The Zebra Issue Isn't Black and White

Editor's note: Here we present yet another article from yet another anon on this topic, because why not and we obviously don't have any real content to publish and this is better than nothing I guess.  But seriously, I think this'll be the last one.  I'm 90% sure.

Now, I'd like to preface this article with a bit of introspection. Privilege is a very foreign concept to me, especially after having met so many different people in my short 9 years in the fandom. Coming from a background with a black father and Asian mother, whose resources were taken by hurricanes and internment camps respectively, I still meet people with fair skin and supposed privilege that have lives far worse than mine. I sincerely hope that one day we can follow in Dr. King's words and finally set this racial butthurt behind us. Be you white or black, Asians imperial or jungle, we were all once kangs 'n' shit.

In these trying times of social crusades, nobody's history is safe. Both the Nazis and pedophiles are moving fast to collect everything and anything they can use in the opinionated shitstorm of Twitter. Blame has been cast and the drama sailed full-mast as the two have dueled with definitions of right and wrong. Ponies and humans alike often let their perspectives obscure the fact that others are often driven by their view of the truth instead of malicious intent. This becomes especially skewed with subjective things such as artwork.

The image that shook a fandom
AnontheAnon's pieces have always had their place in the fandom. But for of all his crude humor, it is ironic that a gift for a friend caught the ire of the overprotective eye of social justice. In the piece, we see Ponyville's very own Applejack, dressed dapperly in a stunning and iconic white suit. A suit sharing many similarities to that donned by the master of the 11, friar of the deep-fryer, high and mighty, exalted Colonel Sanders. Applejack sits composed and collected, her gaze peering onward to the acreage of her homestead on which we see a variety of zebras strewn about. Some, hard at work, collecting and carrying the precious life-blood of the Apple family. Others, not so much, almost playfully biding time, notable examples being the image recipient's very own OC, Zeal Lanatus, going to town on a mouth-watering watermelon.

wtf I love Twilight now

This implied narrative is evocative to both staunch defenders of social justice and the racially motivated, as well as those with passive recollections from high school history lessons. The crux of the argument that this picture is racist only blossoms forth and bears fruit if a racial dichotomy based on our own exists within the image, thus begging the question: Are zebras black?

Are they black?
With the presumption that zebras are black, what does that make other ponies? Personally, when I think "black" representation in pony, my mind is drawn to examples such as pop diva Sapphire Shores, references to Pulp Fiction's Samuel L. Jackson, and a personal non-canon favorite: Ponigg. To say with such certainty that zebras are in fact the only "black" representation in the show would be a disservice and perhaps even whitewashing the ponies with which African-Americans identify in the show.

We also see evidence of this notion in Faust's musings on race in Equestria. Now, I do reserve judgment of lessons not to the author's intent but to what is presented in the final show, and in Bridle Gossip, as well as the rest of Faust's world, we see her perspective clearly (unlike certain Haber-esque shenanigans later on). The supposed racist connotations of the image that spurred this on further fall apart when we compare actual in-show examples of slavery to the image in question. (King Sombra and the Crystal Ponies.)

Truly, our racial squabbles were of no concern to the early ponies of yesteryear or their progenitor. In fact, the closest we see to racism in the show is in the history of Hearth's Warming, its short-lived reprise in the season 9 finale, and Shining Armor's disdain for changelings.

Following the events of his wedding, it's very apparent why Shining Armor has a deep hatred of changelings. We understand exactly where this hatred stems from and I've yet to see anyone blame him for it—and that's why it's so effective and accurately portrayed. Turning back to Zecora, we see that the reasons for our Mane 6 aren't so racially motivated after all. Rarity thinks that the stripes are a fashion choice, the majority of Ponyville is afraid of the mysterious figure trotting in from the depths of the perilous woods, and Applejack only wants to protect her family from the unknown.

Editor's note: Twilight obviously has the superior rump
So, if not a martyr to the racist pangs of society, what is Zecora's character, really? It would be disingenuous to say that her character is one that victims of racial prejudice shouldn't relate to just as it would be to deny any others that identify with her character. For all those reasons, I see Zecora as a perfect representation of an outcast. Almost every aspect of Zecora's life is different from those of the citizens of Ponyville, basic needs aside. She lives in an unfamiliar and feared part of those lands. Her choice of clothing, a hooded cloak concealing enough of her figure to give the ponies a foreboding sense of mystery while also showing just enough to reveal a coat unlike anyone has ever seen. Zecora, and perhaps all of zebradom, indulges in different stylings than the citizens of Ponyville do and when juxtaposed with the dangerous Everfree, idle lips find words of worry. Any of the OG bronies should be well aware of this exact scenario, for we too were under the confused scrutiny of the public eye. Speculative questions by the normies about our culture initially were ones of confusion and all it took was a single pedophile found amongst our ranks to brand the entirety of the fandom with the same image. Such pursuits of trying to appear clean and pure thereafter led to people publicly denouncing clop in an attempt to remove sexuality and the zoophilic/pedophilic implication of lewding the characters, as well as removing Derpy in an attempt to remove supposed offensive depictions of the handicapped. All of these fights for the moral high ground only bred hate and resentment within the ranks of the fandom and direct parallels can be drawn to the current interweb kerfuffle at hand.

Are zebras black? Well, yes, but only as much as they are white. Just as first-generation African immigrants are different from African-Americans, so are zebras from ponies. What separates ponies, zebras, and all the other races of Equestria, stripes and scales aside, is their culture. Be it between bronies and normies, city-slickers and countryside hicks, or Americans and Africans, the feeling of not belonging is a universal one once you venture into the unknown. The Mane 6 (though a bit antagonistic in their approach) got one thing right: The road to harmony isn't paved with the eradication and isolation of the "other" of our worlds. Understanding the intent and actions within their original context are key to bridging the gap between ourselves and the unknown, without infecting hearts that harbor no hate with the ill will that comes with exile.

Is this Mao Zedonkey?
AnontheAnon's provocative piece has spurred a lot of discussion on what it really means to hold high the tenets of love and tolerance the fandom was founded on.

I, for one, just hope that Anon opens his commissions again so that I may finally realize my dream of having a well-dressed country mare dakimakura to hold as I fantasize about the intense lubricated friction of Massa Applejack's marehood country-frying my dick.

I can only hope that in the future of pony content to come, wholesome or otherwise, we can love it or tolerate it instead of using it to rally the troops or rock the boat. It's sometimes hard to remember within the safety of our kind that perhaps the tri-horned bunyip that lies in wait might not be so forgiving of the pedophiles hell-bent on horse-fucking that comprise the brony fandom.


Comments (27)

  1. op is gay lmao

  2. Not to pretend that I have much to contribute, but there's also a a horse (Cleopatra Jazz) based on Josephine Baker. Zebras are donkeys.

  3. fuck niggers and kikes

  4. woot be like



  6. Thank you for this article.

    It was very well written. Many years from now this should be one of the many articles in our fandom that should be pointed to that shows how thoughtful and inquisitive many of us are.

  7. The difference between racism and satire of racism in this case is the use of a blatant stereotype without it being satirical viz the zebra eating a watermelon. Now, maybe Anontheanon isn't a racist, I don't know, but you can still BE a racist. At any rate, people are allowed to get offended at things if they think it's poor taste, IMO and you can't begrudge people (Woot) getting upset, not offended, but *upset*, which is a bit more objective. At least hear them out.

    Mel Brooks used to have other Jews tell him his Hitler parody, in full costume, in 1948, was in poor taste. He mentioned this on a doco 'The Last Laugh', but he was gracious about it and never said 'you can't say anything anymore, it's political correctness gone mad' etc. If you find your comments or art get this criticism, be like him, not JK Rowling or Graham Linehan.

    Of course, the biggest joke is Americans trying to analyze comedy...

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