Shadow and Bone on Netflix is being called out for ‘disappointing’ racism scenes
People have called it ‘jarring’ and ‘overwhelmingly uncomfortable’
New Netflix show Shadow and Bone is being called out by viewers for its inclusion of racism scenes. The fantasy series follows Alina Starkov, who stumbles upon her impressive power of being able to summon light, which then flings her into a life she could never have imagined. However, along the way she is singled out for her race, and in the first few minutes is subjected to racial hatred.
Alina discusses “never being liked” by the people who live around her, because she “looks like the enemy” and in other scenes is called a “half-breed” and a “rice eater”. Alina in the series is half Shu, the rival country to where she is now, and she is played by Jessie Mei Li.
People on Twitter have found the inclusion of “fantasy” racism “unnecessary” and have wondered why Netflix chose to include the plots, when they are not included in the book series the show is based on. People have called the racism in Shadow and Bone “disappointing”, “overwhelmingly uncomfortable”, “unneeded”, “jarring” and the worst part of the series.
shadow and bone spoilers //
the show is good so far but the fantasy racism is very disappointing? was excited they had a more diverse cast but i feel like that's pointless if those characters are suddenly on the recieving end of a whole lot of racism that isnt in the books
— bambs! (@corvophobia) April 23, 2021
the worst part of shadow and bone is hands down the racism especially since y’all are saying it wasn’t even in the book??? why would you add that to the show wtf
— lanie (@onceuponaposey) April 29, 2021
have at last begun shadow & bone and as excited as I've been for this series, the instances of racism Alina experiences are so overwhelmingly uncomfortable and in poor taste I'm having trouble getting through it 😬
— Avery 🌈 they/them (@averyafowler) April 24, 2021
Just finished season one of #ShadowAndBone It definitely has some issues, especially around the idea that they need to include "fantasy racism". I definitely liked it, but I hope they take the feedback to heart for season 2
Also, I'm in love with Jesper
— Dez (@Space_Mantis) April 26, 2021
i loved shadow and bone adaptation! the only thing off about it was making Alina half Shu (asian). her facing racism in some scenes can have bad publicity. it’s kind of not a good road to go down to especially with the asian hate going on right now. ☹️ #ShadowandBoneNetflix
— jess dampog (@jiedams) April 25, 2021
– The fantasy racism was absolutely and utterly unneeded and felt grossly tacked on.
– The first 3 episodes were edited so choppily it gave me anxiety.
– Some BAD dialogue
+ Gorgeous cinematography
+ Great premise with a cool cast
+ Good rules for magic
— DropTheDie (@DropTheDie) April 29, 2021
Started watching Shadow & Bone and…why did they think adding all this racism was a good idea? This isn't how you add diversity to a story.
— Poe Cameron (@midnightmusic13) April 26, 2021
Having watched the first three episodes of Shadow and Bone, which I’ve otherwise really liked, the anti-Shu/anti-Asian racism Alina faces for being biracial is jarring and unnecessary. Frankly, there was no good reason to include it.
— Foz Meadows (@fozmeadows) April 25, 2021
Shadow and Bone be like – let me throw in all this racism… for flavour… pic.twitter.com/Ru4Td9MZum
— AJ Knights (@A_JKnights) April 24, 2021
I hate the racism in 'Shadow and Bone'. You can write race without racism. Alina and Inej did not need to have to go through microaggressions from white ppl, the understanding of racism is incredibly surface level and traumatising for the viewers of colour watching this show.
— Celeste (@celestlian) April 26, 2021
Speaking to Digital Spy about the series, Jessie Mei Li said: “I love the way that race is depicted on this show. One of the things, when I was auditioning, was that slight concern of: is this just a diversity tick? Why have you done this?
“But immediately, I understood it wasn’t just that they wanted a person of colour in the lead; they actually wrote Alina’s story to be a reflection of my experiences, and the experiences of Christina [Strain] – she’s Korean-American, she’s one of our writers.”
The Tab has approached Netflix for comment.
Shadow and Bone is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.