if NO ONE else dies. That hurts.

I hadn't ever noticed that, but I may be reading a thinner slice of fic than thou. I'm always overjoyed to see the black characters in fic, and can only think of a couple of cases where Robin was killed off — and was the effective villain of the piece so he lasted awhile. My main complaint — and I know I'm repeating myself — is where are the Hispanic/Latinx characters in canon or in fic?

Here's a link to a cool community that did a "Whedonverse POC challenge" that ended up with some very high-quality short works by good fan creators: https://still-grrr.livejournal.com/817652.html. It's a little tricky to navigate, though.

KingofCretins
03-12-18, 11:07 AM
I'm not sure I remember a Latino (the romance languages aren't broken) character in Buffy other than Dawn's gone-but-not-forgotten Scrappy Gang member, Carlos, and Caridad (the Potential who Xander's subconscious took a liking to in "Dirty Girls"). Can't think of any before Season 7, at least not them that had memorable speaking parts.

As to fanfic, lack of intersectionality is about the the bottom of the Box of Gavrok in terms of reason most fanfic is bad. It makes total sense to me that people are probably going to stick to creating characters they think they can respectably write to perceived form without any potential readers they have bracing them hard on grounds like how inauthentic or inaccurate their capture is of the inner life of a character of a different race, religion, or national origin (the Big Three of facially discriminated categories). To be gun-shy creatively in this regard is a completely natural and foreseeable state of mind in the current age... or at least the recent age. I do actually suppose an argument can be made that the expectation is shifting to "you better get that footprint in there and it's more important to have character five by Latino or Middle Eastern or what have you than it is to fuss over whether you can respectfully or accurately create a character that feels real", I could guess there is at least some of the fic market that would feel that way, that head-count representation is more important than authentic character design. Which is not in any way a compliment to the trend.

Rebcake
03-12-18, 11:21 AM
I'm not sure I remember a Latino (the romance languages aren't broken) character in Buffy other than Dawn's gone-but-not-forgotten Scrappy Gang member, Carlos, and Caridad (the Potential who Xander's subconscious took a liking to in "Dirty Girls"). Can't think of any before Season 7, at least not them that had memorable speaking parts.

Aside from Ampata and her bodyguard in "Inca Mummy Girl" I can't think of any pre-S7, either.

flow
03-12-18, 01:07 PM
Rebcake:
where are the Hispanic/Latinx characters in canon or in fic?

I am wondering, if Buffy is popular at all among Hispanics/Latinx, because of them being underrepresented in the show. Maybe they are not drawn to the show, because they can`t identify with any of the characters. That again could be the reason, why there is very little fanfictuon written by Hispanics/Latinx, which leads to underrepresentation in fanfiction as well.

flow

bespangled
03-12-18, 10:54 PM
Aside from Ampata and her bodyguard in "Inca Mummy Girl" I can't think of any pre-S7, either.

Ampata is no more hispanic than people in the Americas from indigenous nations are anglo. Spain mercilessly destroyed the Inca nation - raped, murdered, pillaged, and enslaved the Inca people. South American natives are not hispanic. Sorry - pet peeve.

It's hard to tell if someone is hispanic. Names do not always tell the entire story. My husband didn't learn english until he was 4 years old, but you wouldn't guess from our last name that he is hispanic. That makes it impossible to see how much BTVS fandom is represented in the various hispanic cultures.

ghoststar
04-12-18, 01:20 AM
Ampata is no more hispanic than people in the Americas from indigenous nations are anglo. Spain mercilessly destroyed the Inca nation - raped, murdered, pillaged, and enslaved the Inca people. South American natives are not hispanic. Sorry - pet peeve.

It's hard to tell if someone is hispanic. Names do not always tell the entire story. My husband didn't learn english until he was 4 years old, but you wouldn't guess from our last name that he is hispanic. That makes it impossible to see how much BTVS fandom is represented in the various hispanic cultures.

To be fair, Ampata's appearance is highly improbable for a pre-conquest Inca/Quechuan,* she uses a Spanish-derived last name (Gutierrez) in her stolen identity, and all the other characters believe her to be a modern-day Peruvian, likely a mestiza whose first language is Spanish, for the first half of the episode. "Hispanic" may not accurately describe her origins, but it's accurate WRT her current identity and how others perceive her.

*Honestly, half an hour with a flat iron would've worked wonders for her believability. You have to wonder if anyone bothered to tell hairdressing that she was supposed to have been born before Pizarro's invasion.

Rebcake
04-12-18, 08:09 AM
I am wondering, if Buffy is popular at all among Hispanics/Latinx, because of them being underrepresented in the show. Maybe they are not drawn to the show, because they can`t identify with any of the characters. That again could be the reason, why there is very little fanfictuon written by Hispanics/Latinx, which leads to underrepresentation in fanfiction as well.

My Hispanic/Latinx friends and relatives are big fans. :heart: When all you've got are white characters, you still find the stories that speak to you. Just as with stories where all the heroes are men or boys, women and girls still consume and enjoy them. By your argument, no black people would have ever watched TV until 1965 when "I Spy" with Bill Cosby aired. (I'm making a broad generalization here. I know you don't mean that.)

That's another part of the question of inclusion. People consume the media that have access to, regardless of whether their very specific "self" is reflected therein. But does that mean it's ideal for creators to blithely continue to exclude anyone other than those most familiar to themselves? I think that stories including a wide variety of perspectives and experiences are stronger. Also: retreading the same ground gets old, IMO. I got to the point where I never wanted to watch another rom com, because the obstacles keeping couples apart were too ridiculous. Then I started watching gay rom coms, and it was fun again! The stakes were different, and more believable.

I'm not going to require that creators expand their scope. Having a strong voice is important, and creators get to say what they want to say. If Wes Anderson continues to make movies about an ultra-thin slice of white New England, I'll probably still go. (I'd like to note that his most recent film was set in a fictional Japan, though.) However, I can't promise that I'll still be consuming homogenous media, if heterogenous stories are on offer. I've heard A LOT from straight white men and I'm ready to listen to some other people talking in their own voices.

- - - Updated - - -


South American natives are not hispanic. Sorry - pet peeve.

Very true. Same with North American natives. Like, say, Tejanos. That's why I usually "slash" the two: Hispanic/Latinx. Regardless of which category they fall into: native, mestizo, or European-descended Spanish-speaker*, they are conflated, discriminated against, and underrepresented by the PTB making our media.

*This category of "Mexican" is most likely to make the leap to show business success: Salma Hayak, Alfonso Cuarón, Jennifer Lopez, Antonio Banderas, etc. Many aren't even from Mexico at all, but to lots of people they still qualify as "other" or "exotic". Blergh.

TimeTravellingBunny
04-12-18, 05:59 PM
*This category of "Mexican" is most likely to make the leap to show business success: Salma Hayak, Alfonso Cuarón, Jennifer Lopez, Antonio Banderas, etc. Many aren't even from Mexico at all, but to lots of people they still qualify as "other" or "exotic". Blergh.

Antonio Banderas is Spanish. As in, a Spanish person from Spain. He has absolutely nothing to do with Mexico.

punch_kicker15
05-12-18, 03:29 AM
My main complaint — and I know I'm repeating myself — is where are the Hispanic/Latinx characters in canon or in fic?

The dearth of any memorable Hispanic/Latinx characters in canon means that fanfic writers have to either create an OC, or work with characters who are so underdeveloped they might as well have been OCs. This is harder and less enjoyable work for some writers than writing the established characters is. Add in the extra challenge of avoiding cultural stereotypes and tropes, and it's quite a bit more challenging for a lot of people than just tossing off some favorite-pairing fluff and calling it a day.

I have written a short fic with a Japanese-American OC, but I'm Japanese-American, so I didn't feel the need to tread so carefully with characterization as I would if I were writing an original Hispanic/Latinx or black character. And while people seemed to like my story, and I like it, I also have a twinge of discomfort. It sometimes feels like I was pretending that the show was better about representation than it actually was.

And honestly, if I'm going to do the work of respectful representation of a Hispanic/Latinx character, I'd rather do it in original fiction, or fanfic of a show that makes an effort to include interesting Hispanic/Latinx characters.

Rebcake
05-12-18, 03:44 AM
Antonio Banderas is Spanish. As in, a Spanish person from Spain. He has absolutely nothing to do with Mexico.

Right. Jennifer Lopez is also not Mexican. Nor is Rita Moreno. But they all get lumped together anyway. That's what I was saying.

Rebcake
07-12-18, 06:38 AM
Just checking in to say that in last night's viewing of The Wish two — count 'em! — POC appear and speak lines and everything:

1. The Asian Cordette, named Cordette #1 in the shooting script, speaks in both realities and even gets to be the first victim of the blood factory. Yay? (I think she was also in Welcome to the Hellmouth, but I don't remember if she had any lines.)

2. The Hispanic custodian, named Caretaker in the script, speaks perfect English to Cordy and even calls her "miss" after she accuses him of misplacing her car. "My auto!? El convertab-lo?" So, Cordy's written as being racist in this instance toward the by-design Hispanic character, but he's doesn't play to stereotype except by having a stereotypical "we clean things" job.

So close, The Wish. So close.

(I trying to note all the POC characters I find, so I don't make things sound more dire than they are.)

bespangled
07-12-18, 08:43 AM
There actually is a good background representation - doctors, teachers, etc. The trouble is that they are pretty much all one and done.