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The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.
Scott Wood (X)

(Source: luvyourselfsomeesteem)

Sameface Syndrome and other stories

turbomun:

In October of 2012, I was enrolled in one of my first serious animation classes, with a professor who I rather admired. I admired him so much, in fact, that I caught him outside of class time and asked him to review a few of my personal character designs. I was a very mediocre artist at that point (as opposed to now, where I’m a slightly less mediocre artist) and upon presenting my teacher with my designs, which were all intended to be different characters with different stories and different appearances, he barely had to scrutinize them before he delivered his verdict: “They all have the same face.”

And, I was dismayed to discover, he was right.

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Since then, I have studied long and hard, so that my female characters may no longer have the Exact Same Face. Huh…female characters. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

A few months after this incident, the official character designs for Disney’s Frozen were leaked.

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Up until then, all we had seen was concept art, which was so far removed from these that a lot of people thought they were faked, me among them. I seriously believed that someone with too much time on their hands had photomanipulated some screenshots of Rapunzel and tried to pass them off as the official Frozen designs. After all, there was no way that a major animation studio like Disney would knowingly, willfully produce three princesses with the Exact Same Face.

And again…princesses. Female characters. Exact Same Face. Something is amiss here.

Unfortunately, I overestimated Disney, and it was revealed that these were the real character designs indeed. Even though I will concede that, yes, there are some slight differences between the Frozen girls and Rapunzel, there are zero changes in the faces of Anna and Elsa. Zero. They have the same facial structure, the same eyes eyes, the same nose, the same mouth…and while we’re at it, the same body too, with the exception of Elsa being a little taller. The only differences are in skin tone and surface details, such as freckles and makeup (which, as I’ll cover in a moment, don’t fulfill even the most rudimentary basics of good character design — but we’ll get to that). So, how did this happen? How did a design mistake that would get you called out in a beginning animation class end up in a major Disney release?

In my opinion, the answer isn’t necessarily limited time, which was certainly a factor in Frozen, or laziness, or the fact that they’re all CG characters (sorry, 2D animation advocates, but lots of 3D girls do not look identical). To me, this speaks to a disturbing trend in Disney’s general approach towards designing female characters.

But first, some context…

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