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Old 01-04-2019, 12:29 AM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Earliest example of ahistorical diversity in entertainment?

For comics I would say Gabe Jones of the Howling Commandos.

For TV, Kinchloe in Hogan's Heroes?


...and no I don't remember anyone complaining about 'forced diversity'. I would guess plain ol vanilla bald-faced racism trumped that in them thar days.

And no, I don't consider any of The Little Rascals or Franklin to be ahistorical. Franklin from experience and I could be utterly wrong about The Rascals. But I don't consider it utterly impossible that a group of impoverished kids could be so diverse.*

Now....said kids dragging a mule into a rich white woman's home without serious repercussions?

*But i could be wrong. I know on the face of it that what Hal Roach did was daring.
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:53 AM
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Othello?
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:00 AM
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For comics I would say Gabe Jones of the Howling Commandos.
Actually, Easy Company under Sgt. Rock (1959) included the African-American Jackie Johnson, and predated the Howling Commandos (1963).
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:06 AM
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Actually, Easy Company under Sgt. Rock (1959) included the African-American Jackie Johnson, and predated the Howling Commandos (1963).
Correction: Jackie Johnson wasn't introduced until December 1961, but he still preceded Gabe Jones.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:02 AM
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Othello?
Ahistorical?
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:16 AM
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Ahistorical?
Remind me when history ended, again?
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:16 AM
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Actually, Easy Company under Sgt. Rock (1959) included the African-American Jackie Johnson, and predated the Howling Commandos (1963).
You left out Little Sure Shot.

When did DC introduce Johnny Cloud the Navajo Ace?
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:33 AM
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Home of the Brave (1949) with Lloyd Bridges had a black Marine on a combat mission in the South Pacific during WWII. While there were black Marines at the time, they were relegated to support roles and very seldom saw action.

In the play of the same name, the character was Jewish.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_o...ve_(1949_film)

Sixteen years later, None but the Brave (1965) with Frank Sinatra was also about an integrated USMC unit during WWII.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/None_but_the_Brave
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:51 AM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
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Remind me when history ended, again?


Your non-sequitur does not appear to be a sensible response to the question 'Ahistorical?' which could also be translated as 'What's so ahistorical about a Moroccan soldier in a 16th century Italian city?'

Try again?
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:34 AM
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Sir Palomedes the Saracen, knight of the Round Table, friend to King Pellinore, rival to Sir Tristan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palame...thurian_legend)

Quote:
Palamedes first appears in the Prose Tristan, an early 13th-century prose expansion of the Tristan and Iseult legend.

Last edited by mbh; 01-04-2019 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:05 PM
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You left out Little Sure Shot.

When did DC introduce Johnny Cloud the Navajo Ace?
Unlike African Americans, Native Americans were accepted in regular combat units in WWII. (A famous example was Ira Hayes, a Pima who was one of the flag-raisers at Iwo Jima.) So as an Apache, Little Sure Shot could have been serving in Easy Company and so would be historically accurate.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:22 PM
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Unlike African Americans, Native Americans were accepted in regular combat units in WWII. (A famous example was Ira Hayes, a Pima who was one of the flag-raisers at Iwo Jima.) So as an Apache, Little Sure Shot could have been serving in Easy Company and so would be historically accurate.
Yeah Native Americans weren't segregated, in fact only African-Americans and Japanese-Americans were segregated, even Chinese-Anericans fought in "White" units.

In both the book and movie "To Hell and Back" one of Audie Murphys squadmates was a Native American which was accurate to his real squad.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:01 PM
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Sucking the fun out of this topic, I could suggest that any Hollywood or Broadway work that showed 'typical' American life as being entirely comprised of whites, without showing the relevant presence of African-American, Hispanic or other people who made up the the 'help', and working class that kept the whole thing moving is quite an ahistorical representation of diversity.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:10 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Sucking the fun out of this topic, I could suggest that any Hollywood or Broadway work that showed 'typical' American life as being entirely comprised of whites, without showing the relevant presence of African-American, Hispanic or other people who made up the the 'help', and working class that kept the whole thing moving is quite an ahistorical representation of diversity.
I don't think it sucks the fun out of it. Now you've got me thinking of older shows I'm familiar enough with to remember "the help". Whether in the background or in bit parts.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:01 PM
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Credit must be given to the Native American Code Talkers (popularized as WindTalkers in John Woo's 2002 movie) who served during WWI & WWII (years unknown as their existence was classified until 1968) to pass on messages in their native tongues.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_talker

Last edited by lingyi; 01-04-2019 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:10 PM
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In 1951 there was Go For Broke! which was about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII. The 442nd was comprised of all Nisei (2nd generation Japanese/American) soldiers except for the officers.

Trivia: Risking it all. Originating as a gambling term when shooting craps in the Hawaiian immigrant camps. You would "Go For Broke!" (in Hawaiian pidgin English, "Go fo brok" (Win or lose it all) on a single throw of the dice.

Last edited by lingyi; 01-04-2019 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Banksiaman View Post
Sucking the fun out of this topic, I could suggest that any Hollywood or Broadway work that showed 'typical' American life as being entirely comprised of whites, without showing the relevant presence of African-American, Hispanic or other people who made up the the 'help', and working class that kept the whole thing moving is quite an ahistorical representation of diversity.
Perhaps, but many parts of the US were de facto segregated in the past even if not officially so. For example, the working-class Irish-Italian neighborhood in the Bronx I grew up in during the 1950s was effectively a no-go zone for blacks or Hispanics. I saw almost none in the area until the 1970s. (Now however the area is mostly Hispanic and black plus a smattering of about every other ethnic group imaginable.) Depicting life in that particular neighborhood at that time as being exclusively white would be historically correct. Of course once you got on the subway to go somewhere else things were different.

Last edited by Colibri; 01-04-2019 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:40 PM
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I don't think it sucks the fun out of it. Now you've got me thinking of older shows I'm familiar enough with to remember "the help". Whether in the background or in bit parts.
Some shows like Beulah featured "the help" as the main stars. On The Real McCoys, hired hand Pepino Garcia was a significant character. The Jack Benny Show had Rochester. The sassy black maid/cook/nanny was a standard part of many shows.

Last edited by Colibri; 01-04-2019 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:42 PM
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Ah...re-reading the OP, I see it's ahistorical, not factual history being looked for. Then wouldn't works like Robin Hood qualify as there's no proven historical proof is his existence. Same with King Arthur. Or am I still missing the point?
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:45 PM
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Yeah Native Americans weren't segregated, in fact only African-Americans and Japanese-Americans were segregated, even Chinese-Anericans fought in "White" units.
So did Hispanics.
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:51 PM
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What exactly do you mean by ahistorical? Would the Illiad count with the Amazons and Memnon and the Aethiopians?
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:55 PM
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Sir Palomedes the Saracen, knight of the Round Table, friend to King Pellinore, rival to Sir Tristan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palame...hurian_legend))
Ooh, interesting choice. That's definitely a case of putting in a 'diverse' character that's from a group important to the people reading and writing the story (Crusades era) but that's not necessarily likely for the era the story is set in (if we can actually figure out when that is).

I'm pretty sure that the King Arthur stories are generally a fairly historically-fluid hodgepodge anyway (like Shakespeare, in fact)
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:57 PM
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What exactly do you mean by ahistorical? Would the Illiad count with the Amazons and Memnon and the Aethiopians?
I'm assuming "reasonable for the era it's written in, but would be weird for the era the story is supposedly set in". In other words, an instance of "presentism" - lack of knowledge about specific differences in the past
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Old 01-04-2019, 09:21 PM
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lingyi, the point is that it's specifically the diversity that's ahistorical. Like, nowadays, if you serve in the Army, you're likely to have whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians all in the same barracks, so a writer nowadays telling a story about a WWII platoon might give his cast the same mix, even though it wouldn't have actually been that way in WWII.
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Old 01-05-2019, 02:53 PM
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I donít have a specific example in mind, but Iím sure that plenty of works based on the Bible replaced the Jewish middle easterners with whatever ethnicity was most convenient. Blonde, blue-eyed Jesus is still a thing today, and certainly an example of ahistorical diversity, if not for the reasons usually associated with the practice.
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Old 01-05-2019, 03:06 PM
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I'm assuming "reasonable for the era it's written in, but would be weird for the era the story is supposedly set in".
Then it strikes me that the OP is just a backhanded way of saying, "Look how racist the USA has been." Because different minority ethnicities have always been present around the world. Maybe they were sailors; maybe they were slaves; maybe they were the masters (Vikings then Normans, anyone? Romans?) Until relatively recently, people didn't give two hoots about your skin colour, your ethnicity, or whatever. Unless they were at war, of course. Again, I refer you to the Illiad and the Trojan War. The laws of Hammurabi differentiate between slave and free but make no mention of race.
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Old 01-05-2019, 03:17 PM
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Then it strikes me that the OP is just a backhanded way of saying, "Look how racist the USA has been." Because different minority ethnicities have always been present around the world. Maybe they were sailors; maybe they were slaves; maybe they were the masters (Vikings then Normans, anyone? Romans?) Until relatively recently, people didn't give two hoots about your skin colour, your ethnicity, or whatever. Unless they were at war, of course. Again, I refer you to the Illiad and the Trojan War. The laws of Hammurabi differentiate between slave and free but make no mention of race.
Sure lets veer off course a sec. I quibble with "didn't give two hoots about your ethnicity". Old Testament has more than one occasion where God is very displeased with intermingling of ethnicities. Whether at war or not.
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Old 01-05-2019, 04:17 PM
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Couple points:
1) Someone brought up Palomides, a dark-skinned man among the Arthurian knights. I don't want to defend this as "realistic," exactly -- we are talking about legends here. But it's a common mistake to underestimate the presence of what we'd call non-white people in pre-modern Europe. A blogger/tumblrer/twitterer named medievalpoc does some interesting work on publicizing examples from pre-modern art...

2) I think "demographic anachronism" or the like might be a better descriptor than "ahistorical diversity?" Unless the OP only wanted examples where the anachronism is the presence of non-white people -- I can't quite tell.


3) Demographic anachronism is pretty common in medieval European depictions of bible stories. (Someone already mentioned this w/r/t the blue-eyed Jesus phenomenon.) For instance, this 12th-century painting of the Magi as European royalty: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...elchior%29.jpg .
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:05 PM
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Nonwhite people in the Mediterranean area, sure. But a Saracen in England is pretty far-fetched.
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:40 PM
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Not to mention that the 'Saracen' lands - Middle East in our terms - were civilised places close to the centers of power, and Britain was kind of nowheresville. Going from Babylon via Rome to the backwoods of England is kind of like a hotshot New York lawyer deciding to spend a couple of years doing pro-bono work in Juneau.

Medieval readers of the Arthurian tales likely wouldn't have cared about Palomides' skin colour (which if he's supposed to be from Babylon is probably white in any case) - it's his religious affiliation that makes him "diverse". And the function of diversity in the story would be very different from today too - by coming in as a pagan and then converting to Christianity, he shows Christianity is better than paganism, which is a big point of the whole Arthurian cycle.
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Old 01-05-2019, 09:47 PM
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The film "Pressure Point" made in 1962 starred Sidney Poitier as a prison psychiatrist and was set (mostly) in the WW2 era. It was based on a book in which the psychiatrist was Jewish.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_Point_(1962_film)
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:14 AM
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Nonwhite people in the Mediterranean area, sure. But a Saracen in England is pretty far-fetched.
Not really. Cornwall, for instance, had trade links to Egypt in the Bronze Age.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:24 AM
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Not really. Cornwall, for instance, had trade links to Egypt in the Bronze Age.
"Trade links" does't mean that people from Egypt were traveling all the way to Cornwall and vice versa. Goods can travel vast distances through intermediaries without any trader having to go very far.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:42 AM
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Nonwhite people in the Mediterranean area, sure. But a Saracen in England is pretty far-fetched.
I don't think it's that far-fetched, really. I'm not going to pretend that medieval England was a hotbed of racial mixing, but there's good evidence that the Romans soldiers were a wide ethnic mix- there's records of a North African unit stationed in Britain in the 3rd century. The Romans left in 410CE, but the Arthurian legends are only set about 100 years later.

Also, although the Roman era in Britain ended in 410, there was still a lot of trade and movement of people all through Europe afterwards, as well as the inevitable descendants of a few hundred years of occupation. Nonwhite people would have certainly been a rarity in Britain in that era, but there is certainly evidence that at least a few existed.

After all, Palomides is hardly presented as just your average bloke on the street, he's someone who had a personal quest and the money to indulge it.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:46 AM
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Already mentioned, but whatever was the first depiction of Jesus as a white European.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:15 AM
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Sucking the fun out of this topic, I could suggest that any Hollywood or Broadway work that showed 'typical' American life as being entirely comprised of whites, without showing the relevant presence of African-American, Hispanic or other people who made up the the 'help', and working class that kept the whole thing moving is quite an ahistorical representation of diversity.
I remember reading decades ago a retrospective review of Hazel which commented how unrealistic it was that all of the maids on the show were white.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:08 PM
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"Trade links" does't mean that people from Egypt were traveling all the way to Cornwall and vice versa. Goods can travel vast distances through intermediaries without any trader having to go very far.
Moors in the Iberian Peninsula could also be referred to as Saracens, so not as far as Egypt. A Moorish/Saracen of means expelled from Spain might take up questing...
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:31 PM
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Already mentioned, but whatever was the first depiction of Jesus as a white European.
Charlton Heston says....hold on here. I gotcha beat.
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:28 PM
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"Trade links" does't mean that people from Egypt were traveling all the way to Cornwall and vice versa. Goods can travel vast distances through intermediaries without any trader having to go very far.
Maybe not Egypt, but the Phoenicians were good enough sailors to sail between their lands and Cornwall for tin. Intermediaries would've busted the monopoly.
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