July 9, 2011
DC’s racefail, featuring Cass Cain



It probably doesn’t come as a surprise for anyone reading this that I love Cassandra Cain. I love her a lot! My heart grows five sizes when I read her comics. Sometimes during the day I’ll randomly start thinking about Cass and then almost tear up that she isn’t regularly in anything anymore, that’s how much I love Cass.

The simplest way to explain why Cass is one of my favorite comic book characters sounds incredibly superficial—she looks like me. But how often does an Asian girl get an Asian girl vigilante to look up to? Cass is incredibly important to me not only because I can relate to her struggle to find self-worth and identity and a cause worth fighting for, but also because she’s a positive role model who isn’t white.

But there’s no denying that, as a character, Cass is problematic. Despite being one of the most prominent Asian characters in DC comics, she is also one of the most prominent examples of exotification and otherization (oh shit is that a word? I have no idea) of Asian characters in the media as well.


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This is an amazing piece of meta — I think that sometimes we get caught up in how much we love the characters as people, and forget to look at how characters work…as characters. We all love Cass, but @dandizette is right. As the single Asian character who had a long run, the way that she was handled in the small details — constantly giving her “slanty” eyes to emphasis her Asian-ness, having all the characters comment on her Asian-ness, — as well as in the large ones — why couldn’t DC ever have given her a nationality? Why did she end up being from the “Asian” monolith? Why exactly is she the protector of Hong Kong? — need to be questioned. Because while we as fans can write about it, and change it and make it into a headcanon that is less objectionable, it’s still lazy and Orientalist for the writers to do all this.

Really great piece. What’s also interesting is that Cass fits into the stereotype that’s used far too often to represent Asian people or characters in any medium, which is master martial artist/world’s best fighter. (And sometimes she is written to fit even further into a stereotype of Wise Dragon Lady, etc.) 

Dandizette is awesome, give this a read. 

(via badparsiqueer-deactivated201110)

4:02pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZWvbJy6wkrmd
Filed under: Cassandra Cain 
  1. and-you-want-to-take-me-on reblogged this from cass-cain
  2. insaneartisticnerd reblogged this from dandizette
  3. operationbatgirlinc reblogged this from shobogan and added:
    This is a very interesting conversation.
  4. your-ridiculous-lies reblogged this from phanapoeia
  5. phanapoeia reblogged this from dandizette
  6. agate-reblogs reblogged this from agates-link
  7. dytabytes reblogged this from darkrescues
  8. dandizette reblogged this from skalja and added:
    Thank you for the clarification! I know you really didn’t have to, so I appreciate you taking the time and energy to...
  9. skalja reblogged this from dandizette and added:
    Well, since you asked, I wouldn’t call it offensive so much as … setting up the debate in a way that prioritizes racial...
  10. ittygittydiddynator reblogged this from shobogan and added:
    Added commentary that is also super important.
  11. cass-cain reblogged this from shobogan
  12. shobogan reblogged this from skalja
  13. fullofwhoa reblogged this from skalja and added:
    Ahhhh Skalja, that last paragraph. A++ I have some long-winded Cass meta/ranting in my drafts that I should really get...
  14. magicalgirlserena reblogged this from awyeahmona
  15. rahadyansastrowardoyo reblogged this from dandizette and added:
    If I were a parent, one of the things I would wish for in popular media would be more Asian and Asian American heroes...