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Lack of Asians on Buffy

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Madhermit View Post
    This whole thread is making me hungry for some spicy take-out noodles and kung-fu fighting.
    ...and steamed dumplings, shrimp toast and another viewing of Kung Fu Hustle!

    Last night I rewatched the ep when Giles was trying to feed Chao-Ahn ice cream and later warm milk, and she was screaming bloody murder! Priceless.
    "Strong is fighting! It's hard, and it's painful, and it's every day. It's what we have to do."

    (BtVS, ep 3x10, "Amends", 40:56)

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    • #17
      Not as loud as she was screaming when Giles kept pushing bloodbath-massacre pencil-drawings under the bathroom door. Ah, my heart warms at all the fond Asian memories.

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      • #18
        I am uncomfortable with the tone of the past few posts and I have had many different people let me know they are uncomfortable.

        Please refrain from the sarcasm because these short quips that might be acceptable tongue in cheek when spoken in real life to a friend, just appear racist when read.

        In addition, this is a discussion thread not a chat thread. If you think that Asians were well represented in the show, then say so. Don't make spammy comments where others cannot understand your line of reasoning.
        Last edited by Ehlwyen; 26-08-12, 08:29 PM. Reason: Edit

        Lydia made the punch!

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        • #19
          Yes, that scene with Cordelia in "The Wish" comes to mind when thinking about Latinos on Buffy.

          Non-white ethnic groups are under-represented in Buffy relative to their numbers in the general population but I don't know to what degree the show should be singled out. American primetime television generally has been criticized on this point. During the time that BtVS was on the air, in 1999, the NAACP raised criticism about the fact that minority groups were not being sufficiently represented in television shows, and has continued to raise the issue, as have other minority group advocates. Shows such as NBC's Friends were pointed out as examples. Some gestures have been made to increase representation of the non-white population. but I don't know if anything has really changed. Premiering 7-1/2 years after BtVS, Veronica Mars, also set in California, had a somewhat more ethnically diverse set of high school characters than BtVS, but the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother is just as white today as Friends was back then.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Gwendolyn Post View Post
            Ironically it seems Hispanics are the only racial group to have zero reproesentation at all in Buffy.
            Hmm. Iyari Limón, who was born in Mexico to Spanish-speaking parents and speaks fluent Spanish herself, might object to such a blanket statement...




            I seem to recall one of the Mutant Enemy staff saying that the problem is simply that in Hollywood, the vast majority of actors auditioning for parts - even at the low-level extras and bit-part level - are overwhelmingly white. It wasn't a deliberate choice to exclude ethnic minority actors; rather, for 'Buffy' and 'Angel' they didn't make the special effort to go out and look for them actively. For 'Firefly' and 'Dollhouse', however they did - probably because they'd listened to the criticisms. The casting sheets for 'Dollhouse' were put online, and it was notable to me how many of the major roles were specified as requiring 'minority ethnic' actors.

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            • #21
              Cordelia Chase not knowing Spanish doesn’t mean that she’s not Latina and/or has no Latina heritage. 3rd or higher generation Latinos were less likely to know Spanish than 1st and 2nd generation Latinos. They are also more likely to be affluent.

              _________

              Sunnydale was based on an upper middle class California beach town. In the late 90s, such towns were pretty much over 80% to 90% or more White. Sunnydale was actually pretty accurate with regard to racial distribution.

              Some places in California are still mostly White: http://www.city-data.com/city/Newpor...alifornia.html, http://www.city-data.com/city/Manhat...alifornia.html

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              • #22
                There's also the possibility, although not the diversity-training compliant one, that the character is a "white/non-hispanic" check box and Charisma was cast because she "passes" anyway, just the way that Welsh Catherine Zeta-Jones passed as Zorro's Mexican paramour or Chilean Cote de Pablo passes for Israeli or Israeli Alona Tal passes for white characters on both "Veronica Mars" and "Supernatural" and Japanese Daniel Dae Kim passes for Korean on "Lost".

                Actually, in it's own way, it is sort of diversity-training compliant, because it reminds us of the unifying, colorblind sameness of all of us, which I loved from learning about MLK as a kid and cling to even if it is a bit passe anymore.
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                • #23
                  Originally posted by MikeB View Post
                  Cordelia Chase not knowing Spanish doesn’t mean that she’s not Latina and/or has no Latina heritage. 3rd or higher generation Latinos were less likely to know Spanish than 1st and 2nd generation Latinos. They are also more likely to be affluent.
                  It's not her not knowing Spanish that makes it unlikely she's a Latina. It's the way she blatantly stereotypes the Hispanic janitor and speaks to him in what she imagines is "Spanish", immediately assuming he doesn't speak English. She's written as a white upper middle class valley girl with all the prejudices that go with it.
                  You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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                  • #24
                    Yes, it is the actress rather than the character.

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                    • #25
                      The population of Sunnydale is certainly of "the Caucasian persuasion" - which does serve a purpose in that it helps to convey the "small town" feeling that creates the contrast with the demonic elements of Sunnydale. Though that sets up an uncomfortable racial dynamic in itself - whiteness vs the darkness... But, I do think that I find it believeable that a tiny town would be all homogenous suburbia and scary PTA groups (I'm thinking about Gingerbread here). Though, the size of Sunnydale does vary widely at times (and its location, cf the big crater vs them going to the beach in season 5).

                      I do wonder if Buffy was being made now, though, if it might have a different racial mix? The 90s are actually quite long ago now (oh god I am old), and I do think TV's better at reflecting the real makeup of society better. Not well - it still only shows mostly only the pretty people, after all - but better.


                      -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                        There's also the possibility, although not the diversity-training compliant one, that the character is a "white/non-hispanic" check box and Charisma was cast because she "passes" anyway,
                        At least for me, I'm not saying that Cordelia Chase is Hispanic or partly Hispanic. But we never see her parents, so it's possible that she is half-Hispanic.

                        "Chase" doesn't sound Hispanic, but her mother could be Hispanic.


                        Originally posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
                        It's not her not knowing Spanish that makes it unlikely she's a Latina. It's the way she blatantly stereotypes the Hispanic janitor and speaks to him in what she imagines is "Spanish", immediately assuming he doesn't speak English.
                        I assume you're not from California. Hispanics whose families have been in the country for generations become more 'Americanized'. At the time this showed aired, they weren't likely to speak Spanish. They don't have much in common with people from Latin America other than likely being Catholic (if they aren't agnostic or atheist).

                        As for the janitor comment; again, this seems to be your ignorance of not being from California. A Hispanic with a job as a janitor or dishwasher or gardener or something like that is likely to speak Spanish and perhaps cannot speak English.


                        Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                        The population of Sunnydale is certainly of "the Caucasian persuasion" - which does serve a purpose in that it helps to convey the "small town" feeling that creates the contrast with the demonic elements of Sunnydale.
                        The point of Sunnydale that it is a California beach town. Such towns at the time were generally over 90% White. The rest would be Asians and a very small amount of Hispanics.

                        This is simply an economic reality. As other racial groups make more money (Asians mostly but also Hispanics simply given the number of them), more minorities are living in expensive places in California.

                        I do wonder if Buffy was being made now, though, if it might have a different racial mix?
                        Meaning the Scoobies? They could have simply said that Cordelia was Hispanic.

                        The 90s are actually quite long ago now (oh god I am old), and I do think TV's better at reflecting the real makeup of society better.
                        My general point is that BtVS was realistic. If anything, Xander being in the same school district as the others is more unrealistic unless Sunnydale actually had only one public high school, which didn't seem to be the case. California's school distincts generally segregate the economic classes. So, someone who's depicted as being lower middle class or whatever and lives in a small crappy house wouldn't likely be going to a school filled with upper middle class and lower upper class kids.

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