I like to collect Transformers toys. I love the challenge of converting them and then doing it from memory. The older I get the more my mind will need to be challenged in order to keep it sharp or at least sharp where it needs to be. They are bright, colorful, and as much as I wanted to believe, the fact that they are so colorful meant that they aren’t anyone’s particular race. Yeah, I was willfully ignorant or feigning ignorance to keep my childhood innocence safe in the recesses of my mind. Also, I was keeping my inner child joyful.
OK, so yeah, the blue eyes of the good guys, the red eyes of the bad guys, and then eyes were yellow, and I think a few of them had silver and fewer had green. Nothing has changed. These were all white people, even blue-eyed Jazz who voiced by Scatman Crothers, a legendary musician. Just know, that Jazz lived through the great toy line genocide Hasbro used to promote a new season following the 1986 movie. Crothers died before the season was made and to show their respect, Jazz, who had been second in command, was in a race that he won. I get choked up thinking about that level of respect, especially since it would be decades before Jazz would be a character once more with a new voice.
When it comes to toy lines, how many are voiced on TV by People of Color? Not many. Often times, if it is a person of color, that person is an A-list actor, or the one black woman’s voice for any female with unwelcoming features or just some black woman. There are many people to find, and train in voice acting. A company can literally toss a nickel into a crowd of black people and whoever it hits, can be their next voice. Yes, voice acting takes a ton of learned skill, and that’s why they can train on the job. Still, this isn’t about Transformers, or voice acting. It’s about everything.
When I go to an online store like Big Bad Toy Store, one of the first things I think is, “Where are the people that look like me?” I’m sure Native, Hispanic, Islander, and Asian think that, too. I’m sure the LGBTQ people wonder if they’ll become mainstream. Heroes are not found in fiction, they are made. All the heroes are white, and the black people are secondary supporting roles. Minorities are not mainstream for a reason. Racism. Racist white people protecting the image of what can be mainstream anywhere.
Rock and Roll was created by a black woman, thought of as black music so it was meaningless until Elvis, a white guy learned it, stole it, gave no credit, got…