Friday, October 3, 2014

Let's Talk About Race


The following article is only to discuss the current face of Racism in our society today, the importance of white privilege, and personal reflections from me. Please constructively formulate comments and post them below. Any feedback is welcome and will be received in an intelligent manner.
[Spoiler Alert! I talk a little bit about the plot of 'Once Upon A Time']


Did you know that America has a tendency, in the media, to display people of color (Hispanic, East Indian, Black etc.) in a negative fashion, or not at all? If you haven't noticed, I challenge you for the next week to track stories, TV shows, and commercials and see how often people of color/minorities 

1.) Appear 2.) in a positive non-stereotypical manner, 3.) in a respectable leadership role, 4.) and does not die.

A recent example of this is the TV Show "Once Upon A Time". 
This show is unintentionally perpetuating racism and white privilege.
There are literally less than 10 minorities and they are all sub-characters. Sidney Glass (The Mirror), Rapunzel and her father, Mulan, The Dragon, Lancelot, Tamara, Bashful, Ursula, and Billy (Gus the mouse) are the only people of color that appear, besides the extras with little to no lines. Yes, they are there but not in a positive light. Sidney works for the evil Queen and deceives the main character, then takes the fall for the Queen and goes to jail. Tamara is in a similar role, she befriends the main character but has an ulterior motive. She betrays and shoots her proclaimed lover, tries to destroy the town, follows orders blindly, and then ends up getting killed. Bashful isn't seen very often, and has little to no lines. In fact this character goes mostly unnoticed. Ursula, Rapunzel and her father are not seen past the first episode or in Story Brooke, while other characters make a second, and third appearance- some even come back to life. 
Then there is Billy or Gus the Mouse. He is black, and a mechanic who works for the Queen. He is non-stereotypical in the sense. However, he is not in a leadership role... in fact, just like Sidney, he is in service to the Queen. Near the end of the show, when you start to develop feelings for him, and he finally becomes more of a spotlight character with a full range of emotions, and individual thought- he is BRUTALLY MURDERED.
Ironically, by a rich, old, white dude playing Prince Charming's Dad, the King. Some might say I am reading too much into this, but wait there is more...
What about Mulan? She's an awesome bad ass female character right? WRONG, Mulan takes on a secondary role, and follows Sleeping Beauty around protecting her.  She is in service to a white woman, yet she is a powerful soldier, but this does not turn into a positive leadership position.You can still see the stereotypical Asian woman playing out in her character. In fact, in one episode she is deceptive, makes snappy remarks, and refuses to compromise or cooperate. Not what I would expect from Mulan who is assumed to be an experienced soldier. In her solo movie she refuses her submissive female role, deceives her family, and then ends up saving China. The Mulan in this TV Show is assumed to be a more mature, wise Mulan. After all, the Disney Mulan was an intelligent quick thinker with a great sense of Humor. This Mulan tends to come across as a stuck up, hard nosed bitch.
And the other Asian character, The Dragon, who is supposed to be super powerful- gets killed by Tamara. 
I want to bring this to your attention and hope you start questioning too. 
Why was the mirror a Black character in service to the Queen? He could have been White.
Or let's focus on the more important topic of Gus the Mouse. Why is the mouse a black man in a service job? And how come the black guy always dies in the end? None of these minority characters get their happy ending.
Why is it that these characters are minorities? Where does it say in these classic stories that all the characters are white? What about allowing one of the MANY princess' to be Hispanic or Indian?
What kind of message does this send to young minority children? They end up associating bad behavior, and unfavorable out comes to the color of their skin, and the status of their ethnicity.

FOR MORE informational sources:
Media- Kids and Racial Interactions:
TOM WISE: on White Privilege
FOR MORE Opinionated readings:

No comments:

Post a Comment