Can’t Be Diverse! Can They? “Lord of the Rings stars speak out against racist ‘threats, harassment, and abuse’.”
The headlines shout it out, “Lord of the Rings stars speak out against racist ‘threats, harassment, and abuse’.” And “Original Lord of the Rings hobbits show support for The Rings of Power cast after racist attacks.” Fans complain that the “woke” agenda is ruining The Rings of Power, The House of the Dragon, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and all science fiction and fantasy. Why, these fans complain, can’t we go back to not having politics ruin everything?
Those who see diversity and representation as a threat to their fan experience complain that the new representation is not true to the source material. Even though the source material often never says anything about skin color, these fans see only themselves in the story. But why?
It’s because, until recently, certain people, specifically straight white cisgendered men and women, were the only ones represented in visual adaptations of science fiction and fantasy. They were the only ones centered. It was their agenda at the forefront of the fan experience, but for some reason that fact is unseen. If you are a non-white fan of any race, you get the centered white agenda thrown at you. If you are woman of any race, you get the centered male agenda thrown at you. If you are not gender conforming or not heterosexual, you get the cisgender heterosexual agenda thrown at you. The new representation does not attack the original fan experience; in fact, it is intended to expand the wonder of these fandoms to everyone.
Simply expanding representation doesn’t erase anybody. If different representation is a turnoff or even enraging, why is that? When these shows were to the original fans’ liking, everyone watched the show and absorbed the supremacist messages. But who were the heroes of the narratives? Who was the important one in the story? (Hint: the men.) Who was there to merely help the hero? Sidekick? Partner? Hint: it was the woman, maybe more than one woman fighting over the hero, or any of the supporting cast of non-whites, gay friends, and clearly subordinate people.
When we on the margins are not represented in a fantasy universe, or any kind of fiction, we are simply invited to take the adventure along with the white hero. Nobody sees themselves as the supporting player in any heroic story. However, when the hero looks like us, and we are represented, those not like use refuse to take the journey and are enraged at the invitation; Enraged at any art that does not have them at the center, even as the public embraces crowd-pleasing fare such as Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, and She-Hulk.
Those who are accustomed to being at the center do not appreciate coming along on our journeys. This shows us how much some people simply expect to be centered, and do not like that expectation to come under any question whatsoever. They are used to living in the middle of our stories and do not like the margins. What the “woke” agenda is pushing is that it is not okay for any of us to be on the margins. We need to expand the middle, so that no one is on the margins.
Lord of the Rings stars speak out against racist ‘threats, harassment, and abuse’
Original Lord of the Rings hobbits show support for The Rings of Power cast after racist attacks