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The Importance of Minorities: It’s In the Name

As minorities are human beings, believe it or not, then should we not respect human beings as you respect 'majorities'—also human beings?

MinorMn

They’re a minority for a reason.

This is a phrase I’ve heard time and time again, flung between fandoms and Twitter handles and Tumblr users in disdain; it’s a phrase that has sickened hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people (yes, there are people behind these computer screens) which makes me believe that this isn’t a game of Chinese Whispers. Somebody had the idiocy to utter those words. At first, I was cynical somebody could even say something as audacious and inconsiderate as that. Surely even if there is a bit of a problem with the ‘human decency’ side of someone’s brain, a phrase as offensive and ignorant as that cannot pass from brain to mouth. And yet it has, because the exact phrase has been uttered over and over, with understandably disgusted and appalled reactions to the phrase—for good reason!

I’m a minority. I am a minority in more than one sense, and I like to think that I matter to people in some way or another. Talking in terms of media, I am still a minority. My ethnicity is hugely underrepresented, as is my sexuality—and when ‘represented’, it’s often badly so or used for comic relief. What I think people have misconstrued, lately, is that minority does not equal LGBTQ. Minorities include men and women of color (that’s not just black men and women, but Hispanic, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian…the list is endless), individuals with disabilities (mental and physical disorders), individuals with varying religious beliefs, and individuals who do not fit the Hollywood frame of skinny, long-legged and blonde.

You may ask: why do you care about minorities so much? They’re called ‘minorities’ because they’re in the minority, so why are people making such a huge fuss about them?

Commander Lexa--arguably the spark of this revolt. A great character cheated out of a great exit, and minorities finally decided: "I've had enough."
Commander Lexa–arguably the spark of this revolt. A great character cheated out of a great exit, and minorities finally decided: “I’ve had enough.”

I may retort, slightly bitterly, that there are nearly seven billion people in this world. A minority does not mean a group of ten gay people, or a meeting of six chronic pain sufferers in wheelchairs. Minorities may be the collective umbrella term, but minorities can manifest in numbers up to thousands, or hundreds of thousands—and still be in the minority. Minorities can be supported by those who aren’t, those who have the heart to consider them, those who understand what good representation is on media—and I guess that’s why this is so important to me, as a minority myself.

I confess, whilst television is not in a vacuum anymore, I do still watch television with a level of detachment. I very rarely get too attached to a character, and thus when representation dies—I’m upset, but I get over it pretty quickly. But that’s just me. I will take the cases I know most about, and the show that has kicked up the most controversy (though I endeavor not to ignore the recent ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries’ disasters): The 100.

In three episodes (do I count episode eight as an episode?), The 100, in its unfortunate shock-value way (i.e. shock value for the sake of shock value to a point where it is really, really, really, really not shocking anymore) committed child slaughter (whilst they were sleeping. It appears cowardly genocidal tyrants like killing masses of people in their sleep on this show), killed a lesbian in a frame-for-frame comparison to Willow and Tara from Buffy (though I confess Mr. Whedon is a good writer) and also executed from point-blank range, a peace-seeking, loving, innocent black man, Lincoln, in one of the most graphic scenes I’ve ever seen on any channel. It took the phrase ‘torture porn’ to the next level—because that’s all it was, and it was disgusting.

Not that I want to see massacres of sleeping innocents on my television (or really this show at all, but gif-makers—you’re quick!) but I find it worrying how this season things took a heavy, racial, minority-aimed step into the dark abyss of no-hope. In episode five, the massacre of the three hundred Grounders wasn’t shown; in the recent episode, Ontari was not shown killing the Nightbloods (alright, I don’t want to see those innocent kids die—and I guess it was for ‘shock value’ because nobody guessed Ontari would kill those Nightbloods, right?). The Hakeldama one is most prominent in my mind. Led primarily by Pike and his gullible sidekick Bellamy, they mass-murdered three-hundred innocents. Only the aftermath—the field of the dead, very brief flashes of about two bodies, and a slow-motion entrance into Arkadia for the genocidal monsters was shown. I don’t know what this show implicates, in writing a scene that way—the same as when they shot Lexa straight after she’d consummated her relationship with Clarke. Maybe they didn’t want viewers seeing fan-favorites do an awful (that’s too kind—this is genocide—crimes that dictators and terrorists commit) thing, so it’s a little easier on the redemption arc when the tears and manpain starts.

It’s not enough. What happened on that field is by every single definition a war-crime and whether you like it or not, one of the war-criminals was Bellamy Blake, shooting to death sleeping Grounders with his rifle. The 100 won’t put Bellamy Blake through the Nuremberg trials. That’s a little too harsh—I mean, the genocide-committer’s a good boy at heart, isn’t he? It shames me to say this because I enjoyed his character up until this season, where his character’s 360 was the weakest, his ‘redemption arc’ nonsensically atrocious, his story-lines horrific and bland—and it hurts, because I did like Bellamy. But when every—single—critic absolutely loathes that story and thus him now; when even the esteemed Ms. Mo Ryan says on the Televerse podcast she can’t even face him as a character—you know you’ve assassinated that character. I’ll never truly understand the appeal of a ‘bad boy’ versus, you know, a decent and peace-seeking man but Bellamy’s not a ‘bad boy’. He is an irredeemable war-criminal with innocent Grounder blood on his hands—perhaps he’s too far gone, now, and any attempt to bring him back will just be laughable. Every single critic I’ve seen has ridiculed a potential redemption arc for this—this isn’t slapping someone in the face. This is genocide. I can’t emphasize that enough because I need to put real weight behind that word. Even when Clarke visited, Bellamy—a grown man—shouted and reminded an eighteen year old girl of everything she’d done, put all the blame on her because his poor twenty-three year old heart couldn’t handle it. A grown man reduced a teenager to tears, and then handcuffed her to be taken to Pike. There’s a worrying trend or I guess double-standard of audiences enjoying ‘bad boys’ suddenly doing one good thing and thus becoming amazing, whereas the badass Clarke—if she’s not physically fighting, but rather politically and cleverly fighting, i.e. using her brain—is seen as either useless for her political scheming in Polis or boring. Either way, it’s gone too far. When that decision is made, and the war-like (ethnic cleansing) execution of the black man is the source of such torture porn (who cares, right? But you can’t watch a white boy* commit genocide because we need to redeem him later) then it’s too far. When suicide hotlines need to be posted, it’s too far. When Lincoln’s only real screen-time this season involved a little with Octavia, then mostly inside a prison cell, and then getting executed—the implications are clear, and it’s—too—far.

Lincoln's had more screen-time as the show's shirtless torture-toy than he has a character, beside his romance with Octavia, at the hands of colonialist Arkers.
Lincoln’s had more screen-time as the show’s shirtless torture-toy than he has a character, beside his romance with Octavia, at the hands of colonialist Arkers.

This is my first article in which I will say that this next paragraph may trigger some of you (I apologize—and I also understand if you skip to the next paragraph or this article altogether), because when that episode aired, I confess—I didn’t watch it—but soon videos and gifs were being spawned on Twitter, and I saw the scene in its entirety. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. A black man, imprisoned all season long for doing no harm except being different—i.e. fall victim to a xenophobic tyrant—sacrificed himself to save Kane and allow for his escape whilst bravely condemning himself to his fate. The heroism of Lincoln’s actions and his burgeoning, enduring love for Octavia, his girlfriend, will not be forgotten—but neither will his death scene. It wasn’t shocking as much as it was depressing. In fact, the only thing that startled me, quite frankly, from this repulsive show is that Lincoln didn’t fall like a rag doll into a pit of freshly-dug mass graves like the horrors of Romanian and Serbian laborer camps—he fell into a muddy pond instead.

Why am I talking about The 100 again, when I’ve made it pretty clear I couldn’t care less for the show nor its lack of quality? I speak of The 100 because of the very real effects it’s had on real human beings: they are the individuals I care about. All over my Twitter I had horrified teenagers speaking of triggers and suicide—again—following Lexa’s death by mere weeks. E4, the broadcaster that airs the show in the UK, have done excellent jobs in providing viewers with warnings before the show airs that some viewers may find scenes distressing, and at the end of the program (E4 does this on principle—not just for The 100) they provide a helpful list of hotlines and websites in case anybody needs to seek urgent help for what they’ve just witnessed on-screen.

I’ve heard plenty of excuses (seriously, why?) too. One angered me: one compared the show to some American town (Detroit, I think it was) where gun crime is rife and minorities are killed aplenty. I argue the case that The 100 is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the ‘groundbreaking’ show-runner already stated factors like race and sexuality were nullified—so why compare real-life events to very fictional ones? Hasn’t the show-runner already smugly distinguished his world from the real one? Indeed, should it not be one television’s primary aims to offer escapism and hope in a world very deprived of it?

Recently there have been terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Brussels and Turkey; there continue to be attacks in Syria and bomb strikes; there’s a surging terrorist epidemic and under-reported massacres across Northern Africa. There is the existence of Donald Trump. There are people living with chronic, fatal lifelong conditions, battling each day. There are addicts spiraling into an endless abyss. There are young children diagnosed with rare forms of terminal cancer. There’s one suicide every forty seconds. There are LGBTQ teens being bullied both physically and verbally; both in real-life and online. There are people of color everywhere being harassed—again, physically and verbally, both real-life and online—for the color of their skin, the slant of their eyes, their religious beliefs and practices. It’s a dark world for hundreds of thousands of people and if you are in a position of privilege where you are blissfully ignorant of this, then I pity you and I implore that you read on it; that you be kind. If you are in a position of privilege and you simply don’t care, then I pity you for your inconsiderate nature and heartlessness. If you’re in a position of privilege and you contribute to such insults, bullying and petty behaviors in order to discriminate against these minorities even further—I only have the greatest sorrow for the hollowness of your soul, because I cannot imagine anyone with a heart that has the audacity to do such a thing.

The Vampire Diaries killed their LGBTQ characters simultaneously...which must be going for a record, or something.
The Vampire Diaries killed their LGBTQ characters simultaneously…which must be going for a record, or something.

Other excuses have ranged from “well, they’re a minority, so why should they be overly represented?”—and my answer to you would be that they aren’t overly represented, if at all, and that’s one of the biggest problems. My other part of the answer would be what you define representation as. Do you define it as simply sticking a token Asian on-screen? Or do you define representation as a good, realistic, down-to-earth portrayal of that minority?

Some may say: “well, I’ve been picked at by a minority so why should they deserve my time?”—and my answer would be: are you really that desperate to generalize an entire population for a few bad eggs, to masquerade your hatred? If I was hassled or bullied by a white person—and I have been—that doesn’t mean I hate every single white person on this planet. Quite the opposite! I have strong opinions on fascist regimes—I’ll plunder for the popular ones—such as Hitler, Mao and Mussolini—but do I hate every German, Chinese and Italian person for it? No! I shall not hold any person associated with that race accountable for a few’s actions—just as the concept of holding an entire community responsible for the actions of a few is an incredulous, despicable, and frankly a stupid idea. Is ‘an eye for an eye’ really the only policy you can draw here? Or would you prefer it if I proposed this: block or mute—or whatever you do on social media—for a few. And consider how many LGBTQ people there are on this planet. Consider how many POCs there are. Out of nearly seven billion.

Out of an impassioned piece on my anger and distaste of this issue, I do offer some things I wish not to do. First of all, my number one stance is to never tell anybody how they should feel. This includes people who quite simply tell others to “get over it”—be it over a fictional death or, will you believe it, real ones. Whatever you grieve for and however long, and however it may affect you—I shan’t have the pretentiousness to dictate that. You must consider that for as many minorities there are individuals who have co-morbidities such as anxiety and depression; grieving times and severity varies over this wildly heterogeneous population. Perhaps you don’t understand, and that’s fine—it really is—but please, I beg, for their sake, do not be inconsiderate and rude. It takes more effort and more of your energy to be hateful and spiteful than it does to simply be quiet or offer quick condolences.

I also do not wish to speak for all minorities. That, I hope, is obvious. As a minority of many myself, I can speak from individual experiences but as each of you on this planet is precious and different and unique—I cannot speak for your experiences. I cannot speak for the young lesbian teen still struggling to come out of the closet; I cannot speak for the Hispanic suffering of autism; I cannot speak for the black thirty-year old man in a primarily white neighborhood. Yes, those are scenarios I plucked out of my head—but the point is, is that we are so diverse on this planet. We are surrounded by a sea of color and love that is varied and bright. Why is that something that isn’t celebrated, but rather crushed upon? Bullied for?

I’ve seen teenagers getting bullied or getting into arguments with grown men and women about this issue. I’ve seen people accuse others of using the word ‘minority’ as a cover-up for LGBTQ. I’ve seen articles from reputable websites accusing mourning viewers of The 100 of only grieving the loss of Commander Lexa because the actress was white—and that they wouldn’t be mourning if the actress was black. I have a quick word to say on this, because clearly the journalist had perhaps not researched into the depths of why the community was angry. It barely had anything to do with the death, and nothing on the actress’ skin color; in fact, it had everything to do with the exploitation of vulnerable youth, alleged (and I think confirmed) suicides relating to the death; the year-long misleading of writers and show-runners in baiting the LGBTQ community in their supposed safe-zones by luring them into a false sense of security. And as Ms. Mo Ryan wrote here, the show-runner himself invited fans to watch the filming of the finale on the streets of Vancouver—where everyone would spot the iconic warpaint of Commander Lexa, thus throwing further oil into the already-alight pan—in a long-drawn game of trickery and masquerading so sick that it resulted in self-harm, tears, suicidal ideation and writers desperately tweeting suicide hotlines. I shan’t speak once more of how atrociously the death was handled because many articles have covered it much more eloquently than I shall, and this podcast is an excellent listen for further explanation.

In the space of about a month, there’s already been four LGBTQ deaths (three from the CW, one from AMC) and a graphic execution of a man of color (the CW…again). Again, articles have covered these deaths much more eloquently than I shall—for example, the girls from the Vampire Diaries, Denise from The Walking Dead, and Lincoln from The 100. A week or so ago, ‘MINORITIES ARE NOT DISPOSABLE‘ trended on Twitter. It was then when I saw people—grown adults, mainly—accuse teens of masquerading the word LGBTQ behind the word minority. And I have to say, with the uproar Lincoln’s death has caused on The 100, I think they’ve just been proven mightily wrong.

Denise's arrow through the eye was not even intended for her--she died by mistake, in place of--yes, a white male.
Denise’s arrow through the eye was not even intended for her–she died by mistake, in place of–yes, a white male.

We know this now: TV is not just a weekly sit-down and family gathering. TV affects us in real life because people talk about it; people discuss it on social media; people get sucked into the hype and buzz. People seek escapism from their harder real lives; people seek solace in online friends; people seek online safe-spaces. Yet the Internet is a double-edged sword. It can offer both kindness and cruelty. It can offer understanding individuals, open-hearted people willing to listen—and it can offer delusional, petty bullies.

I only ask that you navigate Twitter and Tumblr and such with care (though I’m sure literally everyone’s more proficient at social media than I am) and never let those words, that you’re a minority for a reason, sink into your hearts. After all, you have very human beating hearts—same as everyone else. People may despise you for your skin color, your religion, your ethnicity, your weight…and you know what, in this world of billions, it’s easy for me to tell you to just not care about them. But I know as well as you that words hurt—that’s why people use them. That’s why insults are thrown around. That’s why hate-mail is sent. I can’t ask you to ignore all of that; I can’t ask anything of you. All I ask is that you know there are people in the Twitterverse, the Tumblrverse, the Facebookverse, the Periscopeverse—however many ‘verses there are (just not The 100’s, because you will die if you are a minority, sorry)—who care, ardently. There are people who are willing to talk and understand and reach out. There are people who empathize; who sympathize; who are rational, decent human beings. And just like minorities may never get the same representation on television as we’d like, because society has fooled itself into being progressive, bullies do not represent the general population. They represent a small percentage of cowards who dare only to attack young, vulnerable teens from behind a computer screen. If anyone has encountered such a being, then my heart goes out to you—but know that you will always be supported by the humane ones on this planet, and I think I can safely say that makes up the majority of people.

Meanwhile, I will pop on Person of Interest, in which the main male lead is permanently and chronically disabled, the male lead is never hyper-sexualized and does not do the same to others, the same-sex couple consists of a half-deaf cordial twerp and the other is a Persian badass with an Axis Personality II Disorder, and their detective on the inside is an overweight but honorable and dutiful cop. (Was that a ‘ding’? I think that was the sound of quality).

I love it when a bit of genuine quality pops up on my screen.
I love it when a bit of genuine quality pops up on my screen. No whiff of exploitation, baiting or lies either (and the POI squad never have done, in four years). I heard exploitation and lies smell like alcohol and trains.

*As played by the show, in which this character’s younger sister is Octavia, and there’s been no indication with regards to Bellamy’s potential parentage. As Octavia is white (or Marie Avgeropoulos is at least half-Greek?) I would assume as siblings (certainly from the same mother) there’s nothing to warrant Filipino origin there. I’ve always fully known the actor, Bob Morley, has Filipino roots. The show, in its flashbacks with Octavia, young Bellamy was played by a white actor, Spencer Drever. I have since been assured via multiple platforms that Filipino children do not get darker as they grow older, hence the whitewashing of Bellamy Blake seems to remain a valid claim. Once more: this is not a slur on Mr. Bob Morley. I completely respect his pride of his heritage—especially coming from a minority myself, where I admittedly was not always comfortable in my own skin—and on a personal level, I wish the CW, Mr. Jason Rothenberg and the show had been willing to portray their main male lead as a man of color. 

Thank you once more for reading. I understand now is a sensitive time for many, and I offer my condolences. I confess I don’t watch all the shows I’ve mentioned here but my heart does genuinely go out to anyone who’s suffered through this. Paradoxically, I find this statement uplifting and heartwarming: you are not alone. And I hope solace is found and social media used for good in this context. To end on a positive note, this smashing fundraiser has achieved over $112,000 as I write. Minorities, huh?

As ever, I’m on Twitter at @NicolaChoi or via the comments below—thank you.

23 Comments

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  1. Great piece as always!
    Just a note – maybe E4 would have aired their before/after warning anyway, who knows, but I know that several people (myself included) emailed Channel 4 after the US airing and asked them to put out something to that effect.

    • I am aware of this; E4 usually screens it anyway as per their procedure and airs out appropriate warnings. They will do the same for the Lincoln episode I’ve been assured. But yes it’s awesome that yous emailed. Very considerate, thank you.

  2. Thank you for the article! I 100% agree that you can’t white-wash a character and then, only when convenient point out that the actor is POC. If its not on the screen it doesn’t count. Bellamy’s younger self was played by a white boy. His sister and mother both very white. They aren’t twins though. In the pilot episode and when they flash back to ark scenes Bellamy is very pale. His name gives no indication of his ethnic heritage. Also considering the books this show is very loosely based off of Bellamy was half black. So again, they cast a white-passing male in the role meant for a black man. In our current media if a character is not white or straight it HAS to be spelled out for he audience. The general audience views the characters as white and straight. It’s how our media been built and no one can argue otherwise. I love that we all use Person of Interest as our measuring tape. Sameen Shaw. First clue is her name. However, POI goes further and talks exactly about Shaw’s duel heritage. She talks about celebrating Persian New Year and her parents’ heritage. Shaw has the exact ethnic background as the actress; Iranian and Spanish. I’ve see Sarah Shahi play both just Spanish and Iranian characters. Carmen from the L Word was Spanish and not automatically half Iranian. Writers have to put in the EFFORT to claim a character is POC if they want the diversity points.

    • Thank you for this Kat and I agree 100%. I don’t know why I keep thinking Bell and O are twins (I literally need to rewatch season one…or not, because I respect my eyes) and you’re 100% right. There’s a post up there with pictures as well–I think the evidence is damning. I just want to say that this is NOT an erasure on Bob’s half-Filipino descent. I fully respect and acknowledge that and would never dream of whitewashing Bob (…even though I never did). I had a feeling I hadn’t whitewashed Bellamy (maybe somewhere, in the back of my tortured mind, lies S1) but I wasn’t sure. People tweeting at me saying I had kind of made me doubt myself because they were very convincing in the manner that I *had* whitewashed Bellamy. Upon seeing the evidence I guess I hadn’t, but I’m disgusted at the show for doing so. What is so offensive about having a half-Filipino as your male lead? It changes nothing about Bellamy at all.

      Completely agree with you on Shaw. She is my number one favourite character on that show for a multitude of reasons–her excellent combat skills, her sarcasm, her courage–but also because the show’s written her (and Root) to a point where their sexuality doesn’t matter and it’s not lauded as a big deal/the writers don’t smugly self-congratulate. WRT her heritage, I agree also. The Fusco/Shaw scene in the restaurant was what, a minute or two? It wasn’t a big deal but it was sweet, touching, moving and meaningful. I really admire, like you, Person of Interest’s determination to keep her heritage true to the actress’. And you know the POI writers/EP’s are sweet enough that they’re not doing this for diversity points–they just love Root and Shaw, and they love Shaw and Sarah, for whom they are.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

      • I know its always a sensitive topic. At the same time, people need to remember the actors are not their characters and the characters are not their actors. No one is erasing Bob’s heritage when talking about Bellamy. Same way when Sarah Shahi played Carmen the writers didn’t erase Sarah’s Iranian heritage. And I think a huge reason this is only coming up now is that a lot of people are hiding behind Bellamy supposedly being POC to justify the awful treatment of every other POC character. Lincoln’s death SHOULD have been a huge wake up call to anyone still claiming this show has good diversity. It was disgusting on so many level. No one wanted to correct people who look up to Bellamy as a MOC(pre-season 3). I’ve always felt he was white-washed but why take that from people. But season 3 Bellamy is no character anyone should be looking up to. Xenophobia, colonization and all these other racial issues should not be swept aside because one actor is a MOC in real life. If anyone is truly punished for the genocide/xenophobia/colonization its going to be the one-dimensional evil black man that the audience is 100% aware is a MOC. Bellamy will get his white male savior redemption arc. If this was truly a “anyone can die” show, he would be deader than Finn. At least Finn did the right thing in the end and gave himself up. He felt guilty for killing innocent people. Bellamy didn’t even feel guilty(at least not enough imo) until it was someone he KNEW. Those 300 lives meant nothing to him. He went around and EXECUTED the wounded. Now that I mentioned Finn I’m starting to fume over the murdering white straight male character getting a whole episode devoted to his death while the MOC counterpart(I say counterpart but Lincoln didn’t murder innocents like that) was unceremoniously shot and killed for shock in such a inhumane and insensitive manner possible. The writers completely missed why Finn’s death was shocking. It wasn’t shocking that a main died; it was shocking that a SWM main was properly PUNISHED for his actions.In the case of both Titus and Bellamy, the writers expected us to sympathize with people who committed horrible crimes. They focus on their pain instead of idk maybe those who died’s innocent loved ones such as Clarke and Octavia. That’s text book straight white male treatment. Feel bad for the perpetrator instead of the victims.

        I think the restaurant scene and Harold’s one line “a compact Persian sociopath” are the only times its mentioned. Like you said only took a couple minutes and it was normal talk between coworkers/friends. If Bellamy being a MOC was so important they could have had something like him caring around a picture of his dad and made his dad really obviously Filipino. It does not take much. I don’t know what exactly they gain by having Bellamy be white-washed like you said but they at least think they do. What it says to me is that they want their cake and eat it, too. Kinda how like they used the LGBTQ community for promotion…. hmmm … interesting people are behind this show that’s for sure.

        The silver lining in all this is that it made me appreciate the master piece that is POI on new levels. The potential to white-wash Shaw had never even occurred to me until now. How much love and care they put into that show is amazing. its so obvious they looking to create a story that they and the fans are proud of and not w/e the heck t100 is trying to do. Even on a business level I stopped understanding t100. The finale of POIS last season made me cry but I hadn’t fully grasped how profound it was in social context. Now every time I think of the machine’s speech telling Harold and Root that they aren’t interchangeable I cry lol. Shaw is my favorite my favorite character too! Can’t wait to see her again. and Root and Harold and Bear.. I could go on! Look at Reese he’s a fantastic character. Who would have guessed its possible to write a straight white male w/o relying on the story-line armor and cliches that comes with being those things.

        Thank you for replying and writing these awesome articles! They are great tools for all of us!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I’m going to say this as someone who is fully Filipino: you in no way whitewashed Bellamy in this article. The SHOW whitewashed Bellamy by having him played by a half-Filipino actor and completely disregarding it. As a Filipino, I DO NOT feel represented by Bellamy in ANY way shape or form (and thank god for that seeing his turnaround in season three). Bob is a minority in real life, because he’s half-Filipino. Bellamy is NOT a minority on the show because the idiot show-runner plays him as a white hero. I can’t understand why people can’t tell the difference. It’s never stated on the show, if Octavia and Bellamy came from different fathers (of course they both came from Aurora, but with her secret profession anything could have happened). I feel bad for you that you had to make an amendment note at the end when even without it, your entire article was so valid. As a minority myself, and I understand you are too – we’re just of different ethnicity – I think you and I may feel similarly when it comes to whitewashing (or even …. white people telling us we’re whitewashed. Please. Stop.) The tumblr link you put is exceptional. I forgot about the stupid 12 nations Ark plot.

    I also completely agree with Kat. If they wanted POC representation they would have made it clear Bellamy was half-Filipino like his actor. I will say this – Bob does NOT look like your conventional half-Filipino, (COMING FROM A FILIPINO) apart from his freckles. If they wanted POC representation they wouldn’t have killed Wells for shock value, used a black man Pike as a tyrant, made black man Jaha look utterly crazy compared to Kane and Abby. I am going to assume Indra will die too this season. They are killing off minorities one-by-one. They mistreated Lincoln all season and mistreated Ricky all series. It’s disgusting, both the show and BTS (crew-wise). I also completely agree with Kat on the Shaw from POI issue. Shaw’s heritage is not loudly proclaimed on the show but it IS recognized, and it doesn’t exactly take a massive scene to do it. If they can slow-motion execute a black man on the spot, or slow-motion mourn the death of white girl Monroe, then if they didn’t slow-motion it for a bit of torture porn as you say, maybe they could’ve fitted in a brief indicator to Bellamy’s ethnicity. But there is none, because the show doesn’t acknowledge it. The actor’s origins aren’t ignored by you – it’s ignored by the show.

  4. Nico, I applaud you for writing the best piece you’ve written so far. Because, yes, it started as a LGBT outcry and yes that maybe still a driving fact, we do care about other minorities. The way most of not all minorities (accordign to US demographics) are portrayed is shocking to me.There are two things that disturb me about this whole thing and they were highlighted in all the reactions I got when trying to explain our stance to others.

    The first seems that there is a instinctive reaction to point towards others minorities and say they have it bad as well. I’m not sure if people do it on purpose, I have to assume not but it appears to me that they want to pit different minorities against each other. There was one man that flat out said that we shouldn’t complain because “Asians have it worse and they don’t seem to mind, They’re not speaking out..”. I had to respectfully point out to him that one that is a big problem that needs change and two, that in my experience it’s mostly because these minorities have given up hope of being represented not that they don’t mind. And even after linking him to an interview with Ming-Na Wen speaking about it he didn’t get it.

    Secondly the immense volume of people claiming social justice warriors with out reading anything. There seems to be an incredible amount of people thinking that minorities don’t deserve or need better representation, which to me says that is exactly the case. TV and movies are THE platform to humanize and give a face to minorities. When they fail to do this, when they fail to take responsibility in representing minorities they leave an impact, not just on said minorities but also the people that do not understand them. For it is media that can bring them into contact with these minorities that they would never meet in real life. It can give them insight and perspective and this is something that is sorely lacking.

    I have gone on a tangent, which I seem to do a lot, however my point is that instead of fighting among each other and vilify each other we should listen. That is a scary thing I know, your believes can be changed and what you thought was the truth might change. However I find that listening and challenging my own believes has enriched my life and I gotten a lot of new exciting insights. I’m intrigued by new people and ideas (it might be why I started working with people in the first place), wouldn’t it be great to be able to learn and expend your horizons in fictional worlds as well. Thank you for not only supporting me as a minority but any that are out there trying to change things for the better.

    (also I might finally check person of interest out that personality disorder on axis 2 sounds interesting)

    • “TV and movies are THE platform to humanize and give a face to minorities. When they fail to do this, when they fail to take responsibility in representing minorities they leave an impact, not just on said minorities but also the people that do not understand them. For it is media that can bring them into contact with these minorities that they would never meet in real life. It can give them insight and perspective and this is something that is sorely lacking.”

      well said!

      The way the media represents minorities is so, so much more important than people seem to realize.

  5. Young Bellamy:

    http://images6.fanpop.com/image/quiz/1100000/1100765_1401680943476_500_280.jpg
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/WCQtAD0Td_8/hqdefault.jpg

    There’s no erasure of Bob’s half-Filipino origin in this article. Those who say there is: you’re reaching, your honor! The show has played Bellamy AS A WHITE MAN and there is literal proof of it. This isn’t to say BOB isn’t half-Filipino – I recognize that, the author recognizes that, everyone recognizes that. The writer did not whitewash Bellamy Blake; the show did.

  6. Nico, I applaud you for writing the best piece you’ve written so far. Because, yes, it started as a LGBT outcry and yes that maybe still a driving fact, we do care about other minorities. The way most of not all minorities (accordign to US demographics) are portrayed is shocking to me.There are two things that disturb me about this whole thing and they were highlighted in all the reactions I got when trying to explain our stance to others.

    The first seems that there is a instinctive reaction to point towards others minorities and say they have it bad as well. I’m not sure if people do it on purpose, I have to assume not but it appears to me that they want to pit different minorities against each other. There was one man that flat out said that we shouldn’t complain because “Asians have it worse and they don’t seem to mind, They’re not speaking out..”. I had to respectfully point out to him that one that is a big problem that needs change and two, that in my experience it’s mostly because these minorities have given up hope of being represented not that they don’t mind. And even after linking him to an interview with Ming-Na Wen speaking about it he didn’t get it.

    Secondly the immense volume of people claiming social justice warriors with out reading anything. There seems to be an incredible amount of people thinking that minorities don’t deserve or need better representation, which to me says that is exactly the case. TV and movies are THE platform to humanize and give a face to minorities. When they fail to do this, when they fail to take responsibility in representing minorities they leave an impact, not just on said minorities but also the people that do not understand them. For it is media that can bring them into contact with these minorities that they would never meet in real life. It can give them insight and perspective and this is something that is sorely lacking.

    I have gone on a tangent, which I seem to do a lot, however my point is that instead of fighting among each other and vilify each other we should listen. That is a scary thing I know, your believes can be changed and what you thought was the truth might change. However I find that listening and challenging my own believes has enriched my life and I gotten a lot of new exciting insights. I’m intrigued by new people and ideas (it might be why I started working with people in the first place), wouldn’t it be great to be able to learn and expend your horizons in fictional worlds as well. Thank you for not only supporting me as a minority but any that are out there trying to change things for the better.

    (also I might finally check person of interest out that personality disorder on axis 2 sounds interesting)

    ps. sorry if this showed up god knows how many times but I can’t see it appear and I may or may not have clicked post comment a couple of times…

  7. i’m always surprised by the maturity of your articles. all the comments above have summarized what i want to say, and how understanding, compassionate, and big-hearted you are. i follow you on twitter and you’re funny and snarky but above all of that, when things like this happen, you are always the first to offer support to someone, as soon as lincoln’s death happened you tweeted out international suicide hotlines because you saw what happened after 3.07. and this article, like ALL of your articles (i’m not a fan of any of the shows you mention, i am here for your poi articles but the title sucked me in and i realized i didn’t want to just read your poi articles- you lend a great, mature, empathetic voice to a subset of minorities and you don’t even claim to represent all minorities, and rightly so, yet i’m an indian man and i really felt your empathy and understanding in this article).

    i’m just in awe of your maturity and capability to look at a situation and understand/grasp it, as well as offer a lending hand for those who need support, and to just be so KIND. i’m on twitter and i see bullies everywhere, as well as amazing people with the fund raiser you mention etc but you are so sweet and so genuine it amazes me, and it amazes me that you write so well-versed for someone who is so young. like i said everyone’s covered all the points i wanted to say so this isn’t a critique, its more of a thank you because you are an important, important voice in any fandom, and a great rolemodel for young teens. if only every was as mature and thoughtful as you. so thank you for giving me some hope in this generation and for writing these professional quality articles! words are so powerful and i think you might not even have an idea of how greatly your words will affect a young teen (for good). you have a powerful skill and i’m so happy you are utilizing that for GOOD rather than bullying. i’ve seen that quote “minority for a reason” around on tumblr too and i share your disgust. thank you for criticizing it in a mature way.

    and thank you for readily admitting that you weren’t sure of bellamy’s heritage, but as it turns out, you were right. the show erased bob’s half filipino origin and whitewashed him – not you. his kid actor is completely white.

  8. You might not realize it, Nicola, but your voice is important. I showed some of my friends your articles and they felt so much better (not just about Lexa, but the articles you wrote about minorities and now this one). I love your other articles like the fight analysis and the POI ones of course and I always enjoy them, you write really well. But I just want to say thank you for giving me and my friends some comfort, for never being condescending and always saying you won’t tell people to “get over it” or “move on” (both here and on Twitter). It shows your maturity, kindness and your nature to consider others’ thoughts. I really admire that and I think you deserve all the best for being such a sweet soul, for comforting fans so kindly like you did on Twitter. For your hard work with the POI stuff on Twitter, and also for always reminding us that we matter, that we are valid. It might not seem like much for you to say because it seems you really believe it, but I hope you know that YOU matter too, to an incredible amount of people, and your words have touched hundreds and hundreds of people and moved them. You’ve me feel really important and validated within myself and I think thats likely the case for others too. Thank you Nicola, you speak of inspirations, and you are going to be one, for someone so young! Out of curiosity who are your inspirations?? 😉

  9. That 1st quote is DISGUSTING. How can someone say that? Was it on Tumblr? How can a human being say that of others, that is truly despicable. You are so right with the ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘minority within a minority’ points.

    Thank you Nicola for this article. Everything’s been highlighted above but I just wanted to say thank you 🙂 Thank you for always being kind to people on Twitter, for being grateful and showing humility, I think it’s safe to say you’re well loved there! For good reason too. You’re so young and understanding and I hope many people aspire to be as kind and generous as you are.

  10. I agree with Gemma – the 1st quote is horrible. Did somebody actually SAY that ?

    Secondly I just want to say thank you for this. This is a really important social issue and I’m glad Talk Nerdy With Us are letting you passionately talk about this because it’s really topical and has a huge impact. The discrimination of minorities seems like it will never end. I have never felt more understood, represented, validated and comforted than I am when I read your articles about topics like this, not even from news websites like BBC, Variety, etc. Thank you.

  11. Hi! I’m Sophie, and I just wanted to say THANK YOU! Really, I’ve rarely been so moved by an article (though they were some great pieces these past few weeks) but yours was probably the most relatable for me. I loved what you said about “minorities”, and that you recognized the fact that the trend ‘Minorites are not disposable’ wasn’t just in reference to the LGBT community.
    You stated plenty of truth, especially about Bellamy and that TV show do not exist in a vacuum. THANK YOU for making me feel hopeful again, for making me feel like I wasn’t alone in this. THANK YOU.

  12. I believe that this is the second or third article authored by you that I’ve read on this subject. I am of several minority demographics as well; African-American, lesbian, over 40. I had heard of Lincoln’s impending death before the episode aired. I have always held an air of doom about that guy because of his almost Gandhian philosophy in a chaotic world. And yes, with him gone, he’s the last of the main men-of-color leads to die that wasn’t a major douche. I certainly hope that they aren’t stupid enough to kill Indra anytime soon.
    I came into “The 100” fandom after watching seasons one and two on Netflix. I fell in love with Lexa’s bad-ass presence, the Clexa chemistry and the obvious slow-burning love story between Clarke and Lexa. This wasn’t something that I had seen since Xena: Warrior Princess. Kudos to those two Millennial actresses, Eiza T and Alycia DC, for making this story so tangible. My initial reaction to Lexa’s death wasn’t as heartfelt as so many fans (some former now, I suppose) of the show. Perhaps because I’m older and black and have seen my share of the black-dude-dies-first trope. However, I have read probably a dozen articles, blogs and recaps on “Thirteen” in the last four weeks. This has been my way of processing, I suppose. The enormous success of this fundraising campaign brings one obvious thing to light; that one fictional teen lesbian had to die so that many real real lesbians (and GBTQ) teens will live.
    One more thing that I’d like to note. I have always secretly identified with the Grounders. They are far more “multicultural” in their appearance than the generically white, black and Asians of the Arc and Mount Weather. (Compare Anya, Lincoln and Ontari to Clarke, Jaha and Emerson) And unlike most viewers, I never considered Lexa “white.” I suspect that, like Bob Morley, Alycia DC has something other than purely Anglo in her ancestry, which I suspect was part of the rationale for her casting as the olive-skinned, mildly exotic-looking Lexa in the first place. Just a theory.

    • Alycia is super pale white IRL (her natural hair, especially as a kid was almost blondish even). They ”tanned”her with makeup for the role, which is problematic in itself…and are ”tanning” the actress that played Ontari as well. Brown-facing in this day and age!

      • Sadly, casting white actors to play non-whites still happens and happens often. Comedian John Oliver did an excellent piece on that recently on this HBO show. As to The 100, just to clarify, I don’t consider the character of Lexa to be white. Genes are a funny thing. I have black/white bi-racial friends and relatives with traditionally white features, hair texture and hair color. In addition, both Ricky Whittle and Bob Morley are bi-racial. The point that I was making is that bi-racial Whittle (Lincoln) was seen as a Grounder POC by the fans and probably the staff of the show, while Arker Morley (Bellamy) is clearly seen as a white dude. As for ADC, I’ve seen footage of her younger years as well. Her hair was light, but it was also very curly/wavy. She probably perms it now. And for her facial features, especially around the eyes and cheekbones are almost Pacific Islander in appearance. So, I’m agreeing that with you that, although ADC is technically white, I suspect that part of the rationale for casting her as a Grounder is her less-than-white features so that she could provide a solid contrast to the pale, blonde, blue-eyed Clarke. Same rationale applied for the racially ambiguous Whittle, Dichen Lachman, and Rhiannon Fish.

  13. This article was the only article I bookmarked out of this entire website. I bookmarked it because it is the best article to actually be written on this website, the only article to empathize with us heartbroken fans. I’ve seen what you’ve done on Twitter and how deeply you empathize and reach out to fans, even though you werent involved too much with The 100 anymore. I bookmarked it because this article means the world to me. Today im un bookmarking it and going to search for it on your wordpress because I can’t believe you’re gone from writing for a site that needs articles like yours. Almost every one of your articles have pingbacks (referals) because they’re so good. You’re the only writer who got quoted in Variety, the only article that got tweeted by a writer, and I couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t believe it because everyone only visited the site because of your articles, and your understanding of minorities and the fandom, no other writer does that, and you are a minority yourself. No one can copy that empathy, ever, and I admire you for the future (which Im sure you’ll move onto bigger, better things) and lots and lots of fans will follow you too because you made lots of fans with your heartfelt, touching and genuine articles . I am so sad that i am commenting on an article where the writer is now inactive. Now who is the leading minority voice for this website? There is none, because you were the only one who understood best how it felt, it doesnt matter how others might sympathize, you EMPATHIZED too and that can’t even come close. Your style and formatting and way of gripping readers was unique. I am sure whichever outlet is poised to take you that will be very blessed, and we will all , I think i can say collectively from your kind and sweet engagement on twitter ,follow you,I even saw a tweet saying wherever you go, people will follow, because you are that good. Quoted by VARIETY! It is amazing and I cant wait to see what you have stored up your sleeve because you clearly do. In the mean time your wordpress is amazing and it’s the type of unique article that could’ve been posted here and they missed out. I’m very glad you are free of this place but please don’t quieten down, please don’t ever let yourself be bullied into silence because your a minority. You may not even see this. But you have support from all corners of social media who will always always follow your work, and you had people who only clicked here because of you, and that support wont go away. We will always support whatever you do, as you are unanimously the only one who can look at things critically and impartially and go through it, you are the only one who intelligently weaves great knowledge (e.g. the fight analysis) into something understandable and thrilling. It is a skill that is simply not found but you have it, and from my personal experience, I was so moved by your Lexa article I cried…I was so touched by your constant support of minorities both here and on Twitter and I wasnt surprised you gained a big following. Best of luck to your future Nicola and I can’t wait to see where you end up (congratulations on even your wordpress getting 100s of likes!). This is just the beginning for you, you are so talented, so well done and thank you for sharing, any outlet would be lucky to have your voice and unique analysis. None other even came close to what you did for this website. Thank you Nicola for being a big voice for our community , an important and inspiring one too. You inspired many , many people and touched the hearts of many. Thank you

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