genuine question: why do you not like people refering to lucio specifically as "boy"? tumblr tends to call every character boy/boi especialy since the mcelroys became popular so what is it about lucio in particular that isnt good to call him boy
The short answer: it’s because he’s black and the people doing it are largely white and there’s cultural baggage surrounding white people using the words “boy” and “son” to address black men.
The long answer starts out with the idea of tonedeafness and a fandom phenomenon that crops up when predominately white fanbases are exposed to dimensional, compelling characters of color. The same thing happened with Star Wars and Pacific Rim and so many other diverse franchises lately.
A lot of the time, white fans are genuinely not trying to be racist, but most of their faves up to this point have been white, and they haven’t considered that perhaps the way they write and talk about those faves would take on different implications when the characters’ race is considered.
For instance, and I get in trouble a lot for bringing this up, but a few months ago there was a Disney AU fanart of Finn and Rey from Star Wars as Tarzan and Jane. Now, in the movie, Tarzan and Jane are both white, but in the art, the impact changes because Finn is a black man and the artist drew him as an animalistic ape-man who meets a delicate high-class British woman who “civilizes” him. Obviously the Tarzan/Jane dynamic has a very VERY different meaning if Tarzan is depicted as black and Jane is depicted as white, and it is in fact racist to depict Finn that way even if it wouldn’t even be the smallest problem to draw, say, Iron Man and Pepper Potts in the same exact situation. (Also if anyone is Tarzan in that pairing, it’s Rey, but I digress)
So you get these situations where people are trying to do the stuff they always do for all characters, only their faves have mostly been white up to this point so they’ve never really had to consider the racial implications of the stuff they say and write about those characters. That’s why they draw D.Va as an infant without realizing that the infantilization of East Asian women is actually a harmful racist practice, and then when informed of this fact, instead of saying “oh shit, I didn’t know I was contributing to that! Thanks for telling me, I’ll stop doing it,” they get defensive and claim that actually it doesn’t matter if the end product is 100% identical to racism, because they didn’t intend for it to be racist, that’s not what they were trying to do.
Also, generally speaking, they don’t do the same thing to white characters. While jokes at the expense of Soldier: 76 and Zarya are usually things like “he’s old and grumpy” or “she’s really strong,” jokes about Reaper are more like “he’s got a huge dick and he’s abusive and a rapist” and jokes about D.Va are usually “she’s a dirty and mischievous subhuman creature and the white guy is like her dad.” The fact that a lot of people make all these jokes and think they’re roughly equivalent speaks to how much unconscious racism they’ve got to purge from their system.
Alright, so now that we understand that, let’s get into a little more of why “boy” and “son” in particular are not the sort of thing you should not call Lucio.
The first and main reason is that he’s a grown man, aged 26, but more importantly, he is a black man. Historically, the words “boy” and “son” have been used on black men for two reasons:
Because even grown black men were to be treated as childlike under white supremacy, esp. under slavery, and even after the abolition of slavery, the words “boy” and “son” are still used in order to talk down to black men. You will still frequently catch younger white people address black men older than them as “boy” or “son,” especially in a service capacity (i.e. a black waiter or employee at a store). Under slavery, the dominant white supremacist narrative was that even the smartest black people were only on the level of white children, which is obviously a complete falsehood fabricated to justify their continued subjugation by saying “they’d be lost without us.” So, by referring to black men as “boy” or “son,” that’s the message that was being communicated, that even though any given black person is grown, they’re still viewed as roughly mentally equivalent to children.
A lot of slaveowners didn’t feel it was worth it to learn the individual names of their slaves, so they would simply address them as “boy” or “son” (or “girl” or a variety of other degrading names for women) and this practice continued even after the abolition of slavery. Again, calling back to the “black waiter” situation I referred to earlier, you still sometimes see white patrons referring to black employees as “boy” or “son” in this way. For older people, they would use the terms “Auntie” and “Uncle” as a way to deny them honorific titles such as “Mister” and “Miss,” which is where we get mascots like “Aunt Jemima” and “Uncle Ben,” both of whom were derived from this practice. A similar example is how a lot of white railroad passengers wouldn’t bother to learn the names of their car’s porter and would simply call them all “George,” which again sort of demonstrates my point: the name “George” isn’t inherently racist, lots of people have that name, but to call a black guy doing their job that carries different implications even if you “didn’t mean it that way.”
So generally, there’s nothing wrong with the words “boy” or “son” most of the time, but when you address a black man this way, it carries a whole different implication. I’m not trying to condemn anyone morally or say “you’re evil if you’ve ever used these words about Lucio” or anything, but back to the beginning of this:
I am assuming you all have positive intent, that you are all well-meaning and that you are definitely not trying to be racist. Because of this, I feel like it’s my responsibility to tell you when a thing you’re saying carries meanings that you maybe didn’t consider and definitely didn’t mean to imply. I know I would feel foolish and guilty if I found out something I’d been saying casually actually had a racist meaning that I wasn’t aware of, so I just want to say that if anyone reading this is (like me) a white person who’s really truly well-intentioned and doesn’t mean to be racist at all, your response here should be “oh wow, I didn’t know that Boy and Son are names you generally shouldn’t call black people, I’ll be more conscious of that in the future,” and if your response is to become defensive and try to prove that it isn’t bad because you didn’t mean it “that way,” it either means you aren’t well-intentioned and do mean to be racist OR it means you didn’t read the post.
That being said, I’m happy to inform where I can, but I’m also not black, and a lot of black writers have explained this a lot more eloquently than me. I suggest you do some googling and research what they’ve said on the subject, because I’m sure they’ll give you a clearer picture than I possibly can.
Although Harper obtained a J.D. and M.P.A., he chose to use neither and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He was awarded an honorarydoctorate in 2009 by Westfield State College. Born Francis Harper, he adopted the name “Hill” as tribute to both his maternal and paternal ancestors
The fear of addressing a Black Man in a not-so-Black space.
Submitted by Anonymous
Last week, I was in Court waiting to pay a fine for a speeding ticket. I sat next to an older Black man, looking somewhat in his late 30’s or early 40’s. He complained loudly about how long the process was taking. Across from us sat a Hispanic kid, no older than 23. Across the room from us, accompanied by his mother. A Black father and his teenage daughter stood, talking over their case with a lawyer. In the corner next to me, sat an Indian girl rocking her Fenty Trainers. Standing next to her, were two middle age Korean ladies, who traded details about a fake Gucci bag one just brought for $360. An obese-looking white Priest (or a white man wearing Clerical clothing) walked in with his wife. The Black Man sitting next to me says out loud “Damn I wonder what he did to be in here, He probably molested someone’s child.” The room went quiet.
I sat next to him, herd every bit of the vile things he was saying out loud. We were in a room filled with people of every race, class backgrounds, education levels and so on. I wondered why no one said anything, or If I should be the one to say something. Three minutes goes by, and he does not stop voicing his disgust at there being a Priest, in a Court house. He must be a molester. The Priest, by this time has reclined to another corner of the room with his wife. They hear everything this man is saying, but says nothing. With every sentence uttered, I can see the priest’s face become a darker shade of pink. Before I could fully think it thru, I blurted out “Would you please shut up, we’re all in here for traffic violations.” He turned to me and said “Who the fuck are you with your bougie ass?” I replied, “I am a Catholic woman and I’m deeply offended by your words.” Now, while I did grow up Catholic, I haven’t been to church in over 10 years. I don’t think I’ve ever uttered the words “I’m a Catholic woman” before. I say this to say that this has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with the fear I had. The fear of addressing a loud-mouthed Black Man in a space filled with people who simply accepted his bigotry, and decided not to say anything.
After I kindly asked him to shut up, I became his new target. He called me fake for having a weave, and slung other insults my way. He told me he’s happy my boyfriend wasn’t there because he would’ve beat him up. I laughed. The Priest jumped in saying to the older man “How dare he talk to a woman that way.” It was cute he tried to help, but I’ve had years of experience defeating older Black men with my words.
We caused such a commotion, the court officers came in to calm the situation but the priest and I, were left with “hey, it’s freedom of speech.”
Is it normal that I had a fear of “scolding” a Black Man in front of non-Black POC and white people? Calling out a Black person for their ignorance, closed-mindedness and bigotry in the face of non-Black people, when those are the stereotypes we’re trying so hard to curve.
I am a 23 year old Black Woman, sharing her experience in a hope to understand it.
C: Older black men are seriously starting to get on my nerves. Like seriously. I’m 21 and plus size but have a young looking face. I look 17 or 18 and, like, older black men who are 40+ approach me. It’s disgusting. I’m completely turned off. They make me feel like I look older than I am or something. Stop approaching young ass black girls. I always wonder if it’s because my hips are “grown women hips” or if it’s because they’re just pervs. Does this happen to anyone else?
I’m just saying… I mean I say this all the time but Finesse can get the damn business and then some.. lol the whole package deal.. I mean I see breezy and all but I’m not here for him lol..finesse is aging at his finest I must say 😍