from not an american point of view

My city put up pride flags

I just wanted to show all of you the flags that Dayton put up for pride month:

[[image: downtown Dayton Ohio. The city put up the rainbow flag, the trans* pride flag, the pansexual pride flag, the bisexual pride flag, and the asexual pride flag along with some American Flags]]

I was so excited. Apparently whoever was tasked with finding pride flags to fly did some research. Here’s a picture of the flags from a different view point:

[[image: downtown Dayton Ohio- another view of the pride flags.]]

I’m not sure what the white one with the two rings and the rainbows in it is. Does anybody know?

Can I just say I have a lot of opinions about JJ, especially from a Westerner’s point of view? Specifically, the way he’s treated by the other skaters in YOI? JJ is loud, boisterous, and toots his own horn at every chance. Does this make him a bad guy? No way. In fact, all it does is paint a picture of how the rest of the world views people from America. Now, I’m from the US, so I can’t really speak for Canada, but I have quite a few Canadian friends and we are all, by definition, “North Americans”. I notice that our cultures aren’t really that different- specifically our social culture. Most Western young men act A LOT like JJ does- making jokes at other peoples’ expenses, trying to one-up everyone around them, be it verbally or otherwise, being really competitive and thriving in a competitive atmosphere, and generally just being very loud and obnoxious. 

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Cinematography - Shot Types

Establishing Shot - a shot that establishes the setting of the scene. Usually a wide shot.

Titanic (1997)

Master Shot - A shot that includes all the actions of a scene. Usually a wide shot.

American Beauty (1999)

Two-Shot - A shot that has two subjects next to each other. Sometimes shows camaraderie.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Over-the-Shoulder (OTS) - a shot of one subject that includes the shoulder of the character opposite the subject. Makes the scene feel more crowded or the characters closer.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Point-of-View (POV) - a shot from the perspective of a character, animal, or sometimes object. Can help convey what a certain character is feeling.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Tracking Shot - a shot that follows the action, usually on a dolly.

The Shining (1980)

Dutch Angle - a shot that is tilted to give the effect that something is not right.
Also called: German angle; Dutch tilt; canted angle; oblique angle

Mission Impossible (1996)

High Angle - an angle that is shot from above the subject. Makes the subject appear small or powerless.

Matilda (1996)

Low Angle - an angle that is shot from below the subject. Makes the subject appear large and powerful.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Cerro Tololo Trails : Early one moonlit evening car lights left a wandering trail along the road to the Chilean Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Setting stars left the wandering trails in the sky. The serene view toward the mountainous horizon was captured in a telephoto timelapse image and video taken from nearby Cerro Pachon, home to Gemini South. Afforded by the mountaintop vantage point, the clear, long sight-line passes through layers of atmosphere. The changing atmospheric refraction shifts and distorts the otherwise steady apparent paths of the stars as they set. That effect also causes the distorted appearance of Sun and Moon as they rise or set near a distant horizon. via NASA


“During the 1964 elections Indians were talking in Arizona about the relative positions of the two candidates, Johnson and Goldwater. A white man told them to forget about domestic polities and concentrate on the foreign policies of the two men. One Indian looked at him coldly and said that from the Indian point of view it was all foreign policy.”

Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto — Vine Deloria, Jr.

“Let’s look at this thing from another point of view, which you will at first think highly depressing. Let’s suppose we can’t do anything to change ourselves. Suppose we’re stuck with it. Now that is the worst thing an American audience can hear: ‘There’s no way of improving yourself!’ Because every kind of culture in this country is dedicated to self improvement! So here’s the situation: the whole idea of self improvement is a will-o’-the-wisp and a hoax. That’s not what it’s about. Let’s begin where we are. What happens if you know beyond any shadow of doubt that there is nothing you can do to be better? Well, it’s kind of a relief, isn’t it? Seeing that there isn’t really anything we can do to improve ourselves or to improve the world, if we realise that that is so, it gives us a breather in the course of which we may simply watch what is going on—watch what happens. Nobody ever does this, you know. It sounds terribly simple. It sounds so simple that it almost looks as if it isn’t worth doing. But have you ever just watched what’s happening and watched what you are doing by way of reaction to it? Just watch it happen. And don’t be in a hurry to think you know what is happening!”

Alan Watts

anonymous asked:

Hello! I was wondering if you could recommend articles or books for someone who is not an anthropologist but would love to be one. It could be of any topic, but friendly towards someone who doesn't have an advance knowledge in this study field. Maybe you could recommend your favorite first articles/books that made you fall in love more with anthropology when you were just starting to study it. Thank you! P.s. I LOVE your blog; I have learned so much and it's really entertaining 😊

Thank you!! This is a tough question, and I hope others comment some other sources. 

Geertz, Clifford. 1973. “Thick description: Toward an interpretive theory of culture.” In The interpretation of cultures. 

Geertz, Clifford. 1974. “‘From the native’s point of view’: On the nature of anthropological understanding.” Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 28 (1): 26-45. 

Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1922. “Introduction.” In Argonauts of the Western Pacific. 

Farmer, Paul. 1996. “On suffering and structural violence: A view from below.” Daedalus 125 (1): 261-283. 

Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2002. “Do Muslim women really need saving? Anthropological reflections on cultural relativism and its Others.” American Anthropologist 104 (3): 783-790. 

Foucault, Michel. 1976. The history of sexuality

Chomsky, Noam and Edward S. Herman. 1998. Manufacturing consent. 

Chomsky, Noam. 2016. Who rules the world? 

Mead, Margaret. 1928. Coming of age in Samoa. 

Bohannan, Laura. 1961. “Shakespeare in the bush.” Natural History. 

Said, Edward. 1978. “Introduction.” In Orientalism. 

The Combahee River Collective. 1977. “A Black feminist statement.” 

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1992. “Price formation and the anticipation of profits.” In Language and symbolic power. 

Duggan, Lisa. 2003. “Introduction” and “Equality, Inc.” In The twilight of equality? 

Harris, Marvin. 1976. “History and significance of the emic/etic distinction.” Annual Review of Anthropology 5: 329-350. 

Benedict, Ruth. 1934. Patterns of culture. 

These are in no particular order. Just the order I remembered them. 

Any article you can look at that’s from a major anthro journal like American Anthropologist or American Ethnologist or things like that is also good. A lot of the ones I want to recommend are actually from queer theory, not anthropology. I tried limiting it to that field specifically. Actually I lied some are queer theory good luck figuring out which. 

Anything by any of these authors is also worthy. 

You may be able to find a lot of these as PDFs online but you didn’t hear it from me. 

Edit: you can also find films or short videos featuring a lot of these people, especially Chomsky

Seth Macfarlane

He gets a lot of hate from this site, but I don’t think people understand him. Often they say he pedals right wing views. This is in no way correct. It’s often a great weakness of the Americans to not understand irony. He is always showing right wing views in an ironic light, and makes them looks silly because of this. If you look at his points in American dad and family guy he is very tolerant and liberal. A great example is when Francine thinks left handed people are the devils minions. All the parallels are to gays and yet people can’t see that he’s trying to show how how silly conservative views are. The character he’s most sympathetic to is by far Hailey, who is basically our generation. He may not be perfect and occasionally be make a faux pas but that’s being human, at the core he sympathises with humanity and liberalism!

Joyce Carol Oates’ latest book opens in 1999 with a killing: A man who considers himself a soldier of Christ shoots a doctor who performs abortions. Over the next 700-plus pages, we see the consequences of that act ripple through the doctor’s family and that of his killer.

The novel is called A Book of American Martyrs, and Oates tells parts of the story from the perspective of the killer, Luther. She says, “Luther is very sympathetic. … It’s not my point of view, but it’s a very real point of view. … He doesn’t want to be a murderer; he doesn’t want to give up his own life. He feels he’s been called by God and it’s a mission.”

Joyce Carol Oates’ New Novel Begins With An Abortion Doctor’s Murder


For Black History Month:

Phantom of the Opera in South Africa (2004 and 2011-12) made history, casting the first black Phantom outside the US, and the first black* Christine worldwide. In addition they featured two black Piangis, and multiple cast members, amongst them Don Attilio, Passarino and the Wardrobe Mistress.

Many of these also continued into the World Tour.

(*South Africans use the term coloured in reference to people of mixed heritage. This is a neutral term and often preferred, unlike the US and UK where the term is considered slur and avoided. From an American and European point of view, Lana English would be called black, but if regarding her Cape Town heritage she is coloured. I’m mentioning it here to avoid confusion)

Hearts must change. If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.

For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ‘60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.

For native-born Americans, it means reminding ourselves that the stereotypes about immigrants today were said, almost word for word, about the Irish, Italians, and Poles. America wasn’t weakened by the presence of these newcomers; they embraced this nation’s creed, and it was strengthened.

So regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.

—  President Barack Obama, Farewell Address
Stop shaming poor kids

We have a few people every year that are appalled that a foster child would ask for a video game, a pair of Jordan sneakers, an American Girl, etc. This year is no different. You can see on the comments of one of our posts. I can only explain it from my point of view. These are “wishes” that the foster children have. We never said they were needs. Although we occasionally have folks agree to sponsor a child and then ignore their wishes and give them books and underwear.

Some of these kids go their whole life getting clothing only from Salvation Army. Nothing wrong with that…at least they have clothes, right? But they go to school with YOUR kids and they want what YOUR kids want. They wonder why Santa brought YOUR kids the video games and XBoxes but not to them. Sometimes getting second hand items your whole life makes you feel, well, second hand.

When I was young, we adopted a child from the Angel tree and a friend of my mother’s made a comment about she couldn’t believe they would ask for such expensive items. But her kids were asking for the same thing. So its okay for a kid from rich parents to ask for an Xbox but not a kid from a poor parent? What did either do to “deserve” an xBox? Nothing.

So let us be totally transparent and say yes, we allow the kids to ask for crazy things. This may be the only time in their life they get something extravagant. This may be the first time in their life they felt like someone cared for them. Imagine that!

And we do actually provide clothing for the children throughout the year as well. Many of them do come into care with only the clothing on their backs. WE also provide school supplies and activity funds to help them stay interested in school.

And my name is Jennifer Reynolds and I am a volunteer for this board and the opinions above are my personal opinions. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope buying some “not necessary” gifts for these kids blesses you this year!

Researching Native American Cultures

thementalwayfarer said: Hello! I plan to include different mythological creatures in my story, but I’m stuck on including thunderbirds indirectly in my story. I can’t find a solid source of how they are viewed by the Oglala Lakota (religiously or otherwise; physical or intangible, etc.). Could someone give me a starting point? I ask this because I would like to have my Oglala Lakota character descended from one, but I don’t want to cause any sort of offense with both my character AND their forced inclusion. Thank you!

little-fuzzy-dude said: The main character for an apocalyptic novel I’m planning is Navajo. She comes from the Navajo Nation, and therefore would have a strong background in the traditions of the Navajo people. However, as a white teenager from the suburbs, I have little first hand knowledge of the Navajo, nor do I have the resources to be able to find out about the culture first-hand. I have been researching, but I’m not sure what sources to trust. Would it be possible for you to point me in the right direction?

Books-wise, look up ethnographies on the people you’re researching. These are very dense anthropological documents that took note of as many things as possible about the society, from the start of assimilation to modern times, and often detail absolutely everything about the culture, from spirituality to food to sacred objects; if they’re modern, they can also include how the population relates to the state, activism, internal politics, and what modern technology they’ve incorporated. You might need to look up several, seeing as not all were respectful of the culture or detailed enough, but when you’re looking to research a very specific people like that then there are usually books that exist. Large, well-known tribes have dozens. 

If you’re going historical, my personal preference is students of Franz Boas; he was a little preservation happy, but he genuinely loved the cultures he studied and was incredibly respectful, which he passed on to his (dozens of) students. Regardless of period, avoid historical revisionists or those who subscribe to the theory of cultural evolutionism like the plague I cannot stress this enough. They will be extremely disrespectful. Ways to spot them: using words like “savage”, trying to establish that Natives had less complex societies than “civilized” Europeans, and generally trying to set the Western world at the “top” of cultural refinement. 

The best ethnographies have Native authors or contributors listed somewhere, but watch that they’re actually still living in the tribe, especially if you’re going to historical sources; contributors should be bridges between the tribe and the anthropologist, them still identifying as part of their tribe but willing to help the outside world understand their culture. 

University libraries are your friends. You can walk in there without having an account at the library (most of the time), and many universities have their system searchable without a university card. The only thing you’re blocked from (in my old university anyway) is articles or the on-site computers. Just look up the system database where you have internet, write the code/name of the book down down, and go hunting. You can’t check it out without a student card, but you can read it in the library. If you don’t have a local university (or yours doesn’t have any ethnographies), you can look up one of the larger ones and see their collection, then try to find the books elsewhere.

If you’re lucky, the ethnography in question is available online for free or in google books with the right keywords. If you’re not, you might have to wrangle things but it should be possible. You could ask anthropology professors to look up data for you— many are happy to spread knowledge in their spare time, even if you’re not a student at their university (Although, as always, watch out for historical revisionists/those who dismiss your desire to learn about Natives on their own terms). Professors (and some students) are often very willing to help you out, especially if they have ties to the Native community. 

Unfortunately, ethnographies are often made by university presses, aren’t printed often, and are expensive, so I wouldn’t encourage buying one unless you were really planning on relying on it for a long period of time. As I alluded to above, many are available for free (I have been lucky enough to find full text with no paywall, but I was looking for very old books).

The best option is finding out if you can contact the tribe, somehow, and ask them about themselves. Many tribes/nations have websites, which could have contact information and what types of queries they accept. There is always a chance they will not respond (as a general rule, ask if you can ask before you actually ask unless they explicitly say “this is okay to ask” somewhere, and proceed to ask how/who you should ask if you get a “yes you can ask”), but it would be getting the information directly from the source without traveling.

There might be some local Aboriginal centres that could help you, as well; resources centres are often a little more open to educating others depending on their purpose (check if they’re community only or open to the public, first!) and they usually have resources on a fair number of tribes in one location. Of course, if you live pretty far away from the tribe in question they might not have information right there, but they could either help you get it or you might find a different tribe to use.

Only approach a tribe on their terms, which means going into spaces they’ve opened to the public and asking there. Do not try to break into a closed off tribe; they’re closed off for a reason. Speak with activists/public figures but respect their time.

I would honestly start with ethnographies (and browsing tribal sites) first, just so you can get a sense of the culture and not make a large blunder at first reach out. Once you’ve gotten a general feel for the culture before asking the tribe, you’re less likely to come across as somebody fetishizing or trying to appropriate. It really helps when you can speak of specifics at least a little.

Hope this helps! If any Lakota or Navajo followers have any input, feel free to chime in.

~Mod Lesya

Ok, the fact that Jennifer Lopez promoted the show makes me hope for a little more viewers.
I guess the promo for this show was really, really, bad, because it makes no sense that so few in the American LGBT community watch it! From that point of view is one of the best around!

I have very carefully considered what I wanted to say on this after seeing so much hate and backlash from people in my community. Please know that I am saying these things not because I want to fight, but because I want try to help you understand. I’m writing this in hopes that you can set aside your judgment, your gut reaction and at least try to see things from another person’s point of view.

One of the most quintessential American ideals is the freedom to stand up for what we believe in, to fight against injustices, to let our voices be heard. Time after time we have looked back in history on those who have fought for their rights– and we see the great and important progress that has been made in our country because of people who were not afraid to Rise Up. But not everyone likes to see us exercising that right, not back then and certainly not now. Some of the very same people who bitterly told us that if we didn’t like how the election turned out, we should stop crying already and *do* something with our energy, are now telling us that we need to sit down, shut up, and accept things are the way they are. They want to know why we can’t just give things a chance, calm down and see how it turns out, it won’t be as bad as we think… I will tell you why we can’t do that, why *I* can’t do that.

When I was a girl, I was taught that my worth was tied to my virginity, that women who did not keep themselves “pure” were used up and undesirable. When I was sexually assaulted, people defended my abuser. I believed I was less than, and dirty; I carried deep and unrelenting shame for years because of something that was taken from me by force. So I march for my younger self and for all the women like me (there are more than you know). I march because the same people who are saying women’s rights “aren’t an issue” were the people who were bewildered that Brock Turner got off with a slap on the wrist months ago, and write off abusive behavior by saying, “That’s just locker room talk… boys will be boys.” (I expect so much more from the men in my life.)

If you claim to have never been made to feel less than for being female, please know you are *so* profoundly lucky. I march because sexual assault is real, because my body, my choice, because Black Lives Matter, because racism is ALIVE, because our government is not a CHURCH, because homophobia and bigotry are not just a difference of opinion, because science is not a liberal conspiracy, because fear based hatred of people who are different from you is the real thing that is wrong in this country today. I march because the person you are calling names, the person you flip the middle finger at when you drive by the protest, the person you make fun of for being a “brainwashed leftist,” the person you hate and look down on for being involved in this movement is Me, it is your friend, your cousin, your classmate, your coworker. We stand together to show our solidarity, to stand up for those who can’t, to be a voice for those who do not have one. I will not go quietly into a future where there are not equal rights for all.

Stuck - Kyle Spencer x Reader

REQUEST: Could you please write a Kyle imagine were its in his head/point of view when he comes back from dead to yn like learning everything all over again talking and such please - anonymous

ANON OMG. I loved this idea so much, like all Kyle fic is usually the same but this was so different! I got to crawl inside his beautiful brain and hang out for awhile. AND THEN KYLE TOOK OVER. Like, this went in a direction I did not plan. I don’t do smut so well but KYLE WANTED IT AND IT HAPPENED. You horny frat boy, you. Thanks Kyle.

Your name was the first thing Kyle remembered when he woke up on the table in the morgue. You’d looked at him with those big Y/E/C eyes as he’d gasped his first breath of his un-dead life, and he knew everything would be okay. The inside of his head was a strange place now, a jumbled mess of thoughts he was nearly unable to sift through. But your name was always constant, always thrumming like a steady pulse in his mind.

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Illustration History: Documenting the bravery of little Ruby Bridges

(The anniversary of this event just happened. This was 50 years ago. Below is from the wiki entry on the image above.)

The Problem We All Live With is a 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell. It is considered an iconic image of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. It depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way to William Frantz Elementary School, an all-white public school, on November 14, 1960, during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis. Because of threats and violence against her, she is escorted by four deputy U.S. marshals; the painting is framed such that the marshals’ heads are cropped at the shoulders.

On the wall behind her is written the racial slur “nigger” and the letters “KKK”; a smashed and splattered tomato thrown against the wall is also visible. 

The white protesters are not visible, as the viewer is looking at the scene from their point of view.

The painting was originally published as a centerfold in the January 14, 1964 issue of Look magazine. Rockwell had ended his contract with the Saturday Evening Post the previous year due to frustration with the limits the magazine placed on his expression of political themes, and Look offered him a forum for his progressive social interests, including civil rights and racial integration.

White guilt from a black person’s point of view, and why it needs to end

As a freshman in high school I had took part in a class about how culture shapes society our society and colors our view of the world. One day while we discussed the Trans-Atlantic slave trade I made a comment about how my ancestors from untold centuries ago were taken from Africa and sold to a Barbadian plantation owner to work the sugar fields. After class a girl who was usually very quiet came up to me and said that her some of her ancestors manned slave ships and that she was sorry for what they did. I told her not to be and that it had nothing to do with her but she insisted it was somehow her fault. 

That confusing conversation introduced me to the ugly little concept we call white guilt, something that pops up a worrying amount on this site and in real life, and it needs to end. 

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that your culture has no bearing on your personality, Its is the foundation of your upbringing, the anchor of your beliefs, and the guiding light of your morals. But for all that culture gives you, it cannot give you the responsibility for your ancestor’s decisions. No, it should be your actions that define you as a person and not those of a long dead predecessor. 

You were not the one stealing my ancestors from their home, the one who beat and killed them for wanting to be treated like a human, or the one who bought and sold them like commodities. But by the same token I have not suffered under the crack of the whip, chains of slavery, or being worked to death like some sort of draft animal. We are a product of these people and the culture they created, but for all they have given us we are not them.

No one should ever feel ashamed to exist, especially because of things they had no control over. People can be horrible, and I’m not excusing that, but dwelling on mistakes you didn’t make is unhealthy and gets us nowhere.

Prejudices aren’t going to magically go away and anyone who tells you that racism is dead has never seen the news. These are serious issues which permeate every level of our society, but we cannot let transgressions from a past we had no hand in shaping define who we are as human beings and how we see others. We should never forget the past, lest it be born again in another form, however its high both sides learned to forgive.

Is this going to solve all of our social ills, of course not. There are still going to be horrible people, racist people, and bigots. But forgiveness is the first step on the long journey ahead of us. 

I’m sorry if this turned into a rant/rambling mess. I just needed a place to vent some frustration and this seemed as good as anywhere else.

The Starfire Solo from a First Generation American’s Point of View

Since the Starfire solo series came out, I’ve seen a considerable amount of criticism for the title. To me, this criticism makes sense because of the sheer amount of infantilism, slut shaming, and general OOC-ness Starfire endures. However, I’m not going to talk about that as you can probably guess from the title. @hellakoriandr wrote a great, all-encompassing post about that here, that pretty much covers all the bases, if you would like to know more.

I’m writing this post because there’s a common defense used for the solo that I would like to address: “Starfire isn’t dumb, she’s an immigrant ignorant of Earth’s culture. If you call out this characterization, you’re xenophobic and racist.”

I’m a first generation “American.” My parents were both born in Costa Rica, my entire family is from and lives in Costa Rica. My sister and I are the first in our family to be born in a different country and grow up here. American culture is so very different from our own; everyone in our family speaks Spanish as our first language, and English as our second.

This is where that defense of the solo is personally offensive to me and my family. Aside from RHaTO, Starfire has been increasingly portrayed as not just ignorant of Earth’s culture, but as dumb in general. Starfire’s characterization took a step back in the Teen Titans 2003 animated series. As much as I love the show, her TV portrayal only retains about 20 percent of Starfire’s original character.

Her style of speaking is way exaggerated, awkwardly saying “the” before nouns; repeatedly making language mistakes like “the mall of shopping” and so forth. However, at her core she was not stupid and displayed intelligence in episodes such as Troq and Bethrothed. She understood social cues and I think that’s one aspect of her the writers got right. Although she comes from a different culture, she understands social norms and doesn’t do anything over-the-top odd. It’s obvious the writers were just trying to make her seem more foreign, even if they do it in unimaginative and nonsensical ways.

Her characterization takes another big step backwards in the 2013 series Teen Titans Go!, a straightforward dumbed-down comedy version of the original show. TTG! focuses on slapstick humor rather than clever jokes, which makes sense, because its intended audience is comprised of 6-11 year olds. Every character is a caricature of their 2003 TV series self, so it’s not surprising that Starfire has been demoted to the role of pretty and dumb but naively, nice girl. All glimpses of Starfire’s intelligence are lost, and she mostly goes through the show being oblivious and “too nice” for this world. The other characters suffered this transition too. Robin is obsessive, painfully awkward, and tyrannical. Raven is secretly into Pretty Pretty Pegasus. So I don’t really see the harm. It’s not like a kids’ show is the reason DC is going to suddenly start portraying Dick Grayson as an emotionally unstable jerk in his comic iteration, right? It wouldn’t make any sense to translate a character that’s unrealistic, stereotypical, and aimed solely at young children to a comic book series marketed towards young women, right?

Starfire takes a final blow in the Starfire solo series, and it goes beyond Teen Titans Go!. She doesn’t understand cultural norms to the point where it’s unrealistic and awkward. Beyond cultural differences, Starfire simply acts dumb. It’s insulting to me and everyone living in a country with different cultural values than their own, that people are attributing Starfire’s sheer lack of intelligence to her foreignness. Ignorance does not equal lack of intelligence, and Starfire is exhibiting both.

(Starfire #3)

When Starfire shakes baking soda into her mouth, she’s not being ignorant of the fact that baking soda isn’t something you eat. She is acting illogically.

The fact that she didn’t read the warning on the side of the box which is made so plainly obvious to the reader, or that she didn’t maybe just dip her finger in the substance and sample it before flipping the box over her mouth, or maybe just think “hey, this isn’t a bubbling liquid like the other sodas” is illogical. I don’t know if anyone under the age of ten would do that in a foreign country, let alone a foreign world. The fact that people are labelling this behavior as one of immigrants is beyond insulting. The only reason this panel is in this series is so the audience thinks of Starfire as a naive, helpless girl that needs people to help guide her through life. This is infantilization and not a characteristic of immigrants.

I also see a lot of defenses of her speech patterns, which I would understand if she had not already learned the English language perfectly.

(Starfire #3)

This sounds like a joke to me. She asks, “Will I hurt it?” I’m not familiar with Tamaran, but I’m pretty sure that if you want to eat something you think is alive, you have to hurt it. Please, tell me again how this is pure cultural ignorance.

(Starfire #3)

It’s almost as if this panel was made to make me angry. These sparkling thought bubbles show up every issue and sure, it’s a cute idea. ‘Hey, let’s put pictures inside bubbles, that sounds good.’ But it comes off incredibly dumb; she has the thought bubbles because she doesn’t understand American sayings and idioms, which infuriates me.

Growing up knowing more English than my parents, I’ve had a lifetime of family members asking me to explain sayings and idioms. They’re probably what my parents struggle with the most, even after knowing English for over 20 years. Sayings and idioms are used more often than you’d think. You can know a language perfectly and still get tripped up on them because there’s no rules to them. But I’ll be damned if my parents or anyone who doesn’t know English as their first language ever thought that “have a drink and meal on me” for a second meant actually eating food off a person’s head.

There are several other instances that offend me if people are attributing all of Kory’s actions to cultural ignorance, but this post is long enough. This post is directed at people who think that Starfire’s cultural ignorance is an excuse for the lazy and demeaning writing that portrays Starfire this way. Your desperate attempts to defend this problematic title is offensive. My people, and immigrants in general, are not your way out. I don’t know if the writers use the same excuse, but I doubt they are going to admit they’re writing her as an idiot. Please stop portraying Starfire’s lack of intelligence as the behavior of all immigrants. It’s xenophobic on top of an already sexist title.

I was actually excited when I heard about the series. Starfire is one of my favorite characters and the series was originally described as following her journey as she learns about earth’s culture and finds her place in society. As a first generation American, that subject interests me greatly and I saw overwhelming potential for the series. Starfire’s ignorance of earth’s culture in New Teen Titans was the most I’ve ever related to a character in terms of cultural identity. People assumed she was dumb and she would prove them wrong. She learned to respect earth’s social norms while still staying true to her Tamaranean identity. Eventually, she even considered earth more of a home than Tamaran, despite its vastly different culture. She was an inspiration to me, especially since I never felt as though I belonged in neither Costa Rica nor the U.S. She was an incredible example of dealing with cultural discrepancies beyond language barriers for me and others like me.

(New Teen Titans v1 #31)

Long live New Teen Titans Starfire. She’s my hero.