If the first time is a coloring error…

…then what is it the second time?

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

So, another illustration and Vixen still has yet to return to her brown roots. (Thanks to Willow and Cheryl for pointing this one out!) No strange lighting in this one – the illustrator drew her this way intentionally. (And it is probably the same illustrator as last time, since the Wonder T & A are still in full effect.)

Cheryl over at Digital Femme broke down the response to my original post (see here) like this:

Thirty-six responses on Racialicious. And the majority of them are not focused on the fact that non-white female characters are whitewashed more often than their male counterparts. The responses plug other books. The responses drift to other topics. The responses tell the black woman that she’s pointing out a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s just a coloring error.

It is not just a coloring error. This does not fucking happen with the same frequency (if ever) to Luke Cage and Shang Chi as it happens to Storm and Jubilee. Skin colors are lightened. Features are changed. Why? I would really like to know why. But every time a person stands up and asks why, she’s shouted right down. She’s ignored. You’re seeing things that aren’t there. Let’s talk about something else. Right?

Fuck that shit.

The problem exists. I know it exists. You know it exists. We can joke about the Wasp no longer being Asian in Ultimates 3 (insert plug for 4th Letter awesomeness here) and make snarky comments about Storm’s features, but when it comes time to man up and talk seriously about this shit, everyone disappears. Except for the minority women. And no one’s fucking listening to us anyway. They just nod until they can interrupt and tell us how wrong we are or divert attention away to a topic they find important. You aren’t hearing us.

And Willow is going nuclear with good reason.

What never ceases to amaze me is how you can travel in different circles and different communities with completely different goals, aims, and ideas and still run into the same old tired bullshit.

Gaming, manga (which in my case loosely extends to American comics), anime, feminism, business – the same patterns emerge time and time again.

And when you document these incidents, people will accuse you of blowing things out of proportion. They brush these concerns aside, explaining them away as “coloring errors” or “coding difficulty” or my favorite, “we just weren’t thinking about that, we were making a game/comic/film/movement/company for everyone.” For everyone? Really?

As I continue to hear the same tired arguments parroted in different spheres of conversation, I find the same question keeps rising to the top of my thoughts.

How many times does something have to happen before it stops being coincidence and starts becoming a pattern?