Supernatural and Minorities, by Elle2
This is a sequel to my Relax, Itâ€™s Only Supernatural article. I hadnâ€™t intended to write a sequel but a comment came up that sparked my interest and hey, with Hellatus just around the corner [ducks â€“ Iâ€™m only trying to prepare people for the separation] itâ€™s good for me to warm up the writing muscles. Iâ€™ve read this before, Supernatural is too hard on minorities and as many have stated, in sum and substance, if youâ€™re not a white male, youâ€™re a bad guyâ€™. I never gave it much thought but I decided to take a peek and see if the criticism holds water. I find that it doesnâ€™t.
In this article Iâ€™ll merely state stats from the show and add my thoughts and let each reader who cares to voice his or her opinion. Again, this is merely for the sake of discussion and as I have long believed, opinions are neither right nor wrong; they simply are. Voice your opinion with full knowledge that as long as you do not vent in an aggressive, personal attack kinda way; youâ€™ll get my attention and my respect. We may not agree but thatâ€™s not the point of the exercise; the point is to discussâ€¦and pass the time until this weekâ€™s episode: Two Minutes to Midnight.
Is Supernatural too hard on minorities?
We have demons and angels and witches and vampires and shapeshifters and ghosts and they come in black and white and male and female, not too often do we come across Asian or Indian or Chinese but thatâ€™s not strange given this is a show that bills itself as crossing middle America. For the most part Supernatural avoids large cities where a great mixture of cultures is more likely. And while I know that all cultures live in all portions of America the greater demographic mix is in large cities; places Supernatural rarely frequents.
Iâ€™ve read that women are portrayed as weak or evil and that white men are fine but that blacks are particularly heavy hit with the bad character label. Iâ€™m going to look at the human and non-human character aspect as well. Where to beginâ€¦oh, heck, letâ€™s start with demons.
Azazel, Alastair, Crowley, Meg, Ruby, Lilith these are the heavy hitter demons in Supernatural. What do they all have in common? Theyâ€™re all white. In the Supernatural demon realm youâ€™re white and evenly split between male and female. Now I know that Crowley is currently playing on Team Free Will but as Ruby stated in No Rest For The Wickedâ€¦ â€œHello, demon; manipulative is kinda in the job description.â€ I donâ€™t trust him.
Along the demon trail weâ€™ve met crossroad demons who are black, white, male and female, so the crossroad demon demographic is fairly heavily leaning to white. In fact, the only time we met a black, female crossroads demon was in Crossroad Blues; otherwise, theyâ€™re white and leaning heavily to female.
Where to go next, why not to the angels: Castiel, Uriel, Anna, Zachariah, Gabriel, Rafael, Joshua, Michael and Lucifer. Iâ€™ll hold my count at nine angels that have figured heavily in the storyline. Of them only one is female and she was at best an inconsistently written character who was likeable, then whiney then mysterious and somewhat helpful; her backstory was that she was higher on the wingarchy than Castiel and Uriel so she had some leadership capacity, in the end she was reduced to evil, me thinks mostly to tie up the loose end. The character was conceived well but ultimately advanced badly. Still, sheâ€™s a white woman.
Castiel is white and heâ€™s a good guy. Zachariah was white and most definitely a bad guy. Uriel was black and most definitely a bad guy. Gabriel was more fun than anything but in the end came down on the side of good. Rafael was a one-off and didnâ€™t appear to be a good guy and likely wonâ€™t be either. Joshua was black and definitely one on the side of Team Free Will. Michael and Lucifer are â€˜destinedâ€™ to fight to the death of one of them and theyâ€™re both white. So, three black angels one distinctly evil, one likely to be evil but perhaps thereâ€™s hopeâ€¦we may never know and one definitely in the good category. Then we have four white angels all coming down on the side of bad, Zachariah, Lucifer, Michael and Annaâ€¦donâ€™t care that Michael is to kill the devil; heâ€™s mean!!! So who are we left with on the good side, Castiel and Joshua. If youâ€™re keeping track, one black and one white.
Okay. Angels and demons dispatched; itâ€™s time to focus on some humans.
Season one featured a woman in white (a white woman by the way) who killed her children and then seeks out and kills unfaithful men. Hmm, by the looks of not only Constance herself but the faces on John Winchesterâ€™s hotel room all the folks here are white.
Wendigo introduced a white female character who was strong on courage, long on family loyalty and able to go toe to toe with Dean and maintain her integrity.
Dead in the Water featured a town of white boys who killed and covered up the murder of another white boy. And a strong woman, Andrea, who while immersed in grief over the loss of her husband and father and witness to decidedly a supernatural event manages to hang onto her role as mother and keep a positive outlook in the end; definitely a strong woman.
How about Phantom Traveler with Amanda the cabin attendant. She bravely faces her fear and goes back to work after surviving a plane crash and even while witnessing demonic possession manages to help the boys do their work. Thus far none of these women are weak.
Bloody Mary gave us a white father and white girls who either purposefully killed or through chance, negligence and lack of integrity killed someone and hid their culpability.
Bugs showed an ancient Indian burial ground desecrated by white men.
Home introduced us to Missouri a strong, black woman who is capable as a mentor to Sam and Dean and a maternal figure. [and yes, sheâ€™s still alive, if we want to keep her that way we may not wish her to return; even though I adore her]
Scarecrow showed a town of white folk sacrificing innocents to a pagan god for good crops.
Route 666 showed a group of white men killing and covering up the death of a black man. Also gave us a strong mixed race woman, Cassie, who stole Deanâ€™s heart in the past and similarly went toe to toe with him and came out the winner. Dean, and Kripke and Co., clearly are not put off by the idea of interracial relationships.
The Benders shows us a white family who murders people for sport and likely eats the remainsâ€¦but thatâ€™s more implied than direct.
Nightmare showed us a white father and a white uncle abusing their son, Max and Max thus giving in to his â€˜skillsâ€™ and becoming a killer. Thus we have white abusers and white victim turned killer.
Dead Manâ€™s Blood introduced to a lair of vampires all of whom are white people. While Gordon is a black man who turns into a vampire it is the monster that does him in, not the fact that heâ€™s white. However, Gordon is an evil hunter from the get go and lest we be left with the idea that white hunters are totally on the up and up we meet hunters in Free to be You and Me and Dark Side of the Moon who clearly have crossed a line as they kill either in cold blood or take an innocent hostage and use her as a pawn.
No Exit gives us a white serial killer and Crossroad Blues shows male and female, white and black equally making deals with the devil.
Playthings shows a white girl turning evil and killing while a black nanny was the one who assisted in keeping the evil at bay for so many years.
Henrickson is a black agent who is loyal to the law and while he is a â€˜bad guyâ€™ in the sense that he hunts the Winchesters it is solely because he does not know the whole story. Upon learning the entire story Henrickson is an ally. Yes he dies but he was never really a bad guy.
House of the Holy gives us a white priest killed and then misguided in the afterlife so he sets out killing people. Similar treatment happens in Faith when a white woman plays with dark powers and traps a reaper so she can choose who lives and who dies based on her personal moral code.
All Hell Breaks Loose I and II give us a white girl, white boys and a black boy all forced to play a game of survival. Itâ€™s the white girl who coldly and calculatedly kills time and time again and from her own acknowledgement has been doing such for months. Jake is a black man who kills Sam and then does Azazelâ€™s bidding but first heâ€™s portrayed as a honorable soldier and a man loyal to his family thus giving reason for his actions, save his family. Hmm, weâ€™ve seen the Winchesters do that time and time again and they know a lot more about who and what demons are than Jake ever did.
Weâ€™re introduced to a strong black husband and wife team in Magnificent 7 who love each other and are devoted to each other. Yes, the husband dies but the wife lives and as far as we know sheâ€™s out hunting.
Bela, a character so many love to hate, is a white woman who had abusive parents whom she killed and spent the rest of her life conning people and lying and stealing peopleâ€™s money.
We meet a drunken, druggie, porn addicted white santa in A Very Supernatural Christmasâ€¦certainly not a picture for the kiddies.
Witches are suburban white women greedy for money or prestige.
A white doctor creates a way for people to dream and a white man, whose father beat him as a child, takes revenge on the doctor and anyone else he deems worthy of his wrath.
Monster Movie introduces us to a strong white woman who knows who she is, goes into a relationship, one night that is, with Dean with her eyes wide open and fully cognizant of the fact that this is a night of sex and not much more. In the end she is intelligent, witty, brave and logical and she saves the boysâ€™ baconâ€¦not to mention her own.
Yellow Fever introduces us to a white man who killed the town simpleton, who was harmless and sweet, over misplaced jealousy.
Family Remains showed a father who abused his daughter, she gave birth to twins, and he trapped them forever in the house so that they were portrayed as animals.
Criss Angel introduced us to a group of white magicians, one of whom dabbled in black magic so as to have immortality.
Weâ€™ve seen characters lie, betray, act promiscuously, steal, break the laws, dabble in black magic, make deals with demons and theyâ€™ve all been male and theyâ€™ve all been white â€“ in the above descriptions I was only thinking of Sam and Dean Winchester.
I donâ€™t even need to go back up and start countingâ€¦the tally is that if youâ€™re white and male, chances are good that youâ€™re a bad guy. If youâ€™re white and female, chances are good that you either killed your children, your spouse or stood by and let others do it.
However, there are many white female characters that are strong, and yes dead; Mary, Ellen, Jessica, Jo. There is also Deputy Hudak from The Benders, Detective Ballard from The Usual Suspects, PD Mara Daniels from Folsom Prison Blues and Sheriff Mills from Dead Men Donâ€™t Where Plaid who are strong professionals able to withstand grief, beatings, betrayal and intimidation to do their job and yes, help the Winchesters.
There are also white male characters that are good, Bobby comes to mind, Pastor Jim is another. The men in 99 Problems from the militia were white and doing what they believed to be heavenâ€™s workâ€¦mislead they might have been.
There are black characters that were bad guys, Gordon, Uriel but thereâ€™s also Henrickson and Rufus to balance that side. We also have Joshua to love and even George Darrow from Crossroad Blues who foolishly made a deal with a demon but in the end came full circle and accepted his fate with dignity.
And lest we forget there are the four horsemen, all evil and allâ€¦you guessed it white.
So again, all this talk about minorities getting the short shrift is not the full picture. People remember that Gordon was bad and Uriel was bad and now Kali was pictured as loose and damsel in distressy and think that Supernatural is mean to minorities. I say run the numbers, folks, white women kill their kids, make deals with demons, kill their boyfriends and/or spouses or dabble in witchcraft to win prizes at local raffles. White men abuse their children, kill their spouses, hunt and kill the Winchesters and or threaten innocents, kill black men, defile Indian burial grounds, kill as children and spend the rest of their lives hiding the crime, kill for good crops, kill for sport and the list goes on and on and on.
For those who are convinced Supernatural is mean to minorities I have a simple prescription 104 episodes of Supernatural during Hellatus and that should clear up the myth that Supernatural is mean to minorities. If anything, white men should be very, very afraid, good or bad, theyâ€™ve got reason to fear the reaper.
Thanks for reading.