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February 24 2014

Is Agents Of SHIELD really an interracial family show? Another perspective on MAoS. (h/t Slacktivist )

Re: encouraging Skye to emulate the white couple FitzSimmons... I don't really get this. Skye's bread and butter is breaking laws and usurping authority. Coulson feels he can't trust her if she keeps doing this, doesn't follow orders, and when she doesn't "trust the system" or show patience that he's on her side.

If FitzSimmons are the opposite (follow the rules, follow orders, trust the system, trust Coulson) and Skye is encouraged to emulate them, it's not because of race or any impression of superiority; it's because they're not law breaking, authority-usurping types and Coulson needs to rely on his people.

Making this about race is kind of strange. Race is incidental here; FitzSimmons follow the rules because that's the kind of people they are, not the kind of people white people are.

And in the end, they all choose to follow or break the rules according to their own belief in what is right and wrong (see The Hub/Sandwich Incident).

I also find it very strange that the student frames FitzSimmons in terms of their race, but doesn't do the same about May. The post says it's probable the student didn't know Chloe Bennet was bi-racial. So with May being the only obviously Asian person, why is it easy to write off FitzSimmons in terms of their white Britishness and not give equal treatment to May?

ETA: For the record, I'm Asian. I debated editing this in, but ultimately, my heritage and upbringing inform my view on a lot of things so not including it might be misleading.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2014-02-24 21:58 ]
Yeah, this does not reflect the show I am watching. Which has some pretty diverse guest casting.
All jobs should be kinda 'multi-racial family.' Kudos to SHIELD! Can't wait find out FitzSimmons is gay for FitzSimmons.
It's an interesting perspective to hear about, IMO, but I'm with the ninja report about Skye and her struggles with fitting in and finding an ID not being a racial matter, since May seems to be the most buttoned up of all the members of the Bus' crew.

In fact, I personally think a bigger matter would be the possible reversal of gender stereotypes in relation to emotions, with Coulson being the more openly emotional and compassionate "parent" while May is the aloof one who doesn't show emotions very often, except to her "spouse" (seen in the various 1-on-1 moments between May and Coulson in the season so far, reversing the old stereotype of fathers being cold and distant due to cultural programming about not being seen as emotional or "weak", while mothers were the emotionally sensitive ones who could offer comfort and act as peacemakers). Or, on another tack, looking at how much Coulson and Skye are swapping perspectives as their respective mysteries are uncovered, with Skye seeing more and more the benefits of SHIELD's cloak and dagger methods as she learns more of her past and the reasons for SHIELD (or the specific cadre of agents originally assigned to her case) went to the lengths they did to meddle in her life...and Coulson seeing more and more Skye's earlier point of just how disruptive and damaging it is to have your life altered without your consent. To have limited or no say in one's own affairs because of a "greater good".
Am I the only one hung up on the mention of one "Zak Whedon", who is neither spelled correctly nor involved with the show?

Sidenote, the word "interracial" makes me shudder. It implies humanity is divided into different races, and that their intermingling is abormal enough to warrant a label.

ETA: And the parallels he draws between SHIELD and other shows make no sense to me. I fail to see any similarity what so ever between Grant and Xander, and I haven't seen Mad Men, but from what I've gathered of what's leaked into pop culture, I can't say I see how Coulson is in any way similar to Don Draper. I also have no clue where he gets the idea of FitzSimmons being a white ideal or, for that matter, clueless. They're doing their job and they're good at it.

[ edited by GreatMuppetyOdin on 2014-02-25 12:18 ]
Referring to Ward as "Hot Buff Xander" just about broke my brain.
GreatMuppetyOdin, I see what you mean but I don't have trouble with the word "interracial" because we ARE different races and ethnicities, in terms of how society has constructed our way of noting physical differences. I am not white or black or Irish or Indian and I have no desire to be categorized as such, not because I think I'm better or they're inferior, but because I like who I am. My differences make me, me. Just like yours make you, you. You're right that treating people like they're abnormal is wrong, but so is treating them like they're all the same. Because what would they be, then? Our differences matter; we just need to make sure they're celebrated and cared for, not diminished and swept under the rug. Sometimes people think it's nice or helpful when they say "I don't see race." I've spent a lot of time coming to appreciate my ethnicity and others have as well. Yes, you should see race. Just don't see it as bad or wrong.

ETA: one of the reasons the word is commonly used is because of the world's historical troubles with this matter. It's still a problem in some parts of the world and having the term is a reminder that we still aren't at the point where it isn't acceptable to use the word as a weapon.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2014-02-25 13:31 ]
Well, I see race, but I try not to. Not because people are all the same, but because too people of the same "race" can be very different. I'm not being self righteous here, it's just that I'm white, my girlfriend is black, and I'm bored of all the crap I hear. I'm not with her because I especially like black women, she's not with me because she "found a white guy", I eat spicier food than she does, she cannot sing or play drums, and so on.

It's fine to enjoy your cultural heritage, but my problem is people assuming you belong to a certain heritage because of the way you look.
Ragondux, to some extent, I think we're talking about two different things. What race means in general terms and what race means to people as individuals.

And as for "heritage", correct me if I'm wrong, but I was getting the impression that you were equating stereotypes with heritage. One is damaging, and the other is not. "Black people can sing and play drums" is not heritage; it's stereotyping. "White men like black women" is also stereotyping, not heritage.

The things you hear from small minds are reminders that people will still use "interracial" or race in general as a weapon. They won't see individuals for who they are. Everyone's responsibility in the pursuit of equal treatment for all is to correct these erroneous ideas.

When I said "see race" I didn't mean that all people of one race are defined exclusively by race. I meant that people sometimes overcorrect and believe that treating everyone equally means not acknowledging their differences or their uniqueness.
I'm not equating heritage with stereotypes, I meant the first one is fine, the second one is not. However, "race" is often an excuse for using stereotypes, and I'd rather use the word heritage (or ethnicity) as a substitute.
The Human Race. There's no black race, white race, et.c.. There's ancestry, there's cultural influence, there's above all else individual difference, but when it comes to race, biologically, we're all basically the same, with only differences in individual traits, which differ more from person to person than they do between ethnic groups. A white person can have more genetically in common with a black person than with another white person. The racial divide is just a construct based on shallow observation and, yes, stereotyping. I'm not saying cultural influence and ancestry don't have a part in shaping a person, but with cultural influences constantly crossing perceived barriers through art, media, the Internet and good old fashioned human interaction, that leaves only ancestry, as two individuals of different ethnic groups can easily share more personality traits and cultural influences than two individuals of the same ethnic group, and if people are to be divided and categorized by ancestry, it's a truly sad state of affairs. If the idea of intermingling ethnicities is so alien that we have to label it "interracial" as if there's not one human race where people are to be viewed as individuals rather than as categories, there's something seriously wrong with how we view ourselves as a species, and that's something that needs to change. That's a kind of thinking we have to grow out of. An "us and them" mentality has never done anything but harm, and the sensationalization of ethnic intermingling through labels like "interracial" only serves to highlight the perceived abnormality of what shouldn't even raise an eyebrow.
Also, is the character racially mixed, solely because, technically, thee actress playing her is?
DaddyCatALSO, I believe the show has mentioned that she was rescued from a village in China, and that it had been wiped out by people trying to find her.

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