The back half of this video started to crystalize some things I was already thinking about after watching the latest season of Kimmy Schmidt this past couple weeks.
Kimmy Schmidt took some heat in the first season for revealing that a white rich lady was secretly native american, despite being played by the very white, [polish mostly] Jane Krakowski. despite the probably deserved flack the show used the angle to talk about mixed race and native american issues in a way that a lot of TV today and certainly historically just wouldn’t try.
Similarly with Overwatch the game has courted some controversy for it’s first nations Pharah skins and it’s Polynesian Roadhog skins which certainly feel at least a little like appropriation, and it if isn’t (if Pharah was always part First nations, if Roadhog is actually Polynesian or part Polynesian) they haven’t done a great job of communicating that. but in particular Tracers Lion Dance emote stuck out to me because that comes as a direct result of Overwatch having done a Lunar New Year event. and in fact probably all of these variably questionable cultural references probably stem from a deliberate attempt from the Overwatch team to represent a multicultural and global community instead of a more common America centric approach. It’s an attempt which, even just coming from Exotic Canada I appreciate.
None of this is to say that we should overlook the shortcomings in these or other works. and I certainly don’t want to tell people. least of all people in a minority how they should feel about any of this. I just think that as more and more creators make admirable attempts to step beyond their own cultural perspective and represent the broader diversity in the world we are more and more going to find instances where they misstep, and I think we need to have an awareness and an understanding that this sort of thing is going to accompany attempts to broaden the representation and the worldview of stories that we tell.