Q: This isn’t meant to be an insult or a rant or anything of the sort, but I was wondering why in scott pilgrim vs the world (which I loved a lot btw) there aren’t very many people of color? There was Matthew but not any or many others, unless I was very silly and I missed them. Is this because the setting? (it is my understanding that there aren’t as many people of color in canada as in the us) or you didn’t think of it? Im just curious and i hope I didn’t come off as rude! thanks!
A: I’ve always wanted to make some kind of definitive statement about this but I think i’ll probably just ramble instead…
first: I think it sucks that Scott Pilgrim came out so white!!!!!!!!!!!
I am mixed (white + korean) and grew up being told that race didn’t matter — that race was kinda over. As with many things you’re told as a kid, it took me many years to realize that it wasn’t really true… It was kinda wishful thinking on the part of my parents, who were in a mixed relationship. I mean, I wish it was true, we all wish it was true, but it’s not true.
I did grow up in an extremely white environment. In northern ontario during the time I was growing up it was really just white people and Native / First Nations people. i moved to a bigger town in high school and i think my school had like 3 black kids and 4 asian kids or something. later in high school and in college I hung out with asian kids a lot, but White Canadian Culture was like 99% of everything around us.
so anyway, I guess what I’m saying is, what I knew in the first 20 years of my life was white people and a little bit of asian people and so that’s what I put in Scott Pilgrim. I had an unexamined non-attitude towards race and I didn’t think about it until years later.
Honestly, when i saw the Scott Pilgrim movie it was kind of appalling to see just how white it was — to not even really see myself represented on the screen… At least in the comic they were just cartoons. You can project yourself into a simple drawing of a person so easily; race seems to matter less (look at the global popularity of manga, where everyone is ostensibly Japanese).
And who knows, maybe if my books had had more POCs they would have been whitewashed in the movie, or it wouldn’t have ever been made! Hollywood scares me sometimes…
By the time the movie got made, I was just super-proud that I had created a plum role for someone like Ellen Wong, who otherwise may never have been in a major movie, just by being born Asian and Canadian.
I’ve sometimes joked that Scott Pilgrim is my fantasy of being a cute white indie rock boy (which, as an ostracized mixed-race weirdo, was something I occasionally wished for when I was younger). I guess I whitewashed myself out of my own story, and I got what I deserved.
ANYWAY… IT’S COMPLICATED!
One of the main reasons I wanted to do Seconds in color (seriously) is because I wanted characters to have different skin colors… I think about these things way way more nowadays.
I realize that Scott Pilgrim is not the most topical thing but this was just posted. Looking forward to Seconds!