The Dark Fantastic, by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

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In The Dark Fantastic, Thomas writes a study of darker-skinned people in fantastic popular culture. She covers Rue, from Hunger Games, who is described as “dark-skinned” in the book, but got a torrent of horribly racist comments when Rue was cast as black in the movie. To the white mind, and sometimes even to the brown or black mind, innocent characters should not be cast as black. Another rage emerged when Guinevere was cast as black in the TV show Merlin.

Thomas mentions that there is a paucity of dark-skinned people in fantastic literature, and that could be part of the reason why dark-skinned people tend to not be considered the audience of fantastic literature – because they can’t relate to the characters. It is quite possible for dark-skinned people to find heroes in white people, but why not have some dark-skinned people that they can view as heroes?

In most shows / books, dark-skinned people are shoved off to the side as supporting characters to white characters like Luka Martin in Vampire Diaries. They are meant to serve, not to be powerful characters themselves.

I had heard previously that fantastic literature lacked in diverse characters, but had never spent much time thinking about it. Now I feel like reading books more carefully to see how they are portrayed. This was a fantastic piece of nonfiction for anyone interested in diverse voices in literature.

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2 thoughts on “The Dark Fantastic, by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

  1. This sounds like an interesting book. Though I profess to like fantasy I have mostly only read some of the more popular books. I do suspect that there is a lack of dark skinned characters in this genre but I hope and suspect that the situation is changing.

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