BRHood: Adding the dark skinned part because technically, white anime cosplayers are cosplaying outside their race to begin with. Just saying. So this is more for brown colored characters.
As we state every time we are asked this, each mod has their own opinion. Other mods can edit and update this post later with their own take on it. So just remember this is my personal opinion.
As TayTay stated in an ask about this, when a white person cosplays a brown character, it’s this infiltration of a safe zone. Because black and other PoC characters get a LOT of shit that white cosplayers don’t get. So when we FINALLY get those few characters that are dark like us, we get excited. For once, WE’LL look true to the character. No one can say anything about us not looking the role; we obviously do.
Considering that between comic books, anime, and video games, there are way too many white skinned characters to count that white people can easily cosplay as, it’s frustrating when they decide to cosplay one of the 50 PoC characters. Period. It’s like finally getting an ice cream cone after being told “no” all summer, and then someone who has ice cream in their freezer and who got to eat it all summer comes up and demands you share.
In terms of how to show your love for a PoC character (for real, was that a real question?!), you do the same thing you always would with any character you like. Sans cosplaying. I’ve never cosplayed before in my life and managed to show my love for characters without it. So, I know it can’t be that hard.
Just my take on it.
“Showing love” isn’t the only reason to cosplay a specific character. Maybe you identify with them. Maybe you want to challenge yourself to make their costume. Maybe you’re going as a group that wouldn’t be complete without your character, and you’re the one most suited for it. Who knows? Every cosplayer is different.
So cosplay is very much a case-by-case thing. But that said, I do think that you can find a respectful way to cosplay someone of a different race. And I think most cosplayers can be trusted to be respectful about it— as for those who aren’t, they’re really easy to spot and even non-minorities are offended by it.
I dunno. I try to keep my nose out of race things, but speaking as someone whose skin tone almost NEVER matches up with that of their character… I don’t think this should be a huge issue for people. PoC shouldn’t feel obligated to cosplay only PoC characters, like the characters are some sort of cookie that they should be grateful for. That’s fucking ridiculous.
There are physical things that can’t be changed and are really hard to fake— height, skin color, muscle tone, presence or size of breasts if the character is more exposed up top— and people who whine about the cosplayer not matching up with the character in any of those areas (again, AS LONG AS THE COSTUME ITSELF IS GOOD AND RESPECTFUL), are generally regarded as douches. I don’t think one of those characteristics should be any more special than others.
Like I said, though, I’m a cosplayer. With tan-ish skin. So I’m a bit biased.
Light that was pretty poorly worded |D You really should have specified that you’re not white yourself.
You’re also kind of missing the point. Cosplaying cross-race is not the same as cosplaying cross-gender or cross-body type. White and white-passing people have never been excluded from anything except for discussions and groups that are for PoC, and so when we’re told that we can’t have something or be included in something because of our race, because we’re not a minority, we tend to go ballistic and call reverse racism, because we’ve never truly been excluded in our lives because of our race. Maybe because of our social status, appearance, ability, orientation, gender identity, etc, but never because of race. The amount of freedom white and white-passing people have in english-speaking countries is staggering. So when white people cross into cosplaying dark-skinned characters, PoC have every right to be wary for reasons a lot of people don’t understand.
Throughout history, PoC have had to create PoC-exclusive groups and be very careful about who is allowed into those groups, because who they let in could mean life or death. You think being wary of white people stepping into PoC cosplay is overstepping it? It’s not. When you’ve faced oppression your entire life because of your skin color, everything is a threat. You can’t just make exceptions because “not all white people will hurt you”. You don’t have much you can hold on to, and whether it’s intended or not, having white people take something of yours for themselves, however small, really hurts. It’s not the same as a white person taking a sacred item from your culture (ie, a war bonnet) and wearing it as a costume piece or more severe brands of appropriation, but it hurts. It hurts no matter what the intent or the reason behind it or how respectful or well-done it is. Making it respectful, well-done, and appropriate doesn’t make it okay. It just makes it hurt less. The way you worded it sounded very much like you were telling OP how to feel about their own issue, and that’s not okay.
Regardless of whether they’re a cosplayer or not, I think OP’s opinion is incredibly valid. Especially considering that, yes, white people cosplaying PoC IS infiltration of a safe zone. It’s like if a cis person cosplayed a trans person. Even if they were incredibly respectful and well-intentioned and an ally with full knowledge of how to best represent a trans* person, they are still crossing into a safe zone and presenting as something only trans* people should be presenting and speaking for.
As I’ve said on multiple occasions, I don’t think that white people should NOT cosplay PoC (or that cis people shouldn’t cosplay trans* people, for that matter). I agree that there’s no need for it to stop. I think this is something more people need to be made aware of. It’d be great if we lived in a society where something as seemingly small as a white person cosplaying a dark-skinned PoC weren’t infiltrating a safe zone, but we don’t. I’m white, so I don’t speak for PoC on this issue, but I feel like yes, cosplay them if you want, but be as respectful and understanding as you can, and understand that even if you are as respectful as you can possibly be, you are still stepping on toes no matter what you do.
That’s my take on it, at least. If anyone with more knowledge/authority on this wants to correct me, feel free.
Honestly, I can say that I’ve been discriminated against because I was white. And I don’t mean someone telling me I can’t say nigger because I’m white, or not being about to cosplay a character of a different race. I mean hardcore discriminated.
I live in North Carolina, where the racial imbalance law is in effect. What does this mean? It means forced bussing. It means they take kids from low income housing that are predominantly black and latino and bus them to the schools with the most white kids, and they take white kids and bus them everywhere else to try and force schools to not be defacto segregated. In theory this seems like a good idea. In reality, I went to a school 19 miles from my home in the projects where the other children all knew eachother and had very intimate relationships. And the one thing that connected many of them was racial discrimination. Raised in an area that was almst entirely black with a minority of latino and almost zero white folk a lot of kids were raised to hate white people under the impression that everyone with pale skin was at fault for their poor economic situation.
The school was in walking distance from a ghetto. There was a memorial for a drive-by shooting inside school grounds. There was no fence around the playground. And due to North Carolina’s No Child Left Behind law, there was no funding. The lower grades were, the less money the school got. The less money the school got, the less it could pay teachers. The less it could pay teachers, the fewer decent teachers wanted to work there. The fewer decent teachers there were, the lower the grades. The school was 85% black.
I grew up thinking that I was the minority because I saw nothing different. All my friends were black and all my teachers were black and almost everyone I knew period was black.
This would not have bothered me because I wasn’t reised with an awareness of race. However, like I said, a lot of the other children were, and it became apparant. I was kicked and beaten and spit on and laughed at for the way I looked. I was called a lily white bitch and a snow skinned slut. I caught parents glaring at me and mine when I went to after school functions. I remember one of the popular phrases that no one else seems ot remember, a variant of ‘talk to the hand,’ “Talk to the white side, cuz the black side don’t wanna hear it.” I once asked a girl what that meant, and she told me it was because the white of her palm was dirtier than the rest of her skin.
I’ve seen racism. I saw the white kids who did know race band together and spit on black kids. I saw race fights between kids and I heard the worst sorts of insults. I saw poverty, real poverty, and I saw rich kids and I saw them put together and they hated it.
So don’t tell me I can’t cosplay a character because their skin is darker than mine. I have seen and I understand, people who ain’t white get some fucking shit for not being white. And believe it or not, I understand it. It’s been a long tiem since I was a kid but I still remember how bad it was, and I feel bad it happens, I do. But this is not an issue and I can’t even look at it as such.
*plays tiny violin*
You managed to make your self into some colour blind white hero that knows better than them stupid like darkies because “race wasn’t an issues for me” and manipulate what racism is in the first places to POC blaming white people for being poor. You are a top notch little shit.
Why the hell are you typing nigger?
Someone come collect this simple bitch.
LOL, standing up for blackface and yellowface and appropriation because OP be a white little victim of racism?
Come talk to me when painting my skin white/being lightskinned is a way of oppressing and caricaturing white people, instead of a way to escape discrimination and prejudice and oppression.
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