'you probably shouldn't tell people that'

10

Gotham meme - Two good guys gals

  • Leslie “Lee” Thompkins

Are you kidding? Best date ever. Who gets to see a circus brawl?

The thing that really gets me about a lot of fantasy and speculative works (include fic) is that the history of Jewish oppression is 9 times out of 10 used for the Featured Stand In Fantastically Oppressed Race in some way shape or form. 

Tolkien’s dwarves are the worst kind of 19th-20th century Jewish stereotypes mixed in with our history of diaspora.

Dragon Age’s elves are a combination of the oppression and colonization of First Nation indigenous peoples and Jewish diaspora and ghettoization. 

Not to mention we’re normally depicted as aliens in forms of sci-fi (Star Trek casts as both the good Vulcans and as stereotypes with the mercantile Ferengi) But wherever you go we certainly aren’t depicted as human. 

The worst thing is is that these are shallow offerings of our history being used because they’re usually being written by gentile writers. DA’s Dalish elves and City Elves are coded as Jewish virtually everywhere, but one of the main elven characters, Solas, is going to be cast as a villain in future games. Because genocide is a much cheaper storyline than dealing with complicated ramifications of a people struggling with a millenia of diaspora and systematic oppression. And casting one of the coded Jewish characters as a propagator of mass genocide isn’t antisemitic at all, right? 

I can’t tell you how discouraging it is to see our very real life stories getting used as cheap oppression bait when there’s room to tell nuanced and defined stories and characters IF we were the ones in control of these stories. 

If you want to use our history for story you had better be committed to fully realizing that story and giving those characters a certain level of dignity. 

But I truly don’t see that anywhere. Frequently I see even fans with their elven OCs or what have you not even bothering to research basic facts about what living in a diaspora culture looks like, or what that history does to you as an individual and the pressures you face that shape YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. 

It just feels like both creators and fandom take all the history of people’s oppression for cheap tragedy points and conflict rather than using it to examine how we thrive, how we flourish, how we excel as a community and as individuals. Because that would require actually looking at us as humans, which considering that we’re already being depicted as dwarves, elves, animals, aliens, etc., tells you everything you already need to know about how white gentile authors see us.