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Skin Tones

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Skin Tones

Postby Dragon Master » Wed Dec 10, 2003 2:14 am

First off, I would like to state that I am in no way a racist.

I'll begin,

The yellow smile minifig was the first head available, and the only one produced for many years by TLC. The face was stopped I believe by the pirate line. I think the first castle man with facial hair was the Black Knight himself. With the bearded and lipstick pirate figures, gender was now established. There could be a clear difference in figs bettween the men and the women.

Later lines (as you know) featured ridiculous facial expressions that we have grown to love, and love to hate. Soon enough short legs were produced. Children were able to be made.

The LEGO world seemed perfect. Men, women, children, some smiling, frowning, bearded, or one-toothed!

Only one problem. There was only one skin tone. Myself, being Caucasian, have had no problem being represented by the yellow skin. Using the same skin color, lego also has made Asian mini-figures, such as in the Ninja and orient expedition line. Thses may or may not have been accepted as a good skin tone for Asains, this I do not know.

The recent LEGO NBA line feautured minifigs representing actual NBA stars. Some of the figures had a brown skin tone representing African figures. (I'm sorry If I have not used a politically correct term. If I have I appologize for my ignorance). This was the first time Lego had produced figures of this skin color.

I know a society was formed to push for a brown skinned Lando Calrissian figure. This recently was produced in a lego set. But is this enough. For people of African descent, they may not want their representatives to be NBA players or star wars people all the time.

I also heard a rumor that the new harry potter figs would be changed to inclued more natural skin colors. I don't think this would be good, especially for collectors with a lot of yellow skined figs.

But I personally would love to see more brown skinned mini figures come out in future lego sets. It would make things in more realistic. I wouldn't mind having a markeplace filled with people off all different races and culutures.

I would love to hear your opinions.

Thanks,

Dragon Master

(Deeply sorry If I have offended anyone, it was not on purspose)
"I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you." -Pope John Paul II
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Postby LEGOFREAK » Wed Dec 10, 2003 2:31 am

http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/thele ... ire_02.jpg

first let me say sorry for the long download time.
second - I totally agree. I would like to see yellow and brown people. - thats about it. I dont want to see a lot of tan people, and while I am technically "white" I think Billy Connolly said it best - "the Irish are a sort of pinkish hue, while us scots are a pale blue"
so even the tan wouldn't really represent me. :D
so I guess what I am trying to say is that you can't possibly represent every color of skin tone in the world, so how about two that could sort of stand in for them?


Freak

ps
while I have about a thousand lego people, sadly I only have three warriors like that - and the other two have to wear gloves. Talk about a minority.
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Postby adm_matthew » Wed Dec 10, 2003 3:27 am

I heard from someone ;) that ALL licensed merchendise will have proper skin tones in late 2004 :(:(:(
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Skin Tones

Postby Blasterman » Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:23 am

While it's perfectly fine for people to want more
brown skin tones, why exactly is it bad for other
people to want pink/tan/caucasian flesh tones?

Bad because you have so many yellow people?
Then why justify brown? If you don't want to add
"white" to your collection, then why add brown?

And "two that sorta stand in for them" - ok.
Brown doesn't exactly "sorta" anything. It very
clearly represents any person with darker skin.
Remember, we're not talking about doing every
shade of color for everyone right? So let's not
get into any "well I'm not that light/dark" speeches.

Yellow doesn't fit anyone, period. I'm "white",
but certainly not as pale/tan as others. Do you
think I would care about the particular shade?
Not one bit. Why?...because I would finally have
a color that best represents me. Or because
I'M NOT YELLOW.

What it comes down to is this(whether anyone
wants to agree or not) - Either make them ALL
yellow, or make different races. It's that simple.

Anyway, licensed characters SHOULD be done
in their correct colors. Lando should be brown.
Luke should also be "white".

I swear, this is the last time I will comment on
this subject.
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Postby Devari » Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:33 am

The main thing I don't like with the "White" skin tones is that they look like c-r-a-p. I really do not like that Flesh tone. I'd rather just have all Yellow. Brown doesn't really fit as well as yellow, but I still prefer it to the White skin tone of the NBA players.

I'd rather the LEGO people be Yellow. Perhaps they live in a world where there is no racial conflict?

Plus, it's been good enough for generations of kids (more than 25 years if you count the big figs), so why change the universe. Grey colour changing I can take, but minifig Yellow to "White", no.
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Postby Christopher McCleerey » Wed Dec 10, 2003 7:31 am

Heh Heh...
Toutchy subject I see.

What was that old song?
"...red and yellow, black and white, they are..."

Even if I am "pink-tan" in color I'm not sure I'll transition to those type of minifigs right away. But TLC will do what it will. :roll:

On the other hand I feel Lando and Mace should have brown minifigs. Chewie was brown with no problems!(I know it's a huge stretch)

Finaly: I have been using (when I play with space stuff, which is less than castle stuff) megaphones and faucet heads for blaster guns. I can make due without proper skin tones if I have to.

<psudo quote>
It is the way of things. The way of the LEGO.
</psudo quote>

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Postby LEGOFREAK » Wed Dec 10, 2003 9:03 am

Christopher McCleerey wrote:Heh Heh...
Toutchy subject I see.
C


Only to some.

Personally I welcome any sort of topic that gets people thinking outside their preconceived notions.
Including me thinking outside mine.
Maybe we do need more than yellow or brown.
:D

(I don't pretend to have the answers, but I love the questions.)

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Postby David Girard » Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:17 pm

My opinion is that yellow color represented no race, but everyone. Yellow represented only human, but no one specifically. Even the asian are not that yellow. So this color is international.

Now with the inclusion of skin color, Lego embarked themselves in something they will not be able to stop. They will be obliged to make different skin color, and maybe one day, they will be obliged to a have a representative quantity of people of color because of social pression.

I'd prefer Lego hasn't do that. I'm not racist, but I prefer the day when there was no distinction between race. Yellow was OK for everyone since longtime.

Again and Again, this kind of change make the impression that all they done before was not good. This is the same thing for the changes of color in 2004, the change of sword some years ago, the change of helmet in 1990, etc. Lego discredit what they done before and that cause frustrations for collector.
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Skin Tones

Postby Blasterman » Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:45 pm

Finaly: I have been using (when I play with space stuff, which is less than castle stuff) megaphones and faucet heads for blaster guns. I can make due without proper skin tones if I have to.


At least I give people the option to use something different, or new.
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Postby Christopher McCleerey » Wed Dec 10, 2003 7:38 pm

Please forgive my late night postings.

Change is fine. Options are great. :D
When I saw the basketball figs for the first time I thought that the colors worked well. When they were next to yellow figs they made the yellow stand out like a sore thumb. This got me defensive on the wrong side I guess. All my yellow minifigs will look weird if this keeps up. But, really, so what. I'll work with it.

I think there were only a few colors to choose from when LEGO first made the minifigs. Out of those kids liked yellow. Maybe they only asked white children. But given the dozens of colors LEGO can now choose from or create it seems logical that minifigs will change to represent the real world.

I think the basketball fig's skin colors look good so I think that same coloring will look good in the real minifig sets. LEGO started something here and I think they should finish it all the way, no doubt about it. It seems to me that as soon as they licenced movies and sports, in which there are real people, they brought this sleeping issue of their color choice to the fore front. They must follow through or face this kind of question more and more often.

At least there should be "light" skin and "dark" skin. I don't know about how many shades and hues between those there are. Maybe there are only a few broad catagories that could be summed up by a few different colors?

In the future kids will think "What was LEGO thinking with those old odd yellow figs. How weird it would be to play with just that color."

I probably said something dumb in this one too. :oops:
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Postby Devari » Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:10 pm

Christopher McCleerey wrote:When I saw the basketball figs for the first time I thought that the colors worked well. When they were next to yellow figs they made the yellow stand out like a sore thumb. This got me defensive on the wrong side I guess. All my yellow minifigs will look weird if this keeps up. But, really, so what. I'll work with it.


Hehe... When I stood that disgusting flesh colour next to my yellow people, I thought the "white" stood out like a sore thumb.

Christopher McCleerey wrote:I think the basketball fig's skin colors look good so I think that same coloring will look good in the real minifig sets. LEGO started something here and I think they should finish it all the way, no doubt about it. It seems to me that as soon as they licenced movies and sports, in which there are real people, they brought this sleeping issue of their color choice to the fore front. They must follow through or face this kind of question more and more often.


I have no problem with the flesh or brown colours turning up in the basketball sets. However, I do not like the idea of a "White" Luke Skywalker or a "White" Han Solo. I currently depend on the Star Wars, Adventurers, and, to a lesser extent, the Harry Potter series for all of my new minifigs for castle.

Yellow is a fantastic colour to represent "people". It doesn't look particularly "White", nor Chinese, nor "Black". It is a raceless colour.

Take a look at the standard emoticons on any forum you go to. I'd hazard a guess that more than 50% of all forums use Yellow emoticons as a colour. It is a good colour as it seems to offend no one.

Another problem with LEGO getting in to the colour issue is that they will end up having to appease all races in society. They'll have to have even minifig amounts of "Black", "White", and Chinese in each theme, lest they be accused of racism.

LEGO is a toy and building mechanism. It does not have to represent real life.

Christopher McCleerey wrote:At least there should be "light" skin and "dark" skin. I don't know about how many shades and hues between those there are. Maybe there are only a few broad catagories that could be summed up by a few different colors?


The reason why I don't mind the "Black" minifig as much as the "White" one is that the brown colour used in the minifig matches the colour scheme of LEGO. LEGO tends to be made up of a basic, simple colours. Putting a "White" minifig up against a Blacksmith's shop looks awful. The so-called "flesh" colour does not fit in the spectrum of basic colours, whereas the brown colour looks half-decent.

Lets create a hypothetical scenerio. Let's say that LEGO does take the colour route and a few years down the road, all minifigs are "White" or "Black" or "Chinese" and so on. When a LUG holds an event, they may be boycotted because they have one more "Black" figure than "White. Or they don't have enough Chinese minifigs. Or they "should have all 'White'".

The racial issues could also cause some minority, or even majority, parents to not want to have their kids play with racial LEGO. Maybe the parents are supremisicists (sp?), but more likely they are trying to promote tolerence.

Also, do you really want racist MOCs with the "Black gangstas" vs. "The White good guys". Or vice versa.

For the record, I am "White". I am also a TFOL. Just in case you thought I was something else. :)

Also, I am sorry for any offense taken, and I'm sorry for my lack of political correctness. :|

I would like to ask anyone that attends the 1000steine-LEGO question sessions to ask if they are going the racial direction, if possible. Please try to make the question as vague as possible. We don't want them to lose their jobs. ;)
Last edited by Devari on Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby David Girard » Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:13 pm

You are true Christopher. It's logical since Lego have a greater choice of color. But it's a bit irritating for the past things they done.

But now childrens may think actually that there is not much black peoples. Lego will surely be obliged to make proportional representation in the future.
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Postby Stephen » Wed Dec 10, 2003 10:38 pm

This topic opens the door to a much bigger issue. David touched on it in his first post when he said that the "yellow color represented no race, but everyone"

In the beginning, all the minifigs had the same face, the same fig could be a boy or a girl, and any race, depending on how YOU wanted it.

TLC has been taking the options out over the years. They started making heads with expressions on them. Then they started making "boys" and "girls". Then they started making "good guys" and "bad guys". Then they started making individual people.

With the NBA sets, they wanted to make minifigs to represent actual people. So they had to get correct skin tones to represent race.

I have no problem with TLC going into the collectable action figure market, but I would hate to see the whole line go that way.

Recent minifigs really limit my options. The Harry Potter head can only be Harry Potter, (or someone who happens to look exactly like Harry Potter.)

I still want my options. Keep some of them yellow and generic. I want a minifig that I can pretend is "me"

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Postby rogue27 » Thu Dec 11, 2003 12:02 am

I think this is going to be like the custom faces that were started with the pirates line. It started in Pirates, but after a few years, it spread into all of the themes.

Likewise, non-yellow minifig heads started in the NBA line. Now there is one "black guy" in a Star Wars set. It makes sense for minifigs based on people or characters to resemble the person or character they are supposed to represent.

I thought the skin tones of the NBA minifigs did a lot to make minifigs look more realistic, and I wouldn't resist such a change to all minifigs someday. Just like the custom faces in the pirate line, it gives you more ways to build a minifig, lets you create more interesting characters.

Of course, LEGO also made a lot of terrible minifig faces, so it will all depend on how well they implement the changes. I think it would be cool to have Castle minifigs in 2005 that have more realistic skin colors and a variety of good facial expressions. On the other hand, I wouldn't really have a problem if they kept non-licensed things yellow. Yellow has gotten us this far already.
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Postby Jojo » Thu Dec 11, 2003 1:02 am

Hello!

devari wrote:Yellow is a fantastic colour to represent "people". It doesn't look particularly "White", nor Chinese, nor "Black". It is a raceless colour.

Exactly.

LEGO is a toy and building mechanism. It does not have to represent real life.

Yes. At least it does not 'necessarily' have to represent real life in a 'real' way. It's meant to represent the real life how one sees it using one's imagination.


Also, I am sorry for any offense taken, and I'm sorry for my lack of political correctness. :|

I don't like the idea "political correctness". If you want to express your opinion without the aim to offend anybody just express your opinion. Often people don't dare to express their opinion for they fear to offend anybody. That's wrong. There is ALWAYS somebody who might be feeling offended by anything you said. But you cannot prevent any possible feeling of everybody.
You did it right. In my very humble opinion. :-)


I would like to ask anyone that attends the 1000steine-LEGO question sessions to ask if they are going the racial direction, if possible. Please try to make the question as vague as possible. We don't want them to lose their jobs. ;)

Hehe! I'm not sure if there will be any further chat-sessions with Jake on 1000steine. If so, I'll try to remember to ask this question.


Bye
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