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The Walking Dead's "Clear" was one of the best installments of the series to date. In keeping with its established, and now repetitively obvious themes, Clear continued the The Walking Dead TV show's problematic representations of race and gender.

In Clear, Carl, as the stand-in and inheritor of his father's white masculine authority is so independent and headstrong that he risks his life for the purpose of sentimentality.

Moreover, Carl imperils Michonne, the show's only black female character--and she continues to serve her duty as a protector and aide to the white characters. As I alluded to here, once more, a white child has more authority than a black adult on The Walking Dead.

As we have repeatedly seen on The Walking Dead, Michonne, despite her best intentions, acts of assistance, and invaluable skills, is an object of distrust. In Clear, Michonne has finally "earned" her acceptance from Rick and Carl.

Interestingly, Michonne has been held to a uniquely high test of trustworthiness by Rick and the group. Why? Because Michonne is a symbolic "problem." She is black and female. In the white racial frame and America's collective racial subconscious, women of color are burdens on the State, what are non-productive citizens despite their labor.

Morgan, who saved Rick's life during the series' first episodes, has finally returned. The Walking Dead has a black man "problem" as well. The show's emphasis on white masculine authority cannot tolerate or accept black men as either rivals or peers for Rick. Consequently, an informal rule of two has been adopted. As such, when one new black male character appears his predecessor must be removed from the narrative. T-Dog was killed. Tyrese was driven off by Rick. As a replacement for Tyrese, Morgan was (re)introduced in Clear.

He too fits the problematic tropes of race and gender that drive The Walking Dead TV series. T-Dog was a mute black manservant butler. Michonne is the mysterious and almost feral "strong black woman" warrior negress who cannot be trusted. Tyrese was "sensible" and "reasonable." He is was/is also non-threatening.

Morgan, Rick's savior, is now mentally unbalanced, fragile, and unpredictable. Morgan also wants Rick to free him of this world by shooting him. The former is such a "weak" man that he does not even have the courage to commit suicide. He is emasculated in a second way as well: Morgan does not even have the resolve of Jacqui, the show's only other black female character (she too was peripheral, mute, and underdeveloped) who committed suicide at the end of Season One.

Morgan's mental state is a mirror for Rick. Morgan is what Rick could perhaps easily become if he surrenders to despair. This juxtaposition is a classic one. The humanity of white folks, and whiteness, more generally, is highlighted in the literary imagination by comparing its traits and qualities to those of non-whites.

In the early 20th century, notions of "racial character" and "manhood" were central to America's (and the West's) public discourse. There, race men and race women, white elites, and others debated the essential character of the "black race" as compared to that of "the white race."

A racial logic and ideology was reproduced where white men of a certain economic and social class were naturally heroic, intelligent, survivors, warriors, and noble. White men of a lower class, and not quite "whites" like the Jews, as well as Southern and Eastern Europeans, were also not of the right "racial stock." Blacks and non-whites most certainly had to prove their race's fitness for full citizenship and masculine respect if they were to be judged the "equals" of white men.

These ideas are also present in classic science fiction and dystopian literature. White men can explore the stars and outer space. They can master technology with ease. White men can conquer alien species.

In worlds like The Walking Dead TV show, white men have the character, ability, and strength to both endure and survive. While they may bend, white men will not break under the pressures of this new reality.

In the dystopian imaginary of speculative fiction, black men, if they are present at all, are depicted as weak, unfit, and often mentally ill. Schizophrenia was once described as "the freedom disease." In science fiction and speculative fiction, black folks are apparently very susceptible to such conditions.

Morgan is a character in keeping with an ideology which suggests that black and brown Americans are contingent citizens who do not really belong in the polity. They are weak. Black men are also marked by a duality, where historically in the American racial imagination, they are depicted as both the black beast rapist and a civic child who is not self-sufficient.

Even in hopeful and "progressive" science fiction, these narratives about black men, insanity, and mental instability are present. Star Trek, has many such examples.

In classic Trek, Dr. Daystrum, the creator of the M5 computer has a mental breakdown and is sent to an insane asylum. Tuvok, the half-human half-Vulcan on Voyager, falls deep into a state of psychosis. Captain Sisko on Deep Space Nine is literally taken out of his body by a spiritual connection with an alien race, has visions, and is actually committed to a mental hospital when his consciousness travels to Harlem, New York in an alternate reality.

The Walking Dead TV show is part of a long tradition of storytelling in which black men are marginalized. Consequently, its problematic relationship to race and gender is not new. Dead people can rise from the grave in The Walking Dead TV show; but, fully evolved black characters who are not two-dimensional tropes which reflect the white racial frame are not allowed to exist.

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Comment Preferences

  •  To be fair though... (7+ / 0-)

    Classic Trek also had Kirk possessed by a woman, sent to a mental hospital in "Dagger of the Mind", had Spock go skitzo with Vulcan Horniness...

    Then Next Generation had Picard possessed by the Borg, etc...  

    Not saying it's perfectly eglatarian, but at least Trek had pretty much everybody having breakdowns one way or the other.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:09:09 PM PST

    •  i hear you, w. the link i embedded there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftist vegetarian patriot

      is a book coming out that details Trek's penchant for having almost all the black male characters have breakdowns--I didn't include Worf or Laforge either who have other issues related to race and masculinity.

      •  there are very few (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mythatsme

        stable characters in ST fiction.  There isn't a single stable character in Voyager.  Not one.  So why would Tuvok be any different?

        The most stable main character in DS9 is Worf, followed by Sisko.
        Bashir? Nope. Kira? Nope. Chief? Not really. Garak? No. Odo? Heck no.

        Of the minor characters, Nog is probably the most stable of them all along with Jake.

        In order to be a "penchant" it would have to be that it's much more common for the black male characters to break down than other characters.  It's not.  At all.

  •  or, possibly, everything's not about race. (9+ / 0-)

    Maybe Morgan went crazy because he'd been through hell and lost his wife and his son and had been living alone during a zombie apocalypse.

    And maybe Michonne is a badass who's taking care of herself and realizes that being part of a larger group is a way to do that, and it's got nothing to do with her race or the race of the people around her.

    Maybe some things aren't about race, but about people.

    Crazy, I know, but it's a possibility!

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:10:58 PM PST

    •  that isn't the claim (4+ / 0-)

      it is examine the semiotics of the show and the repeated themes where black folks are marginalized and poorly represented on a consistent basis. Me, and others, have written about this consistently. Lots of good stuff out there.

      •  sorry, I disagree. (10+ / 0-)

        I think you're preoccupied with race too much to enjoy the story.  And it's blurring the lines of sense.  I honestly don't care how many other people are writing about that -- I still think it's overanalytical, silly, and a case of people searching hard for something they can be offended about about - surprise! - finding it, because that's what happens whenever that game is played.

        Rick is not portrayed as any more "noble" or "heroic" than Morgan.  Rick has had a breakdown of his own.  He got through it not because he is white, but because he is not alone and he still has things to fight for.  Even then, he's had breakdowns and gone crazy, and only snapped out of it because he had to fight the governor's forces.  Morgan didn't snap because of his race.  He snapped because he's alone.  He lost his wife.  He lost his son.  And, to make it worse, he lost his son because he didn't kill his undead wife when he had the chance.  That's got fuck-all to do with his melanin.  It's because of guilt.  Fair or unfair guilt -- I don't think anyone could really say Morgan was "weak" for not having shot his wife.  A lot of people couldn't do that.

        And you say he's portrayed as not self-sufficient?  Despite being unhinged - and understandably so, it's a zombie-freakin'-apocalypse -  he's been extremely resourceful.  He worked out - by himself - more ways to fend off zombies than Rick and his crew ever came up with.  He's been getting by on his own for three years and has worked out traps and invented ways to deal with the walking dead that others haven't figured out.  That's not weak or a "civic child" or a "black beast rapist" (and where the hell did that even come from?!?)

        And Michonne is probably the most badassed character on TV right now.  And - if you're reading the comics - also the most badassed there, as well.  She is portrayed as more resourceful than anyone around her.  She knows how to survive, and has been stronger at doing so.  Why is that somehow offensive?   And she knows, now, that she needs to gain the trust of the people around her.   That many of them happen to be white is inconsequential... it's just how things turned out.  She's not "being their protector and aide" any more than she's looking out for herself by becoming part of the group.  And she's not distrusted because she's Black... she's distrusted because they don't know her very well yet, and they distrust everybody - it's a paranoid society.  They didn't pick up the backpack guy and he was white.  It's not about race, it's just how things are in the post-apocalypse scenario.  

        Yes, Black characters have been killed off abruptly.  But so have white characters.  It's a high body-count show.  People die.  

        Michonne's badass, and Morgan had some of the most powerful moments ever on that show, but all you're wanting to get out of it is that it's a racial thing and they're being marginalized, etc.  I'm sorry, but I find that ridiculous.  One of TV's coolest characters right now is Black - that's Michonne - and when the storyline brings Tyrese back in, you'll likely see another, if the show follows the comic at all.  Frankly, I'm not sure what they could do that you wouldn't find fault with.

        Everything is not about race.  Sometimes a story is just a story, and characters are just characters.  You could swap the races of everyone in the show and you'd be left with exactly the same story.

        And with that, the final word is yours, I'm done with the topic.

        "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

        by Front Toward Enemy on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:58:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i think your claymore has blown up in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tytalus

          the face of your unwillingness to accept a basic premise. we live in a society where race and gender matter. dystopian literature and sci-fi--zombies in particular--are one of the most "political" of popular texts.

          to have race and gender "not matter" would stand against all that we know about this society. popular culture reproduces these values...it can also transgress them.

          •  huh? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mythatsme, Front Toward Enemy

            Absolutely race and gender matter.  As a black man, I'd be blind to not see it.

            that's far different from the idea that it matters always in every way all of the time.

            It doesn't.

            •  it matters a great deal, especially in terms (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tytalus

              of how it is reproduced in popular culture. most folks don't want to interrogate their pleasure. so when that 'race' or 'gender' stuff is brought into their safe space, the push back is so instructive. it demonstrates the power of privilege and colorblind racism, and also how certain depictions of black and brown personhood are normalized in popular culture...so much so that some audiences are personally offended when these patterns are called out.

              •  yeah I'll thank you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Front Toward Enemy

                not to psycho-analyze me.  You ain't qualified.  I have no problem "interrogating my pleasure."  I can logically see the flaws in something, and still enjoy that something.  Others can too.

                In my opinion, and apparently others, some of you're criticisms here are flawed and off-base.  That doesn't mean we don't see others that aren't flawed, Tyrees, TDog.

                See how that works?  The fact that there are racial and gender issues in society means that yes they can easily drift into culture, even stuff we like.

                It does not however mean it drifts into every single character on every single show.  I'm not personally offended, I just think you are stretching a premise beyond it's breaking point.

                •  my claim was a general one (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tytalus

                  and yes, you are very invested in suggesting that a read of race and black masculinity in the show is misapplied in this regard. others, and especially on early posts on this subject, which you may find very interesting, have gone beyond the level of reasonable thinking in finding every way possible to defend the obvious racism in how T-Dog was depicted and 2) to deny that race or gender could ever "matter" in TWD.

                  As i said before, check out the link on that newest Trek book and the chapter online about black representation in the series. You will find much to appreciate there--and to provoke and challenge too.

                  •  yeah no (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Front Toward Enemy

                    I said it was misapplied to this episode and these characters.  I did not say it was misapplied to the entire show.

                    So, basically, if we disagree with you, it's not because it's possible you could be wrong, it's because we are very invested in these things even as folks like me say, yeah, sometimes you are right, and sometimes you are wrong. Tdog and Tyreese right.  Morgan and Michionne wrong.

                    That seems like the opposite of investment to me, but heck that's probably just the investment talking.

                    I don't defend the obvious racism in how T-Dog was depicted, or Tyreese for tha tmatter.  I don't deny that race or gender could ever matter in TWD, I've specifically said it does matter...sometimes.

                    So instead of addressing what others have said, and I haven't seen as many uwilling to accept the issues with Tdog and Tyreese as you apparently have, address what I am saying.

                    •  lets try this, you wrote (0+ / 0-)

                      "Tdog and Tyreese right.  Morgan and Michionne wrong."

                      Now, what are some of the unifying themes common to those characters because of their race? Are the "marked" in any way? Do you see them as individual characters or do you see them as individual characters who are all racially marked and in total are reflective of how we read blackness (and race more generally) in the context of the show as a system of meaning?

                      One could do the same with women and gender in the show as well.

                      Your answer will inform how much you are capable, on philosophical/theoretical/empirical grounds of accepting this type of critical reading.

                      •  lol (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        LanceBoyle, Front Toward Enemy

                        gosh I wish we could all be as good at critical thinking as you are.

                        I dont see TDog or Tyreese as individual characters at all.  That's the problem.  They aren't even two-dimensional, they are one-dimensional.  They serve the we have to have a black person here, but we don't know how to write for them and thus we give them little to say.

                        and that lack of dimension almost by definition lends itself to them fitting into a stereotype.  Tdog is the worker, quiet, not too smart, but every once in awhile spins out a common sense aphorism.  He's non-threatening without being at all interesting.  The only time he is interesting is when he goes on a quasi racist rant on the highway.

                        Tyreese is go along to get along, do whatever folks in power say to be safe.  Now that fits some black stereotypes, of course, it also fits the entire town of Woodbury.  Regardless, the archetypes are present there, in large part because again, cardboard.

                        Morgan and Michionne do not fit into the same bubble.  You've attempted to hamjamb them into such a bubble.  But they aren't one dimensional characters, they don't easily fit into a classic stereotype based solely on race, and they present both positive and negative characteristics.  I can't see Tyreese and Tdog as anything other than black characters...I can see Morgan as race neutral and I can see Michionne as race neutral.  

                        But I'm sure since it isn't the way you'd see it, that clearly I'm lacking in my ability to think critically i.e. the way you think.

                        •  michonne isn't a magical negress figure (0+ / 0-)

                          really? is that the claim you want to say. Morgan is physically coded as black he is gendered male. How do you separate him from that context? And in this society?

                          your analogy of "cardboard" is part of the issue. blank slates are rarely that. they lack dimension and in doing so have context placed upon them. thus, the idea of stereotypes in terms of how black characters and other people of color are represented by this and other shows.

                          moreover, someone, in this case a group of white writers (there is one black writer I believe), chose to write the characters this way. that too had meaning and context.

                          T-dogg was not "racist." He is only "racist" when viewed through the white racial frame which considers the reasonable concerns of people of color about our safety and security relative to white folks as "reverse racism." what went down on the highway was the very definition of white colorblind racism and a pattern common to Hollywood films.

                          James Snead's book White Screens, Black Images offers up a handy set of archetypes within which those intentionally 2 dimensional depictions of black characters have fit throughout Hollywood history. It should also be available online.

                          I keep sharing and trying as I think you are close to seeing some of the basic truths here, but for whatever reason are resistant and reluctant. Why is that?

                          Plus, you like DS9 so I can't help but offer up some time and energy to a fellow fan.

                          •  oh god (0+ / 0-)

                            Michionne was black in the book, so she's black in the show.  If she were white in the book she would and could have all of the same characteristics, personality, actions.

                            There is nothing solely black about how she is.  

                            Morgan is also not written in such a way that he has to be black to make sense.  He could be any race and his mannerism, personality, character and actions would be equally understandable.

                            TDogg and Tyreese on the other hand, much less so.

                            I think  you need to learn to read English.  My analogy of "cardboard" specifically, and I mean specifically as in spelled out, said that then allowed those two character to have black stereotypes laid out upon them.  so when you "explain" that to me after I just said the same thing, beyond  making you look amazingly pedantic, it looks like you are one of those folks who don't actually listen to what the other person said but simply are waiting for an open breath to fill in the space with what you think they said, or what you wanted to respond with regardles sof what they said.

                            TDog was racist.  The manner in which he was racist was absolutely in the context of the writers. So no, don't disagree. Not sure why you can't take yes for an answer, but I guess it fits your frame of believing I dont see racism anywhere since I dont see it everywhere.

                            I specifically addressed the highway scene as an example of how he was poorly written. Ya think maybe, just maybe, I understood the reason WHY it was poorly written?

                            I'm not resistant or reluctant to anything, except the fact that you have your own "frames" in which you place things (and people), and your own "resistance" to seeing things outside of those frames.

                          •  what is a "black character" (0+ / 0-)

                            that isn't my claim either. I shared some links and materials that could be of use to you. I really think you would get alot out of Stuart Hall, bell hooks, and other folks who do real work on these issues of race and representation. do seek them out.

    •  You can only say that from your comfortable perch (5+ / 0-)

      of white privilege.  

      Just Kidding, you're 100% correct. The difference between Rick and Morgan is that Rick had a son, daughter, and group of friends to keep him from going completely off the deep end, whereas Morgan was alone with no counterbalance.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:05:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I didn't like this episode. (0+ / 0-)

    Pissed me off that they didn't help the hitchhiker and seemed to show no remorse at all when said hitchhiker ends up dead. They even loot his body. It is hard for me to care about characters who have lost even the vaguest sense of humanity.

    I didn't like the dialogue between Rick and Morgan.  It seemed forced and stilted to me.  I don't remember Morgan, even though I have seen every episode, and it was hard for me to feel connected to him in any way. I also thought the acting in those scenes was not as good as the acting usually is for the series.

    It also pissed me off that Rick and Carl treated Michonne like shit and she wasn't allowed to call them out on it. Instead, she tried to ingratiate herself to them. I'm glad the group will finally start to accept Michonne, but it does feel like she has been held to a different standard than the rest.

    The scene where Michonne goes back in to get the picture was silly to me.  She and Carl had to fight their way out, but Michonne just walks back in and out within a brief time? Poor writing at worst.  Poor editing at best.

    I don't understand why this episode is being so well received, critically.  It is my least favorite episode of the entire series.

    •  please good massa rick and mister carl (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chaddiwicker

      accept me!

    •  You took a seriously long bathroom break. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Front Toward Enemy, terrybuck

      In Episode 1 of the series, Rick leaves the hospital and gets taken in by a black man (Morgan) and his son who inform him of what has transpired while he was in a coma. Re-watch that episode, it is the best of the series. Morgan is a pivotal character,and the only reason Rick lived past his first day out of the hospital.  Actually, his role in Episode 1 punches some serious holes in the premise of this diary about weak and subservient black men.

      I agree on the hitchhiker thing.  I see little difference anymore between Rick and Governor at this point. Rick has become a very unsympathetic character to me. And don't forget, when Morgan (who they didn't recognize at the time) was pointing a gun at them from a roof, they tried to shoot him rather than just leave.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:17:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Regarding the picture (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus, Chaddiwicker

      What was silly was that despite Michonne's obvious high intelligence, she didn't explain the plan to Carl. She emphasized that he should stay there, but didn't tell him that he needed to do so to act as a distracting bait for the zombies inside, keeping their attention riveted to the windows in the doors and away from the picture behind them. Given his earlier disinclination to listen to her, that omission placed more trust in his compliance than I could believe from a survivor like her. I think the viewing audience was supposed to be impressed after the fact with the effortlessness and cleverness of her acquisition of the picture.

      Regarding the hitchhiker, I don't think they had lost all sense of humanity, unless you are using the term as a synonym for civilization. Aside from Merle, the prison group is made up of heroes and anti-heroes and the deliberate indifference of the adults in the car was, I think, intended to show that Rick and Michonne now ration out their empathy very selectively and should be counted in the anti-hero camp, whether they were before or not.  

      I should mention that several of my friends, watching along with me, literally cheered out loud both times the hitchhiker was abandoned. Regardless of what this says about my friends, the writers were not mistaken in thinking that this would appeal to some people.

      Regarding the diarist's contention, I only started watching this season--shortly before the group got to the prison and only because I often spend time on Sundays with friends who watch it--but I think he's right. You could defend any single portrayal of a given black character on the show, but taken as a whole, there has definitely been a pattern.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:33:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My thoughts. (2+ / 0-)

        I'm not willing to put Michonne in the anti-hero category. She showed so much deference to Rick and Carl in this episode, I can envision that she was waiting for some sort of signal from Rick as to what to do. I still would have liked to hear just ONE of them question whether it was the right thing to do to leave the hitchhiker.

        In regards to your friends, the response saddens me and I think it is reflective of the trend in our society to care about others less. Whether it is called humanity or civilization, this lack of EMPATHY for other humans disturbs me. It reminds me of when I go to a movie theater and watch an action movie where people cheer when people are brutally killed. I also think it can be related to the haves vs. have nots battle we see in today's American society. The enemy should be the zombies, not other humans. Yes, there are bad humans, but there are more good than bad.

        It is time for Rick to stand down as the leader.

        •  deference? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LanceBoyle

          She called Rick on seeing things.  She called Rick on his plan to find guns.  She called Rick on his plan to take Morgan back with them.  She called Carl on his plan to do it on his own.

          I didn't see a whole lot of deferrence at all.

          I don't know if it is time for Rick to stand down as leader, but not sure there's anyone in the group necessarily more qualified to lead.

          •  She sat silently... (0+ / 0-)

            ...while both Rick and Carl questioned her character.

            I don't think she "called" Rick on anything. She questioned him, in a deferential manner.

            I like Michonne because of her strength. The only time she showed it this episode was when she told Carl that she wouldn't let him go off on his own.

            •  and if she's been uber aggressive about (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LanceBoyle

              that'd be a racist trope too wouldn't it?

              You say deferential, and I say she was doing it reasonably.

            •  Never satisfied (0+ / 0-)

              Though I've disliked how Michonne has been portrayed up until now, this past episode was exactly how she should go forward, as I would like the show to emulate the comic as much as possible. This episode categorically morphed this character into something new, and I don't see how she was strangely deferential. Her deference was reasonable, in my opinion, in nearly every way. She DID call both Rick and Carl on pretty much every decision she disagreed with. Aside from literally leaving them and walking off on her own, I don't see what else she could have done in the situation. What would you have liked? I'm just curious, because I welcome criticism (especially for this show) but only if it is constructive.

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        You could defend any single portrayal of a given black character on the show, but taken as a whole, there has definitely been a pattern.
        And that pattern is a problem. Not only is it wrong, but it also screws up the show. Every time there is new Black character I expect the current one to die.

        I am also thrilled that the writers let Michone actually TALK!!!!!!! All they let her do was scowl before. I hope the producers or whoever take note of this issue and do something about it.

        And to tell you the truth I am beginning to get sick of Rick.

        ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

        by jennybravo on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:11:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nailed it. (0+ / 0-)

          Your comment caused me to have a mini-epiphany on why the series, in my view, is getting dangerously near jumping the shark.  

          The show has always featured Rick prominently, but with the deaths of Shane and Lori and the conflicts contained in that story line, the show seems to have lost a lot of direction, and made up for it by giving Rick far, far too much narrative to carry.  

          The most dominant theme in the first two seasons was the conflict between Shane's descent into barbarism, and Rick's efforts to resist that descent.  Seems as though Shane was right, thereby giving the lie to all of Rick's moralizing throughout the last two seasons.  

          If the writer's would flesh out some of the newer characters, it might help.  But Rick's endless moralizing at Morgan is contradicted by his actions in abandoning the hitchhiker, and the whole story line with Morgan takes away valuable screen time from Michonne - who, thankfully, did get to speak a few lines, but even there, is stilted and needlessly tight-lipped.  

          Of course, I should probably be thankful that Michonne doesn't get much dialogue, given the lack of quality in much of the dialogue this season.  

          Rick needs to be reminded of Mark Twain's adage:  "It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."  

          We are the first to look up and know, with absolute certainty, that the sword we ourselves have forged, is real.

          by Jbearlaw on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 03:46:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Don't see it that way at all CDV. Seems to me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy, cee4

    Morgan had devised a reasonable approach to living, and this was no worse than Rick's, who as we see is willing to pass someone in danger on the road, with fatal results.  

    And note that Morgan refused to go off with Rick, and called him on the idea that if Rick's supposed prison paradise needs a lot of guns, it can't be such a great place.  He's asserting his independence, and not becoming another sidekick of Rick, which is unfortunate for the viewers I suppose, because he was one of the most popular (but least seen) characters.

    Michonne had a different sort of non-warrior role this time, but you can't say that over the span of the series that she's been anything like the white man's lackey.  

    There was also a writing problem here that the producers had to work around.  My understanding is that the actor playing Morgan, Lennie James, is so busy that although the writers wanted to bring him back earlier, they couldn't because of his schedule.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:18:23 PM PST

    •  michone is a mix of the magical negress and the (4+ / 0-)

      forever marginalized untrustworthy black woman. the way she has been treated by the character is atrocious. i would go so far as to say that the rule of 2 with the black men is now a running joke, and the way that michonne is being treated now trumps that meme.

      watch the episode again and pay attention to how many times she pleads with them to let her "help" them. bizarre given all that she has done so far.

      notice, i didn't say that Morgan wasn't right or interesting as a character. i am more interested in locating him within a broader pattern of how the show--and sci-fi--treats poc and black men in particular.

      •  I'm not reading that much into Michonne (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shippo1776

        She seems so independent to me.  

        I do feel that Tyrese (spelling?) was a bit of a cardboard cut out, and he's gone over to the governor far too easily.

        Plus, racist Merle seems to be reestablishing himself, even with Michonne -- hmmm.

        You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

        by Cartoon Peril on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 01:52:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  a brooding grace jones with a samurai sword (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cartoon Peril, Shippo1776

          who can do nothing to prove her worth.

          the graphic novel is so much better with these issues and others.

          •  A good issue, one of the commenters on Talking (0+ / 0-)

            Dead raised the point, saying "What, has Michonne become a nanny".

            You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

            by Cartoon Peril on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 03:03:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  she just proved her worth (0+ / 0-)

            in this episode.

          •  The comic (0+ / 0-)

            I strongly disagree that the comic has been "so much better" with this issue. Of course the character of Michonne has been butchered by the show, but I don't see how these particular issues are much worse. Michonne has filled most of these same archetypes in the comic, and others that haven't even reared their head in the show (particularly her habit of throwing herself at other black male characters). I agree that the characterization in the comics is far better, but not in reference to the issues you've laid out here, only in general character traits. I'm very, very surprised you like the comic at all, given your arguments against the show.

      •  So you continue to watch this show because...? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Front Toward Enemy

        I've never seen anyone castigate a show that doesn't even have a chance of ever being real instead of enjoying it for what it is.

        Personally I would've thought that your complaint is this 21 century notion of zombies that totally dismisses the vodun notion of the creatures.

      •  Thanks for bringing up (0+ / 0-)

        the "magic Negro." I was playing through Farcry 3 and was stunned at how obvious the trope was in that game. I suppose there's a tiny element of subversion in that the protagonist of Farcry 3 (and all his companions) are singularly unsympathetic upper-class whites.

  •  You know, you really are crazy. (3+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    cee4, Front Toward Enemy, Pierro Sraffa
    Hidden by:
    tytalus

    Your goal of finding a racist under every bed is similar to the Right's paranoia of an ever-present gay agenda.

    Interestingly, in one of your previous diaries I brought up Morgan's role in Season 1 as an example of a strong, dominant black character. Of course you dismissed my assertion immediately since he was a "minor" character. But now that he fits your narrative he has suddenly become so important.  Funny how that works.  The "facts" always somehow fit the preconceived narrative.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:02:04 PM PST

  •  Oh, for what it's worth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley

    I hope that you are, at the very least, collecting all this knowledge and distilling down for publication as a dissertation or work of media criticism. Of course no one's going to agree with all the assertions made here- but the line of argumentation made by the poster seems absolutely worthy of discussion.

  •  This diary is just ridiculous and hyperbolic. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy, Inland

    Evidently the author watched the episode with the sound off or not at all.

    Rick almost completely lost his shit when his wife died, so yes white people go crazy too. Seconly Morgans circumstances are completely different. He had to not only kill his own wife he had to kill his son after his wife attacke him and since that time he has been on his own trying to survive in a town where he has to see people he knows be put down for being zombies.

    Crap like this is why republicans say racism no longer exists and black people just pull out the race card whenever they feel like they are losing.

    Please Delete.

    "Jesus Christ was black, ronald reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9/11." Huey Freeman

    by cee4 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:15:11 PM PST

  •  Thanks, chauncey, for making me think (0+ / 0-)

    about the flaws in a show I otherwise like. Although I differ somewhat about Rick bending and not breaking, it seems like you have to gloss over why he drove off Tyrese to do that. It's a shame that they feel the need to do things like this to enhance its mass market appeal.

    We demanded a plan to reduce gun violence. Now it's time to demand a vote.

    by tytalus on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:30:18 PM PST

  •  Your examples on Star Trek fail. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cee4
    In classic Trek, Dr. Daystrum, the creator of the M5 computer has a mental breakdown and is sent to an insane asylum. Tuvok, the half-human half-Vulcan on Voyager, falls deep into a state of psychosis. Captain Sisko on Deep Space Nine is literally taken out of his body by a spiritual connection with an alien race, has visions, and is actually committed to a mental hospital when his consciousness travels to Harlem, New York in an alternate reality.
    Daystrum's character was a supergenius who sought to elevate logic over emotion and humanity, which the original series placed at the center of every show.   There's no question that the creator of the M5 was going to lose and lose big: the fact that the supergenius was black was only to the credit of the show.

    Tuvok isn't a black character at all.  He is a black actor playing a Vulcan, which is only to the credit of the show.  And the Vulcan played by the white actor went batshit because he was super horny.  Not exactly conforming to racist stereotyping.

    Sisko's role on DS9 was as unflappable commander veering off LITERALLY into messianic roles.  You can portray me as that any day you like and I won't mind.
     

    That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

    by Inland on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 02:50:11 PM PST

    •  oh stop (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mungley, Chaddiwicker

      tuvok is a black vulcan. Daystrum is a black man who goes crazy. sisko is committed...and i love sisko by the way.

      worf played by a black actor is coded as the tragic mulatto and "other" outsider.

      there is a new book that is coming out with a chapter on this problematic in Trek. there are also some very good books already out that deal with issues of sexuality, gender, and race in Trek. I am not the first person to make the observation.

      •  come on man (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mythatsme

        1. Sisko was committed in one episode.  An episode that Avery himself had a hand in and pushed for and was very happy about because it talked about the racial issues for black writers during that time.  Otherwise, Sisko was at least as stable as Picard and WAY more stable than Janeway or Kirk.  Kirk went crazy every other episode.  Janeway was all over the place.  Sisko had one, one-off episode, otherwise, other than Avery's tendency to sometimes overact, he was about as stable a character as we've seen in ST.

        2. Yes, Tuvok had a breakdown on Voyager.  So did B'Ellana.  So did Neelix.  So did Janeway.  So did Seven of Nine...a lot.  So did Seska.  So did Kim.  In fact, I'm hard pressed to think of a character who didn't have a breakdown on that show.  Even the holographic Dr. did.

        3.  I will concede that Worf clearly works both as a symbol for a biracial AA/White person, and his having a foot in both camps of Klingons and the Federation.  Of course, that's a pretty common trope is it not? Having loyalties and ties to two disparate groups, and not knowing where you belong? He most certainly ENDS his run fully accepted by BOTH groups.  So even if he fits into the mulatto trope, there is nothing tragic about it at the end, and he isn't an outsider at the end.  He briefly ends up the leader of the Klingons, and then later is XO to Picard (in the books).  Nothing really outside or tragic about either.

        4.  Daystrom was not the best portrayal of an AA character of course we are talking 1968?  So given the time frame, the fact that he is a computer genius is somewhat of an unexpected bonus.  Dr. King convinced Nichols to stay on, and her role was about as useless in substance as existed on that ship.  You and I and others of course know why he did that.

        I am sure there are valid critiques to be made, but I think identifying every single AA actor as fitting into a trope is a bit too far afield.

      •  Tuvok is not a "black Vulcan". (0+ / 0-)

        It's really bizarre to treat the placement of a black actor in a role where the character goes insane in one episode as a symptom of racism. insanity was so common in medieval hero tales that Cervantes lampooned it.  We already had Spock go homicidal. What's left?

        That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

        by Inland on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:06:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  the vulcans come in different races (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ancblu

          plus, you are conflating the imaginary's view of "race" with how contemporary audiences understand race and representation. would Tuvok is a black vulcan played by a black actor be more comforting to you.

          Arguing that point is really is a distraction.

          Again, doing this type of reading and semiotic work involve looking for patters and repeated themes. Blackness and masculinity are closely "coded" in star trek with instability. As I said, there is a whole bunch of stuff out there on the racial, gender, and sexual politics of trek. You may be surprised.

          •  You can't find "repeated themes" (0+ / 0-)

            with examples that don't hold water.

            Nor can we assume that Tuvok is
            represents a view of a black man by assuming he's supposed to represent a a view of a black man.  That's just bootstrapping.

            Frankly, the idea that a logic driven, emotionless humanoid is supposed to be coded with instability is a little bizarre.  

            That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

            by Inland on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:50:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  i can't help you read a text if you are not able (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tytalus

              or willing to think systematically about it and its relationship to genre and bigger issues.

              reposting...do check out the google books chapter. maybe another voice will give you insight into the nature of this type textual analysis.

              i am all for corrections on my specific claim if the text, theory, and social context is not present, misread, or not applied correctly.

              but the idea that this is all some type of fantasy just does not hold up to rigor:

              ds9 is my favorite of the series.

              context matters. in the 1960s black men were much more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than whites or others. in fact, civil rights workers and others were given this diagnosis so that they could be locked away. by most estimates, the racialization of mental health diagnosis and treatment continues to the present.

              here is a helpful link on "the protest psychosis" that you could learn a bit from:

              http://www.psychologytoday.com/....

              bennie sisko is still an actor played by avery books aka ben sisko. these questions of representation are still operative there in the text of the "alternate reality."

              here is a link to one of the more recent books--

              Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television...as i said these ideas are hardly novel, and are pretty established in that growing critical literature:

              http://books.google.com/....

              we can agree to disagree on substantive grounds if you like. but i think you are missing the bigger cultural context within which these texts exist and how they reproduce certain long standing understandings of race and gender. i also think you would enjoy and find much to agree and disagree with as written by folks who write about issues of race, representation, and speculative literature.

        •  no he is a black Vulcan (0+ / 0-)

          it's well established that Vulcans have racial differences just like humans.  That is somewhat surprising since given the environment quite frankly they should all be dark-skinned.

          I concur that one episode of crazy does not a trope make.

          PARTICULARLY not on Voyager, where someone goes crazy was a go-to move and about the only biological character who doesn't have some sort of mental break or breakdown are the computer gel packs.

  •  good to see that thoughtful cultural criticism (0+ / 0-)

    (or semiotics or whatever term this type of analysis is going by) can still get under people's skin. (inadvertent pun). Such a boring show, though.

  •  I thought Rick WAS going crazy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cee4, mythatsme, Front Toward Enemy

    He's seeing things and hearing voices. Sounds crazy to me.

    There are 3 other black characters on the show who have not gone crazy. And an Korean.

    What I would like to know is, haven't any people of hispanic descent survived the Zombie apocalypse in Georgia?

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 03:29:45 PM PST

  •  Regarding Michonne (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cee4, Front Toward Enemy

    I guess all the evil white people mistrusting Saint Michonne has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she kept two walkers/biters (sans arms and lower jaws)  leashed while using them as pack-mules?

    Nah, it's gotta be the racial thing.

    Again, it's ridiculous diaries like this which allow people who would otherwise care about REAL instances of racism to ignore your wailing and gnashing-of-teeth.

  •  It's a show centered around Zombies...lol! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cee4, Front Toward Enemy

    It is a show with an absurd premise and trying to deconstruct it so as to demonstrate that it is a vehicle for racial oppression is equally absurd.

    You can do much better than this diary.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 03:59:55 PM PST

    •  the zombie genre is one of the most transparently (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mungley, Chaddiwicker, mythatsme

      socio-political of speculative fiction. do some more work and you may be pleasantly surprised that texts and stories are far richer than you given them credit for. dig deeper.

      •  science fiction in general (0+ / 0-)

        is deeper than folks want to give credit for, and any issue can be addressed within it.  That's why I like it so much.

        Of course, sometimes those kind of stories are deep and subtextual, and sometimes, they aren't.

        Starship Troopers is pure camp.  Intentionally so.  Sure, it speaks a little to fascism, and I suppose it has a small nod to gender in the way they attempt to portray a future without regard to gender (unisex military).  But mostly, it's a silly popcorn movie.

        Same with Independence Day.  That character was written for Will Smith because at that moment, he was probably the apex action/sci-fi star after MIB.  I strongly suspect the writer didn't think about tropes or stereotypes, he thought about Will.  Now I suppose if you believe Smith was guilty of perpetuating black stereotypes then that's a problem, but that's more of a problem for Will then the guy writing his character.

        ST and TWD (like BSG) are clearly a different vein.  They intend to be serious.  And they intend to have depth, and to discuss serious and controversial things like race, gender, homosexuality, abortion, religion, suicide bombing, etc.

        So it's a mixed bag.  But it's also a mixed bag on stereotypes.  It may be largely present, but no it is not omnipresent.

        •  independence day is very political (0+ / 0-)

          consider the plot as exercise in american exceptionalism and and empty triumphalism. will smith has made a career of playing a range of "noble negro" and "magical negro" characters. it is no coincidence that in ID4 it is an interracial group of mismatched of mismatched buddies who destroy the alien ship.

          see the collection Homer Simpson Marches on Washington which I believe has an essay on ID4 and pulls out those themes and also the book Screen Saviors for a great treatment of the various tropes around hollywood whiteness and the interracial buddy film genre in particular.

      •  So do you count the number of minority zombies? (0+ / 0-)

        I appreciate what you are suggesting, but sometimes there's no there, there.

        I think we would be served if you wrote a diary where you construct what TWD should look like in order to pass muster with you. Failing to add this constructive element makes it easier to question whether you are on point or just making stuff up.

        I hope you will treat us to such a diary.

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 07:55:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Michonne is my favorite character (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cee4, mythatsme, Front Toward Enemy

    I am a white female.  I think she is the strongest person on the show .  She has no fear.  She could have not helped Karl but she chose to because she knew he was a child and needed her help.  I think her character will develop in the following seasons and we will learn more about her.  She has been a mystery.   I think Morgan is a brave man to stay alone and very creative with the traps around him.  Why don't those people at the prison build some of those?  I agree racism has not been conquered but I don't see it in this show.

  •  dont agree on much of this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mythatsme, Front Toward Enemy

    I wrote a long detailed response but the internet ate it.

    So in shortened form:

    1. Michionne.  She isn't trusted because up until now she's done nothing for the good of the group that didn't also serve her own ends. Your statement that had the best of intentions and whatnot just isn't true so far.  This episode is where she does something solely in betterment of someone else with no ulterior goal in mind, and this is when she wins the favor of Rick and Carl.  Carl and Rick specifically presage this in the scene where the car gets stuck.

    2. Michionne is one of the few characters so far who both question and stand up to Rick, unabashedly so.  She's no lackey or protector of white folk.  She is messed up, just like everyone else.

    3.  Morgan lost everyone, his son was eaten by his wife.  That's a whole nother level of lost and crazy from just losing your wife.  So it's not surprising that Morgan is "more" crazy than Rick.  Again, this is directly reflected in Morgan's statements to Rick.  IF Rick lost Carl, I think he'd be as crazy as morgan.

    4.  I do concur that TDog (the name alone...) and Tyreese are one-dimensional, cardboard, stereotypical AA characters/archetypes.  I also concur the show has a real problem with only having one AA character of any prominence at a time.

    5.  Sisko I couldn't disagree more.  First, Far Beyond the Stars was Avery Brooks' idea.  It wasn't to make Sisko crazy.  Sisko and the prophets never involved any issue with Sisko's sanity.  He isn't the only one to receive visions from them, Kira does, others do.  Kai Winn receives them from the Pagh Wraith, as does Dukat.  Everyone on that show is receiving visions.  Ben Sisko is one of the greatest AA characters in all of sci-fi if not one of the top ones in television.  He clearly has the best combination of qualities of Picard and Kirk rolled into one.  I don't think Avery would have settled for anything remotely cardboard or stereotypical.  

    So while I agree that some of the characters on the WD are stereotypical, and the show has a problem with having more than one AA character of prominence at a time.  I think your critique of this episode (and of Sisko) is way off.

    •  never said sisko was "stereotypical" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chaddiwicker, tytalus

      he falls into a long pattern where black men in sci fi are depicted as "crazy." i love the character. far beyond the stars is one of the greatest eps in all of TV history. but yes, he is committed and is the only person on DS9 to have this happen.

      Michonne has been nothing but generous and helpful to the group. Heck, she showed up with food and supplies. Your point on her challenging Rick also plays into the various readings of the show as a meditation on white male masculinity (and insecurity) quite well by the way.

      I am not questioning if the circumstances or Morgan's experiences could lead to a cognitive break. I am locating them within 1) a show that has some real issues with black characters and 2) a genre where that trope repeats itself and 3) a society where black men and women have historically been disproportionately diagnosed as "schizophrenic."

      •  one episode out of seven years (0+ / 0-)

        come on man, that is not a pattern at all.

        You are extremely reaching on this one. HE isn't actually committed, he has a vision.  Ben Sisko was never committed, in the vision, Benny Sisko is committed.

        So Dukat doesn't go batcrap crazy after his daughter is shot by Damar? Waltz is the episode that has him talking to visions of folks.  Great ep by the way. Kai Winn doesn't? O'Brien doesn't have a mental breakdown after he gets tortured by the Orion Syndicate? I mean those are just the examples off the top of my head of DS9 characters going crazy for a brief period.

        You may know Sisko, but you clearly don't know DS9 all that well, or you are making very arbitrary distinctions.

        Michionne nothing but generous? Come on man.  She left the group hanging after the assault.  She clearly up to this point has only been part of the group to forward her own goals.  So what would she have to do to not be a stereotype? If she doesn't stand up she's subservient to a white man, if she does stand up well apparently that's no good either.  If she's "badass" she's a magical negress.  If she's helpless then I suppose that's a stereotype too?

        Come on.

        I'm fairly familiar with schizophrenia, and I am fairly certain that AA are not disproportionately given that diagnosis, in fact, it's the opposite, as I learned in trying to keep my AA accused, who was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia by the defense doc, from getting the death penalty.

        I have no problem agreeing with the fact that this show has a problem with how they portray black male characters.  They can only have one at a time, they can't be all that important of a character, and their dialogue is limited.  I don't know if that's a function of the characters use in the comic books limiting how they use them in the show, or an inability of the writers to properly use them.

        However THIS episode was the first written by the new show runner.  That alone should make one step back and say, let's look at this fresh.  And with fresh eyes I see an episode that has very little of the issues you cite.

        •  i know my trek very well thank you (0+ / 0-)

          and have written a good deal about it.

          ds9 is my favorite of the series.

          context matters. in the 1960s black men were much more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than whites or others. in fact, civil rights workers and others were given this diagnosis so that they could be locked away. by most estimates, the racialization of mental health diagnosis and treatment continues to the present.

          here is a helpful link on "the protest psychosis" that you could learn a bit from:

          http://www.psychologytoday.com/...

          bennie sisko is still an actor played by avery books aka ben sisko. these questions of representation are still operative there in the text of the "alternate reality."

          here is a link to one of the more recent books--

          Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television...as i said these ideas are hardly novel, and are pretty established in that growing critical literature:

          http://books.google.com/...

          we can agree to disagree on substantive grounds if you like. but i think you are missing the bigger cultural context within which these texts exist and how they reproduce certain long standing understandings of race and gender. i also think you would enjoy and find much to agree and disagree with as written by folks who write about issues of race, representation, and speculative literature.

          •  I'm not missing anything (0+ / 0-)

            your argument appears to be boiled down to, society has these issues with race, therefore all portrayals of people of color must be inherently flawed.

            If you are so familiar with DS9 you wouldn't have made the claim that no other character loses their stuff on that show.  If the only distinction you are making is the technicality of committment, that's just silly.  If your point is about folks goin crazy, and it seems to be, then you are just plain wrong about sisko on DS9.

            You are really wrong about Tuvok.  Like I said, every damn character on that show has at least one, if not more, mental breakdowns.

            That episode was set in the 60s because that is the apex of the civil rights era in this country.  It was not set in that era because the writers somehow subconsciously knew about increased schizophrenia diagnoses among AAs during that time.

            You seem to be for the proposition that no AA characters can ever go crazy.  Not even once.  Not even if it's not really real but just a vision.  Or else it's a pattern.

            I gotta tell you, it's getting to the Boomerang example a little bit about the pool table and white ball having the goal of hitting the black ball to win.

            I'm sure there actually ARE examples in ST of racial tropes, and I've concurred there are definitely examples of said in TWD.  I just don't see it everywhere.

            •  you are really really oversimplifying (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tytalus

              what I wrote. Sisko is the only character committed. I didn't say he wasn't the only character to lose it--see O'brien when he came back from the prison.

              "your argument appears to be boiled down to, society has these issues with race, therefore all portrayals of people of color must be inherently flawed."

              I never said flawed. I said a racist society tends to reproduce and legitimate itself through cultural symbols, tropes, narratives and the like that do that social and political work. To think the opposite is really engaging in fantasy that does not pass any critical--or commonsense--muster.

              Again, read some of the links I shared, you may be pleasantly surprised. You were incorrect about schizophrenia. You may find yourself enlightened on other matters too.

              "I gotta tell you, it's getting to the Boomerang example a little bit about the pool table and white ball having the goal of hitting the black ball to win."

              That is a typical deflection of those overly identified with whiteness and the white racial frame where those who are involved in race critical political and intellectual work are de facto branded as "kooks" or conspiracy types.

              There is a whole literature and body of knowledge out there on race and representation which complements and buttresses my claims. Much of it written by white people so you know it must be true.

              Start with some Stuart Hall--some of his basic lectures from the UK are on Youtube and proceed from there.

              •  lol (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Front Toward Enemy

                So now im overidentified with whiteness? I think its great you've taken psych 101 but I would not put down a down payment on a psychoanalysis couch just yet. You cant take any constructive criticism it must be either that we need more learnin like you or that we are suffering from some issue with.whiteness or we are.calling you a kook even as youve repeatedly now said silly things about me while all I've said about you is...you are wrong about two episodes.

                I think perhaps you'd have a little more credibility if you just pretended there was the slightest possibility that you are wrong. Im not holding my breath as youve clearly got it all figured out.

                •  you wrote the following (0+ / 0-)

                  ""I gotta tell you, it's getting to the Boomerang example a little bit about the pool table and white ball having the goal of hitting the black ball to win.""

                  I called you on it. No biggie. Just is. What you offered is a common deflection matters of race are discussed in ways that make folks uncomfortable. It ain't nothing new.

                  "You cant take any constructive criticism it must be either that we need more learnin like you or that we are suffering from some issue with.whiteness or we are."

                  No. My point is that there is a whole lot of work going on which informs these types of analyses. I am wrong all the time. I am right often too...when I am lucky. But, if someone is unwilling to do the theoretical work, or grant its context--but still wants to stand like a rock about their claims--then yes, they are playing out of their depth.

            •  and (0+ / 0-)

              again, this is just a very simplistic and incorrect reading of the material:

              "That episode was set in the 60s because that is the apex of the civil rights era in this country.  It was not set in that era because the writers somehow subconsciously knew about increased schizophrenia diagnoses among AAs during that time."

              who said such a thing? my claim was that black folks tend to be over diagnosed with that disorder and its does political and social work. this is the social context in which these claims about black masculinity and mental health in sci fi are drawn.

              nuance is important here. i am not interested in the "intentions" of those who create a text. i could care less "they the mean." i am more focused on the symbolic cultural and political work that these texts do in terms of reproducing race and racial ideologies.

      •  This just shows the problem in your method: (0+ / 0-)

        You can't take out one of the many, many episodes of DS9, the only one where Cisco goes "crazy", and ignore all the others where he is anything but, and then claim that one episode of representative of this character and show. This is just wrong.

        "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

        by mythatsme on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:52:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  see above comment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tytalus

          again, i never said that he was the only character to go "crazy." and we can work through this, but he like many other black characters on Trek--major and minor--are marked...racially, gender wise etc. and one of the patterns in keeping with scifi--and a broader social context--as that black men are depicted as unstable or damaged in one way or another.

          •  But look: (0+ / 0-)

            Cisco appears "crazy" in one episode, quite stable etc. in dozens, maybe hundreds, of others. I think this represents him, over the course of the show, as a very stable character.

            He is as stable or unstable as any other DS9 charakter. You can't really demand to have black characters to be more stable on general and in each specific case than the average character in a given media.

            I do realize that black characters are often, and often unnecessarily (plot-wise) so, attributed with negative stereotypes and characteristics. But what would the position you argue for demand? Other than treating them as everybody else?

            "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

            by mythatsme on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 06:08:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  his position seems to be that (0+ / 0-)

              it's impossible to portray AAs without there being racial tropes because, ya know, racism.

              Too competent? Racial trope.  Not competent enough? Racial trope.  Mid-level competent? Racial trope.  Too gregarious? Racial trope.  Too surly? Racial trope.  Nondescript/Mellow? Racial trope.

              I mean he finds racial tropes in the character of Sisko, possibly the best scifi characterization of an AA I can think of.  Maybe Fishburne's character in Event Horizon comes close.  I actually thought LeForge as an AA who is the clear brains of the operation was groundbreaking, but all he can focus on is that he has trouble with the ladies so, you guessed it, racial trope.

              So basically, if an AA character has any character flaws..or isn't the leader...then racial trope.  

              This does not deny that there aren't VOLUMINOUS examples of racial/sexist/homophobic tropes in TV, Movies, music, news, commercials, print, and ads.  This does not even deny that in the same shows where there are characters who aren't tropes of some sort, there are other characters who are.

              One can see some of it in Worf, or the fact that the first gay kiss had to be a lesbian kiss, or that the first interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura had to be because of mind control, or the role of Morpheus, and the list goes on and on.

              But this guy sees it everywhere.

              •  this guy sees it everywhere... (0+ / 0-)

                we be crazy over here with our racisms fixations!

                be serious. if you would like to argue against the sum total of social reality and how culture reproduces and reinforces those norms then so be it.

                •  you clearly do see it everywhere (0+ / 0-)

                  and that aint "being serious."

                  Like I said, you are clearly self-satisfied that you've got it all down, which informs why you are so annoying pedantic.

                  Why don't you take a break from "teaching" folks, and take a moment to see if perhaps there's something else left for you to learn.

                  But since that request will fall on deaf ears, I'm done beating my head against the brick wall that is you.

                  •  racism and sexism are in fact (0+ / 0-)

                    everywhere in this society. you can choose to acknowledge that fact or not. up to you. as i said, i took the time to share some materials that could be of use and help to you. your call if you want to follow through.

          •  so this all boils down to (0+ / 0-)

            not that he was crazy but that he was committed correct?

            First, that's a ridiculously absurd line to draw.

            Second, Dukat went crazy and was being transported to basically being committed when the Jem'Hadar attacked the transport and stranded him and Sisko on the planet.

            So even if that ridiculous line makes sense, there's another example.

            But let's address this another way.  Let's say there was a historical pattern of always dressing Asian people in yellow shirts.  

            Now let's say a ST series comes along where there is an Asian Captain.  And he goes on for seven years, and never wears a yellow shirt, not once.  But in a single episode, which is TRYING to make a point about racism and stereotypes, he wears a yellow shirt, as a character in a vision, set during a highly racial time.

            Your line of thought would be, see, fits the pattern.  Which is ridiculous. The fact that black men are depicted as damaged or unstable does not mean that if you ever show a black man having a momentary breakdown, over the course of an otherwise HIGHLY competent (like literally saving the galaxy if not universe as a demigod kinda competent...like singlehandedly saving the Alpha Quadrant more or less from the Dominion kinda competent) seven year run, that it "fits a pattern."

            Heck, if you WANT to dig for something racial tied into Sisko, then why not go for the easy one, which is that he spent the first three seasons as a Commander and didn't start as a Captain.  Heck, you could even point out the fact that he has that initial interaction with Picard which could easily pull out racial tropes.

            There is at least a kernel of reasonableness with those examples.

            •  again, I gave you some other materials to (0+ / 0-)

              check out so that you can avoid the strawman reductionism you are deploying here. this is not a math problem where you stack up chips on one side and then the other and get a total where if one side is higher "racism" is present, if it is lower, racism is not present in the claim.

              the story is much more nuanced than that.

  •  "Walking Dead" is a soap opera... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    too many people

    ...with zombies. The original comic was clumsily illustrated and the show seems to feature pretty wooden acting, with lines delivered via some of the lamest Southern accents I've heard since Nick Cage in "ConAir." It's not even one of the best programs on AMC, the network that features "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad."

  •  Come on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrybuck, Front Toward Enemy

    All this time I thought I was just loving the show.  Just a quick reminder of crazy and weak - Rick yells publicly at apparitions and has no idea he's doing it and numerous characters over the seasons have "broken" due to horrific circumstances.  Most of them are dead.

    I disagree with your perceptions. Michonne is a strong, self-sufficient, intelligent and fully stable character.  Morgan, as I see it, was portrayed as a man who had too much love to finish his wife and blames himself for the loss of his son at her hand in full view.  He's completely alone.

    Do you have any complaints about the fact that virtually all of the unnecessary violence, selfishness, betrayal, treachery, evil and stupidity is committed by white men and women?  Does that comport with the necessary narrative?

    Lighten up a little.  

    •  clarify (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tytalus

      "Lighten up a little."

      Do you mean stop thinking. Then no. Can't do that.

      •  think all you want (0+ / 0-)

        You seem to be aggrieved by very little.  So don't lighten up.  Think all you want.  I never suggest otherwise. Whether you think your energy is best spent attempting to convince others of the inherent racism winding throughout "The Walking Dead" is your business.  I just replied to what I thought was somewhat overdone.  Pardon me for thinking.

        You responded to what you perceived as a suggestion to stop thinking. There was one question that went unanswered  by you in my reply and I'd be interested to know your thoughts.

  •  I have stopped watching it, I think. Rick's mental (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrybuck

    state is boring and there's too much blood. And after reading your comments, chauncy, I'm not sure I'll return.

    I rather think if we had a global crisis, more folks would cooperate than not. And since the President was re-elected by over 51.6% I'd say most folks would agree to work to cooperate with a leader regardless of race.

    IMHO.

  •  If this series is racist and/or racially offensive (0+ / 0-)

    why does Quentin Tarantino get a pass??

    (Because he finds black women...or at least one body part....sexually attractive?  This part in parens is facetious, of course).

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:42:36 AM PST

  •  Seriously?! (0+ / 0-)

    I wish people cared as much about the Supreme Court trying to overturn the Voting Rights Act, Congress' attempts to deny women's rights, and Congress' desire to gut every social system in this country - as much as they seem to care about the realism and racism problems in The Walking Dead. It's a TV show. About the Zombie Apocalypse. Based on a comic book. Written by a white guy. Set in the South (hardly a non-racist setting). Seriously people. We need to get to a grip on reality.

    I watch the show, I like the show, and I don't see the characters as you do. I see both Morgan and Michonne as two of the strongest characters - both having survived on their own for long periods of time.

    And the show is set in the rural south.  I actually think it could be a lot more racist - and that would be a lot more reflective of reality. America is rife with racism and it is ugly and pervasive.

    We should all really be focusing on REAL PROBLEMS in our society.  TV shows are not real and are the least of our freaking problems.  

  •  Agree but hold on a minute... (0+ / 0-)

    While I agree with, and have been repeating since early in the show, your basic opinions about how the show generally handles black characters, I do think that perhaps you've gone a bit too far into the realm of unreasonability. First off, I'd like to state that most of the problems you outline here are also present in the comic, but unless I am mistaken, you seem to be a big fan of that version of the story. I don't see how the comic doesn't perpetuate many of the same tropes you discuss here. Additionally, while I've hated the approach towards Michonne until now, I don't see where her character can go from here that will satify you. Michonne's comic counterpart fits all the stereotypes you laid out, so she has no reference point that is acceptable. This is what I feel is the problem with your analysis; that it has no reasonable alternative. The main character of the show is a white man, and his white son is a major focus. Rather than a racial heirarchy at play, I see "Serial Writing 101," where certain characters are "special." It seems you  haven't accepted the basic premise that these two characters happen to be white. Now, if you think that there arent enough black main characters in serial fiction, then that's another argument. But unless you wanted the show to take Comic Rick and make him black for the show, I think you'll always have a problem with any direction the show takes.  I will say that what they have done with Tyreese's character, replacing him with a white character in Daryl, is inexcusable.  Though I think Daryl is a great addition, there's no reason for that not to be Tyreese, other than the disregard of black viewership in favor of a southern white audience. This is related to that abomination of a character that was T-Dawg, who was too misguided to even discuss here, and the killing of Oscar The Expendable. However, this analysis makes me feel as though there is a set list of attributes and actions that a black character on a show is "allowed" to have or do, set by you; if those are violated, then the work is clearly a direct extension of collective societal views on race (nearly always in a negative connotation). There is so much room to honestly discuss the problems with black characters in fiction today without overanalyzing everything to the point where the discussion loses meaning.

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