There’s Nothing Comic About Racism

, , , , | Friendly | February 17, 2021

When I am a teenager, around the year 2000, I start a story and share it through a forum. People love it and say I should make a comic out of it. Alas, I can’t draw digitally and don’t have a scanner, but someone offers to draw the comic for me.

I ask him to draw the main character, an energetic black girl. He draws her in black and white lineart. Using MS Paint, I add colour (very terribly). He then draws her again, using most of my colours.

This all takes place through forum posts.

Me: “She looks great! She does look very pale, though.”

Artist: “Oh, I thought that was a mistake. I thought she was this colour, because she was based on you?”

Me: “No, she’s not. I wish I was as cool as her! But if you could darken her skin, that would be great.”

He darkens her skin to a more olive tint.

Me: “Can you please darken it more?”

Artist: “This is as dark as I can go.” 

Me: “Really? I looked online, and your software should be able to use hex codes, right? Could you use something like [hex code of dark brown]?”

Artist: “No, my software won’t allow me.”

Me: “But you are using [Software], right? It says on this site that you can add hex codes. Maybe if you swap palettes? This tutorial tells you how.”

Artist: “No, not my software.”

At that point, people were calling his BS. I was just confused about why his software didn’t allow him— naive me. Eventually, he lashed out, saying that black people scared him and he flat-out refused to colour her in the colours specified. He was promptly banned from the forum, and rightly so! I was very confused about this — again, naive me — because he showed pictures of himself and he was Hispanic and had dark skin. 

The comic never happened, and looking back at it, it was a terribly thin story. Still, I taught myself how to draw, and now I can draw her myself, making sure she has the right skin tone every time.

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