A Station Eight Fan Web Site
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Hello Again Greg,
I am trying 110% to keep this post friendly, and I will. More in light of a post some ways below mine, I'd like to thank and congratulate you and the rest of the producers for putting in so many "non-white" people, particularly black people. As a young black girl growing up with this series, it was exciting to see characters who looked like me and that wasn't token or there just to be the stooge to a lead white male (Power Rangers come to mind). In fact in retrospect I remember being surprised to find that Elisa was black! It seemed so odd and now I realize that it because we as children of color are conditioned to feel that inferiority when there are not any heroes or led characters for us to look to. Despite seeing Elisa's mother in the episode "Deadly Forces" later I almost couldn't still fathom that she was black. It's hard to articulate.
Having grown up in the Bay Area, just about the most diverse place in America aside from New York, I am more than used to seeing so many people of color in important positions, hearing so many different languages, and meeting so many people from other backgrounds. However, going away to college I realized that much of the world was not so fortunate as I to have known many lawyers and doctors of color. Therefore, you have no idea how I commend you for being to only show to this day I can think of that put a bi-racial or black female in a lead role without trying to cater to the black demographic. If only through Gargoyles, some kids could be introduced this possibility and not have their only concept of black people being through stats like "You have to ackknowlege that American Blacks have an IQ of 85 compared to a white IQ of 100, Blacks commit over half of the crimes in the USA," however true or untrue that is. It's saddens me when I meet white people who are either scared of me or have to prove to me that their not racist by rattling off the Black history they do know. I wish the media had more of us portrayed like Elisa who doesn't have to roll her neck to show that she is very aware of her blackness but more specifically her Nigerian Ancestry. She's assertive without being "ghetto" or loud. She's beautiful and sexy without being easy. Sadly, as a young black woman I find it's what people expect of me-that if I get angry I will smack my lips or snap my fingers, or they really want to know what I'm like at second base but they won't ask in front their friends- because they think of some Ying Yang Twin videos over Heather Headley videos, and they've never met black people outside of TV while growing up in white suburbia. If only there were more Elisas…
Also, I loved that Elisa looked different from the typical black person on TV. I find that we are actually the most diverse looking group of people on this planet, but actresses in Hollywood are always made to look darker if they are light-skinned like Elisa, or else they just aren't cast. Terrence Howard is the only light-skinned man in the business I can think of who has made it, but no women. And just for the record light-skinned people are not as few and far between as other races think. I had this discussion in one of my high school classes. My classmates tended to think you had to be mixed like Elisa to be light-skinned which is not the case. (I can trace my lineage back six generations on my mothers side to the slave ships, but the only person of another race was one of my great-great grandmothers, and Indian woman. Yet, Two of my dad's sisters, My mom's one sister, is lighter, and three of my grandma's sisters are light skinned like Elisa. It just happens.) I'm glad Elisa just didn't have to have big lips, a broad nose, an afro, and dark brown skin. Even though that's fine because it's kind of how I look, the media has this one image of how we all look in every cartoon, but she's a contrast for my auntie, and two of my best friends.
Finally, I'm glad black men get good treatment. Derek was a righteous, and good cop, a man looking to define himself outside of his parents. He reminded me of my cousins. Hudson's blind friend was intelligent and believable. Thank you for showing that not all black men wind up in prison. And though Glasses did go to prison, as the other poster pointed out he was the right hand man. In my studies as a Psychology major it may be several reasons for the fact so many of us go to prison rather than college, but it shouldn't be assumed blacks are inherently more dumb or evil. Could it be that more people of low socio-economic situation can't afford the best lawyers therefore if caught won't be aquitted as easily as whites? Yes. There are several reason in fact.
I don't feel that putting people of color has made this show somehow prejudice against white. Matt is very competent; I love him! Macbeth, despite his wicked schemes, is very honor-bound, and several of the World Tour episodes highlighted whites of Europe playing the hero. Likewise having Captain Chavez be a woman no more demeans men of strong positions on some fallacy of man-bashing feminism.
All that said it isn't likely that a ninja would be black. I had more problems with the fact that every time we see an Asian on TV they tend to know Karate or else can't speak proper English. But as a whole, Bushido and all the other episodes that visited other nations I felt treated the cultures with respect and beauty. The show found the magic in these culture reminding us that Medieval Europe is not the only place with magic and fantasy stories of interest. Can't say it enough-- Thank You, Greg.
You're very welcome. We were and are proud of the diversity in the show, not because we had an agenda per se, but because it better reflects the reality that I observe daily. So our agenda was honesty, I guess.