Short version: Hello I am a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and it is a 'racially' problematic show.


Sorry for the maaaaany grammar issues with this. I'm just rambling.

EDIT: Fixing grammar issues. Excuse: I was half-asleep and depressed when I wrote this. I'd also like to point out that LOTS of shows and cartoons, those I have watched and haven't, most likely have -ism issues. And I'm going to call those out too! WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT? 8D

I adore the new My Little Pony series. Now, like many fans of the show out there, I was a skeptic at first. Here's yet another tread in the Pony franchise on some network run by toy makers; I gave it at least a week's chance. Then I watched it and fell for it easily. Loved everything about it. The magic, the friendship, the likable characters, the gorgeous colors, everything. I've been watching ever since. It was a fun little show to watch after working at a Macy's all day.

When Bridle Gossip came into the picture, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "LOL racist ponies! That is ridiculous!~" I took the episode as the ponies being the stupid ones, but I think I'm the one who came out foolish. I forgot the meta of it all. The rhyming, the masks hanging in Zecora's place, the hut itself. I even drew a picture for Zecora and called it Medicine Lady. I drew that picture because of the dearth of Zecora fanart and to reference the way she solves the episode's problem. How. How could I do all of that and not realize that Zecora, even for one episode, is the ever troubling stereotype of the Magical Negro? I am an airhead, that's how.

But wait, wait, wait, this is just a kid's show about ponies. This doesn't take place on Earth. There may be "African-esque" ponies out there, it's just a coincidence that Zecora is a zebra. Then Over a Barrel came out. This episode features an expy to Native Americans and they just so happen to be buffalo.

And they are in conflict with ponies. The ponies are settlers onto their land. Plenty of reasons for that, right? The animators needed to show the difference between the settlers and the original owners. The writers wanted to show how two different cultures can come to an understanding. They wanted to show how war is incredibly silly(pies anyone?) and solves nothing. But the first time we meet a buffalo she's stealing someone's property. The buffalo are the aggressors, although history tells us otherwise. Ponies start the negotiations, even though history tells us otherwise.

Will I still watch this show? Yes, but I have to keep my side-eye at ready. I'll still chuckle at Pinkie Pie's shenanigans. I'll still feel some kinship with Twilight Sparkle's love of books and learning. I'll just explain...certain things to my little cousin. I can admire Lauren Faust in some ways, but feel a bit let down in others.

Will I take down my picture of Zecora? On one hand, the title perpetuates the whole Magical Negro bit. On the other, she is the first African equine in the series so far and is a world traveling, wise, and caring character. She deserves fanart. I will keep it up if only because of that and not to run away from my mistakes. I'll probably rename it something more fitting though; she's not always there to be medicine zebra to a bunch of ponies.

I am actually uncomfortable with myself now. I call myself a Black woman who pays attention to these things, who will always notice when media takes POC for granted. I called myself enlightened. Bullshit, I am not. Much like many white allies still have to always be aware of their privilege, I have to be aware that they still have privilege and, due to living in a society that caters to them, I may not even realize it until someone more enlightened than I points it out. That's the world I as a WOC live in and it will never be safe. It can never be innocent coincidences.



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