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Dogasu's Backpack | Pokemon Bashing | Pokémon is Racist!
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skin. The long, blonde hair. The big red lips. The
wiggly hips. Is it any wonder that people have found a racist
black stereotype in Pokemon #124, Rougela (Jynx)? Here's an
article reprinted from the "Black
World Today" website. After a brief introduction, the accusations
It is interesting to note the date of the article. The article was written on January 5th, 2000, less than a month after the first episode featuring Jynx, "Holiday Hi-Jynx," premiered on Kids' WB! Since that time, a number of things have happened to the character:
I've never thought of Jynx as a human-type pokemon! I thought it was some sort of penguin or a bear!
Yes, I've actually read someone post that on a message board once.
Aside from the fact that it doesn't look like either of those things, the pokemon is listed in the PokéDex as a "HumanShape Pokemon," both in the English and Japanese versions.
Well, what about Mr. Mime? Isn't it a stereotype of white people?
No. Unlike Rougela, Barriered (Mr. Mime) is clearly based on a mime. The clown hair, the way it performs its attacks like a mime, the pointy shoes, the rosy cheeks, the fact that it was in a circus in the anime before becoming Hanako's errand boy, etc...all give away its origin.
So the whole "Mr. Mime is based on white people" argument would only work if Caucasians were stereotyped as being mimes. Last time I checked, they weren't.
Aren't Lombre and Ludicolo stereotypes of Mexicans?
You could argue
that. The characters' names and sombrero-shaped leaves on their
heads are suspicious, but the episodes featuring people who are obviously
based on Mexicans ("Take the Lombre Home" and "Go Go Ludicolo") leave
little to the imagination. However, the major difference between
these two pokemon and Jynx is the fact that nobody's complained about
Lombre and Ludicolo. If
somebody had, then the characters would be banned, you can bet on that.
as of this writing, nobody's really raised a funk about the characters.
So yeah, the
characters are stereotypes, but they're not really harsh
stereotypes. Lombre and Ludicolo aren't always napping, they
aren't filthy, and they aren't problem drinkers. You've never
seen a bunch of Lombre crammed into a car, nor have you seen Ludicolo
doing all sorts of yardwork. You know, the sort of features that
the really nasty stereotypes of Mexicans all have. On the
contrary, Lombre and Ludicolo are quite energetic and happy-go-lucky,
and they don't share anything in common with Mexican stereotypes other
than the sombrero.
However, Jynx has
a number of the same attributes that black stereotypes are known for
having, which is probably why people have been so harsh to Jynx while
practically ignoring Lombre and Ludicolo.
Hey, Shellder and Gastly have black faces! Let's ban them too!
Umm...no. Shellder is a clam, and Gastly is a ghost.
Besides that, Rougela's black skin is only one of the features that makes it a negative stereotype. It's the whole package that makes her a negative stereotype, not just the skin.
The problem with these "but ___ is a negative stereotype, so why haven't they been banned!?" statements is that nobody has acted on any of these. Ms. Weatherford saw a character whom she believed was a negative stereotype, and she DID something about it. She wrote a well-researched article and got it printed on a respectable news website (instead of, say, some random Pokemon fansite). Nobody's done that with, say, Lombre, which is why the character is still around today.
Jynx's doesn't have black skin; if you look at Pokemon Stadium, you can see that its face is more like a void with eyes and lips.
That's just in Pokemon
Stadium, which, at the most, can be considerd a non-canon
source. To my knowledge, this "void with eyes and lips" idea
isn't present in the anime, any of the manga, the trading card games,
or any other form of media. The thing is, it still has the wiggly
hips, the huge lips, the black hands and feet, the blonde hair, the
Jynx isn't based on black people! It's based on the Japanese ganguro fad from a couple of years ago!
About five years ago, there was a fad among Japanese girls called ganguro. The ganguro, which is often translated as "black face," was a fad in which girls would dye their hair blonde or white and tan their skin as dark as they could get it in an attempt to be "trendy." You can read more about it here. There are many people out there who are absolutely convinced that the pokemon is based on the fad, and they will argue with you all day to argue their point.
There are several problems with this argument. Why
would the Japanese producers pick that one particular fad to turn into
a pokemon when there are plenty of other things going around Japan that
could have just as easily been turned into a pokemon? That's like
basing a pokemon on POGs or Beanie Babies; sure, it'll get some laughs
at the time, but it won't be too long before the joke begins to show
Besides that, the date of the pokemon's conception would
predate the fad by a few years. If we are to believe the Time
Magazine article that states that Pokemon Red and Green
took six years to complete, and the game came out in 1996, then that
means that the pokemon was created some time between 1990 and 1996.
The ganguro fad was at its height in 1995, so if Tajiri
Satoshi was going to base a pokemon on the fad, then he would have only
had a year to do so. Character concepts / creation would have
been one of the first steps completed in
the creation of the game, so in 1995 the character would have already
long past completed. Tajiri Satoshi wouldn't have been creating
characters in 1995; he was most likely busy trying to program the game
a way to keep his company from going bankrupt month after month.
Then there are other features that link Jynx to a racist
stereotype rather than the ganguro girls; for one thing, the ganguro
girls didn't have oversized lips, and they wore white or pink
lipstick--not red. Their skin was tanned or dark brown, but they
were never jet black the
way Rougela's was. The bottoms of their feet weren't a different
color, while Jynx's feet (as seen in "Stage Fight") are a lighter color
than the rest of her.
Jynx is based on a Nordic Ice Princess!
This is the most logical argument.
People argue that the pokemon is supposed to be based on a
Viking ice princess. The argument is that the character's dress
and gloves denote the pokemon's princess origins, and its long blonde
hair scream "royalty" more than it does "black stereotype." In
addition, it would explain why the pokemon is an Ice / Psychic type,
since the princess in the myths uses ice as her main element.
Finally, it is believed that Rougela's black skin comes from a
part in the story that describes how the princess' skin is black due to
blistering cold in which she's surrounded.
While the argument makes sense, I have been unable to locate anything regarding the tale. I've Googled over a dozen different word combinations, but I'm unable to come up with anything about any ice princesses. The people who argue this haven't provided any links either, so at the moment the argument is pretty much based on people's memory of a tale they heard a long time ago.
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