You know that the actress of May (Ming-Na) is Chinese? Don’t see racism everywhere, that’s kind of sad. It’s Whedon! No “whitewashing” here.
Uh, yeah, that’s why I said five of the six main cast are white or pass for white (Chloe passes, May is Chinese).
Let’s look at some stats of prior Whedon shows…
Buffy: no PoC regular characters till the last season (you could argue for Charisma Carpenter, however)
Angel: one (Gunn), arguably two (Charisma Carpenter is mixed race), then later on Gina Torres
Firefly: three out of nine
Dollhouse: two out of seven (arguably three, as Tahmoh Penikett is also mixed race)
It’s a better track record than some, but it’s not spectacular.
And as for “seeing racism everywhere” - my biggest problem is not that the main cast is mostly white, but that the main cast is white while the bad guys are not. The main cast casting may not be racist - but that is.
PROTIP: wanna know why people see racism everywhere? IT’S EVERYWHERE
Yeah, actually. After the episode with Scorch (and the woc who lead him to his demise), the episode reminded me a comment the casting director of Sleepy Hollow made. They said that the reason why they cast a lot of poc on the show was to avoid the problem that a lot of shows find themselves in. They’d cast the show white - and then the network would be all, “You need a diverse cast!” and their nod to this would be either a ‘token’ member of a team from another race. Or, if they had a bad guy on that had to be killed off, you got an actor that was poc.
The powers that be at Sleepy Hollow tried to avoid being in a position where all the lead characters were white and then when the characters needed an antagonist it wouldn’t be a person of colour (to tick the boxes of diversity and big bad). Agents of Shield falls into the trap that the Sleepy Hollow people try to avoid.
It’s ironic, because Joss Whedon co opted Junot Diaz’s quote about lack of representation and monsters- and for Whedon it stops at him writing Black Widow (a white heroine) in a Marvel movie.
Alongside the clunky writing and wooden acting, the lack of diversity on Agents of SHIELD is one reason I’ve stopped watching.
Interesting that Sleepy Hollow is brought up. While not to my tastes as a show, Fox are doing some interesting regarding diversity and their shows.
Any fan who uses “It’s Whedon!” to dismiss fellow fandom concerns about diversity in the Whedonverse needs to take a much closer look at his previous body of work and the current work being reflected on Agents of SHIELD. The person-of-color antagonist/victim of the week shtick is getting really old (and the one episode where the antagonist of the week was not a person of color, they still managed to stereotype the country of Malta.) And it’s not that SHIELD should only be facing off against white people or rescuing white people—go diverse side characters and PoC villains—it’s the contrast between who gets to be a hero, who gets to be a series regular (and who gets to be the recipient of SHIELD’s benevolent martial services) that makes it cringe worthy.
It’s hard to reconcile the stuff Whedon says about feminism and diversity (quoting Junot Diaz, no less) with what his work shows us. His work doesn’t match his words, and it’s painful to acknowledge that.
(FOX ignored a lot of Asian American outcry about Dads this season and aired Firefly without noticing the whitewashing, too…)