race-in-media

About this whole Cecil the Lion thing...

Okay, so last night I was reading news online and decided to scroll down to the comments section of the articles concerning the American dentist who paid 55,000USD to stalk and kill a very well know Lion (Cecil) in Zimbabwe.  He also got in to legal trouble in 2008 when he had killed an American Black Bear, but was able to change his sentence from more than 2 years down to a few months of community service.

I’ve also read that he paid over 127,000USD to a former employee whom had accused him of unwanted sexual advances.

So yes, I agree that he seems like a pretty horrible person, fixing everything and making everything better with the magic of money, but read below…..

Yes, I agree that the way in which he did it was a horrible thing, and that hunting with no intention of herd management of consumption is pretty pointless, but what really interested me was how much people seemed to come together, to create and sign petitions, to writes 8,000+ yelp reviews on this guys dentistry practice page, post his home address, phone number and actually go there.  Its created this insane media/collective overreaction that while is justified I think that this kinda highlights some of the major problems in both the national and international community.

Do people get this involved in seeking change and getting angry when lives are lost?  When actual human lives are lost?  Lives that could’ve done more for the world, lives who had families who lived for them and loved them.  Mothers and Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, Aunt, Uncle, Friends, Lovers, preyed upon and hunted down by people people who don’t think once or twice about these individuals.

But oh no, a lion (No, I’m not saying that its death is unimportant) is killed and all hell breaks loose.  We seriously need to look at our priorities and get them straight.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I stopped to see what an old friend opinions on this whole issue were.  Someone had posted something like what Im talking about here, that yes, animals matter, but why don’t people being murdered garner this much anger and action.  His response was simply that there are “billions of people on this earth, but only a few lions/other endangered species left.”

Im guessing that thats what a lot of people are thinking when they hear/read this story.  Yes, the 55,000$ he spent successfully murdering an animal could have been spent in a more helpful way, like say a donation to a wildlife and anti-poaching charity or something like that.  But to hear people actually say that since there are more humans than animals, animals come first and there will always be more humans means that they believe that the devaluation of life is necessary in a situation like this.

People are literally asking for changes in rules and legislations all because one man murdered an animal.  This is happening all over the globe.  Where are those people asking for laws to be changed when a human is shot and killed, wrongly imprisoned or profiled by the law?  Where do those people go?  

Once the reaction to someone of color being wrongly convicted or murdered by a racist cop or individual creates a reaction like this, an outrage if you may call it then I will be perfectly fine with the people of the global community coming together to bring to justice people like this dentist.  But, like I said before, animal life is important, but I believe that we as a society need to get our priorities straight.  We can’t just shirk our responsibilities as active citizens.  If you can go on a yelp page and write a negative review about a business after something like this, then whats stopping you from calling up your local representatives, gathering friends and family together and protesting these wrong doings we hear about every day?(I need to work on these myself so don’t think I’m calling you all out for it, its something you and I both need to work on).  

…the notion that we should all forsake attachment to race and/or cultural identity and be “just humans” within the framework of white supremacy has usually meant that subordinate groups must surrender their identities, beliefs, values, and assimilate by adopting the values and beliefs of privileged-class whites, rather than promoting racial harmony this thinking has created a fierce cultural protectionism.
—  bell hooks, killing rage: Ending Racism
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Honors Colloquium: “Why America Can’t Think Straight About Race (Even with a Black President)”

Sut Jhally is a Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and founder and Executive Director of the Media Education Foundation (MEF). Perceptions about race shape everyday experiences, public policies, opportunities for individual achievement, and relations across racial and ethnic lines. URI’s Fall Honors Colloquium will explore key issues of race, showing how race still matters.

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Nicki Minaj was making an important point — before Taylor Swift made it all about her 

Tuesday evening, Nicki Minaj took to Twitter to express her disdain that videos celebrating women with “very slim bodies” consistently get nominated over those without. Taylor Swift took it personally — and when she responded, the conversation became about something else. But Minaj’s message was clear: The media is extremely biased.

Do not underestimate the impact that having Michelle Obama & Lupita Nyong'o regularly cycled through the media in (mostly) healthy, positive, and beautiful ways is having on our global collective psyche. We must realize though that these two women are not exotic rarities. They always have been and always will be around us in great abundance. We just haven’t always seen them. Perception can be changed. We must collectively work to actively do it on our own. We must also work to consciously examine what we ingest daily and take seriously the ways in which it shapes and forms us. We have been systematically constructed to perceive race, gender, ability, money, beauty, age in a calculated way to the preserve power and dominance of a few. It is time to deconstruct and rebuild and include a larger set of bricks. And the construction team must include all of us. Let’s collectively roll up our sleeves and go to work.
— 

Carlton Mackey

Creator of 50 Shades of Black

Sleepy Hollow and race

I was raised in an extremely racist family. I’m white, like my ancestors were the physician and the camp security people in Plymouth and came over on the Mayflower white, some still live in Bible-belty Kansas white, and was taught from a very early age that people who weren’t like me weren’t just different, they were lesser. Racial epithets were everyday language around me, mostly with the extended family. Not just against blacks, but Asians, Hispanics, Jews, gays, anyone not quite like us.

Keep reading

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In 1970 Psychology Today published a board game where players were divided into white and black, and had to make economic progress while competing with each other. Based on Monopoly, the idea was to demonstrate how the odds were stacked against black people in society by having different rules for each race in the game.

Whites started out with $1 million, blacks with $10,000 and each race had different opportunity decks. While whites could buy property in any part of the board, blacks were limited to certain areas until they had accumulated at least $100,000 and were outright banned from property in the ‘suburban zone’.

Needless to say, it turned out to be one of the most controversial board games of all time and even merited an article in Time magazine:

The game, produced by Psychology Today Games (an off shoot of the magazine) now on sale ($5.95) at major department stores, was developed at the University of California at Davis by Psychology Department Chairman Robert Sommer. It was conceived as a painless way for middle-class whites to experience—and understand—the frustrations of blacks. In Sommer’s version, however, the black player could not win; as a simulation of frustration, the game was too successful. Then David Popoff, a Psychology Today editor, redesigned the game, taking suggestions from militant black members of “US” in San Diego. The new rules give black players an opportunity to use—and even to beat—the System.

Although turning Monopoly into an attempt to draw people’s attention to social issues seems a little bit of a long shot, it’s worth noting that the original version of Monopoly itself, called ‘The Landlord’s Game‘, was designed to demonstrate how the current economic system led to inequality and bankruptcy.

Psychology Today’s board game division seems to have been short-lived but other titles included The Cities Game – that involved ‘urban tension, corruption and the undercurrents of city politics’; and Woman and Man where ‘Each woman must accumulate enough Status Quo points (100) to prove her equality to men. Each man must collect enough Status Quo points (100) to prove once and for all a woman’s place is beneath his’.

Fun for all the family.

Link to 1970 Time article on the ‘Blacks and Whites’ board game.

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,943833,00.html

Link to game details and photos on BoardGameGeek.

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/7245/blacks-whites

  • Make bestselling fiction with black brooding male heart throbs
  • Make movies where everyone is nonwhite and more than half the cast is female, and then add one token white male side character whose only job is to make clever deadpan quips but not take up too much screentime
  • Make TV shows from the perspective of a person growing up in a minority culture and telling unfamiliar foreigners how it is rather than how they think it might be
  • Make historical films where there are no white people whatsoever, make the races historically accurate and watch people balk at African Cleopatra and Roman Alexander the Great
  • Make sci-fi films where white people are extinct and everyone is beige, with remaining East Asian and African people whose racial features were passed down the line because of their large populations

—–

Next time people tell you: 

“The race/sex doesn’t matter, the story does" 

"I don’t care about the race/sex of the characters as long as they’re interesting”

See if they still think that way when the media is taken over by nonwhite actors and characters, or with entirely female casts. See if they are genuine about character or if they’re just hypocrites trying to protect the racial imbalance in media today. 

Marriage ≠ Maturity; Money ≠ Intelligence

Marriage is not proof of maturity. Money is not proof of intelligence. Both of these are wrapped in cisheteronormative and capitalistic perceptions of adulthood and they repulse me deeply. These perceptions are something that I have had to deal with from random strangers online to people in past classrooms and corporate jobs to “friends” (in quotations because my actual friendships are healthy and loving; these are people who assume that we are “friends” because they know me) to actual family members. These perceptions are harmful. Some people who know me were more respectful to me in my 20s than now in my 30s, coming up on age 36 soon. Why? Mainly because from time to time I would date, and though I identify as asexual now (and for many people coming to terms with accurate sexual orientation is a journey), most of the (actually few in total) people I dated were cis men (though some aces date even when they identify as asexual, but don’t need to date any gender “prove” similarity to non-asexual people in order to be “valid” via that similarity). Thus, that picture at least visually fit cisheteronormative perceptions of maturity. In other words “oh look, she’s in her 20s and dating someone so they must be headed towards marriage; that’s adulthood there; maturity there!” Another reason is because in my 20s I thought I might pursue a PhD (hell nah now) and I was working on my Master’s degree in my mid to later 20s. I also worked in corporate then. Thus, that picture at least visually fit capitalistic perceptions of intelligence. In other words, “oh look, she’s in her 20s and getting those degrees and might acquire some status via corporate jobs and class; that’s intelligence right there!”

Fast forward to my mid 30s and I am not married nor desire marriage (I…never really did to be honest, though I tried to in order to socially fit in and make past partners happy when I was younger). I don’t even date nor have desired to in many years. I am not working in corporate and living what might look like middle class when it really would not be at all for me. I am not going to pursue a Ph.D. I do not have a lot of money or own a lot of possessions. I am missing many social markers, status markers and consumptive practices that people have decided represent maturity and intelligence. Thus, people I know who once respected my opinions purposely try to speak over me in spaces to exhibit their perceived dominance. People who respected my life or were interested in my life now tell me about theirs and never ask me about mine. People in couples purposely exclude me from conversations when they could’ve skipped inviting me altogether; it is as if they invited me so that they can “perform” what they think adulthood is for an audience they perceive to be “children” if they are unmarried. People who speak of things they think are “mature” such as pain and heartbreak and bills and debt and the like now talk down to me as if my intelligence still doesn’t run laps around some of theirs just like it did in my 20s when they were more respectful of me. (And of course online people are always disrespectful and paternalistic because they’re intimidated on topics I know with proficiency so they try to “son” me on my own personal life to assuage their discomfort with Black women.)

This is not about personal dislike; obviously I expect people who dislike me to be disrespectful. These are people who think they still like or love me, but demoted my worth in their minds because I don’t participate in the institutions that they value and ones protected by the status quo. If I insult marriage–and I don’t, even though I question the State’s role–nothing happens. Why? It’s a protected institution and for the longest was only for heterosexual people. It’s not the same as someone insulting me for not being married. Being single is not protected. Because the kind of people that I’ve alluded to here have lives that fit into the status quo–because they rarely challenge injustice itself, because they fail to realize that people like me are who they are often standing on in order to have these lives that they think are the product of bootstraps alone and arbitrary “success” not tied into systems and institutions–they assume that they are “mature” and “smart” as a default. Well no, I reject the notion that cisheteronormativity proves maturity and capital/status proves intelligence. And once the reality of the violence that both cisheteronormative norms and capitalist systems are unearthed, people’s status quo protective arguments fall apart even more rapidly than I could take them apart here. I am not suggesting that money doesn’t matter now, nor do I believe the lie it cannot buy happiness because for some people, basic resources and healthcare etc. would alter their lives majorly, even as such people are spoken of as unintelligent for not being rich.

I have completely disconnected from some of the people who have treated me this way in the last 5-7 years and even before this. And that was a long term sort of “clean up house” activity that consumed a lot of my 20s unfortunately. (Even so, a lot of people were more respectful to me then than now.) In my 30s it is a bit more challenging since some of the people who treat me this way are also family. Some are people adjacent to family that are more difficult to excavate. And while it’s in my nature (introvert, Virgo, someone who simply doesn’t give a fuck at times etc, whatever label or no label etc.) to retreat from people–because I’ve found that very few quality relationships/deep friendships supersedes plentiful superficial or associate-level ones–I do find it sad that often the only answer is retreat. I try to open myself up to the possibility of people ever truly understanding me–I don’t feel that I am that complex, to be honest, just human like everyone else–but most people cannot see me beyond their status quo goggles. There are people who say they “like” or “love” me and yet I know I could never have an in-depth conversation with them about asexuality or agnostic atheism, for example. There are gaping holes about my identity and life that they don’t care enough about to ask, yet I should always center every facet of their lives? Can you deeply love a person that you don’t really know or truly care to know? It’s amazing how some people think they are “close” to me yet have no clue what I do everyday. People I help. People who told me I saved their lives and they mean it, which always humbles me. I’m like…nah…I didn’t do anything like that, yo. But they say that I did. Money that I’ve raised to help people in need. Projects that I’ve helped get off the ground. People, primarily Black women, that I’ve mentored. Minds that I’ve changed. Discourse that I’ve created and participated in that has a lasting impact on many Black women, as Black women have told me, even as I have to fight off plagiarism and erasure on a never ending loop

Because I do this work of my own creation, because it is not happening in a cubicle, because it cannot make me rich or even “middle class,” and because it is not happening while I am married, my maturity and intelligence are devalued and questioned and erased. Regularly. Even by people who would say that they “love” me. Even by them. “Kindness” isn’t always kindness. Even by other people who are clearly more immature and less intelligent in every way; they decide that they’re “above” me because accepted status quo markers. I don’t think that I am more “radical” or “real” because certain institutions are ones not for my life; honestly it’s been a question of safety and some semblance of peace, not me proving that I am “better” than those more tethered to institutions that I find harmful for me personally. But what happens when even people who purport to “love” me also view me as harmfully as people who passionately hate me and all because they share views on what makes someone mature and what makes someone intelligent? What would they have me do? Try to “fit in” to the point of wanting to self-harm? Quietly accept harm from others? Or instead try to survive in a way that is no less valid because it looks different from what is accepted? Some lives fit the picture of what is “right” and some do not. But that picture is a reflection of oppressive systems and not absolute truths.

Related Posts: I Am Tired Of Status, The Price Of Rejecting An InstitutionBlack Womanhood, Asexuality and Agency

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This is a really interesting question, so I hope you don’t mind if I answer it here on the blog.

Racial coding of non-human characters is a really interesting subject for me, and I think it’s really tricky.

I DO think there are ways of racially coding animal characters that doesn’t rely on horrible stereotypes or goofy accents. Having names that reflect a non-white culture, being of a species that is indigenous to a region that is predominately PoC, stylized (and accurate) clothing if the animals are clothed. Things like that. 

A good example, weirdly, is probably Dora the Explorer. Several of the characters speak only or predominately Spanish, and have other coding identifiers that allow us to recognize them as hispanic, but they don’t come across as like some horrible terrible offensive stereotype. 

Sadly, because our culture has SO MUCH ingrained racism, and a really intense “white is default” mindset, sometimes all of that coding is still COMPLETELY FUCKING IGNORED. 

A Great example of this is Lion King. You have characters with Swahili names, set in Africa, with characters that are indigenous to Africa. Yet, I see fan art ALL THE TIME where those characters are drawn like a Northern European Wet Dream. All of that racial coding is completely ignored. Hell, I’ve see the Raccoon from Pocahontas drawn as a white boy. Why? Who the fuck knows! Racism! 

Sadly, if you are trying to convey racial diversity in a story you normally have to be very very very explicitly clear about their race, or people will read them as white by default (and sometimes, even if you ARE explicit. Like Rue in Hunger Games.) And coding animated animal characters is a subtle business to avoid horrible horrible stereotypes. 

I dunno. I’m gunna open this up to everyone. What do yall think?

Watch on stopwhitewashing.tumblr.com

The Colour of Beauty by Elizabeth St. Philip (2010)

Renee Thompson is trying to make it as a top fashion model in New York. She’s got the looks, the walk and the drive. But she’s a black model in a world where white women represent the standard of beauty. Agencies rarely hire black models. And when they do, they want them to look “like white girls dipped in chocolate.”

The Colour of Beauty is a shocking short documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry. Is a black model less attractive to designers, casting directors and consumers? What is the colour of beauty?

This film is part of the Work For All series, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, with the participation of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

anonymous asked:

Since you seem to have better grip on race than I ever will (I mean that seriously), is it ok to dislike a character even if they are of color? If they are the main character, but I prefer the side characters (who may be white) is it racist? Or is it the same as prefering Ron or Hermione instead of Harry Potter? I always like side characters and their stories compared to the protagonist (no matter what race), but am I doing something wrong if they a POC? This goes for shipping too.

Heh, ah don’t say that, Anon. Believe me, if someone with my past can come around on it this hard, anybody can learn – and I’m still playing catch-up, man, I am not anywhere close to being an expert on this matter. Probably never will be.

It’s absolutely okay to dislike a character who isn’t a straight, white, neurotypical, able-bodied cismale. You’re never obliged to like a character. However! If you find yourself seriously disliking a character it’s a worthwhile exercise to sort out what it is about them that rubs you the wrong way, and compare that character to similar characters to figure out the differences in both how the narrative (and other characters) treat them and how you react to them. If it turns out there’s another character who’s basically the same in traits or actions only white, and the white one gets a better reception than the POC, theeen it’s time for deconstruction. The same goes for gender/sex, orientation, etc – basically anything for which people have been or are still persecuted and/or oppressed in the real world.

It might still be that there are purely innocent and justified reasons why you dislike the one character and not the other! But because there’s such a long history and great prevalence of people of colour, women, GSMs, et al being depicted unfavourably via negative stereotypes, it’s still probably best to peel it apart to be sure. And even if your reasons for disliking the character are just, the narrative’s reasoning & treatment could still be suspect.

As an example (since this is the one show about which I know a ridiculous amount), if one has only watched the first season of SPN dislikes Missouri Mosely and likes Bobby Singer (who shares many of the same characteristics and was, hear tell, actually written as a stand-in for Missouri), that’s an instant red flag. Both are gruff and secretive and prone to snapping at the boys. One might, upon peeling back layers, find that they’ve picked up on the difference between Missouri insulting and belittling Dean for no discernible reason while Bobby generally only lobs insults out of incredulity when someone’s said something stupid. One might be more unsettled by threats of physical reprisal (however mild) than to raised voices based on personal experience. One might favour the fact that Bobby treats the boys more or less equally while Missouri’s treatment of Sam is alarmingly different from her treatment of Dean. One might be angry at Missouri for purposefully concealing John’s whereabouts from his sons. These are all valid reasons that have nothing to do with race or gender.

On the other hand, the show made the decision to make Bobby Singer, the more all-around sympathetic and FAR more long-lasting character, a white man. Absolutely nothing against Jim Beaver of course; he’s a great actor and a wonderful person, and a great deal of the character’s popularity owes itself to Jim’s performance. The role itself could have been filled by pretty much anyone – but they went with a white man to replace and improve upon the role previously filled by a black woman. And even as much of a powerhouse as Jim is, he’s surely not the only actor who could have played that role and played it to the top given the chance.

And see that’s just once incident. On a series-wide scale, SPN has a pretty bad track record of casting black actors & actresses in less than favourable roles. Missouri Mosely is generally well-liked (and frothingly-defended) by the fandom, but she did kinda treat Dean like crap for no damn reason and lie to the boys outright about John. Cassie Robinson, also generally well-liked, was the girl who broke Dean’s heart. Gordon Walker, zealous hunter who made it his quest to murder Sam even after being turned into a vampire. Jake Talley, the Special Child who murdered Sam which kick-started the entire Heaven/Hell metaplot (or should I say megaplot? idk). Victor Henriksen, whose surname the show can’t even decide how to spell, badass and clever and still an antagonist right up to the point where he’s killed off. The Archangel Raphael, jingoistic Apocalypse bottom-liner who wants to end the world, one of the Big Bads of s6. The Alpha Vampire, whose s8 storyline got dropped gods only know why (I really thought Benny’s storyline was going to take more than one episode to tell; and I’ll say this, I’m actually glad they made the Alpha Vampire black ‘cause lbr there’s a chance he’s older than white people’s existence), Rufus, an embittered, crotchety, self-serving coward who drags trouble behind him like a fishing net (but still comes off as a really enjoyable character who’s easy to root for so there’s that).

Once, you might be able to pass off. Twice, you start to side-eye it. When it’s almost every black character in the series’ history out of an already tiny pool, well…. ¯\(°_o)/¯ (And just to be clear, that’s on the show, not the fandom.)

Now not all TV series, books, movies, etc have this issue. However, SPN is in effect a microcosm model of a macrocosm issue that’s persisted through Western media for hundreds of years. Just remember: a monsoon is made up of raindrops.

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Growing Up Black/Jamaican

I really loved the #GrowingUpBlack tweets shared on Twitter this week. There were also some nationality ones (i.e. #GrowingUpJamaican) that were really good. It felt good, kind and funny reading these shared experiences among our race and across the diaspora. Remembering the hilarious times and complicated times and loving times of young Blackness. It’s one of the good moments of fictive kinship (unlike say, respectability politics, which isn’t).

It really made me happy to participate; a few of my tweets are above. Topsy states that over 800,000 #GrowingUpBlack tweets were sent. Kinda incredible. Love.❤

This is a review that was left on the IMDB page for “Dear White People”. This entire thing just seems to be a fantastic example of how America sees race in the media. Like oh my god, this guy is serious he’s actually serious.

This whole damn thing is “we in the media are not racist, you ruin your own image.”

And can I just mention that last line? “…..just as stupid as ghetto gang bangers of decent lineage.”

You just spent a whole minute of your life typing a poorly-thought-out review of a movie trying to prove how the media and you in your personal life are not racist, but follow that up with a commonly oppressive term that is most certainly used in a bad context towards colored people. And you follow THAT up with “of decent lineage”? Holy god, I can taste the racist. 

"Superhero Diversity Race?"

There’s a post out there talking about how DC is winning the “superhero diversity race” after its recent wave of casting announcements, and I anticipate that this “race” metaphor will start to take on further life with the announcement of the Captain Marvel and Black Panther movies. I’m on a train home right now, so I can’t say much, but let the following statement serve as a placeholder till I get home:

PITTING MARVEL AND DC AGAINST EACH OTHER IN A “SUPERHERO DIVERSITY RACE” TRIVIALIZES THE VERY REAL NEED FOR DIVERSE HEROES AND REDUCES THE “SOLUTION” TO THE PROBLEM OF DIVERSITY TO A NUMBERS GAME, THEREBY ALLOWING BOTH MARVEL AND DC TO POINT TO THE NUMBER OF DIVERSE CHARACTERS WITHOUT BOTHERING TO ADDRESS HOW DIVERSITY IS BEING REPRESENTED OR THE CULTURE THAT LED TO THE SITUATION IN THE FIRST PLACE.

TURNING THE RESPONSE TO THE LACK OF DIVERSITY INTO SOME KIND OF COMPETITION IS A CHEAP RHETORICAL MOVE THAT MINIMIZES THE WAY IN WHICH THE KINDS OF HEROES WE SEEN IN COMICS PERPETUATES THE KIND OF DISCRIMINATION RAMPANT IN THE FANDOM.

AND THIS INCLUDES THAT “ON YOUR LEFT” BULLSHIT, AS IF MARVEL FANDOM IS SOMEHOW SUPERIOR BECAUSE ITS MEDIA IS SLIGHTLY MORE PROGRESSIVE THAN DC. CALLS FOR DIVERSITY IN COMICS WAS NEVER A MARVEL VS. DC THING: IT WAS A DEMAND BY MARGINALIZED SEGMENTS OF THE FANDOM TO SEE THEMSELVES AS HEROES IN THE CANON OF BOTH HOUSES. TURNING IT INTO A COMPETITION DECENTERS THAT VERY REAL FACT.

Also, where are my LBGTQ heroes? Where are my heroes that indicate diversity beyond the black/white binary? Where are my neurodiverse and differently abled heroes? Where are my heroes in recovery from addiction?

I will grant that both houses have stepped up their games, but we’re a long way from the end of this “race,” if that’s the metaphor you want to use. It’s a bad one, by the way.

clari-clyde asked:

I’d also argue that when Missouri appeared, Kripke was still in the mode of Sam = hero and Dean = Sam’s accessory. It wasn’t until later episodes when Kripke, under Singer’s advice, started to want to develop Dean as a character. But then, as the seasons wore on, Kripke also showed his racist ass and no one challenged him on that and, unfortunately, Missouri became part of a larger pattern.

IDK, Dean was hardly bereft of nuanced, sympathetic characterisation in early s1. As early as the pilot and 1.03 we got our first inklings of how badly traumatised he was by Mary’s death. In 1.04 we catch on that Dean is something of an engineering genius. 1.06 was the first glance at how badly mangled his psyche is thanks to John. 1.08 gave the first hints of an abusive, conflict-ridden upbringing, and then Missouri shows up in 1.09, just when all this should be fresh in the audience’s minds. All through these episodes we see a Dean who puts on airs as an uneducated, Male Platonic Ideal, bad-boy ladykiller but is actually highly-intelligent, empathetic, deeply troubled young man who puts his family first, even above himself, and cares more about saving lives than getting the girl. By the time 1.09 rolls around the show – under Kripke’s direct supervision – has already demonstrated that Dean is a good, if damaged, person and an interesting character.

I will allow, though, that he had been firmly established as being the living (and frayed and desperate) tether holding Sam to the family business, which could on its own be read as “Dean is Sam’s sidekick”, but all the same the first 9-10 episodes treated the brothers pretty evenly in terms of narrative weight.

Where Missouri fits into this is that while she’s decently complex (as much as one can expect of a supporting character who only appears in a single episode) at the core she’s the Magical Negro trope with a thick overlay of Scary Black Momma. The latter, idk, it’s pretty well-rooted in reality – Southern matron types of any race are lionesses – but on the other hand it creates the twin problems of presenting a WOC as irrationally abusive & pointlessly cruel and undermining a POC character’s sympatheticness (good lord how is that a word? English is weird) by having her act with unwarranted hostility towards one of the main characters. I think what Kripke probably intended there was to show that she was a tough, gruff, no-nonsense sort to try to balance out the Magical Negro thing but playing to one stereotype to try to subvert another isn’t always the best idea.

Completely topic, it’s fascinating how the protagonist and POV character are often different characters in SPN.