How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

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How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by xarmyz » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:28 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AEQJZ_BzJk

I mean I think the guy here is definitely reaching a bit with Super Saiyans being Aryan Supermen or cutting off Saiyan tails is enforced civilization of black people but well, I can't dismiss him out of hand because he is pretty much right about Mr. Popo....

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by Shaddy » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:40 am

I feel like the "don't post youtube videos with bare-bones context and just say 'look at this'" argument should go without saying at this point, but I guess I was wrong.

First off, there's not "Aryan" aspect to anything in Dragon Ball given that it was made by a Japanese dude, based heavily off Chinese folklore, no character is even blonde until chapter 317, and it was literally just done to save time on inking. If you think Toriyama sees Goku and co. as white people I laugh in your face (actually, he probably doesn't even care).

Second, Popo's design is inarguably based off of racist caricatures, but that is not the same as the entire series or it's creator actually being racist. Mr. Popo is not depicted as being a black human, and the black people that are actually in the comic, while uncommon, are not typically treated differently from anyone else. Hell, Staff Officer Black, despite being awkwardly on-the-nose in name, is generally treated as the more competent and level-headed leader of the Red Ribbon Army when compared to Commander Red.

Thirdly, comparing the ape-like Saiyans to black people and saying Dragon Ball is the thing that's racist comes across as a fascinatingly hilarious case of projection.

Dragon Ball and Toriyama are no strangers to controversy and questionable decisions regarding social issues and identity groups (can you say 'Lady Red'?) but attacking DB as white supremacist propaganda or whatever is just fuckin' dumb. If you want to get anywhere attacking Toriyama and his work for insensitive or dated viewpoints, you need to start on something with more weight to it than "uh blonde hair though".

If you want a real perspective on this sort of thing in DB and Toriyama's works I suggest you check out @pspiq3's "black people in Dragon Ball" threads on twitter. He presents rational takes on this stuff with actual sources and reasoning dating back to when the series was actually published to back it up.

I think it wouldn't be wrong to say there is racism in Dragon Ball, just as there is also sexism. But that does not make Toriyama a bigoted asshole, and it doesn't make the series harmful to the people viewing it. It's something to be noted, something to be aware of, and something to be discussed. I've been accused of being "le epic SJW XDDDD" for mentioning this before, but I don't think it's worth attacking the series or it's creator over.

Seriously though, when you make topics with videos from people that aren't you, actually sum up what the points made in the video are, don't just say "here" and expect everyone to watch through the whole thing, especially when they're made by crazy people.
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by RandomGuy96 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:02 am

In general, it's considered bad form to just post a 15+ minute video and ask people "what do you think" without giving any sort of summary.
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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.
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by xarmyz » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:11 am

RandomGuy96 wrote:In general, it's considered bad form to just post a 15+ minute video and ask people "what do you think" without giving any sort of summary.
The opening post in the Vic Mignogna thread is about sentence or two long and links to an article that take even longer to read then watching this video. So you and Shaddy are being pointless anal-retentive here.

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by KBABZ » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:23 am

Not gonna watch the video, but on the subject itself, I don't think there's any intentional racism present in the work other than "Gee white people make up the entirity of this cast, doesn't it?". The closest we can get is Mr. Popo, and that's really down to Japanese considering blackface to not be insensitive rather than "Hey look at this servant slave guy what a bum!". I do agree however that changing his dialect in the Funimation dub falls under an acceptable change for something with unfortunate implications, similar to Pan's line of "girls are strongest when they cry!" line in GT being swapped out.

Super Saiyan is a terrible argument to make because it's well known at this point that the reason why they have blonde hair is because Toriyama and his ink assistant wouldn't have to colour in the hair at that point (and if the argument were true, they would have blue eyes, not green). I also disagree on the topic of tails: it's made clear in the manga that the removal of tails diminishes a Saiyan's strength, but it's seen as an acceptable compromise. The whole apes = monkeys thing is also debunked by the emphasis of Super Saiyan 4 doubling down on the ape motif, a design Toriyama himself liked. AND a big emphasis of the Frieza arc is Frieza calling Goku a monkey or an ape. So apparently the point of the arc was the blacks enacting revenge on their cruel, literally-white master? I don't think so!

It's also worth pointing out that Dragon Ball is INCREDIBLY popular in the black community. And if anyone would know what's racist against black people, it's black people.

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by JohnnyCashKami » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:28 am

Watched about 2-3mins before I stopped. People always try to connect an anime series/manga to real life to make it seem more relatable and credible to show their argument.

Racism this, racism that. Bleh. You want to see racism everywhere? Then you will.

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by Shaddy » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:38 am

xarmyz wrote: The opening post in the Vic Mignogna thread is about sentence or two long and links to an article that take even longer to read then watching this video. So you and Shaddy are being pointless anal-retentive here.

Uh, no? Another thread (which neither of us made, mind you) doing something vaguely similar doesn't make it okay for you. "Whataboutism" shouldn't fly here either.
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by Dbzfan94 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:38 am

I didn’t have to watch the video to know it’s nothing but pure nonsense. Another race-baiting click bait video to get a rise out of people. People have to stop projecting their western viewpoints into a Japanese show from the 80s-90s that absolutely has zero connection to any of that shit.

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by BlueChi » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:55 am

I was under the impression that Super Saiyans being blonde was both a time-saving tactic and way to signify that Goku went rogue/unpredictable as japanese youth at the time who rebelled against society dyed their hair a similar shade of yellow. Linking it to racism and aryan ideologies is all kinds of off-kilter.

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by KBABZ » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:33 am

BlueChi wrote:I was under the impression that Super Saiyans being blonde was both a time-saving tactic and way to signify that Goku went rogue/unpredictable as japanese youth at the time who rebelled against society dyed their hair a similar shade of yellow. Linking it to racism and aryan ideologies is all kinds of off-kilter.
BUT IT MAKES SENSE BECAUSE JAPAN ALLIED WITH HITLER.


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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by JohnnyCashKami » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:36 am

BlueChi wrote:I was under the impression that Super Saiyans being blonde was both a time-saving tactic and way to signify that Goku went rogue/unpredictable as japanese youth at the time who rebelled against society dyed their hair a similar shade of yellow. Linking it to racism and aryan ideologies is all kinds of off-kilter.
I never understood why Chichi's character thought that going Super Saiyan meant they'd become delinquents.

On Movie 12 of DBZ, Chibi Hitler made a joke about how he should have recruited them cause of the blonde hair and blue eyes. I dunno if that was on the Japanese script as I watched that scene on YouTube.

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by KBABZ » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:57 am

JohnnyCashKami wrote:I never understood why Chichi's character thought that going Super Saiyan meant they'd become delinquents.
You have to remember the very traditional side of Japanese culture, where EVERYONE has black hair. Dying it something else is therefore seen as a sign of delinquency and rebellion, and many high schools forbid it. It can be seen as an equivalent to having a nose ring in western culture.

Side-note: this may be why so many anime characters have strange hair colours as their natural hair colours!

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by jjgp1112 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:13 am

JohnnyCashKami wrote:
BlueChi wrote:I was under the impression that Super Saiyans being blonde was both a time-saving tactic and way to signify that Goku went rogue/unpredictable as japanese youth at the time who rebelled against society dyed their hair a similar shade of yellow. Linking it to racism and aryan ideologies is all kinds of off-kilter.
I never understood why Chichi's character thought that going Super Saiyan meant they'd become delinquents.

On Movie 12 of DBZ, Chibi Hitler made a joke about how he should have recruited them cause of the blonde hair and blue eyes. I dunno if that was on the Japanese script as I watched that scene on YouTube.
that's a Japanese thing. Delinquents over there like to dye their hair blond to rebel.

As far as the Saiyans/Black culture parallel....no. The dub does this no favors by trying to make the Saiyans more noble, but in reality, they were imperialists. They went to planets where people were minding their own business, killed them off, and then took the planet for themselves. They joined the Cold empire because they were bigger and richer imperialists who could pay them for what they already did, but then got wiped out because they were too strong. There's no oppression or great sociological meaning, just some bad guys getting outdone by bigger bad guys.

If anything, the Namekians are a better parallel to black people or Native Americans. Saiyans are more like the Irish. Sure, among Europeans they're looked down on for being perceived as violent and low class, but you ask an Irishman in the 1800s what they think of black people they probably go "Aye fook them [REDACTED]"
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:21 am

In total agreement with "let's try not just dropping a drive-by link and asking sup?" I think there's a slight difference between doing that with fan commentary videos and known professional written journalism, but we're in the business here of conversation, so it behooves the original poster to put their money where their mouth is. Or fingers where their. Uhh. Fingers are. I dunno. Let's write words.

Shaddy basically sums up my thoughts here. It's perfectly fine to re-examine works from decades past with the benefit of all those decades in between. There's a lot to discover there, and a lot more to learn in the process. We're removed in time from it, sure, but it's still a viable conversation to have. In the very specific case of Dragon Ball, people have already been doing this analysis for a while, the work still exists, it isn't going anywhere, and no-one's coming to take it away from you*, so it's not like any further criticism or analysis is going to have any real impact at this point. It's just education and commentary for the heck of it. Conversation is cool!

So with that in mind, yeah, it's worth taking a look at Black, seeing his name in Japanese in the anime is ブラック参謀 (Burakku Sanbō), and going hoooooooooly shit whaaaaaaaat were you thinking (and if you don't already see the connection, going in and learning all about it).

My take is the same as has already been expressed: it's absolutely textbook casual/institutional racism, its timeframe and geography doesn't excuse but certainly explains it, and the fact that they adjusted it in the 10th anniversary film says even they recognized it pretty quickly.

I forget what I was listening to... I think it was the latest 8-4 podcast?... but there was some chat about blackface in Japan still going on and one major actor being all "oh shit really? yeah, nevermind I'll stop that." Soooooo this isn't exactly a case of "that's long over and done with so we don't need to talk about this anymore." Seems having the conversation actually is still productive.

Toriyama's portrayls are one thing, but having Toei run with the incredibly dangerous stereotype of "all gay dudes are pedos" for Blue and then toss a "Sambo" reference in the same arc really shows what the mindset was there in the heads of the writing team.

(*insert acknowledgement of slight fringe cases of Toei censoring middle fingers and obviously what Viz has done with the lips of certain characters... which aren't on the same level as each other)
JohnnyCashKami wrote:I never understood why Chichi's character thought that going Super Saiyan meant they'd become delinquents.
Dying one's hair blonde in Japan was once seen as a rebellious act for "delinquent" children and adolescents in a culture that traditionally favors conformity, and one way of achieving self-expression and showcasing individtuality. This would have been extremely contemporary with Dragon Ball's serialization, and has fallen into relative normalcy since then.
JohnnyCashKami wrote:On Movie 12 of DBZ, Chibi Hitler made a joke about how he should have recruited them cause of the blonde hair and blue eyes. I dunno if that was on the Japanese script as I watched that scene on YouTube.
Absolutely not in Japanese, and probably in a self-fulfilling-prophecy kind of way heavily factors in to the stretches of logic people make about this.

Both of your quotes are the kind of thing that a cursory knowledge of another culture (and not watching a dubbed version?) would allow you to... I don't want to say "make the correct judgement on the issue"... but, like, make the correct judgement on the issue. So what I'm advocating for is I guess keep asking those questions and keep learning.

I'm all for examining the legitimate stuff, but I'm also not for reaching and making federal cases out of nothing. Crazy, I know, VegettoEX preaching a moderate viewpoint on social issues.
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by Saikyo no Senshi » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:10 pm

Very interesting video. Thanks for posting. I mostly agree. All the black characters in the series are stereotyped to hell which is pretty terrible, but its pretty to understand why that is. It was even mentioned in the video. Western media's growing popularity(most of which were super fucking racist) at that time in Japan was largely responsible for that, especially Sambo. While its ignorance on the creators part to not give much thought to this, it is still racist. Toriyama's intentions(which we will never ever know, so its silly to even bring this up), whatever they maybe doesn't change the fact one bit that it has racism in it.

About the Super Saiyan thing, I don't buy Toriyama's excuse about ink cause he was doing Cell literally in the next freaking arc which required even more effort. It is a typical case of unconscious bias at play. Creators are after all people. The concept of "whiteness" as superior and strongest in present in every culture. I certainly have experienced it and I don't live in America. Regardless of intent, I can see the parallels that was mentioned in the video.

Anyways, perspectives like this are always interesting. The video creator even said that inspite of all the pitfalls of the series, it still had a story that had a positive impact on black people and given the size of the community its pretty amazing. So, its not like they were just mindlessly shouting "racism this racism that".
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by eledoremassis02 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:24 pm

My problem is he states "Dragon Ball continue to poke fun at the very black people who kept it in the collective conscious since 1996" and then uses examples that weren't even Dubbed in English until 2000 (with the exception of Super Saiyan) or so, way after the show became the phenomenon let alone being animated some 10 or so years before even debuting in the US, so it can't really be used as an argument.

As far as Super Saiyan, it's funny how people are arguing against the face the Toriyama is just lazy and was tired of coloring hair, and people are seeing this as some sort of excuse to cover up racist intent. However, the main problem with the Super Saiyan theory is that both Hitler and Chi-chi refer to Super Saiyan's as "Hikou Shonen" or literally "Delinquent boys". Chi-Chi doing this makes sense because she's the parody of Japanese Helicopter parents and Hitler saying this and not "I should be recuring them" as he does in the English dub really highlights the situation.

My other issue is he needs a clear narrative. At one moment he's taking interpretation as intent "I belive that the story of Dragon ball, particularly the Saiyan Saga is the story of Black America and it probably was intended to be a positive take on it" and "assuming you accept that this is a black story". He even states that Japan probably only knows the black experience thru the racist stereotypes of old. As a Native American, I can also spin the Saiyans to be about us. Proud warriors who fall victim to an overpowering colonizer and as a means of survival has to work with the colonizer to get supplies (scouters, armor) who then literally destroys their world for his own benefit. Goku, who was taken away as a child and forced to live a foreign way forgets his culture and tongue and is it isnt until much later where he was to come face to face with his culture (without a struggle) and in the end learns to embrace it. Now Just the Saiyan saga alone could cover 1492-1970's but I dont claim that this is the original intent of Toriyama, because I know Japan has his own Warrior societies, heck, Saiyans are probably based off some Chinese warrior movie, or just an original idea. Now, if you are appealed to Dragon Ball because of these themes then that's ok.

I feel like this guy could have made a much more constructive video if he didn't act like Toriyama made a cartoon about the Black struggle but at the same time is racist against blacks?

On a side note, Buu always gave me that Gangster rap vibe that was starting to come up around the time of his appearance. Image
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by Polyphase Avatron » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:28 pm

Shaddy wrote:no character is even blonde until chapter 317
I wasn't aware that Launch appeared so late in the manga.

Anyway, all this makes me think of is that one gag line from Hitler in the English dub of movie 12.
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by MasenkoHA » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:51 pm

It started out well enough and a lot of valid, if flawed, points were made. (Pretty sure the racist as fuck portrayal of Killa is exclusive to Funimation and not Toriyama or Toei or any other dub, Staff Officer Black despite being problematic was second-in-command something could be said about him losing his shit though)

But once he tries to conflate the story of Goku and the Saiyans as a metaphor for black men assimilating in white culture in America then kind of...loses me.

Like, he made it perfectly clear he’s not stupid. He’s well aware that Dragon Ball is a Japanese story inspired by a Chinese novel.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in “Death of the Author” RZA’s interpretation of Dragon Ball Z as representing the journey of the black man in America is a perfectly valid read on the work.

But the creator of this video reading Goku and the Saiyans’s journey as metaphor for the whitewashing of Black Americans seems a bit...uninformed of who was writing the story and in what time period.

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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by ABED » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:55 pm

MasenkoHA wrote:Staff Officer Black despite being problematic was second-in-command something could be said about him losing his shit though
Why was he problematic and what was wrong with him losing it at the end?

The interpretation of the Saiyan arc as allegorical for blacks in America doesn't work. As one other poster has pointed out, Saiyans were barbaric predators murdered by a bigger predator. They weren't victims.
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Re: How on target or off base is this video discussing Racism in Dragon Ball?

Post by KBABZ » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:00 pm

ABED wrote:
MasenkoHA wrote:Staff Officer Black despite being problematic was second-in-command something could be said about him losing his shit though
Why was he problematic and what was wrong with him losing it at the end?
Uhhhh, his LIPS?!

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