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Reblogged from badassladyknight  112 notes

"They don’t say Latin@, so I guess that means White?" - race and representation in ABC’s "Once Upon A Time"



First, a small request: If race and representation in film, television, and sci-fi/fantasy don’t matter to you, please be courteous and allow those of us who care about this topic to discuss it free from derailing.

It’s no secret that I have a thing for Regina Mills/The Evil Queen of ABC’s Once Upon A Time. I happen to know that Lana Parrilla, the actress who plays her, is Puerto Rican/Italian and grew up in Brooklyn. I also know that, in the context of the show, the characters are meant to be read as “raceless” (in other words, default to White). I wrote about this on Ars Marginal, but there’s something that makes my brain itch when I see people say something to the effect of, “Sure, the actress is Latin@, but I’m still going to interpret this character as White.”

I cannot put my finger on this, but it feels really wrong. Can someone help me out here?

If the character has no defined race, but the actor/actress is something other than white, but people still default the character as white, I think it’s a scary reflection on just how white/western-dominated this society is.  It’s like they’re taking the idea of a race-less society to make everyone white by default, as if that’s the only way you can be accepted/have power as a person of color.  It’s white-washing, because obviously, white people’s cultures are the only ones capable of creating a “race-less” society.

The show also doesn’t go out of its way to make her racially ambiguous.  She’s very fair skinned, doesn’t have a “foreign-sounding” name, and she speaks English at a native speaker’s level.  In addition, she has power, both as the Evil Queen and as Mayor Mills, thus continuing the correlation between power and whiteness. 

  1. littlereddove reblogged this from paelmoon
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  4. eshusplayground reblogged this from profound1nation and added:
    My mom didn’t need to be told either. She flat-out said, “She don’t look white.” I get what you’re saying about not...
  5. profound1nation reblogged this from paelmoon and added:
    This is just my POV, but I don’t think I personally had to be told Lana was Latina. To me, she “looks it” (as...
  6. paelmoon reblogged this from eshusplayground
  7. lifekillsrebels reblogged this from eshusplayground and added:
    So, I just started watching OUAT, and when I read the title, “They don’t say Latin@, so I guess that means White?” —...
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