I Need to Speak Up About Concrete
Oh boy… where do I start?
As a white guy, maybe I shouldn’t really be talking about this. But Swaggy Thunder and Slice of Otaku’s video on it made me a bit mad. I want to tackle some points that they made.
— They seemed pretty mad at the fact that Bismuth, a POC character, is portrayed as a villain. Boi… all of the villains in the show are LGBT+ and I don’t see anyone complaining. Yes, we are minorities, and we can not be all painted as little angels. There *are* mean POC just like there are lots of wonderful POC. Same thing with LGBT’s. We are being realistic here. Nobody wrote Bismuth as a villain (and she’s not even a villain, she’s just misguided!) *because* she’s a POC.
— They say the fact Bismuth and Concrete not being gems is inferiorizing and might be associated with them being POC. Also that Garnet, another POC character, isn’t even naturally formed - she’s a fusion.
Boy, where do I even start? Gemstones aren’t limited to minerals and rocks. As someone who’s been gathering a gem collection over the years, I can confirm that Bismuth is, indeed, a gemstone, at least the hopper Bismuth crystals. Just like Pearls — Pearl is a gem and Pearls aren’t rocks, they are organic matter! But concrete… isn’t that a stretch? Oh yes, yes it is… but guess what!
NONE OF THE GEMS IN THE SAME PAGES AS HER EVEN ARE REAL THINGS!!
And Garnet… this hurts. Garnet is built to be such a special character, that represents love, intelligence, strength, leadership! She teaches us that the morals of Homeworld are old and wrong and that Earth’s love is the right path, and you shit all over it by saying that she’s a bad representation of POC for not being made in a “natural Homeworld way”? Ugh.
— Her skin tone is allusive to blackface.
Uhm… they said it themselves! Concrete is grey. Like Bismuth is grey adorned with multiple rainbow colours. I just don’t even know what to respond to this. It is that simple. Her skin is grey because concrete is grey, just like Garnet’s red because Garnets are red and Peridot’s green because Peridots are green.
Following the show’s canon, why should her be any other colour?
(Rose is almost an exception — her peachy skin is almost like a caucasian human’s. This is a stylistic choice to make her a bit closer to a human being due to her humanity and love for Earth!)
— “And she has big lips, too!”
Most of the characters, of all colours, have big lips! It’s a rather big part of the style of the show to draw women’s lips this way, I’d say.
I couldn’t find the artist, so all credit to them (I will edit this if I do see who they are). But just look at this fan-rendering of how Concrete would look if she was integrated in the show’s actual style and not just a concept drawing. Here, she’s imagined as an uncorrupted version of the Big Bird, and that’s why she isn’t “Concrete” anymore (instead being an actual gem) and has brown skin rather than grey. Does this look racist to you? To me, she looks like a sweet fun Gem just like Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, Lapis, Peridot, Jasper, etc, etc, etc.
About the part of the stereotypes — I didn’t interpret the “Can’t read :(” part as anything other than “Can not read human writing, so she struggles a bit on Earth” type of note/reminder/little trivial character trait that Rebecca adds on all her character sketches. The show collection thing was a bit weird, I’ll admit, but who said it was Rebecca who decided on it? It was part of a collective game, so she could’ve just have written it down from a POC colleague (like Ian).
With all that, I hope to have made my point of view clear and if this, by a miracle, reaches Swaggy and Slice, please, consider my thoughts. You two and Vox are the only thing that can soot my appetite for Steven Universe content in these long hiatuses.
Alexander Sedge. 💕