Do you guys remember the episode Teen Titans did about racism? It was called “Troq,” and we followed our heroes as Starfire found out that the alien they’ve been helping out for the first part of the episode (named Val-Yor) is actually really, really racist against Tamaraneans. At the end of the episode, Val-Yor concedes that Starfire is “one of the good ones,” in reference to her people. Before she can speak up, the rest of the team is quick to point out the backhanded nature of Val-Yor’s comment. They criticize him for being a racist, and he leaves on negative terms with the team. Thankfully, Starfire is able to put the event behind her, in no small part due to the help of her friends.
Now, take what I’ve just described, and reverse it. So that everyone on the team is the one making the backhanded comment, and we have but one person saying “hey, that’s still really shitty.” Imagine that instead of being excepted by her friends, the Titans said to Starfire “You know, he’s right. Tamaraneans are weird. But you’re okay, we guess. Sort of.”
Guess what? You now have last night’s Agents of SHIELD.
Last night, we found out a couple of things. First: Inter-space racism is alive and well in the MCU. Second: Many members of Coulson’s team actually agree with it. Skye’s powers were revealed to the entire team last night completely by accident, and guess what? She’s going to be bunking in the containment facility from now on. They’re just that supportive.
Here’s the thing: Agents of SHIELD is not an after school special. When it comes to social issues, they usually tackle them pretty poorly. So I’m interested to see if the team is going to realize how discriminatory they’re being, or if Skye is going to continue to be punished for being different and dangerous.
Guess what? Skye’s powers are new, and she’s not the best at controlling them. But the way the team is treating her now proves one thing: she and Fitz were completely in the right to try and keep her abilities a secret. Because when her powers are revealed, only one team member goes “crap, I’ve been wrong about this alien situation all along.” And that person is Jemma Simmons, who seems to be realizing that painting Inhumans with a wide stroke brush is not the best idea.
However, aside from Simmons and Fitz, no one else seems to have that idea. Lady Sif, for one, expresses nonstop disgust with the Kree from the beginning of the episode to the end. She and the Kree plan to put Skye down, and Sif only stops after Skye purposefully knocks herself out with an ICER. That’s right. In order to prove her own harmlessness, Skye must make herself bleed for those that seek to oppress her. Great stuff, right?
It’s no coincidence that Skye hurt herself in the same prison where Grant tried to kill himself. When you are classified as different, or as dangerous, the only way to prove you’re not is to defang yourself. To act normal. White. Heterosexual. Do you see what I’m saying?
Behind Skye’s back, Coulson and May express concern that Skye is probably dangerous. That Inhumas as a whole are bad, and that they hope that Skye is “one of the good ones.” At base, Mack, Bobbi, and Lance express a similar sentiment to Coulson and May’s. So let’s think back to that episode of Teen Titans for a moment. If “one of the good ones” wasn’t good enough there, then it sure as hell isn’t good enough here. I just hope the narrative’s ready to show that.
And let’s think about Skye, here. It’s becoming increasingly clear that she’s going to separate from Coulson’s team in upcoming episodes. Not the next one, but most likely by 2x15. And I feel like she’s going to get flak for that. For turning her back on the people that love her. I call BS. How is she supposed to feel loved when she’s been put in the category of an other? Their affection for her only goes so far if they say “Well we still hate and fear where you come from and what you are on principle. But you’re okay, as long as you don’t, you know, act different.”
We have a word to express how we feel about that, here at geeksout. And that word is “SHADE.” Shade to all that express that sentiment and expect it to be good enough. It isn’t. Not for Starfire, not for Skye, not for anyone. Teen Titans got it right. I wonder if Agents of SHIELD will too.