Initial Thoughts: Rocknaldo
I liked the new episode a lot. At the heart of it was good social commentary. Often when talking about a cause or a movement, there are always attempts to undermine those who are actually in it. Fighting for X? Are you even X enough?
People asking for the same rights granted to everyone else are often discredited, because people think it’s far easier to err on the side of giving no one the same respect because of a few possible “fakes.”
And that’s not great. Because that does make it all about the majority and what they’re comfortable with, rather than the people whose lives could change drastically with every decision made.
I liked how the episode started with Ronaldo telling the gems he was wrong about them, and saying he wanted to champion their cause. A lot of the time, people earnestly believe they’re doing the right thing.
Hurting others isn’t the end goal for the reasonable person; it’s just, they don’t see their actions in perspective, like when Ronaldo kept criticising Steven.
These days, a lot of bias is deep down. It’s harder to root out because no one believes they could be “guilty” of such an abhorrent thing, like discrimination, like prejudice.
But in refusing to acknowledge that some of our actions might be tinged by our contexts, we benefit none.
I applaud the subtlety in the episode. It’s a good springboard to talk to anyone about these issues. But it shouldn’t end there. I mean, the episode is a start, but it isn’t the answer to systematic marginalisation. That requires a lot more effort, just like how picking a gem name, without the love and acceptance, harms and hampers the cause more.
And it was helpful to present Steven as not dismissing Ronaldo. Each time Ronaldo misrepresented the Crystal Gems, such as with the first Ronaphlet and again as Bloodstone, Steven talked to him. And it wasn’t always without opposition, but Steven didn’t just fence of Ronaldo and refuse to educate him.
I feel that’s what made the difference. It’s not an easy thing, to face someone who’s causing hurt and refuses to believe it. It’s not a responsibility forced on everyone, but in choosing to engage and educate, a change happened for the better. I hope we keep getting this sort of slice-of-life episodes.