It’s time, SPN fans, to discuss whether or not Supernatural is racist. Last time we discussed the accusations that SPN was sexist, and while I had some pretty harsh criticisms of the show’s treatment of female characters, I think I was pretty easy on the show. That’s not going to be the case so much this time around.
There are very few characters of color of note in Supernatural. When I say of note I mean either named recurring characters or characters that have become a fan favorite, despite the fact that they were in one episode and then disappeared.
Here are Supernatural‘s Characters of Color: Missouri Moseley, Tamara and Isaac, Cassie, Rufus Turner, Uriel, Raphael, Gordon, Jake Talley, Victor Henricksen, Kevin Tran and Mrs. Tran.
That’s it. That’s pretty much all the characters of color on the show. So let’s talk about these characters.
First, let’s just go ahead and point out the obvious: all these characters are either evil, die tragically, or are written off after one episode.
Uriel, Raphael, Jake Talley, and Gordon are all evil characters. Jake kills Sam to help Azazel open a gate to hell, Gordon is a psychotic killer with no mercy who constantly tries to kill Sam until he is turned into a vampire and killed, Uriel was an angel who secretly had defected to Satan’s team and tried to kill Dean and Castiel before Anna killed him, and Raphael in my opinion was the worst. Despite a large majority of these black characters being evil, they all actually have interesting backstories or personalities. But Raphael is not just evil, but boring.
Raphael first appears when he is summoned by Castiel and Dean and is one of the four archangels. All the other archangels (Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer) have depth. They are well rounded characters. Even Michael, who barely shows up in any of the seasons, has more depth than Raphael. The important thing that the Supernatural writers did was humanize the angels, because they knew otherwise no would be able to relate to the characters and the show would fail. Raphael was not humanized. He’s like a robot who just does as God apparently programmed him to do. Michael tries to be like this but at least seems conflicted about it! Raphael is eventually killed when Cas becomes God. Oh, and that’s after Raphael switches from his male vessel to a female one, because a female character of color can’t possibly live in the Supernatural universe.
Missouri Moseley, Tamara and Isaac, and Cassie are characters that were only in one episode and then were written off the show. Well, except for Isaac. Tamara and Isaac are both hunters that have been married for eight years. They became hunters after their daughter was killed by monsters. Sam and Dean meet them in season two, where Isaac is killed by one of the seven deadly sins in what is still probably the scariest and most upsetting death ever on Supernatural. Tamara survives the experience, but we never see or hear from her again on the show.
Missouri Moseley is an awesome psychic character who appeared in season one. Missouri helped John Winchester discover the truth about the supernatural and how his wife died. The first episode that Sam and Dean meet her she helps them get rid of a ghost living in their old family home. She was awesome, sassy, and funny, and before Ellen, one of the first almost mother-figures of Dean and Sam. The last thing she says to the boys is “don’t be a stranger,” but they never see her again. Even in season four when the boys are looking for a psychic to help figure out who pulled Dean from hell the writers introduce a new psychic, but she is white. Why couldn’t we have Missouri back?
Cassie is another black female character introduced in season one. She is introduced as Dean’s one true love. The only girl Dean ever opened up to and revealed everything to her, including that he was a hunter, and the only girl Dean ever stayed with for more than like, a day. She and Dean break it off because Cassie doesn’t believe him about the supernatural, but calls him again when… a racist truck… tries to kill her family. Dean and Cassie rekindle their love and Cassie is not the wilting follower that most of the boys’ girlfriends tend to be. She gives Dean just as much shit as he gives her. They were arguably perfect for each other. She again breaks off their relationship at the end of the episode, because she knows Dean will never settle down and she is not going to wait for him. Perhaps her breaking things off with Dean is why the writers wrote her off and never brought her back, but they just about wrote her existence out of the show. This was the only girl Dean ever loved, but later she is replaced by Lisa who is white. Lisa, in Dean’s words, is a yoga instructor who gave him the bendiest weekend of his life. Not his one true love. Dean wants to see Lisa again in season three, because he wants to have awesome sex before he is sent to hell. Lisa becomes a major part of his life after he discovers that she has a son that, at first, he thinks is his. I never understood how Dean would want to see Lisa before he dies, but not Cassie. Cassie, again as canon tells us, was the only woman he ever loved. You would think even if she broke up with him that he would at least want to see her before he dies! Yes, friends, we could have had an awesome interracial couple on Supernatural, but alas it was not to be.
Victor Henricksen and Rufus Turner are two of the best black characters on Supernatural and are in the most episodes, other than the black characters that are evil. Victor isn’t evil, but he does act as an antagonist on the show. He’s an FBI agent who believes that Sam and Dean are insane killers. Eventually, he learns the truth and helps Sam and Dean defeat a whole town of demons. He was an interesting and complex character, and the show even implied that he might leave the FBI to become a hunter, or at the very least become Dean’s and Sam’s FBI contact, but no. After helping Sam and Dean save the day he is killed seconds later by Lilith, and only returns later as an angry ghost. Rufus was a diversity double whammy, being both black and Jewish (though he was a bad Jew). Rufus is a hunter and one of Bobby’s best friends. He was, in my opinion, one of the most interesting characters on the show, but he was killed by Bobby when Bobby was possessed by the Khan Worm, a monster created by Eve. Rufus was the only remaining black character on the show other than Raphael, but he was killed to provide emotional turmoil for a white character. Really?
Other than maybe Rufus who, as mentioned already, is Jewish, Supernatural also has the problem of thinking that diversity of race means only black people. Every non-white character for the longest time was black, with the occasional Asian thrown in the background as a side character. Other people of color seemingly don’t exist in the Supernatural universe. That is, until the recent introduction of Kevin Tran and his mother!
I’m not going to say much about either of these characters, because for the most part the treatment of these characters is great. When Kevin was first introduced he was written as a stereotype, but in the next season is developed into a well-rounded character. Mrs. Tran being referred to as a “tiger mom” I thought was uncalled for too, but it is a minor slight considering what an awesome character she turned out to be. Now let’s just hope these two characters survive the show.
So is Supernatural racist? I would say yes, but the recent introduction of Kevin and Mrs. Tran is helping and I have high hopes that show will improve its representation of people of color.
Do you think Supernatural is racist? Let me know in the comments.
And while you’re at it check out some of these articles about race in Supernatural:
What’s Wrong with How Blacks are Portrayed on Supernatural
Only when we stop worrying about the color of a person’s skin, will racism finally vanish from this world.
Here’s the thing. That’s all well and good /if you’re WHITE/. If POC stop worrying about who’s white in the show and who isn’t, they’re not gonna get any representation.
So you really believe that in today’s world of hypersensitivity.
Sorry, but I don’t, this whole issue seems manufactured to me.
My god, you people act like as if there are not tons of shows that are filled to the brim with POC and have very few white people, noone goes around complaining about that, because it would be just as silly as this is.
Here are some links. People of color are being underrepresentated in media and it sucks. Ignoring the problem by claiming that it doesn’t exist won’t solve anything. Adressing the issue and trying our best to figure out a solution will.
I do think Supernatural is racist. Most of it is probably the result of going along with what Hollywood thinks viewers want (white protagonist) and making fun of pop culture (the “tiger mom” reference). However, it is troubling to see how many POC end up as bad guys, especially when all their Hindu and pagan gods, which often come from non-European cultures, are always portrayed as blood-thirsty and very 2D villains unlike Lucifer and Crowley. As a neopagan Asian girl, I hated “Hammer of the Gods”. On top of their portrayal of the different gods, Kali getting saved by Gabriel was super lame.
Despite the stereotypical portrayal, I’ve always liked Kevin Tran mostly because I could related to him. I really enjoyed how his character has evolved and how his mom is so not stereotypical so that gave me hope. However, they went back to the pagan god is evil concept with “Heartache” so the writers have a long way to go.
I didn’t really like those episodes either, but seems to me that the show is pretty negative in it’s treatment of all religions. The show constantly gets hatred for it’s portrayal of Christian figures as well. I mean, the Christian God literally abandoned all of humanity to die and is constantly referred to in very negative terms. The angels attempted to commit mass genocide for pretty selfish reasons. “Good” angels seem to be far and away the exception, not the norm. The show is trying to show that power, in anyone’s hands, will corrupt. It would definitely be nice if more of the story focused on deities from other religions rather than just on occasion. But in general, Supernatural is overwhelmingly negative in it’s portrayal of any religious figures and I doubt that’s going to change, since it’s the basic premise of the show at this point.
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Of course the show is racist, but this is the norm in Hollywood. Did you watch the oscars there where about 5 black faces in the whole crowd. What’s sad is supernatural is a fantasy, a make believe show, and we can’t have black people there for more than 20 mins. There was no reason to kill off Rufus, he was interesting , funny and a better actor than most on the show including the boys. And you think, it was to give bobby a couple of sad scenes. I think not. This show is just typical of how it is in hollywood. we all just accept it as ” that’s the way it is” and go on our way. Hollywood is a reflection of america. One more thing why do all African American actors have to look like they just step off the boat from Africa. They must be dark skinned ( darker the better) with a wide nose tell me I’m wrong Terrance Howard is the only lighter skinned black actor I can think of. You mean to to tell me if a black actor doesn’t look like don cheadle he can’t act. Just look at the black actors who appeared on supernatural. Even if it was for only a min. They all fit the mold of what white America thinks a black man should look like. Mr. kripke is just following suit. It’s pretty disgusting. It will never change. And don’t give me the “we have a black president” line either. Sorry if this strayed from your question .
@MICHEL, you said: ” One more thing why do all African American actors have to look like they just step off the boat from Africa. They must be dark skinned ( darker the better) with a wide nose tell me I’m wrong Terrance Howard is the only lighter skinned black actor I can think of…”
My response to you:
Look, I’m Black, too, but just chill out. What you just said is called “nitpicking”, so just stop, please. When Whites put Blacks on TV/in films, they have usually been very fair or mixed-looking. Blacks complained about that representation. Now you are saying the Blacks shown are too DARK? I’m HAPPY the Black woman who played RAPHAEL looks Black and not biracial or Puerto Rican, because she IS Black. I don’t care how “wide” you think her nose is. who cares about that? I’m glad it’s wide. Thank god. You look at her, Rufus, and Uriel (I think) and you KNOW these characters are black, not half black just have one drop. Please, let us get our priorities together, shall we? And also I don’t think their noses are wide, they are average Black features. what kind of nose do YOU have, a LONG nose, a nose like Gonzo?
Supernatural racist? are you fucking kidding me. You are the one putting some pseudo importance on race here. Are you upset that many characters all are pale skinned because that does not show diversity? Because that already makes you sound like a racist if the color of someones skin bothers you. It is not about skin color and people putting such a constant emphasis on it like you are doing are only making the problem worse by constantly acting like skin color is a big deal you are in fact helping to make it one.
Name one black character who isn’t fucked or killed. Thank you, have a good day.
However, the premise of the show is that practically everyone that Sam and Dean come into contact with or even remotely become friends with dies.So many have been killed off on the show it’s almost impossible to count them all. Ellen, Joe, Bobby, John and Mary Winchester, both grandparents, Gabriel, Meg, Ruby, and so so so many more. All were killed to further storyline, so the fact that characters were killed off who happened to be black means absolutely nothing.
Exactly, like I can agree on the fact that people of color are greatly outnumbered and sometimes quite stereotypical, such as the case of Kevin Tran, but you can’t classify the show as racist based on the fact that people of color die. Pretty much everybody on the show dies, whether it’s one episode after their arrival or a few seasons, and if they don’t then they just join the mass of forgotten, never-returning characters. And I mean if the they didn’t kill off these characters and kept up on all of them… well it would be chaos considering the fact that they deal with new people all the damn time. Unless you’re Sam or Dean or Castiel, if you’re in the Supernatural universe then your existence is basically doomed. I think Missouri was a hell of a character that I really wish we saw more of and I wish with all my heart that Charlie didn’t have to suffer her fate, but that’s just how things work in this show.
That is true! Everyone in their world dies…I didn’t think of it that way! Thanks!
Sorry, if this posts twice. But you are right. Everyone in their world dies. i didn’t think of it that way. Thanks for pointing that ou!i think b/c I am black it would be awesome to see more black people on TV/Movies…and I grew up in Colorado where there are very, very few black people!
There’s no such thing as reverse racism. Racism is about a system of oppression, and modern day white people have the majority of privilege and power. It’s impossible to be racist against white people, and from your comment, I’d say you’re probably a cis white dude.
Your comment, “its impossible to be racist against white people” does not make sense. Anyone can be racist against anyone. No one is exempt from small minded people who form opinions about people based on looks alone. It is often assumed that most white people oppress others, when in fact this is an assumption based on their skin color and not an individuals actions. Different assumptions have been made about other races all over the world without thought to the individual.
That’s the dictionary definition. The definition used by sociologists and scholars is power+ prejudice=racism.
I think that’s a really dangerous assumption to make. Hatred for anyone based on stereotypical views is wrong. People should be judged on individual merit, not by their skin colour, regardless of what stupid meanings our society has attributed to those colours. I wish I had known it wasn’t possible for people to be racist towards white people when I moved into a building that was overwhelmingly occupied by a culture I am not a part of… maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have felt the need to report it when I was physically assaulted in an elevator and told that I “don’t belong here” and then threatened with death if I didn’t move out.
You made absolutely no sense!
I completely agree with your article. The said thing is…it’s not improving for the black characters. I assume you saw “S08 Ep15 – “Man’s Best Friend with Benefits?” You know, the episode that has the beautiful black woman in a dog collar and a white man as her “master” who she is having a sexual relationship with. The references about not knowing if she is more dog than human, and the veiled bestiality jokes. It’s incredibly problematic, and I can’t see how the writers thought that using a story arc like this for any woman (more so a black one) was a good idea. Complete fail. Portia is an interesting character who I would have liked to see return (along with Tamara). But the episode received such low marks that her return my not happen. The actress did do a good job with what she was given. And yes — someone on the Supernatural team is definitely racist or bigoted.
Also, how silly and immature is it for some to call a person racist for calling out racism? People that do this have identified themselves as being part of the problem–not the solution.
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So glad I found your article! Supernatural came out while I was in college, I barely watched TV so I completely missed it. Fast forward to moving to the country where the nearest restaurant is 45 minutes away and I’m surfing through Netflix suggestions. In high school I was crazy about Buffy and Angel so I figured, why not. I loved it, right off. I binge through the seasons, watching them one after another and this does two things to you. First, you forget that guy you’re married to might want to watch something and second you notice all the little flaws and inconsistencies. To my surprise I didn’t notice too much in the way of mess up’s in the story line but around season 4 I started to notice that all of the black characters where evil, inept or written off quickly. So I started to think of all the seasons, I’m on season 5 at the moment, and couldn’t find one character that was black and stayed around for longer than a season or even an episode. Even the ones that should have clearly made appearances through out the seasons. Cassie, awesome character the female version of Sam. She made him talk about his emotions and didn’t let him get away with being an ass. I thought for sure when Dean thought he was going to die he would go back to her. Instead he chooses the one night stand over the love of his life? Never, in any story line would that happen. Then Missouri, their dad went to her often, she was a great character, she would have been awesome to carry through out the story. I think when people argue against supernatural being racist they are under the assumption that we mean, not enough black people being cast as characters. But that’s not the case, the problem we, or I at least, have is the overwhelming amount of evil black characters. It’s true, there are both good and evil white characters but that’s not the case with the black characters.Then there was that episode where they saved the baby from being killed and as soon as they find out the baby is the evil spawn of shape shifters it turns into a black baby. Really? Before, innocent white baby with slain parents, after evil black baby with evil powers. I KNOW most people who read this will think, well it’s just you, you’re the one seeing color! But you know what, this stuff hits your subconscious like a beast. I know it’s hollywood, I know that despite the diversity I see, even in this little town, that shows play to certain demographics. Even so, I would so love to see a good, well written, black character in Supernatural that makes it for 5 consecutive episodes and leaves on a good note, not death, not as spirit or an angry black guy.Ah well, what are you gonna do!
I would love to see ANY good, well-written character that lives for 5 consecutive episodes and leaves on a good note. This literally never happens on this show. Any time someone gets up past 2 or 3 episodes, they kill them off…
That is a myth. We had Castiel, Jo, Ellen, John, Mary, Bobby, Gabriel, Crowley, Metatron, Ana, Charlie, Michael, Ruby, Lisa, Lucifer, Garth, Samuel, the Ghost Facers, and the list goes on. Many of these white characters may have died, but not before appearing on multiple episodes and having in-depth character development. Not to mention that their deaths were epic, relevant to the storyline, and emotional. The same cannot be said for the POCs on the show.
Save for Kevin Tran and his mom, we are generally not allowed to have a POC that is a good guy, has a good attitude, AND lasts longer than an episode. We have to take whatever we can get, yet there is such a diversity of white characters in the show.
spoiler alert* kevins mom got killed brutally, Kevin gets killed by certain ass hole angel. so they didn’t last long at all.
the only way to be rid of racism is to not speak about race at all. forget about it. we’re all human and that’s what counts. oh look that guy isn’t black? this show must be racist. as a person of color I think this is ridiculous. people need to get over it and realize that stopping racism is impossible. people will always judge by skin color. get over it. the only way, as mentioned before, is by not even discussing skin color and the its effects in history to our future generations. this is impossible so racism can never be ridden from the world. at least people are trying to include people of all races in this show. gosh stop over analyzing and watch the damn show!!!
I’m not entirely sure what you’re recommending we do here. You opine that the only way to end racism is to not speak of it, but then instruct us that racism is impossible to get rid of and that all such efforts are futile. I find this confusing.
As a POC, it has not been my experience that racism went away when I ceased to communicate about it, think about it, or confront it. I was trying rather hard for a time. While I would agree that we should avoid generating animosity among people on the basis of race, it seems both naive and fatalistic to assume that racism is an inevitable force (given its historically specific and largely socially constructed nature) that we should lay down for and allow it to wash over us.
I appreciate the inclusion of people of color in television shows. I am not, however, grateful for it. I will not concede that I am being done a favor when our media system decides that it is finally profitable to begin including persons of color in meaningful ways in our entertainment. As such, I feel that “at least people are trying to include people of all races…”, indicates that I need congratulate someone for having the basic decency to include blacks or Asians. This is a non-starter. We exist and thusly are owed representation. Furthermore, we are consumers, and representing us leads to increased revenue from minority populations. It’s just a good idea.
I’ve noticed in the comments here a lot of defense of Supernatural. That’s fine, but I don’t feel that the article is best characterized as “attacking Supernatural.” More like “constructive, thoughtful criticism” of the sort that is generated when one is fond of a thing and merely wants it to be better.
Thank you for your comment, Sharebear003. I always appreciate discussions on such issues and the interaction of bright people with differing opinions.
Wow, that’s a really bleak view of the world! In my experience, the only way people learn that their assumptions are wrong is through dialogue. If racism will never be stopped, why is it that the world is making progress? This generation is far less racist when compared to even a few generations back. Yes, this will probably continue to be an issue for a long time to come, but that doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. Ignoring a pervasive issue has never resolved anything.
Why can’t people watch a show without dissecting it and slandering it with accusations which probably weren’t even considered by the writers. Let’s face it; it could be a whole lot worse, there could be no black characters ever. Just because the died or are evil doesn’t mean it’s racist. Yes, there are a lot of white characters but there are also a lot more white characters who die or are evil or are never seen of again. Just appreciate the show and stop nit-picking. This is just a case of political correctness gone mad.
So what you’re saying is that yes, people of colour are being treated unfairly. But because we could be treating them a lot worse, they should shut up and stop complaining. Sure, that’s totally reasonable.
Here’s a newsflash. If someone feels that they’re being treated unjustly, instead of trying to keep them quiet for your own personal comfort, either try hearing them out or step aside so they may attempt to make things right without your help,
I see your point, and I really, REALLY wish they didn’t kill off Rufus, he was a great character. However, I would like to point out that Supernatural is filmed in Vancouver and most of the actors are Canadian. The percentage of POC who live in Canada is low. So honestly, while the show may not have as much ethnic diversity as it should, I don’t think it has to do with racism. And keep in mind that while she was only in one episode, Cassie was an incredibly strong female character and Rufus was a strong character as well.
Vancouver is one of the most diverse cities in Canada, with about fifty three percent of it’s population being non-white.
I was referring to the Black Canadian population which is what this article seemed to focus on the most. Overall, Canada’s population of Black Canadians is less than 3%. The main point I was trying to make was that I don’t believe this is a racism issue. Especially considering the entire episode about the unjust treatment of people of color during segregation and the horrors of hate crimes. I just don’t see how this show is in any way racist.
I usually don’t respond to the comments here I prefer to let readers debate especially on this post, and I feel already that I have made my case for why I feel Supernatural is racist.
However I feel compelled to point out that one, I doubt they couldn’t have found Canadian actors of color, and two, basically every actor on this show is American. They film in Canada but most if not all the actors/actresses are American and that includes almost all the actors/actresses of color.
Okay very well. I don’t see it but okay. I’ve seen a lot of the extras in other Canadian shows. I’ve expressed my feeling about the show. Thank you for expressing yours.
I think it is. in S1 every girl until cassie was a stereotypical skinny white blonde. I have trouble that there aren’t any brunettes, let alone blacks
I think that everyone responsible for creating the show is being racist without even being aware of it. That definitely doesn’t make it okay, and in some ways is more exasperating than someone purposely being racist. Caucasians aren’t the only people in the world, and aren’t the only colour of people capable of having complex personalities and emotions. There are SO MANY side characters in Supernatural, and the show “takes place” all across America. I don’t understand how there aren’t more (and more meaningful) racially and ethnically diverse characters.
I have a lot, but just one specific example of something that bothers me is: people tend to consider Uriel an evil character/a villain because he was secretly working with Lucifer. At the same time, I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t consider Lucifer evil, just misunderstood. How exactly does that work out?
I think the fact that so many people dislike Uriel more than Lucifer is because we did not see as much of Uriel. We do not know the exact reasoning behind his betrayal of heaven. He was also seen as an ultimate betrayer for backstabbing Castiel, a fan favorite. We get to see the insight into how Lucifer thought and why he did the atrocities he did. It also helped that he was funny and sarcastic and not too serious, unlike Uriel, who never showed a sense of humor. Lucifer just seemed like a more relaitable character overall, despite being more evil.
Honestly, it seems that the vast majority of the show has been in a relatively small section of rural middle-America. Not really a great representation of the country as a whole. The biggest city they’ve ever gone to was Detroit (I believe), and of course it was deserted at the time so it’s not a very good example. I think it would be interesting to see how the show would handle a big city, because to the best of my knowledge they’ve never really done it.
They had a episode in Chicago……and ALMOST a spin off
like Jer (of the june 10th comment),
Supernatural has passed me by for almost all of the time it has been produced. Only a couple of weeks ago i started seeing a few of the current episodes (current in my country; whatever season that is, it might be season 7) Then i got hooked and wanted to start from the beginning. I am now on the finale of season two, but have already read what will happen. So before i started watching eipsode 21 of season two i googled Supernatural and racist because even at only the end of season two i felt that all black characters were either bad or otherwise antagonistic or dead.
I dont have a problem when almost all of the characters are white. My problem is, that almost all of the black characters are bad. Why not have an motel clerk be black, when they check in? why not have them eat in a diner next to a black or non-white couple or family. Just normal stuff !
We’ll they are going to start a spinoff called the tribe with one of the main characters being played by actor Lucien Laviscount. I love SuperNatural and have been watching it since it first aired. I agree with you about the Cassie aspect, I always wanted her to come back on the show seeing how she was supposes to be Dean true love. But like on most shows, movies, magazine and on the runway what our children see is mostly white.
Yes! I always noticed how most of the black characters are evil. That’s why I stopped watching after season 3
I’ve been thinking this for so long, glad someone agrees. No POC has a strong character or storyline. I think that’s ridiculous.
While I agree with you on the vast majority of this, I feel a few things need to be pointed out…
– An overwhelming majority of the characters on this show are killed. It terms of minor/side characters, it seems that POC are treated pretty similarly in this respect. No one lives on this show.
– Similarly, the vast majority of the side characters on this show are the “bad guys” and I don’t see that changing. Good characters are few and far between and none of them last very long either.
– The show is set in small-town middle-America, which even to this day is relatively culturally homogenous. This is changing, of course, and hopefully the show will follow accordingly. However, a lack of POC characters seems pretty common when shows are set here. They should absolutely do better, but it’s not completely unrealistic and isn’t a problem exclusive to this show (not that that excuses it, mind you).
I agree that more representation is important, but I also don’t think anyone should be holding their breath for a POC main character because this show simply doesn’t add main characters. After nearly 200 episodes, there are still only 6 characters who have been in 15 episodes or more. I would love to see more diversity in the minor characters, though (including women)!
Here’s a strange thought. What if the cast they used is based on actors who auditioned and who was best for the role? Without knowing who else has auditioned for what part and/if anyone had been specifically chosen or rejected for a part purely based on the colour of their skin rather than, in this case, the quality of acting you can’t make an accurate or just judgement.
Don’t simplify it that way. In keeping with your strange thought that would mean in a 9 year run the casting crew and producers of this show have failed to come across one minority actor good enough to last longer than 2 episodes and play a part that was not evil, aside of course from Kevin. That’s a ridiculous assumption. What is more likely is that the people responsible for casting this show stick to all the old stereotypes. The smart Asian, the hot blond, the crazy/weird red head, the jock, the sensitive guy and of course the angry black guy. I remember when the angels hit the show, I was so excited to see a black angel and then he turns out to be evil. In 9 years can we get more than 1 character, even if for 1 episode, who is a minority and helps the guys and leaves on a good note. Meaning he doesn’t refuse to forgive his best friend or he doesn’t come back as a psycho killer trying to kill your brother and then turns into a vampire or he doesn’t shoot a human dead or he’s not an angel bent on taking over heaven…
Missouri, Gordon and Henricksen were all originally intended to have further appearances, with the first and third listed becoming recurring characters, but their actors had conflicting schedules that necessitated either replacing them in-story (Bobby for Missouri) or writing them out (Gordon and Henricksen).
Uriel and Talley were also not “evil,” even if they were antagonists. Uriel was simply following Heaven’s plan for the apocalypse while Talley was manipulated by a demon.
I do agree that the original Kripke-era handled race poorly, but by no means through prejudice or racism. It was only until season eight and nine that I began to feel disgusted with the presentation of race and gender.
Also, I feel it important to note that the casting department had the wherewithal to cast the 1930 Crossroads Demon with a black actress rather than a white one, which could have been a very unfortunate depiction of a black man selling his soul. They seem to have forgotten to have such awareness in the “Man’s Best Friend with Benefits” episode.
I don’t know about the ethnic composition of the writing team, but i assume they’re largely male and white. Most people write what they know and how many of the writers would have interacted with different ethnicities to be able to provide a diverse picture. I think it all goes back to the writers/creators of shows. Yes it may be fiction, but I think it is heavily influenced by one’s upbringing or the broad influence of stereotypes.
I would have liked to see Cassie return but I thought the actresses’ original portrayal was pretty bad or maybe it was the writing and directing or all 3. I couldn’t believe for a minute that she’d just lost her father in that episode, the acting was so bad.
In all honesty, I don’t think the show is purposely racist. Do they need to include more colored characters on the show? Of course. But I don’t think they were making the show racist on purpose. If you say that it’s racist that all of the colored characters on the show get killed off, you need to realize that almost every character on Supernatural dies. But because they do have little blacks on the show, they get killed off and it looks racist. Plenty of whites have died. There are plenty of white antagonists on the show. I do agree that they should include some more colored characters.
Lisa white?!? Sure she’s Canadian but she definitely has Central/South American roots. Same with Genevieve Cortese.
I do not know if Supernatural is racist, let’s just say they do not give blacks the most pleasant roles. But that happens with Hollywood in general. Hollywood is VERY stereotypical. For the most part no one but whites are portrayed in any Fantasy, Science fiction or supernatural genre. Did you see any blacks in Lord of the Rings? No superheroes are all white people in Hollywood. Hollywood stereotypes characters horribly, if you need a nerd, white guy with glasses, look at Big Bang Theory, nerdy white guys + Indian with dumb BLONDE white girl, all stereotypes. For the most part when you have actors that are not white in Hollywood, it is because the character is written as a non-white character. I’ve noticed this watching British TV more where I’ve heard they make a conscious effort towards diversity on the screen but actors are just actors in British TV. They don’t just put in a black person because they need a gang banger. If the role in for an accountant, its an accountant who just happens to be black, his or her race isn’t a part of the character portrayal in the majority of British TV and it is refreshing to see.
Ha! I’m reading this a year after the original post and we all know what happened to Kevin and his mom. They were awesome; sad to see them go… Now the death thing doesn’t bother me much on the show and I don’t think it’s racist because EVERYBODY, including our leads, dies on this show…whether or not they’ll be resurrected is another story. I’m a white girl, blonde and green-eyed, who grew up the minority. Not the kind that has one black friend and likes to tell everyone like it’s show and tell. It’s like the United Nations for me and always has been. My granddad, who lived with us my entire life growing up, is Filipino. With that said, I’m always checking for equality and find it lacking in Supernatural…It started off well, which is very bizarre considering we should be progressing as we move forward, not regressing. The thing with Cassie is really what made me take notice. After the episode completed I doubted we’d see her again, but I thought we’d at least witness Dean asking after her or reflecting on their time together…NOTHING! The worst thing about race, other than being overtly racist of course, is being uncomfortable or just plain ignorant around those that are different. Seriously, it’s like a giant elephant in the room and it is freaking annoying.The writers are afraid to explore these relationships or develop these characters…I mean Castiel didn’t have one woman of color in that circle of love scene (pre-orgy lol). It seems when they do throw someone in the mix it is someone of questionable ethnicity…mainly white with a splash of something exotic. I personally find it boring. I still love the show, but I’d like to see some more MEANINGFUL color and not the usual expendables.
You forgot the Alpha Vamp.
too bad kevin tran is fuckign dead and they wrote linda off after he came back as a ghost fuck that shit spn is racist af
Wow this is really interesting l am a black girl who loves supernatural but wow that show is definitely racist. They do it so well you do not even realise until you sit down and think. Even teen wolf managed to make a black guy play an important role.
I have been binge watching. I started to wondering during season 4 why there were not any black people. at least earlier they had the girlfriend, a few hunters, cop…now nothing. I don’t get it.
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cassie is not even black, or at least the actress isn’t. she is biracial.
lol how Kevin dies XD and they leave (Im only at season 9 but I hope that changes)
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Are any shows on bet racist? Tyler movies racist? There are tons of shows on television in which the target audience are black people or other races, but this shows target audience are teenage white girls. Its also filmed in Canada and uses lots of Canadian actors and guess what most of Canada is???
So we should never hope for diversity in programming because there are other shows guilty of this too. First, television shows on BET or Tyler Perry movies do not exclude other races. Second, the lack of open roles for people of color in movies and tv shows have led to the need for such stations. But that’s not even the point. These shows don’t have predominately black casts and introduce white characters that are all negative.
Supernatural may be filmed in Canada but it’s the story of two brothers driving cross country in the US. You mean to tell me in all 10 seasons they haven’t met one, ONE positive character of color since Cassie and Rufus.
I’m not a huge fan of the argument that the show is racist because most of their black characters are either dead or evil. This is because most of the characters on the show are either dead or evil. The ones that could be considered good people who are alive and who don’t disappear after one episode are sam, dean, cas, and arguably crowley.
Supernatural RACIST? I don’t think so. I attribute the number of black actors to Location, Location, Location.
Sam and Dean primarily spend most of their time responding to cases in smaller, rural towns in the Midwest. Growing up black in the South, I’d come to equate this geographical region of the country (yes, probably stereotypically) with a Wonder Bread-white, Bible Belt demographic. It may be this not-completely-accurate perception that allows me to forgive Supernatural for its lack of a dearth of black characters. Frankly, I didn’t expect to see many and to be honest, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what I consider a fairly regular occurrence of POC appearances. I’m not a white Hollywood screenwriter, but I think the depiction of the extremely occasional encounter with a black character seems to ring true. Granted, the show has had a few visits out of its regular venue (down to Mississippi in the “Crossroads Demon” episode; Louisiana, when Dean checks in with Benny the vamp; seems like they even were in Oklahoma at one time for some reason, though I don’t remember exactly why. And there was a Southwestern episode with a Native American vibe that I’ve forgotten….) Anyway, maybe these trips outside of the Wheat, Meal and Cornbread states would be good opportunities for the writers to use a few flashes of color when creating additional characters.
As for the show not hiring Canadian actors of color? Osric Chau (Kevin Tran), Demore Barnes (male Raphael), Megan Danso (Josephine Barnes, “Freaks and Geeks”) – all born in Canada. Mishael Morgan (Portia, “Man’s Best Friend with Benefits”) was born in Trinidad, but her family moved to Toronto while she was still a child. Megalyn Echikunwoke (Cassie, “Route 666”) is a Pacific Northwesterner from Spokane, WA; that’s pretty far north, and she just may have been in the right locale to answer the casting call.
Supernatural. If you don’t get shipped by the fans with one of the Boys, you are likely going to die. If you are a girl who is an actual love interest with one of the main crew, you might die.
I’m on season 8, and to be fair, any character who isn’t one of the 2 leads, Cass, or Crowley, dies or gets forgotten, regardless of their race…or they come back for an episode or two, but then die for good.
Little clarification, that I thought was obvious, but apparently is not. Supernatural is not from Hollywood. It is made in Canada!
And the story focuses on 2 boys from the northen mid-west, where light skin and narrow minds stretch as far as the eye can see. The writers are following that mindset not to be insulting, but to match storyline.
I personally like the destruction of the religious archetypes, with the behind-the-fable dark side reveal. It challenges the viewer to question what we think we know. Not to mention, they are hunters, not pastors – their entire lives have been about kill everything not human – again, small mind syndrome. There was a reason that the men of letters scoffed at hearing the title ‘hunter’.
I do like the writers making true darkness the sister of creation, showing light and dark as yin/yang, not some fallen angel with daddy issues and some white beard angry giant, like most lore. I would like to see more lore with unbiased roots – those episodes have the best impacts imo. Now if only they would come up with a new antagonist religion, multiple seasons of christianity is overly tiresome – enough of the angel/demon show already – there is a plethera of other mythylogical enemies bent on world destruction, not all apocalypses come from spoiled little angels throwing tantrums!
I doubt this thread is still alive, I just wanted to add my two cents: they spend 90% of their time in small towns. You know what small towns tend have population wise? Small minority percentages. To me, as someone from a small Kansas town, that’s the norm. My family sticks out in our town of 5000 as the only multiracial house, trust me when I say if two big white guys showed up, my dad would have nothing to do with them. I get what you’re saying, but it’s not about “representation” when there’s no POC in a small Vermont town, it’s realistic. And they get their cases from the news, which tends to only report white deaths in the first place. So, white only news coverage + small towns = majority white crimes. And besides, I think it’s funny, it’s another trope, where the white guy goes “I’ll check out that mysterious noise” or the dad goes “Ignore it, it’s the house!” Most minorities would have the mental wherewithal to gtfo because they know no white boys from Kansas gonna come in and save them.
The lengths this thread goes to disprove possible racism or discrimination in a tv show is crazy. It’s filmed in Canada. It’s filmed in small towns. I suppose people of color are nowhere to be found in either of those examples. So the reason poc are scarce in the show is because the towns represented in the show are all white. Problems solved. Except there are poc in the show and the majority of them or evil or become evil. So far with have Kevin and his mom, Chick from first season, Hunter couple who lost their child, Rufus, the crappy angel and the vampire dude. 11 damn seasons, I should be able to name every person of color ever on the show. Excluding the miscellaneous guy/girl that’s a demon or random thing that goes bump in the night. So it’s realistic to have a poc when if they can be a complete stereotype, nerdy Asian, hot Asian mom, cranky black old man or when they’re evil.
It’s a fictional show that break the rules of reality on a daily basis but when it comes to demographics of particular towns and countries they’re strict? Come on! I’m just tired of there always being a good explanation.
This conclusion is absolutely ludicrous. There are plenty people of color dwelling in rural areas, I’ve grown up in the traveling through the south all my life and we’re here, live and in color. Courtesy of slave trade and having our roots so deeply seeded in southern land from all of the generations since. This idea that there are no “poc in small towns” is not fact, that is your own opinion. I agree with Jer, the only representation we get of persons of color in areas like the south are Voodoo Priestesses or some rambling drunk whose been possessed by demons. It’s played out and oldfashioned.
This was primarily the reason why I stopped watching the show, alongside the fact that the storyline has been run into the ground and seriously need to just be laid to rest so that the Winchesters can end on a final note that makes sense. The fact that Dean went back to Lisa and not Cassie always irked me, she was canonically seen as his only strong love interest and didn’t put up with his shit in a way that actually made sense. The fact that he went back to Lisa didn’t correlate. On top of this, the handful of other poc in the show have been written out and or killed off, leaving way too many loose ends untied which is really disheartening. A lot of people have died just to fuel the man pain and frankly, it’s incredibly boring. Let Sam and Dean go already, we’ve told their story far too many times.
Has anyone thought about why Metatron is white? He’s an Angel who came down to earth to hide among the Native Americans after God disappears
He’s been living with them for centuries and he’s white? how come? was non of the native Americans he lives a worthy vessel?
Also what about Cain? literally the third human being on earth according to the Bible and he’s also white, scientifically the earliest humans were black but Cain is white, how does that work?
Literally what I’ve been thinking.
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So, thank you for this post. I just started watching this show on netflix and I must say I have had the same questions. Specifically, why would Dean go to Lisa and not Cassie? I mean Cassie was his one true love and frankly a lot more interesting that Lisa. It actually turned me off the whole season because it seemed forced and not natural. Just saying…
If you pay attention to any time that Native Americans are mentioned in the show, Dean makes a comment about how they “didn’t last long” or something of the like. As if they don’t exist anymore, and it really bothers me how we are just erased. Just a thing.
I love Supernatural, but I do feel that it is a bit racist and sexist. What the show needs is a few BAMF women of color and of course a few BAMF men of color too. Maybe a character like Charlie but doesn’t die? Or Sam and Dean could start training hunters and some of them live with them in the bunker or otherwise are in touch with them. They just need to cast more POC.