I’m always amazed at how many people are so quick to argue that people of color did not exist in Europe during medieval times or that black people, for instance, weren’t around during the Greek and Roman eras. And to include said PoCs during such time periods would be unrealistic and another example of shoving a PC agenda down our throats OH-EM-GEE.
This usually comes up in medieval fantasy stories. Like say for instance, Guinevere in BBC’s Merlin. Actress Angel Coulby caught heat for daring to be a beautiful powerful black queen.
This nonsense makes me laugh A LOT for two main reasons:
1.) It’s a huge double standard in that whites can always be placed in stories revolving around Egypt, China, Africa, or pre “discovered” America and no one blinks an eye.
Yet if a PoC shows up in medieval fantasy tale, it’s unrealistic. Talking animals, elves, dragons, gnomes, all totally plausible. Black people in Europe? Too many people can’t suspend disbelief at that.
2.) People of color existing in the Greek/Roman era, Medieval Europe, and frankly anywhere else is HISTORICALLY ACCURATE and those who think they’re experts, don’t know their history. AT ALL.
First of all, people of color have been in Europe for ages. Think about it. Between all the wars, travel, and trade that countries and nations do, it would only make sense that some PoCs have traveled, relocated, and settled in other lands.
- The Egyptians who dealt with the Romans and Greeks were black. Egypt is in Africa, in case you didn’t know. Rome and Carthage went to war and Hannibal gave the Romans a run for their money. Which anytime you can give the ROMANS a fight, you’re a bona fide badass.
- If you’re a Greek Mythology buff like myself, look up a brother named Memnon. Speaking of Greek Mythology, look up Andromeda, Perseus’ wife and see where she’s from. Here’s a hint. And by hint I mean answer: Ethiopia.
- Blacks actually ruled in some parts of Europe and could be found in Scotland as early as the 10th century. Funny how that isn’t taught in school.
- Still not convinced? Look up Othello.
- Some of the knights of the Round Table were people of color such as Palamedes, Safir and Segwarides, as noted in T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. These three were also royalty in their own right from their own lands. Trust I was geeking out when I found this out when I read this novel my senior year of high school.
- Amina of Zaria was in fact the inspiration behind Xena: Warrior Princess.
- Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo? Black excellence also.
And our accomplishments didn’t stop there. As this amazing heroine’s story illustrates.
So if you’re one of those who constantly gripe about the presence of PoCs in period fantasy as being unrealistic; your history, do learn you some.