NOC guest Porshèa discusses how the Harry Potter franchise and fandom struggle with progressivism in the wake of Fantastic Beasts and its numerous problems. Continue reading The White Progressivism of The Harry Potter Franchises
There is no doubt that representation in media has grown significantly in the past couple years if not the past year alone. We had Black Panther in early 2018 where almost everyone was a person of color (I’m comfortable saying 90% including extras) and Crazy Rich Asians coming out in August 2018. Though we have yet to see how many people of color are in Crazy Rich Asians, I can assume it will be significant judging by the trailer.
While I am excited about this shift in movies, I am a TV girl. Thankfully we are also seeing growth in television with shows like Black Lightning and One Day at a Time. We’re slowly creating a collection of shows that will allow us to choose more carefully what we consume instead of being stuck with the same shows representing for everybody (not sure how many times I’ve watched Merlin).
So when I saw the previews for Killing Eve, I thought heck yeah. An Asian lead, majority female cast, a black female character, everything was there to make this a show with good representation. And then we met Eve’s husband who is white. And her former boss BIll (who’s married to an Asian woman) is white. And the love interest for Elena is a white man. And Villanelle’s handler is white. That’s when I realized that every significant man in the show was white and the only men of color we’ve met so far were basically perverts and both of them were Chinese. One of the men was into BDSM (which does not make one a pervert but is often shown in that light) and the other wouldn’t take Eve’s No for what it was and instead demanded she go on a date with him if she wanted to learn any information.
Warning: Spoilers up to Episode 4
Because in the age of a Trump presidency, Dylan Roof and #BlackLivesMatter, white power fantasies are exactly what we need.
The “Whitelash” theory of Trump’s super-embarrassing slide into the presidency (well, we never claimed the U.S. wasn’t anti-intellectual, did we?) has the still-ascendant, but demographically shrinking and culturally stagnating white/cis-het/male contingent (helped substantially by their female counterparts) striking back at the diversity of Obama’s America by electing a crypto-white-supremacist in response to his racist and xenophobic dog whistles. Although not the only compelling narrative of the last year and a half, Trump’s Whitelash has enough truth to it to make it into at least a Ronald-Takaki-authored history book, if not a textbook from Texas.
Meanwhile, pop culture may be lashing in the opposite direction — and, in fact, contributing to the panic. Whereas the last Academy Awards shows of Obama’s presidency featured a field of winners that rivaled a wedding-dress-clad polar bear fainting on an iceberg for whiteness, it is President Trump’s first Oscars that saw the Academy — now led by a black woman — crowning its first African-American-made Best Picture. The last season of tv was the most diverse in history, and we don’t need numbers or stats to know this. And even the debate around diversity failures points to how far we’ve come, and how aware of the changing nature of American culture the mainstream has become.
So it’s not much of a stretch to see Logan, clearly the end of a franchise, as the gentle, mournful and mourning, Hollywood-sanctioned version of conservative white panic.
Let’s say you’re a Martian. Let’s say you’ve been sent to Earth to study human society and culture. Let’s say you have a universal translator.
Let’s say you landed on Earth, randomly, a week or so ago in Brisbane, Australia, and followed the crowds to the Brisbane Writers Festival (culture! perfect!) just in time to hear Lionel Shriver’s keynote address about how cultural appropriation isn’t a thing and fiction writers get to have all the freedom. How is this going to sound to you?
[Featured image by: Menellaos]
Several weeks ago I had the singular pleasure of substitute teaching for a course in the California College of Arts M.F.A. in Comics program. Yes, you read that correctly. There is an M.F.A. in comics. Where was this X number of years ago when I was on my Higher Ed journey?
The news just broke that Scott Buck has been tapped to spearhead Iron Fist for Netflix and Marvel. This has led people to speculate that the show will cast a white lead despite the fact that the momentum for an Asian American Iron Fist is growing. Keith Chow begun the discussion over a year ago with his powerful op-ed on why having an Asian American play Danny Rand is so important. It was a piece that had a large impact on me, and many others such as Lexi Alexander and Gail Simone have taken up the call. Nerds of Color and MCU Exchange have teamed up to produce a series of articles providing suggestions not only how to adapt Iron Fist’s complex mythology but also arguing that an Asian American Iron Fist makes more sense not only for reasons of diversity, but for thematic and narrative reasons as well, and a few weeks ago Charles Pulliam-Moore of Fusion wrote forcefully that Iron Fist “better be Asian,” joining the chorus of voices who feel this is important. It’s a proper movement now.