BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BROWN PEOPLE?: Why Twilight Fails on Race

Blue Corn Comics provides an awesome link round-up of the incredibly crazy race issues in Twilight.

NewsRock, one of Blue Corn’s bloggers, has been researching the legends mentioned in Twilight and coming to some conclusions that make THIS brown girl quite perturbed.

Quotes from the post:

So a travel book about the Pacific Northwest Indians includes a legend about a Hawaiian chief named Kaheleha. One hundred thirty-one years later, a YA book about the Pacific Northwest Indians includes a legend about a Quileute chief named Kaheleha. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Ohhhh. FLAWED RESEARCH MUCH? NewsRock goes on to point out that this blurring of cultures is one of the ways in which Native identitIES are marginalized, and treated as though one tribe is pretty much the same as another. >_< CAN’T A GIRL JUST FANTASIZE ABOUT PROBLEMATIC BROWN BODIES WITHOUT GETTING CALLED ON HER OWN RACISM???? Please! Won’t someone think of the Mary Sues???

This ish is making me think that Twilight bears a lot of similarities to Lydie Marie Child’s Hobomok, published in 1824, where a lurvely white wimminz falls in love with an imaginary Indian tribe, pieced together out of a conglomerate of OTHER tribes. This, for her is a path to her own self-growth — but for the Indians in the story IT IS THEIR DOOM, and eventually they have to pull a Galadriel and fade into the West. I make this comparison, because it seems that the Indians in Twilight fulfill much the same function. They act as a foil to the weirdness that is Bella’s relationship with Mr. Sparkles, and are a place where Bella can have SOME agency, in a story where her total lack thereof is a sign of TRUE LOVE.


  1. says

    Thanks for linking to my site, Hathor Legacy. You inspired me to write a bit more about “Twilight.”

    A slight correction: Newspaper Rock (aka NewsRock) is the primary blog on my Blue Corn Comics site. It isn’t a separate “blogger” or other persona. Everything on the site, including the Newspaper Rock blog, is written or compiled by me.

    P.S. If you’re looking for good female characters, I recommend Octavia Butler’s “Kindred.”

  2. The OTHER Maria says

    Thank you for doing that research! :) You are doing amazing work.

    Octavia Butler is generally made of win, but we haven’t yet reviewed her. :)

  3. The OTHER Maria says

    Lulz at least Cassie Edwards got the TRIBE right, even if she, uh, DIRECTLY LIFTED multiple passages from other works. 😛

    I can’t believe I’m comparing CE FAVORABLY to another writer!!

  4. Fraser says

    This is a minor point in the review you linked with, but when the blogger was saying how important it was to discuss the subtext of this book … Out of curiosity, did anyone ever care what their parents thought when they tried things like this? My mother was always trying to discuss issues in stuff I was watching (not so much reading) and I personally rank as a parental behavior that sounds sensible and thoughtful and in practice is just annoying (even though it’s a recommendation I see a lot in parenting books).

  5. The OTHER Maria says

    Hi Fraser —

    Do you mean in the review about women and abusive relationships? I didn’t notice it in this particular review.

    Anyways, my parents paid very little attention to what I read, BUT they were very quick to comment on what they saw me watch on TV. They did it really subtle ways tho, especially in regards to women’s lives.

  6. The OTHER Maria says

    Thank you for cnotinuing to develop your project, Rob! I think that sometimes when people write stories about ZOMG!INDIANS that there are real bodies and peoples getting (mis)represented.

  7. sbg says

    It doesn’t surprise me. I think Stephanie Meyer did about 30 seconds of “research” all told before she picked up a pen and started writing.

    How else would explain setting a story in Forks? 😉

  8. gategrrl says

    SBG, here’s an interview with Meyers before her second book came out (and which my daughter is drooling for-too bad I can’t find it any bookstore around here) where she says that she did *not* do any research, especially reading others’ vampire novels, because her books take place in its own unique universe. It was all based on a dream, so I guess she used “dream logic” for the rest of the story.

    The interview is an interesting read, actually:


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