Colour in Earthsea

Via Raph Koster’s blog, I came across an essay about minority racial representation in science fiction and fantasy, specifically regarding The Legend of Earthsea series for the SciFi channel and how Hollywood had changed the race of the cast of characters. In the show, they are white. Koster notes that Goro Miyazaki’s film, Tales From Earthsea, also features an all-white cast. In the books by Ursula K. Le Guin, the heroes are black, and the baddies are white.

Pam Noles writes about her passion for science fiction and fantasy and her experience of being a minority in the fandom:

Why do you love a thing that won’t even let you exist within their made up worlds?

How many other FoPs (Fans of Pigment) were driven to tears by this question they could not answer, despite painful struggles to do so? Am I the only FoP forced to develop a veneer of denial in order to function at the gaming tournaments, at the conventions other than the comic book fest in San Diego, or while watching “Buffy” and wondering if The Hollywood People who had ever actually been to Sunnyvale? Because, you know, if they had, there’d be five Asian/Pacific Islanders and at least three Latinos in the background. Am I the only FoP who was reduced to searching the people in the background because the people in the foreground were always a given? Am I the only one to wonder why the Los Angeles of “Angel” looked a lot like the New York City of Woody Allen’s films?

I can’t call myself a “Fan of Pigment” with a straight face. WTF. However, she makes a lot of good points. She writes as if this “veneer of denial” is a conscious act. It’s not. You don’t (at least I didn’t) consciously think about the fact that there are no Asians, or rather they aren’t present in large numbers, in Buffy’s Sunnydale, despite the fact that California has one of the higest populations of Asians, in the United States. I have grown so used to consuming media containing racially homogenous casts, that that this fact hardly registers. When I was an avid viewer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, I never questioned the lack of Asians or other minorities. I guess I’ve become so used to being excluded (at least in terms of race) in the media that it doesn’t bother me. It’s interesting that, on a personal level, I am more sensitive to sexism and homophobia, but less sensitive to racism.


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