Racefail 09 188.8.131.52: I warn you, the fail is rich and deep with this one. @ 02:28 pm
Okay. Someone else is gonna have to jump up deal with this one, because the fail is so rich and deep, like an infinite aquatic body of privileged white stupidity topped off with majestic whitecaps of modfail that I don't even know where to begin.
Disclaimer: I'm not deeply invested in the Super Young Team, their depiction, or their fate.
A few days ago majingojira posted a very thoughtful and thorough essay on why the reception to Grant Morrison's Super Young Team has been so mixed. The essay is worth reading on two levels (despite the occasional typos and problems with verb tense and verb agreement): one, it's just an extraordinarily insightful piece of criticism about cultural templating, tropes, and the psychology of cultural appropriation, manipulation, perception, and misapprehension in modern fiction when it comes to Japanese and Western culture. Two? It's rife with credible analysis as to why there's a vocal group of people who think that Grant Morrison failed the cultural credibility test in his end product.
Today cissie_king posted a response to majingojira, and I'll just quote from the bottom of her post - a post, by the way, where she's critical of writers who write the Other poorly but then defends Grant Morrison for doing just that:
"That's my opinion, so feel free to comment, suggest things and ask questions. You can also insult me and call me a big privileged white idiot who doesn't know anything about anime, but I won't hear you because I got Mein Kampf 2 on tape and I'm listening to it while getting a swastika tattooed on my shaved head. Also a unicorn, a really racist unicorn who hates unicorns of other colors because illegal aliens stole his job at the unicorn racism factory."
Translation*: "I've just said something incredibly offensive and insulting, and I want you to feel disempowered and unable to refute me."
Shall we go through the bingo card slot by slot?
Stereotypes can be true!:
"I often hear a complaint about the character and series Aztek; that the main character of that series did not look Hispanic because he was white and blond. These complaints, of course, come from a combination of good intentions and complete ignorance. Not all people south of the border have a brown complexion or dark hair; some of them are black and some of them are white as white can be. Europeans from the entire continent didn’t only immigrate to the U.S. and Spaniards are not all that racially different from the other Europeans, they are also white. There are real blond Hispanics, but the idea of Hispanics in Americans’ minds is ‘brown,’ and they complained that Aztek did not fit into their idea of what a Hispanic person should look like."
Calm down! Relax! plus a bonus Authorial Intent!:
"But Superbat uses twitter and poor Joe Casey, the writer, gets called an ignorant racist who does not understand Japanese culture at all. It is more than probable Joe Casey didn’t know Twitter is not popular in Japan either, but this was received as if he had just written Mein Kampf part 2: Kampf harder."
Stereotypes can be true! redux:
"I don’t think there is anything wrong with a character that somehow represents part of his/her culture if done respectfully; it would just be silly to throw away all their culture all the time and only make culturally neutral characters. But, I believe there is something wrong with complaining that some character does not fit your idea of what foreigners should be like, as if they can’t be whatever they want to be. Like in this case complaining that Super Young Team is not made of Japanese heroic archetypes."
I don't know anything about Japanese naming conventions but I'm right anyway!
>>ETA: There certainly are blond Hispanic people. But you need to ask, why does the comic choose to have a main character who is a blond Hispanic without commenting on it?<<
But why should it comment on it. It's not like he has a third arm growing out of his forehead. That would need an explanation. Yes, he is a blond Hispanic, what else is there to say? The Thing doesn't need to explain he is Jewish, he is just Jewish.
Stop being so angry!
Unicorn racism factories!
Are you telling me that no Hispanics at all are blond? Really? Two of my friends from college would find that amusing. Warning: huge ladles of yet more racefail when cissie_king attempts to demonstrate her deep comprehension of the differences between Latinos, Hispanics, and "Aztec" culture.
Tone! You angry, angry people of color!
Stop this crucifixon!
There's some serious win right here, but then that gets followed with THERE IS NO CULTURAL APPROPRIATION beause I SAID SO.
Who gives a shit. AZTEK ISN'T ACTUALLY AZTEC. Wow. Well, maybe not so wow, because I know that aaron_bourque seems to be invested in derailing such discussions when they manifest on S_D.
More modfail! CAN'T YOU ALL JUST BE NICE?!
Can't you all just be nice? redux! (That's a modfail holy trifecta.)
I know of at least one person who got banned from NS_D after calling the OP out on her glittering white privilege.
You know what's just as bad? I read Green Lantern #41 last night, and my god, I knew I wouldn't be the only one who saw this.
Yrra Cynril as she looked in this month's issue of Green Lantern:
...Look, look, she's been Vixenified!
I'm increasingly unwilling to support a company that continues to whitewash characters who are clearly not white. This is where I stop paying for anything related to Blackest Night. Screw it. I'll gleefully Byrne Steal™ it all instead. GL #41 risks souring the entire crossover event for me. Actually, you know what? It already has. Poisoned well, poisoned well.
Oh, and the first person who shows up to defend DC, the colorist for this issue, DC editorial, and anyone else related to this whitewashing? I will reach through the monitor and atomize your dentition with my Brass Knuckles of Don't Even Think About It.
*Translation wording is cribbed and slightly rephrased from a brilliant comment made by someone over on james_nicoll's journal during RaceFail 1.0.
Edit: Holy SHIT, DC Comics just FIRED Dwayne McDuffie from the JLA book. So much for an African American writer scribing an A-list DC book, eh? Fail, DC. FAIL. Based on McDuffie's comments over the last year or so, it's obvious that he wasn't very happy writing the book, but it's still sad to see him go.
Son of Anti-Semitic Edit: Apparently skalja -- who I guess used to be rabican? -- told box_in_the_box that cissie_king gets a free ride for the Mein Kampf and swastika remarks because she did it "with the best of intentions."
Woman, please. Check your cultural insensitivity and look at the fact that you're excusing some highly questionable and tasteless comments because YOU judge them to be well-intended. Did you not learn anything from Racefail 1.0?
Redheaded Step-Progeny of Edit: skalja has clarified that this is what she PMed to Box regarding cissie_king's post that I linked to above: And specifically in reply to that, I said: "You're not wrong that it's a problem post, though I disagree that it's flat out trolling - I think she genuinely had good intentions even if she went about it in completely the wrong way."
So...aggressively preemptive derailment referencing swastikas and racist unicorn factories is okay because it was done with "good intentions." OUCH.
(angelophile, I'm not sure why you deleted your comment to this post, but I certainly didn't think it was out of line. )
ETA 6-1-2009: cissie_king apparently deleted all of her comments to the above NS_D post and then promptly deleted her LJ.