Cosplay – Why Isn’t It Color Blind?
By Carol Ozemhoya
Race in America is a hot issue these days, as city police seem to be targeting young Black males. However, racism is not limited to the good ol’ U.S. of A. Different forms of it occur in most civilized countries.
Even in Japan, for example, racism is alive and kicking up a storm. The new Ms. Japan has been under fire by some because she is not “pure” Japanese. She was raised in Japan by her Japanese mother, but she has a Black father, so to some zealots, the fact that she is mixed disqualifies her as a real Japanese.
It’s silly really when you think about it… she’s beautiful, has class and style and carries herself well and represents the Japanese culture… why is her darker look so important?
It shouldn’t be.
But maybe that’s the magic of Cosplay. Since it is a way for people to be who they want to be behind beautiful costumes and high-end make-up, there is no racism. All that is seen is a colorful character that can dance, sing and speak as he or she wishes or wants to as a representative of an anime he or she loves.
Hold up… that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case… there IS racism in Cosplay, unfortunately.
Some people, as ignorant as they may be, have a problem with someone of a darker skin playing a character that traditionally has been portrayed as a light skinned character. But that’s the irony of it…
Cosplayers – as serious as it may seem to be and as much money as one may spend on it – need to understand that it is just that: play.
As Cosplay blogger Chaka Cumberbatch, who is Black, once said: “At the very heart of Cosplay is the love for a character, and the desire to bring that character to life.”
That’s it in a nutshell. Does it really matter if Wonder Woman has blond or red or even black hair? The character as portrayed in comic books, movies and TV was bent on fighting evil and ridding the world of bad intentions, so wouldn’t she fight against forces that were determined to separate or prosecute people based on color and not their character?
The point is that the very nature and spirit of Cosplay is anti-racist. Let’s be real… racism is evil and the heroes that dominate Cosplay are against evil and for making the world a better place.
Second, most of the characters in comic books and Japanese anime have looks that are exaggerated to the point it’d be pretty difficult to actually find a human being that looks like that.
Third, who cares? If the Cosplayer makes you stop and look and make you smile or go, “Wow,” what does it matter what his or her real skin tone is? Really, is that a reason to disqualify someone from a world that is make-believe anyway?
The spirit of Cosplay is that it is a beautiful fantasy brought to life. Why bring ugly into it by denying people of color the same opportunity to delve into a world where good still prevails over evil.