Example of cultural diversity: Avatar: The Legend of Korra
Example of racial diversity: Avatar: The Legend of Korra
This series is an example of both cultural and racial diversity through its main cast. Set in the same fantasy universe as Avatar: The Last Airbender, this series follows a Woman of Color, Korra (who is from a strongly-Inuit culture), and her friends Mako, Bolin (two brothers from a strongly Chinese culture), Asami (a woman who appears to come from a very Japanese culture), and her teacher, Tenzin, who is the leader of a culture that is very close to Tibet. The series itself deals with topics such as a culture in diaspora, the conflicts of technology versus tradition, and terrorism while also featuring more personal conflicts, such as characters discovering their ‘place’ in the universe, romantic issues, and finding (and making) their own families.
theangrylioness reblogged your photo and added:
Gi is from Thailand. But other than that, perfect.
Huh. For all of my childhood, I thought she was French, but your comment made me look it up, and apparently she did have friends in Thailand. Her dolphin had a Japanese name, though, and the Wikipedia article puts her as Malaysian*, so while it seems to be up for debate where in Asia she came from, she is very clearly Asian — as opposed to the Western European roots I thought she had. This is an honest oops, and now I’m even more glad, as the show had even more diversity than I thought it did. Thank you!
*(I’m not 100% sure on how reliable the Wikipedia article is, since it puts Kwame from Zimbabwe, even though his name means ‘born on Saturday’ in Akan and Twi, both languages in Ghana. Still — all of these nations mentioned have been very under-served and mis-represented in Western media, and if Gi or Kwame or Ma-Ti helped anyone feel less ‘other’, then the showrunners did well.)
Example of racial diversity: The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
This show qualifies as an example of racial diversity through the characters London Tipton, Mr. Moseby, and Esteban Ramirez. London Tipton’s heritage is never discussed in the show, but her actress, Brenda Song, remains the only Hmong-American actress to have held a starring role in American television. Mr. Moseby is played by an African-American actor, Phil Lewis, and Esteban Ramirez is played by Latina/Hispanic actor Adrian R’Mante.
Example of racial diversity: Captain Planet
Example of cultural diversity: Captain Planet
This series was an example of both racial AND cultural diversity through its main cast, which featured an American boy, Wheeler; a Russian (then Soviet Union) girl, Linka; a French girl, Gi; a Brazilian boy, Ma-Ti; and an African boy from an unspecified country, Kwame (though his name suggests that he is from Ghana). Together, these teens worked together to help fight dangers to the environment and spread awareness of important issues. They were given powers by a racially ambiguous Earth Spirit named Gaia, and when they combined their powers, they formed Captain Planet, as featured above. The show ran for six seasons.
Example of racial diversity: Orange is the New Black
Example of gender identity diversity: Orange is the New Black
Example of class diversity: Orange is the New Black
Example of age diversity: Orange is the New Black
Example of sexual diversity: Orange is the New Black
Example of body type diversity: Orange is the New Black
This series is an example of racial diversity through the different groups of women in the prison, with many different members of the cast who are Latina/Hispanic or African-American.
This series is an example of gender identity through Laverne Cox, the trans woman who plays a trans woman inside the prison.
This series is an example of class diversity through the many different levels of class the inmates come from. Piper and her immediate circle of friends come from the upper class, with several women coming in at working middle class, and several others in the group at in the lower class.
This series is an example of age diversity through the different age groups the cast members come from. The youngest was stated to be 19, while the oldest known cast member’s age is 59.
This series is an example of sexual diversity, as it showcases characters who are straight, lesbian, and bisexual.
This series is an example of body image diversity, as the characters show a variety of body types.
Example of gender identity diversity: WOMEN in English/ Mujeres en Espanol!
Example of body type diversity: WOMEN in English/ Mujeres en Espanol!
Example of age diversity: WOMEN in English/ Mujeres en Espanol!
Example of racial diversity: WOMEN in English/ Mujeres en Espanol!
This series of illustrations shows gender identity diversity through the inclusions of someone who appears to be a trans woman, as well as someone who appears to be a cis woman, but feels most comfortable in menswear.
This series of illustrations more than qualifies as an example of body type diversity through several women in the collection. Some are around a societal weight ‘norm’, while others are shown as under it, and others are shown as far above it. All of these women are shown as beautiful.
This series of illustrations shows age diversity by showing women at several ages, from children to elderly.
This series of illustrations shows racial diversity by showing women of several races, including (but not limited to) women who appear to be of Latina/Hispanic origin, women who appear to be of African descent, women who appear to be of Asian descent, and several women whose race can’t be determined through the illustrations.
And while they didn’t qualify for the categories of ability diversity, there are also two illustrations that contain women who are in wheelchairs, one of them being a WOC, the other frankly discussing the issues associated with common treatments of disabled persons in society. The series of illustrations also barely did not qualify for the category of sexual diversity, as it frankly discussed some of the less kind treatment that women who identify as lesbians are often shown (with a biracial lesbian couple) as well as a woman who was openly bisexual.
I will be spending much more time on here in the very near future, and as such, I have some things to announce.
The first is that I have lifted the rule on this blog only examining American media. I created this rule at the beginning because I was wary of being critical of media from other cultures — where it would be much easier for me to miss cultural clues, or where it would be much easier to get something wrong, even with the vast resources the Internet can provide. I’m much more comfortable in my role here, now, and as such, I recognize that I WILL screw up… and that’s why I depend on my lovely followers to catch me when they see that happen. If you are one of the lovely people who has done that already, thank you.
The second is that there will be new posts on here coming very shortly, and that I will be going back to examine previously declined suggestions to see what I can review that has already been requested.
Hi! Sorry I haven’t been on much — I recently got a job, and between that and another group I’m running, I haven’t had much time lately to look over things for this blog.
That being said:
Thank you for the question! I’m a fairly huge Marvel fan, so I do feel at least a little able to answer it.
I think that in the beginning, the X-Men was very closely linked to the civil rights struggle at the time, and that you can’t ignore the social and political events that were happening when the X-Men was created. The X-Men were created in 1963, almost year before the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, and that those two figures likely did have a very large influence on the initial characters of Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto).
However, the franchise has been around for 50 years, and the story and the concepts behind the X-Men have changed with the times. While the basic rights concept of the X-Men still remained present in the comics, especially with those who were very visually different than the human ‘norm’, other causes — such as women’s rights and LGBT+ rights — also began to be woven into the story line.
I see this as a very good thing. While civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT+ rights can all be very large, very daunting topics to talk about on their own, having a story and having characters and representation of other world views and having them talk frankly about issues facing their universe, a universe that has more than a passing resemblance to ours, is a way to open up the conversations to hundreds of thousands of readers — many of whom are younger, and who likely haven’t been exposed to the world beyond their neighborhood/city. Giving them characters to care about removes the argument that they don’t know anyone who faces those issues, because even if they go their whole life surrounded by people who choose to make racist comments and never get called on them, they now know (for some of the most famous examples) Mystique and Nightcrawler, who have both faced intense discrimination for having blue skin, as well as several other characters who faced similar problems (and had more human-looking skin).
This isn’t to say that the X-Men have always been 100% advancing civil rights and talking frankly about societal problems and that they’ve always done a good job with diversity. They haven’t. The first regular POC (and WOC) X-Member was Storm, a character who didn’t come around until the 70s. Is it wrong to try to tell the story of racism without having POC characters, and many of them? Yes. But the X-Men had human writers who were as subject to lines of thinking of the time as anyone else, and many times those modes of thinking blotted out what they might have been trying to say earlier.
That doesn’t make it right. That makes it understandable. And if you understand the mistake, you can avoid it in the future.
So, to answer the question you asked before social and comic commentary came and hijacked my answer?
I think that it’s really cool that people — both in the past and now — are getting engaged in this ongoing discussion of racism and how it affects people, however they enter that discussion. However, if you’re going to go looking for characters like MLK Jr. and Malcolm X, it’s better if you just go to the original people who fought and lived and died in the pursuit of their ideals. Not only will you get a better sense of history… there will also be fewer clones, evil twins, pocket dimensions, plot gaps, and other assorted headaches to struggle through.
It is. Visual reminders that not everyone possesses the same level of ability are very valuable!