Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Discussion regarding the entirety of the franchise in a general (meta) sense, including such aspects as: production, trends, merchandise, fan culture, and more.

Moderators: Kanzenshuu Staff, General Help

User avatar
Cipher
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5473
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Nagano
Contact:

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by Cipher » Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:32 am

soppa saia people wrote:
s841 wrote:I said their skin not race. Is there skin not white?
Yes
That's kind of asinine (also, remember how much people still lose it over Goku's more manga-accurate skin tone in GT?). In the anime, as in many anime, their skin tones are quite white-appearing. I'm not entirely sure why that became a convention of the medium (other than its roots in Western animation), but it is.

User avatar
Kid Buu
I Live Here
Posts: 3944
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:02 am

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by Kid Buu » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:11 am

Well, do you know what tokenism is? It's generally when a minority is included to show diversity. A famous reference of this is in South Park, where the only black kid in the school is literally called Token.

In the context of this joke, Piccolo is the only "coloured" person in the group, and therefore he is the token black guy.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

User avatar
TheKingOfKamehamehas
Beyond-the-Beyond Newbie
Posts: 343
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:16 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by TheKingOfKamehamehas » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:54 am

Chris Sabat voices him with a really deep voice and a general stereotype is that black people have deep voices even though I don't really find that true.
He also is bald and it is more common for a black person to be have little hair than any other race.

Other than that I don't really know to be honest.
JacobYBM wrote:Art is subjective but boobies are forever.

precita
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5467
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:10 pm

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by precita » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:59 am

I never once thought Chris Sabat's Piccolo "sounds black" or whatever that means.

If anything Sabat does a good African-native accent with Mr. Popo and Commander Black of the Red Ribbon army.

User avatar
Big Momma
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5150
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:21 pm
Location: Munciana

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by Big Momma » Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:21 am

Even in my circle of friends, Piccolo was considered the "black guy". I never really saw a problem with it, because it's not meant in a bad/demeaning way, and Piccolo is awesome. I guess it has a little to do with him being the "minority" of the group (The only green guy), his (dub) voice which has that gruff and intensity of a tough black guy's voice, and his overall tough personality.

On top of that, WeeklyTubeShow's awesome parodies pushed that image further.
Rocketman(In response to a post about Pandora's Box) wrote: I sat here for ten damn minutes wondering what the hell God of War had to do with any of this.
Insertclevername wrote:I plan to lose my virginity to Dragon Box 2.
Youtube | Art/Animation Blog
Want to join the (Un)Official Kanzenshuu Discord Server?~Click Here~

User avatar
TripleRach
Moderator
Posts: 2656
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2004 5:08 pm
Location: Ohio, USA
Contact:

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by TripleRach » Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:26 am

I've seen Piccolo portrayed as "black" in fan parodies for as long as I've been in the fandom (since 2000). This was back in the old days before Youtube, so they were all written or image parodies.

Due to the timing of it, it's quite possible that people were still thinking more of Scott McNeil than Chris Sabat. Or some of those parodies might have predated Sabat entirely.

But that's all the unique insight I have to add about this.
-Rachel

NeoKING
Advanced Regular
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:55 pm

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by NeoKING » Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:36 am

Herms wrote:Is this really a thing? I don't think I've ever encountered it before.
No, trust me, it is. Among a lot of other fellow black fans of the show, there's been a longstanding joke that Piccolo has always been the black guy of DBZ. I don't even know when we "realized" this to even make it a thing. But yeah, it is.

User avatar
swimtrunks
Not-So-Newbie
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:36 pm

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by swimtrunks » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:46 am

It was said a few years ago by a black comedian that Panthro of the ThunderCats was the unofficial black person of that cartoon.

I think the same applies to Dragon Ball Z.

User avatar
B
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5561
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:15 am
Contact:

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by B » Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:07 am

precita wrote:If anything Sabat does a good African-native accent with Mr. Popo and Commander Black of the Red Ribbon army.
What? He's not doing an accent in either of these instances. For Popo he just sounds like an idiot(possibly a little effeminate) and for Black he's just... well-spoken. I guess I don't hear enough Africans in my day-to-day?
Keen Observation of Dragon Ball Z Movie 4's Climax wrote:Slug shits to see the genki

User avatar
Super Sonic
I Live Here
Posts: 4970
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2004 4:45 pm

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by Super Sonic » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:00 pm

swimtrunks wrote:It was said a few years ago by a black comedian that Panthro of the ThunderCats was the unofficial black person of that cartoon.

I think the same applies to Dragon Ball Z.
Well, Earle Hymen who voiced him is African American.

As for view from an actual African American, I admit I never really thought of it with Piccolo, aside from picturing Michael Jai White (Gamble in Dark Knight, Spawn) playing him in a live action adaptation.

Kuririn Fan
Banned Alternate Account
Posts: 2313
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:32 pm

Re: Why is Piccolo Considerd "The Black Guy"?

Post by Kuririn Fan » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:15 pm

successoroffate wrote:He's known as "Big Green" on the streets.
Yes, he's the realest madafakin G in these streets.

User avatar
TheUltimateVegito
OMG CRAZY REG
Posts: 985
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:37 am
Location: Buu's Nightmares

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by TheUltimateVegito » Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:09 pm

YouTube account:
https://www.youtube.com/user/SuperVegitoSSJ2

PSN: Songojames

My Reddit account is also Songojames

Thouser
Beyond Newbie
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:18 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by Thouser » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:31 pm

Lunatic Fringe wrote:basically a meme along with ... Popo being a racist caricature ... so it's safe to say that it's not something that you're supposed to approach with a studious curiosity.
Popo being a racist caricature isn't a meme or joke, it's just a fact. He has big round white eyes, black skin, and big red lips: all elements seen together in racist "darky" iconography (such as the kind seen here: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blac ... o_list.jpg).

It's not like this iconography was unknown in Japan, either (http://tomos.exblog.jp/4398257/).

(Racist images in the links, obviously)

In one of the tournament arcs, I'm pretty sure we see a black audience member drawn this way too, so it wasn't even just Popo either.
"Like that bald punk? Killyin... You're talking about Killyin?!!" - Anime Labs

「他们並不是我孫兒... 是我弟弟。」 - 龜仙人

User avatar
dbgtFO
Kicks it Old-School
Posts: 7737
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:07 pm
Contact:

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by dbgtFO » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:56 pm

Thouser wrote:In one of the tournament arcs, I'm pretty sure we see a black audience member drawn this way too, so it wasn't even just Popo either.
Yes it's just before Goku meets up with the others at the 22nd Tournament.

User avatar
TheZFighter
Regular
Posts: 526
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:40 am

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by TheZFighter » Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:13 pm

I've always considered him "The Green Guy", personally.
Z-Fighters fan.

Goku, Yamcha, Krillin, Tien, Chiaotzu, Yajirobe, Gohan, Piccolo, Vegeta, Future Trunks, Android 18, Goten, Trunks and Majin Buu.

precita
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5467
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:10 pm

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by precita » Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:28 pm

I think its telling for a Japanese anime to include so many different races.

You have Indians with Nam, Native Americans with Uppa and Bora, you have Russians with Suno and her family, etc. I think Toriyama did a good job in putting different races of people in the show, something most anime doesn't do.

User avatar
Cipher
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5473
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Nagano
Contact:

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by Cipher » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:05 pm

precita wrote:I think its telling for a Japanese anime to include so many different races.

You have Indians with Nam, Native Americans with Uppa and Bora, you have Russians with Suno and her family, etc. I think Toriyama did a good job in putting different races of people in the show, something most anime doesn't do.
Most of those are horrible stereotypes, though.

Which I'm not going to hold against Toriyama too much. Japan was very late, and still is, in some sense, in catching up to peer countries in terms of racial sensitivity, being very homogeneous itself. Though they received those images, the problematic elements wouldn't really resonate with them.

User avatar
RandomGuy96
Kicks it Old-School
Posts: 8793
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:57 pm
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by RandomGuy96 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:09 pm

Cipher wrote:
precita wrote:I think its telling for a Japanese anime to include so many different races.

You have Indians with Nam, Native Americans with Uppa and Bora, you have Russians with Suno and her family, etc. I think Toriyama did a good job in putting different races of people in the show, something most anime doesn't do.
Most of those are horrible stereotypes, though. Though they received those images, the problematic elements wouldn't really resonate with them.
Oh no, they resonate. Japan is simply an extremely racist country, even against groups which are very similar to them culturally and genetically. To say nothing of South Asians and black people.
The Monkey King wrote:
RandomGuy96 wrote:
dbgtFO wrote: Please elaborate as I do not know what you mean by "pushing Vegeta's destruction"
He's probably referring to the Bardock special. Zarbon was the one who first recommended destroying Planet Vegeta because the saiyans were rapidly growing in strength.
It was actually Beerus disguised as Zarbon #StayWoke
Herms wrote:The fact that the ridiculous power inflation is presented so earnestly makes me just roll my eyes and snicker. Like with Freeza, where he starts off over 10 times stronger than all his henchmen except Ginyu (because...well, just because), then we find out he can transform and get even more powerful, and then he reveals he can transform two more times, before finally coming out with the fact that he hasn't even been using anywhere near 50% of his power. Oh, and he can survive in the vacuum of space. All this stuff is just presented as the way Freeza is, without even an attempt at rationalizing it, yet the tone dictates we're supposed to take all this silly grasping at straws as thrilling danger. So I guess I don't really take the power inflation in the Boo arc seriously, but I don't take the power inflation in earlier arcs seriously either, so there's no net loss of seriousness. I think a silly story presented as serious is harder to accept than a silly story presented as silly.

User avatar
Cipher
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5473
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Nagano
Contact:

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by Cipher » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:13 pm

RandomGuy96 wrote:Oh no, they resonate. Japan is simply an extremely racist country, even against groups which are very similar to them culturally and genetically. To say nothing of South Asians and black people.
Now? Yes. In the '80s? Less so.

It's kind of a different cut from racism in Western countries, which is founded on years of systematic abuse and privilege, though, and from which those images stem. I've done some study abroads in Japan, so while this is anecdotal, my take was that--while, yes, racist--other races are approached with a kind of fear/novelty (obviously worse the more rural you go). Compared to Western countries, many people there have genuinely never met a person of another race.

I don't really know why I'm defending it, because it's still racist as f*ck. But, you know, context. It's a little different.

precita
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5467
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:10 pm

Re: Why is Piccolo Considered "The Black Guy"?

Post by precita » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:28 pm

Cipher wrote:[
Most of those are horrible stereotypes, though.

Which I'm not going to hold against Toriyama too much. Japan was very late, and still is, in some sense, in catching up to peer countries in terms of racial sensitivity, being very homogeneous itself. Though they received those images, the problematic elements wouldn't really resonate with them.
Are they really though? Nam and Uppa are portrayed in a positive light. Nam is noble and wants to save his village from a drought, he and Roshi/Goku become great friends. Uppa and Bora want to defend their land from strangers like Tao (who is very Japanese), and other invaders. Also if it weren't for the hats and the snowy area, Suno and her family wouldn't seem any more based on Russians than any other village in the series.

Its not like they were saying, "Look at the stupid Indians!" or anything like that. Even General Black kills Red and takes command of the Red Ribbon army.

If anything I thought Mr. Satan was supposed to be a parody of how stupid Americans are compared to Japanese martial artists and how they're in denial. And even then Toriyama portrays Satan as a hero when he needs to be.

Post Reply