The Miraculous World Specials Are A Problem and Here's Why.
As I wrapped up filming my video where I compared The Boondocks, an adult animated series, to Miraculous Ladybug, a family cartoon, there was a piece of it that continued to linger on my mind. These programs show racism in two different ways. One show does it in a way that teaches the audience about the bigotry, while the other is just racist without even realizing it. The series that is racist by accident is Miraculous Ladybug.
I’ve been a fan of Miraculous Ladybug since my high school days; I have always been bothered by the racial insensitivities within the show. It's more frustrating when it’s pointed out, the people in charge of the show do not care to listen to what their fans of color are saying. While they see this as being hateful, it’s not. If someone of color is telling you something is offensive, you should listen to them. It’s evident that Mirculous’s team does not. So many of this show’s problems with diversity stem from the fact that it’s only white people in the writers' room; at one point, it was just white men. I was unhappy when I discovered Miraculous was planning to do more specials in different places. Why am I like this? I was in this state because the last two short films, New York and Shanghai, were just full of people of color being brutalized. They plan to go to Africa next. I am an African American, and because of that, I am concerned. Here’s why I am scared for this franchise to continue doing this.
In the New York special, we are introduced to two new characters: Jessica, an Indigenous girl, and Aeon, a black robot (a problem in itself). With Jessica, we see that her legal guardian, who is a white woman, is verbally abusive towards her and forces her into a job (being a superhero) that she did not ask for. Jessica is also, in fact, terrorized by the main villain of the series (who is white) just as well. So much of this special was Jessica being distressed about being a hero. Aeon, on the other hand, was killed on-screen by a white boy. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of shows and movies putting a few black characters in their works just for them to be murdered. Miraculous pulled the “black guy dies first” trope with her. Aeon was the first character we have ever seen in the franchise die on screen. As a black woman, this pained me so much, and many other black people expressed online why the team behind the series was wrong for this creative decision. Also, I would like to mention both of their mothers are white. Interracial families are great to see in the media, but so many creators use interracial families as an excuse to add more white people to their stories. They fail to realize that interracial does not always include white people.
The Shanghai special was a different kind of messed up. It was giving colonzier. Gabriel, the series’ main villain, a white man, takes a trip to Shanghai, China, to open up another business of his there and to steal. Gabriel makes more than enough money in his homeland, so the fact that he felt it is ok to open another business in the location while stealing the materials from the country is disgusting. He also indirectly murdered a Chinese man. The man Gabriel was responsible for the killing was the father of a Chinese girl named Fei, who has restored to stealing as a way for her to survive. Fei doesn’t want to take from people but does not have many other options if she wants to be alive. The Shanghai special, while it looks beautiful and I enjoyed it, was full of Asian pain caused by a white man.
It’s disturbing to keep seeing the white characters in the series go to different locations where people of color reside, making their lives more complicated than they already are. I understand that Miraculous Ladybug wants fans of different backgrounds because of money. With more fans, more money comes along. The team fails to realize that the world specials are not the best they can be because they continue to use the main storylines in these short films: a white man bothering people. The Miraculous World specials so far have just been a white man abusing non-whites in different cities and children of color being in pain. In the main series, we already have enough racial insensitivity with Gabriel giving the characters of color worse treatment than the white characters, including holding a black family hostage and stalking an Asian man. We, the series’ fans, are tired of the hurt these characters of color face because of him. The Miraculous World specials make this unsettlement much worse. If the Miraculous team refuses to make changes with their franchise, adding writers of color and not having Gabriel go to countries full of non-white people to bully them, they can keep these specials in the drafts.
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