People of Color in European Art History

  1. goodgodgreatguy:







    (someone erased my original captioning, but it read “The Disney Princesses tell it like it is.”)




    Great little comic on (lacking) diversity in Disney media

    So many conflicting ideas on my head about this.
    Against: FUCK OFF! IT’S A CHILDREN’S FILM AND BEFORE REPUNZEL WE HAD TWO DECADES OF POC PRINCESSES! TWO. DECADES. Also, both films are set in places without poc in them anyway :/ sorry. Also, merida is a Pixar Hero(ine) NOT a Disney Princess, and I will argue that point to the grave.
    For: yeah, poc should be more represented in all media. Why go back on two decades worth of progress? Regardless of fantasy setting, some historical accuracy could at least be attempted.

    What Jonny said. One girl on here was hitting a rage cause there were no poc in Brave. Brave is set in 10th century Scotland. There were no poc there at that time. Relax your balls and enjoy the movie.

    going back through Brave stuff posted months or years ago is amazing. Just look at the high quality of commentary people added to pictures that blatantly address their point. Like how do you even manage to do that

    (also “two decades”… what. As if white characters weren’t there in huge numbers at the same time? Also, simply having characters throughout a span of time doesn’t mean a group is represented enough… as is obvious via many recent films…)

    The pictures aren’t addressing my viewpoint for Brave, though. It is historically accurate to not show PoC in the movie because there weren’t any PoC living there until the UK began slavery with people from India and then eventually Africa, and Pixar got condemned on Tumblr for keeping to that. Surely if you feel adding a PoC character is an obligation and not because they’re a part of the story is just as racist as deliberately leaving them out or making them white when they should be included in the story?

    And you can’t compare the historical (in)accuracy with the use of magic (a character being transformed into a bear) seriously, how can anyone think that’s a valid comparison?

    it actually did address your point but you are, I guess, so sure that slavery was the only way that PoC could get there besides an extensive historical worldwide trade network originating out of both the continents of Africa and Asia, that you didn’t bother to look up the point indicated in image 3. I honestly find your ignorance intentional because I know damn well that people have replied to your reblog with the blog medieval PoC, which, if you search through, has referenced Brave and Scotland multiple times. 

    Your complete lack of understanding of the past is exactly the reason that diversity is necessary- you can’t imagine a world where PoC might be present as non-slaves, as people with agency outside of what the British empire dictated, because the media you’ve been exposed to throughout your life has never presented that to you as an option…

    I also, no, don’t see how including PoC, even if it’s done as an “obligation” because you can’t wrap your mind around them being a natural part of a story, is as racist as often excluding them or misrepresenting them in media. It is likely that certain people will continue to see their presence as “an obligation” so long as white narratives continue to be seen as an acceptable default…

    I’m also not sure why you think chameleons and magical bears are somehow acceptable inclusions when PoC aren’t even though they actually could be there historically but this has been gone over so many times like it’s seriously right there in the images that idk why it was even put as a point.

    I went ahead and bolded the parts of these responses that once again show that “historical accuracy” is only important to white people when it comes to casting MODERN MEDIA and excluding people of color from films.

    Despite the historical fact that there is documented presence of people of color in Scotland since Classical times, through the Middle Ages, and into modern history.

    During the Roman occupation of Scotland, there were over 260 camps of Roman soldiers, the archeological remains of which are visible from the air. The sheer amount of manpower sent into Scotland to try and subdue it grows ever larger as more investigations into these sites is conducted.

    In fact, the rather famous disappearance of the IX Hispana Roman Legion is still being investigated, but analysis of primary sources shows that after a bloody defeat, the survivors may have just become part of the population of Scotland. All of this happened around 100 A.D.

    Hispania, the origin of the Legion, was under Carthiginian Influence until the Punic Wars almost 100 years later, and on this map you can see the pre-Punic War sphere of Carthaginian influence:


    In fact, I recently posted an interactive map that demonstrates just how easy and fast travel was in the days of the Roman Empire.

    Going to the Middle Ages, we have Kenneth III, King of Scots from 997 to 1005 , also known as “Kenneth the Brown” whose race is still tiresomely debated in certain circles. There is no conclusive “proof” of his race because the racial categories we have today did not exist then. And of course, the former Romans living and working in Scotland at the time would have no written record of their activities or appearance because no one cared.

    Once we get into the High Medieval and “Renaissance” period, written records of many specifically Black people in important royal circles. These records are a part of the UK government’s accessible to the public website:

    James was a popular, fun-loving king with many interests. Many Black Moors were present at his court. Some worked as servants or (possibly) slaves, but others seem to have been invited guests or musicians. We know that he courted Margaret with lute and clavichord recitals and took her out hunting and playing sports.

    After their marriage, the king’s Lord High Treasurer’s accounts provide numerous entries to show how much he enjoyed lively entertainment, employing foreign minstrels from Italy and elsewhere. King James was generous to all kinds of people, including Black Moors, as the following entries from the Treasurer’s accounts demonstrate:

    • To celebrate Shrove Tuesday in 1505, several Africans including a 'taubronar' (drummer) and a choreographer were present in Edinburgh. Twelve dancers (including Italians) performed in specially made black-and-white costumes costing £13 2s 10d. Was this the origin of Morris (Moorish) dancing?
    • In 1504-5 the ‘Moryen’ taubronar was paid 28 shillings to allow his taubroun (drum) to be painted.
    • James bought a horse at a cost of £4 4s for this drummer, who accompanied him when he toured his northern domains.

    Moor women were also mentioned in the Treasurer’s accounts. It is unclear whether or not they were servants, since they were showered with items such as gowns of satin, ribbons, slippers and gloves, paid for by the king.

    Entries that refer to Moor women include:

    • 'Blak Elene' or 'Elen More' was given five French crowns in 1512.
    • A ‘blak madin’ who attended Queen Margaret was given four-and-a-quarter ells (just over five yards) of French russet.
    • 'Blak Margaret' was given a gown costing 48s in 1513.
    • 'Two blak ladies' staying at the Scottish Court were presented with 10 French crowns as a New Year gift at a cost of £7.
    • In 1527, one item simply said ’ to Helenor, the blak moir - 60 shillings’ .

    You can see that the primary sources are included:


    I think it’s worthwhile to ask ourselves, why is bigscarytiger so very confident in asserting:

    It is historically accurate to not show PoC in the movie because there weren’t any PoC living there until the UK began slavery with people from India and then eventually Africa…

    This is the effect that the history taught in our classrooms has on real people.

    People who feel supremely confident in saying, “you can’t have anyone who looks like you in our movie because you didn’t exist, and when you did it was just as slaves”.

    Whitewashing history affects the present and the future.

    I’d just like to point out that I don’t think that Kenneth MacAlpine would be anything other than white - purely because of the manner of description you find in Gaidhlig. I come from a Gàidhlig community and when someone is called, say, Domhnall Dubh or Mairi Bhàn, the literal translation is Black Donald or Fair Mary but that only refers to hair colour. A huge percentage of people are given a descriptor for their hair colour after their name, it’s fairly unusual to have skin colour used.

    I could be wrong, after all it’s so far back in history there isn’t any proper records. I just felt I should throw that in. Also, whilst I would wholeheartedly agree that people of colour where in Scotland throughout history (you can’t really give Brave a time setting because it’s jumbled up too much) the setting of Brave seems to be the middle of the highlands. The highlands were massively inaccessible up till the 19th/20th century, and barely anyone went there. So I feel that people of colour would be seen in places that were of greater importance and greater use for trade. What would be the point in wasting their time in a backwater? The highlands were only important for those who lived there, like the clans and the Lords of the Isles.  They were too difficult to reach and travel through to be of much importance on a trading scale.

    I may be wrong, but this is only my 2 cents.

    I’m more curious about two things:

    1. Why you feel like it’s important to point out that those terms are only used for hair color now, and where the impulse to speak on it in the first place comes from. How does the society you live in right now affect your opinion on this post?

    2. Why white people can get to the highlands but people of color cannot access the same lands that white people apparently could. Obviously the highlands weren’t “inaccessible” to the people who lived there.

    ive followed your blog for a while now and have always thoroughly appreciated everything you post but you’re sort of missing the point of what is being said about the highlands: it was never of any importance to any outsiders for any reason until much later on. the case can certainly be made of non-white people existing in europe before slavery, for the role as traders and so on, just as there were white trading enclaves on the coasts of india, china, western and northern africa, etc. but the highlands did not engage in trade with people around the world. nobody had a reason to go in, and few had a people to leave. i mean i guess its sorta like saying there would be plenty of white folk hanging around the middle of the saharan desert. people don’t move to places just for the fuck of it, there has to be material gain on some level.

    Unless you’re a defecting Roman Legionnaire and just want to live the rest of your life free of war and attempting to conquer an unconquerable, strategically pointless and isolated highland on an island.

    In which case you might find a spouse among the locals and settle down to raising some sheep. And bless your lucky starts that no one from Rome is likely to to hunt you down in the “inaccessible” highlands of Scotland, which you were sent in record numbers to apparently “conquer”.

    There were Scottish campaigns during the time of Septimius Severus, the African Roman Emperor.

    In fact, Septimius Severus led a campaign into Africa in A.D. 202, conquered new provinces for an empire, and then brought the campaign into Britain in A.D. 208.

    Over 40,000 Romans were settled in Carpow, Scotland alone.

    (via benicetoafriend)