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View Diary: Is Tyreese "Made to Suffer"? In The Walking Dead TV Show There Can Be Only One Black Male Character (342 comments)

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  •  thanks for the fair and considered point (5+ / 0-)

    i wouldn't say i am carried away, just critical. and in a longer more formal piece would be able to develop the framework more.

    "So, how much of the large black male secondary character stereotypes are a reflection of racism or just more of the numerous constant adjustments this show is making to find its spot or stay electric with lack of predictability?"

    Great point on the physicality of race and representation--especially given the black brute and black rapists stereotypes. You are spot on.

    Re: Michonne, I hear you. My question is, why is the group so utterly and desperately suspicious of her when they have not been with other new arrivals. Tyreese did the smart thing, don't get me wrong. But, what does it mean in the bigger picture that if the premise about white male authority is correct that even a white child, with a gun and a silencer (hell of a phallic image there, no?) can control a black adult? there is so much history there in that image.

    "But, becomes a forge to both amplify and challenge a question which otherwise too many might avoid as being too dangerously contention, or some might find tiresome, or of interest to only those with agendas."

    That is why speculative fiction is so powerful. It is a crucible and a stage on which to magnify social anxieties and concerns in a "safe" way. Look at how black writers and others used speculative fiction to talk about white supremacy. Or white writers, who tried to do the same thing by using robots and aliens as proxies.

    •  Thanks for responding to my excessively long post (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prof Haley, emeraldmaiden

      BTW when I say you got "carried away" I hope it was clear I meant only with regard to the one paragraph analyzing the one scene with Tyrone locked in the cage.  I noted I agreed with the 95% of the rest of your analysis up to that point.

      The opportunity to make this distinction was perhaps one of the best parts of your critique for in my mind every hypothesis has boundaries of applications and they become more powerful to the extent we know where these boundaries are.

      I was a little worried when I read some of the many very intelligent comments pointing out the apparently long history and context of the zombie genre which I was not aware of, so it is possible this knowledge might change the way I viewed that particular scene.

      Re: Michonne, I hear you. My question is, why is the group so utterly and desperately suspicious of her when they have not been with other new arrivals. Tyreese did the smart thing, don't get me wrong. But, what does it mean in the bigger picture that if the premise about white male authority is correct that even a white child, with a gun and a silencer (hell of a phallic image there, no?) can control a black adult? there is so much history there in that image.
      But, it is totally not true that Rick's group is not "utterly and desparately suspicious of new arrivals."  For goodness sake they killed half of the previous prisoners in cold blood, and the show highlighted Rick thinking and discussion about whether it was wiser to kill them all "just in case."

      Did you miss the episode where the hispanic sociopath prisoner shoved Rick into a zombie during the one fight and Rick kills him.  The second prisoner who was not involved and just fleas in rational fear and Rick, goes over the edge, chasing him down and cold bloodedly locks him in a courtyard of zombies listening to his screams as they eat him.

      Repeatedly we see utter desperate suspicion and distrust of strangers is total rational and the only approach that survives.

      The Governor's squad ambushes the national guard group pretending to be friendly.

      After Michonne appears at the prison fence covered in zombie blood with a group of zombies who treat her like one of their own, the real question is why did they make an exception and not kill her on the spot given their experience.

      The writers missed an opportunity to show is in detail whatever bizarre an mysterious exchange occurred that caused them to let her in.

      In the cabin she also killed the one person who got bit after then invaded his him.

      And, did have duplicitous motivation to go back to the prison to seek revenge on the Governor.

      So I hope you will agree, just in this one specific case, the question isn't why do they show distrust of Michonne but why do they trust her so much?  And, forgive her after she disappears from a gun battle firefight betraying the group to seek her own personal revenge with the governor.

      In that context, Rick's suspicious remarks after not shooting might be criticized as some as excess "bleeding heart liberalism" compassion, if it were not that Michonne breaks with her characters stoic silence and reminds him that he needs her fighting power to survive the journey back to the prison.

      In this case the interpretive framework of "survivalist battle field warrior" seems more appropriate than "racism," although I have to acknowledge that the pre-qualification is that I am speaking only based on these scenes not from the longer-term knowledge of racial themes and issues others speak of.

      Similarly when the white child Karl "controls" the adult mixed race group after locking them in a cage the point to me is not racial, but survivalist.  Anyone with a gun can control anyone else it has nothing to do in this case with race or age.

      Karl has been explicitly told by his father that he the primary protector of the remaing "women, baby, and old man" when all the groups soldiers have left for the rescue (|I'll grant this premise shows opportunities for critiuque) but or main point her is that in a two year hourly fight for survival where they've lost half their group.

      One of the main themes is precocious warrior Karl, who has killed his father best friend, and his "second father" shot the head off his mother, started shooting zombies on his own, is in his first challenge as leader and protector of the primary group, and he locks a much stronger, more numerous new group in a safe cage with food and water until his father and other warrior return.

      He is likely to be chastized by his father for violating his order, and role as protector, by leaving his post to go to rescue this group and bringing them back to the tribes central compound.

      I'm glad he did this but the key point for me in this scene is how heroic, compassionate, and generous this young boy is to these potentially dangerous strangers.

      What I find interesting is that this scene may be serving here as a Rorschach test allowing us to project our own psychological themes into it.

      Given the many other unambiguous valid racial observations you make this is no reason for a criticism.

      So, if the writers are racists I don't wish to defend them by saying 'hey they made one scene that wasn't necessarily racist."  Even a  Ku Klux clan member may have the odd non-racist moment.

      But, I wonder if this is either an accident of plot, or perhaps, the writers are not baiting us to emotional response?

      Because my impression and prediction is that Tyreese will later  become the leader of the group due to the PTSD, and battlefield hallucinations that Rick is having, have left him dangerously dysfunctional.  

      And,, the teaser for the next episode included Karl telling his father he should no longer be leader.

      The writers have positioned Michonne as a heroine, and these shows now have so much at stack financially they watch and poll fan sites.

      I expect both Tyreese and Michonne to evolve into even more central and heroic characters.  This may even be the reason they dispatched the last two lead black male characters because neither the actors or the characters had the zest to become the leader whereas I predict Tyreese will and even that Karl and Tyreese will become allies.

      Those that know the comic books may give us clues.

      Guns have equalizing power in the hands of someone that know their misison seems to be a more robust meaning to derive from that one analyzed just from what what we can see from that  scene, (excluding what we bring into from knowledge of the the genre, comic books, or a powerful hypothesis that might have proven its validity in previous scenes. But, which may also have limits of applicability in this case.)

      One could certainly argue that

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:42:47 PM PST

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