Carlos is not white

doing-it-different asked: I've noticed you comment your trademark 'Carlos is not white' in several pictures where he is several shades darker than Cecil (hinsabbies, and elkscanfly for example). This seems unfair, given that he would be described as 'dark' (a relative term) by most white people. What I am worried about is whether you are unconsciously denying status as POC to people of mixed descent, many of whose skin colours' would match the shade in which Carlos in portrayed in said pictures. What is your rationale?

Well, you’d know the answer to all of those questions if you’d bother to have read the FAQ, but since I’ve been horribly neglecting this community because of finals anyway, I might as well show my face on tumblr and post a reply.

First off, Cecil is often drawn literally snow-pale. (Another issue but not really the purview of this blog) He is certainly quit pale in both of those pictures.So, the question really is, why is the far-white end of the spectrum your baseline for judging what is dark? 

To put it another way, whiteness is not the baseline or default for human skin tones. The baseline, or “average” human skin tone is sure as fuck not that light, and what one chooses as their point of comparison for deciding what is relatively dark, is itself very telling.

"Dark" compared to white people?  Sure.  "Dark" when actually bothering to factor all of humanity in? Nooooo. And if you aren’t considering all of humanity, if you are using white people (in the case of many of these pictures, rather pallid white people) as your "neutral" base of comparison, then I think you need to ask yourself whiy. 

tl;dr, the fact that (you claim) most white people would describe three shades shy of alabaster as dark is, really, a rather large part of the problem in the first place, so I feel pretty comfortable calling attention to that. 

Secondly I don’t know how many times i need to explain this, but no matter how many light skinned PoCs exist, and they do, Carlos is not a light-skinned PoC. And pointing that out does not repudiate the existance of light-skinned PoCs. Hell, there are plenty of white Latino people. Lord knows the fandom dredged up like 80% of them to fancast as Carlos, but none of those people are Carlos, because Carlos is a dark-skinned non white-passing PoC. 

You will also note that I never call out PoC fancasts no matter how light they are, precisely because I do believe in the primacy of an individual’s identity, although again, such light-skinned PoCs are not appropriate for Carlos. 

On the other hand, pictures someone drew, of pale people with white features, aren’t PoC who happen to be light-skinned, they are the deliberate creations of a human being who made a conscious decision to erase a canonically dark-skinned PoC, and so they do not get the same wide courtesy I give to actors in this regard. 

If you actually want to know what my decision process is then I will once more refer you to the FAQ as if I write any more I’d really just be repeating myself verbatim anyway. 

babybird-with-pastel-flowercrown asked: you are totally right! whitewashing is a great problem, i see! but you cant solve the problem by the way you do. you only make the artists angry or sad. because everybody has the right to imagine a fictional charakter the way they want. you dont have to tell me that the character carlos is discribed as dark, because i already know. and there are artworks iv seen where he is shown dark and you also say your comment. arent there more important thinks than critizice people about fictional(!)charas?

1)

So, whitewashing is a great problem, and you propose we solve it by never ever criticizing people when they do it? How does that work? In fact if we do as you say, people will assume whitewashing is not a problem, because (they will say)  ”no one is complaining.” 

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

― Zora Neale Hurston

Speaking up and naming the harm that people do when they whitewash is, in fact, a critical part of combating it. If you actually have a better way (other than “do nothing”), however, please tell me.

2)

Sometimes we feel sad in life when we realize we have hurt other people, but our sadness at causing harm is not more important than the harm we have caused, and we should take responsibility for our actions and accept criticism in that case. 

In the case of anger, someone’s indignation at being criticized is certainly not more important than the harm they caused other people through their actions (in this case whitewashing), and they still need to take responsibility for the thing that they did. 

3)

There is a saying that people have the right to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. Whether Carlos is a non-white-passing dark-skinned PoC is not a matter for personal opinion, but a settled, canon fact. 

A case of someone choosing to erase the fact that he has dark skin is a problem. It is harmful erasure, and while someone certainly has the legal right to whitewash Carlos, I think such a person should ask themselves why they think Carlos would be better if he was white or white-passing. 



Tl;dr, people deserve criticism when they do something wrong. They need to know that what they did is not acceptable, and other people need to see that what they did is not being accepted. 

Whitewashing in the media is a very important issue which touches many aspects of daily life and causes concrete harm for many people. It is in fact a crucial issue to call attention to. 

babybird-with-pastel-flowercrown asked: oh iv forgot something to say: you wrote that the wtnv fans are trying to make carlos white by drawing him with not accactly dark skin or whatever. i think thats wrong :) most artworks are clearly showing him with darker skin, not THAT dark, but thats a cause of the drawers personal style, the strenght of the colors and stuff. i see no semihate or something in the fandom, sorry. and in my opinion you have not the right to tell every artist with "carlos is not white" that they are semihaters.

"Darker" skin. Darker than what? If the only metric in which something is "dark" is that it is darkER than the usual shade of shining alabaster or pale creamy peach used for white characters, then it is dishonest to claim that the character is being portrayed with dark skin, as Carlos canonically has. 

I’m glad that you at least can recognize this on some level. (“not THAT dark”), and I hope you will come to recognize the underlying problem with the attitude that lets us accept such light shades as “dark” at all. It is an attitude that is hostile towards seeing the whole spectrum of humanity, because if the whole spectrum were taken into account, such shades could not with any honesty be called “dark.”

If someone’s personal “style” is to draw things such that dark-skinned non-white-passing PoC characters could legitimately be interpreted as  moderately tanned white guys, then that is an area they should work on, because representation is important, and in doing so they have committed erasure. 

I make no assumptions or offer any speculations about their motives. In fact, as I have said before,  I believe that most of the time the whitewashing is completely unconscious. But I am concerned with the consequences of their actions, and not their motives, and the actions ought to be criticized based on that.

Not only do I have the right to do so, but I have a positive moral obligation to speak out when people hurt others with harmful acts like whitewashing. 

floralhootax asked: What is your exact cut off for what is considered white and non-white? I've seen many pieces with him on the tag and then be surprised when they've turned up here because I honestly believed that he was being portrayed as a PoC.

You seem to be asking for some kind of “hard line” like a math formula or hex codes for a list of color values I find acceptable, but I know you must realize it doesn’t make sense to expect such a thing for a subjective topic like this.

Judgments about such (and most other things in the realms of sociology and ethics) can only be made by humans to the best of our ability. If you would like to know more about my personal process for doing so, it’s in the FAQ. If you still have specific questions after reading the FAQ, feel free to ask again.