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  • Racism

    http://velvetwhip.livejournal.com/81...9476#t13359476

    After reading this very funny and cute ficlet or drabble where Spike and Xander have an argument over who's racist, I've started to wonder:

    Can we really call vampires racists because they regard humans as food? And can we really call humans racists because they kill vampires for survival?

    I think racism only works on different human races hating each other for being different, but not between humans and vampires. Humans and vampires aren't the same while black humans and white humans are actually the same in the sense that they eat, breath, sleep, age and so on the same.

    What do you think?
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  • #2
    Originally posted by Sosa lola View Post
    http://velvetwhip.livejournal.com/81...9476#t13359476

    After reading this very funny and cute ficlet or drabble where Spike and Xander have an argument over who's racist, I've started to wonder:

    Can we really call vampires racists because they regard humans as food? And can we really call humans racists because they kill vampires for survival?

    I think racism only works on different human races hating each other for being different, but not between humans and vampires. Humans and vampires aren't the same while black humans and white humans are actually the same in the sense that they eat, breath, sleep, age and so on the same.

    What do you think?
    Humans and vampires are both sentient beings, though, so you could make a point that (without considering anything else) discrimination between the two would be tantamount to racism.

    On the other hand, non-sentient animals eat other non-sentient animals, and that's not racist - just the food chain in action.
    "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

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    • #3
      I won't call it racism, I think that the word 'racism' only can be used between two equals. Vampires and humans aren't equals, it's a matter of survival for both.

      But I do think that you shouldn't make a difference between humans and demons in the 'verse. We passed that moment a long time ago, before we met demons like Lorne, Doyle, Clem and Groo. I'm not sure if racism is the right word for that matter, but I think that people who are aware of the good demons ... shouldn't kill demons because they are demons. When it were black men who killed those demons because they looked different, it felt hypocrite ... especially if you consider how many times we heard Gunn complain about being discriminated because he was the black guy.

      Spoiler:
      And now with the demons going public, I think that the good demons are the new black and female people.
      Last edited by Nina; 13-09-08, 12:07 AM.

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      • #4
        I think possibly speciesism is probably a better term. But in both species cases the speciesism is earned due to the relationship as hunter/prey.

        Demons offer a wider question as not all of them share this relationship so it is harder to group them together. Should demons like Clem be discriminated against because they're deoms? Should you wait to see if the demon attacks before you make your mind up or as seemingly most demons are on the side of evil (we certainly see more examples of the bad than the good) is it just natural for humans to show hatred and distrust towards all demons until they prove themselves different?
        JUST ENOUGH KILL

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        • #5
          Are vampires, humans, other demons part of the same race?. Are Zebra's, Lion's or Tigers part of the same race?
          If you answer yes, then one being against another is them being racist.
          If demons and humans are a different species then I suppose they would be specist.
          If a white human and a black human were to fight each other because they were a different colour that would be racist.
          Would a black vampire and a white vampire fight each other purely because they were a different colour?
          If not does that make vampires better than humans? or just different?
          Angel liked to sing 'Oh Mandy', using the Angelus method.

          Look at it, play with it, then torture it.

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          • #6
            I don't think the idea of different human races has any scientific credit. IMO it is a cultural and political concept, and a relatively modern one. In the ancient world I do not think it mattered very much.

            On the basis of experience it is fair for a human to assume that a vampire is hostile. If you like, a vampire is guilty unless it can prove itself innocent. I would say the same principle applies to demons, but with more caution since there is a greater variety among demons and more of them are non-hostile.

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            • #7
              Oh dear Michael, the term scientific credit ?
              Pretty sure your last paragraph doesn't have much scientific credit either. Chances are Buffy the Vampire Slayer doesn't get much scientific credit.
              But going on your second paragraph, is that a personal view 'cos I'm not aware of meeting any vampires. Demons? depends on what you classify a demon as or what is classidied as a demon.

              What does IMO mean?
              Angel liked to sing 'Oh Mandy', using the Angelus method.

              Look at it, play with it, then torture it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Illyrian View Post
                What does IMO mean?
                In My Opinion

                I agree with Tangent, "speciesism" is a better term than "racism" as we aren't the same race as vampires or demons, we're an entirely different species.

                But I don't know if I like the word in this context. It has a lot of negative connotations associated with it, as if one should be faulted for presuming a vampire or a demon is evil, which I personally don't think is a crime at all in the Buffyverse. It's not the same immediately thinking a black man is dangerous, or a black man thinking a white man is dangerous, because they're basing that on nothing but their skin colour, whereas humans thinking demons are dangerous is a bit more tricky, because it's clearly shown the majority of them have been.

                I think one's only a "speciest" when they continue to hate a demon or vampire long after it's made clear they're good individuals. That's when I get uncomfortable, which is why I've always been slightly uneasy with Xander's hate of Angel throughout the earlier seasons when he knew he had a soul, had saved Xander's life a number of times and was still hated predominately just because he was a vampire.

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                • #9
                  I agree with tangent, that "speciesism" would be a more appropriate word than "racism" - this isn't about skin colour or the shape of someone's eyes. Although, as I think Michael said, the notion of distinct races doesn't really hold up anyway, given what a mish mash of genes and "racial" features almost all of us have.

                  Vampires and humans are radically different. Setting aside the moral/spiritual distinctions, there's the fact that vampires and humans can't interbreed. That's part what makes two creatures members of the species - the ability to have children together.

                  So, speciesism seems the better term (if we're going to allow that it's possible for vampires to suffer from discrimination at all).

                  Nina makes a good point about demons and humans - that there are plenty of good demons. Well, a significant minority, at least:

                  But I do think that you shouldn't make a difference between humans and demons in the 'verse. We passed that moment a long time ago, before we met demons like Lorne, Doyle, Clem and Groo.
                  But what about vampires? Certain demons are good, for sure, but are there any examples of soulless vampires who are good? Could we say, perhaps, that it's ok to assume vampires are evil "things" unless they have souls (which perhaps makes them some kind of hybrid species in any case).

                  The issue of speciesism is dealt with by a philosopher called Peter Singer - though he's more about the animal rights than the vampires. He defines it like this:

                  "Speciesism - prejudice, or attitude in favour of the interests of ones own species against those of members of other species."

                  So, it's not just a matter of making assumptions about another species - pre-juding them as bad, in the case of vampires. It's also about the self interest involved in that judgement. Which Buffy and co DO do - her job is protecting the world (ie the human world) from vampires (et al). She's not killing vampires just because they're bad and don't deserve to live in some sense, it's to stop them from killing people - which makes me wonder why she didn't look further into other ways of stopping them (stealing the chip technology from the Initiative).


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                  • #10
                    Illyrian. My point, as Wolfie had no difficulty is grasping, is that race is a concept which has no scientific validity i.e there is only one human species. At one time "race" was used fairly harmlessly in a way that was interchangeable with "nation". However the appearance of vulgarized darwinism towards the end of the 19th century led to bogus "racial science" which was exploited by the Nazis, and still had currency in South Africa even into the 1970s.

                    Presuming vampires and most demons to be hostile is not a "personal opinion". Within the conventions of the Buffyverse, it is just a matter of common sense. How to suss out the minority of friendly demons without killing them is actually an interesting practical question.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael View Post
                      Presuming vampires and most demons to be hostile is not a "personal opinion". Within the conventions of the Buffyverse, it is just a matter of common sense. How to suss out the minority of friendly demons without killing them is actually an interesting practical question.
                      Couldn't agree more. If you walk around in the Buffyverse hesitating to kill a demon coming at you, we've seen that it can put you in danger. After accidentally killing the good demon in 'Judgment' Angel was hesitant to kill the next one that came at him, and the demon nearly got him and the girl he was trying to protect as Angel tried to make sure it was an ok demon to kill. You don't have that luxury of delaying the act, it's strange but in my opinion it actually makes sense to kill first, ask questions later, at least in most circumstances.

                      Some it's common sense though. There's no need to jump in and attack the first time you see Lorne when he's on stage singing karaoke.

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                      • #12
                        Buffy seems to take a general stance of only killing demons that are presenting a definite threat or thaqt actually attack her apart from where vampires are concerned. She takes no action against Clem and has gone into Willy's without decimating it's clientelle on seveal occasions. Only when she learns of a threat or needs information does she bring out the violence.

                        Vampires I think are differnet in that, aside from a couple of notable and very unusual exceptions, she knows that vampires represent a definite threat to the people she is sworn to protect.
                        JUST ENOUGH KILL

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tangent View Post
                          Buffy seems to take a general stance of only killing demons that are presenting a definite threat or thaqt actually attack her apart from where vampires are concerned. She takes no action against Clem and has gone into Willy's without decimating it's clientelle on seveal occasions. Only when she learns of a threat or needs information does she bring out the violence.
                          Yup. Like how when the demon sneaks up behind her and Faith in 'Enemies' and Buffy punches him and they both get their stakes out ready for the plunge. After the demon explains to them he wants to trade them the Books of Ascenion Buffy says "let him go I don't think he falls into the dangerous threat to humanity category."

                          I don't know how I feel about Buffy letting vampires hang around in places like Willy's bar. I mean I get it to some extent, it's kind of like what Xander talks about in 'Spiral' about war and how war has rules. In Buffy's world, places like Willy's seemed to be neutral ground. But when they leave that bar they're back out killing innocent people, if she'd staked them those people wouldn't have died.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by vampmogs View Post

                            I don't know how I feel about Buffy letting vampires hang around in places like Willy's bar. I mean I get it to some extent, it's kind of like what Xander talks about in 'Spiral' about war and how war has rules. In Buffy's world, places like Willy's seemed to be neutral ground. But when they leave that bar they're back out killing innocent people, if she'd staked them those people wouldn't have died.

                            IT's very simple doing that. 1. If she tries there is no garentee she will win. 2 If she does so she is asking for a fight off of all the demons in Sunnydale which might not involve her, by doing so attacking the demonms without provocation then she will get killed. There is likely a unspoken agreement 3. Like you said neutral ground 4. Most importantly perhaps even if she did so she would not know where all the demons went. They would hear of the slaughter and all go underground.
                            "I never learned from a man who agreed with me.'" Robert Heinlen

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                            • #15
                              Can we really call vampires racists because they regard humans as food? And can we really call humans racists because they kill vampires for survival?

                              I think racism only works on different human races hating each other for being different, but not between humans and vampires. Humans and vampires aren't the same while black humans and white humans are actually the same in the sense that they eat, breath, sleep, age and so on the same.

                              What do you think?
                              Definition of racism:
                              "An ideology based on the idea that humans can be separated into distinct racial groups and that these groups can be ranked on a hierarchy of intelligence, ability, morality etc."

                              It's a human word for how human society can work. So, can it really be applied to the relations between humans and vampires in the Buffyverse? Well, not so much, as vampires in the Buffyverse are seen as demons with no soul and is nherently evil and well....they eat people. I'm not sure we even get into a discussion of whether or not vampires are "inferior" - we're just stuck at "EVIL....RUN"!

                              The other demons are more interesting as whilst they're not supposed to have a soul - they don't all seem to opporate on a kill-human-now-I'm-evil basis. When this is case - the gang do seem to act differently to them, they definitely don't seem to treat Clem as inferior for example.

                              Look what I found though - which was quite interesting:

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon_(...Vampire_Slayer)

                              But Vampire's in literature have been used used as a device to discuss racism, the different, but same imagery to it I suppose and I think in some vampire lore they aren't just evil, are they? I don't think any other demon has been used to such a degree to illustrate racism. I don't think the text highlights the possible racist angle - but perhaps looking at the language of the Buffyverse would...
                              A Bear! You made a Bear! Undo IT!!!

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                              • #16
                                A demon possesses a human, that human can be called a vampire.
                                A vampire is a demon.
                                A vampire exists only in human form [I think] says he trying to imagine a vampire frog, any volunteers to kiss it, to see if it becomes a prince, a prince vampire?
                                Can a vampire be called a racist? yes. Can a human be called a racist? yes, but are they really a racist?
                                Angel liked to sing 'Oh Mandy', using the Angelus method.

                                Look at it, play with it, then torture it.

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