Race issues

Jun. 7th, 2010 03:34 pm
adalger: Earthrise as seen from the moon, captured on camera by the crew of Apollo 16 (Default)
[personal profile] adalger posting in [community profile] authors_anonymous
I need help.

I'm a middle-aged white guy, mostly passing for any privelege I don't outright possess, so I'm at a bit of a disadvantage understanding some discrimination and outright fail; this I admit. I want it clear that I'm asking for help in understanding, and am honestly confused and not trolling or stirring up trouble / controversy.

That said, I'm sort of missing the point of the racebending revenge fic-a-thon. How does altering the appearance of someone in another universe that doesn't have the racial issues ours have and then pretending it should make a difference to how those characters interact in that universe, really relate to anything at all?

Some of them, I completely understand. Sherlock Holmes being of dark-skinned descent (or, even better, from India!) would make a huge difference to his characterization. But ... well, Tolkien? What difference would it make to anyone there how many different skin colors humans came in? There are racial tensions between the races that actually exist in Middle Earth, but rewriting Aragon as Hispanic makes no sense, because there is no Spain. I understand that replacing everybody except the bad guy with white people is horribly wrong because it caters to the nastiness of people who divide the world into "white guys" and "bad guys". I ... kind of understand that a story so obviously based on Asian culture, in a good and respectful way, should give Asian audiences faces that look like them, too. But I'm lost on how changes races of people in random stories to races that don't even exist in the story setting is relevant.

This comes out a lot more defensive than it's meant. Please understand, I want to learn so I can do the right thing. Help?

Date: 2010-06-08 12:41 pm (UTC)
jackandahat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jackandahat
I'm a white guy, so I absolutely can't speak for any POC. But I'm queer and disabled, so I'm coming from that POV, and to me some of it's about representation. It's about actually having characters who are something like you in a story.

It's easy, as a white man, to dismiss that - we don't need to think about it. Our race and gender are all over the place - we can count on The People In Charge to generally look a fair bit like us.

But once you step outside that box, the guarantee is not there. So you grow up being shown that the hero (or even just the Really Interesting 3D Bad Guy)is never someone who looks like you.

So that matters even if you're talking about a world where race (as we know it) "doesn't matter". Because we don't live in that world.

(Apologies if I've stepped on any toes here - hopefully this hasn't come across as the white version of mansplainning, but I saw no-one had answered yet.)


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