Tag Archives: biracial

Socially Conscious Comedy Part II: Key and Peele on Being Black in America

Seeing how I love to pretend that binge-watching comedy sketches counts as research, I decided to follow up on last week’s post about Amy Schumer with a post about Key and Peele.

I find a lot of Schumer’s work funny because I can relate to it. It’s not quite the same with Key and Peele, since I am neither black, nor male, nor American.

Although sometimes their characters aren’t male either.

Even though I have little in common with Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, I do find their work hilarious. They do a variety of flawless impressions and have a much wider range than Schumer, who generally sticks to one (albeit very funny) schtick.

Like Schumer, they also take on some very serious social issues in their comedy. Since they are both half-black, Key and Peele often touch on the way racism affects the lives of black or biracial individuals. Below, I’ve included three racial inequalities that Key and Peele do a great job revealing via their sketches.

1) Racial Profiling and Police Violence

As a Canadian, the prevalence of police violence towards black Americans blows my mind.  Don’t get me wrong, Canada certainly has our own problems when it comes to police violence. That said, our more recent incidents of violence are due to taser-overuse, rather than unnecessary use of a firearm. It’s uncomfortable to watch cases of police violence when they are discussed on American news, since the focus tends to be on whether or not the victim of police violence “deserved it.” Black victims, even twelve-year-olds with pellet guns, are framed as threatening, in order to excuse why a cop discharged their firearm.

Key and Peele often subvert this “threatening black man” trope in their sketches. In “Flash Mob” and “White Zombies” Key and Peele play non-threatening black men who are mistaken as dangerous by the white people (or white zombies) around them.

Similarly, “Solution to Racial Profiling” mocks the racial double-standard that fames black youth in hoodies as “thugs” while their white peers are described as “misunderstood”.

One of their more serious sketches, “Negrotown,” addresses police violence directly, by imagining a world where police violence and racial profiling no longer existed.

Continue reading

Not A Review Of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The book in question, the eighth by Gabrielle Zevin, an author more known for her YA [young adult] fare, is one that I have altogether too many thoughts about. I’m choosing not to dub this post a review proper, as it’s really a slightly more cohesive version of one of the stream of consciousness responses to books/films/etc. that blogger/writer J. Caleb Mozzocco is so fond of doing.

In order to make this easier for all of you to read, and with no offence whatsoever meant to Mozzocco [whose writing I enjoy quite a bit] I have boiled down this post to the three primary thoughts I was left with once I’d closed the book.

To be upfront with everyone I also want to state, before starting, that I enjoyed reading this novel and while this will definitely make more sense having read it, I hope to have written it in such a way that doesn’t spoil anything and piques your interest enough to pick it up. Continue reading

People Are Upset About Aveline de Grandpré [What Else Is New?]

So this news came out while I was still at camp, so I’m definitely a little behind the times. Ubisoft revealed at E3 in early June that another game in the Assassin’s Creed series would be joining Assassin’s Creed III when it launched this October 30th. The following is a trailer for that game:


The AC franchise has always been ahead of its time in terms of racial representation. Altaïr ibn La’Ahad, a Syrian assassin, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Italian, and Ratohnhaké:ton [Conor Kenway], English/Mohawk are the stars of the first, second, and third games respectively. Each game has given slavish devotion to historical accuracy, but each has also starred a male protagonist. Until now.

Aveline de Grandpré is an African/French assassin, the only black female video game character I can think of besides Rochelle of Left 4 Dead 2, and from what I can tell a complete and total badass. This is a huge step on Ubisoft’s part, and I’m both impressed and proud that they’ve made this choice. Especially when the reception was so expected.

Clicking on the image to the left will bring up comments on the video I posted. Choice comments are:

Yup, [I know] AC isnt so realistic, but a women? :/

okay a female is reasonable but seriously y does she have to be black! wtf

looks like i’m not alone on this lol. so many people think i’m racist or something lol

It may seem like this is only to be expected from the video game community, often [and accurately] thought to be both extremely racist and sexist.  It was only earlier this year that fans of the book series The Hunger Games took to the internet to express their disgust that Rue, a character in the novel, was portrayed by a black actress in the film.

The image on the right is one of many incredibly offensive tweets about the casting. Jezebel reported on the phenomenon early this year, but it seems that it’s not the only Hunger Games related news that the site has to write about this year.

While the role of Panem-ian heartthrob Finick Odair has already been  given to Sam Claflin, months earlier a campaign was started to give it to biracial actor Jesse Williams. This was, again, met with some pretty intense criticism. From racists. Unfortunately a lot of the negative/ignorant comments on this messageboard have been deleted, though Jezebel’s write-up on the situation can be read hereThe campaign tumblr is still out there, though it now also discusses racial casting, which I definitely don’t have a problem with.

Suffice to say, the world still has a ways to go before we, in North America, anyway, can simply start accepting that not everyone out there is white, and therefore not everyone who appears in art, either electronic or literary, is either. These comments I posted may just be an example of the “loud minority,” but if female or nonwhite protagonists are really a big deal, maybe we should be loud as well.

I think Aveline de Grandpré is an amazing addition to an already stellar video game series. I think it is fantastic that she’s black and that she is a woman, and I think that you should too.