I've said before how much I love The Lunar Chronicles, one of the many reasons being that it's one of the most diverse series I've ever come across. There are characters from all different ethnicities, four completely different heroines who are never pitted against one another, a leading heroine who's missing an arm and a leg and a 'Prince Charming' from Beijing. It's such a fantastic series.
Now I have to admit that upon first reading Cinder I didn't picture Cinder herself as Asian, though I didn't picture her as white either. Something about the way Marissa Meyer describes her made me picture her as Hispanic, though I have seen many people picture her as Asian.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought: Why on earth would a group of rebels hide someone as important as Cinder in China if she was going to stick out like a sore thumb? Surely she was taken to China because she could blend in.
Does that mean she's Asian? Personally, the more I've thought about Cinder the more I've come to imagine her as mixed race and there are three reasons for this:
1) I'm not entirely sure that Levana and Channary are/were Asian (though I could be wrong!), but there's every chance that Cinder's biological father was. After all, Luna itself is brimming with all different kinds of ethnicities, so I imagine a lot of the population of Luna is made up of mixed race people anyway; Winter is also mixed race.
2) I always thought that Cinder not being Asian was something else that distanced her from her neighbours. Not only is she a cyborg, but she's also 'not from around here'. I'm not trying to imply that mixed race people are social outcasts, but even today some mixed race people face prejudice from both sides of their heritage.
|An Anglo-Indian Harry, art by Brigid Vaughn|
Why is this important? Because representation matters.
The people who disagree with that statement, and thankfully I've never met a single book blogger who disagrees with that statement, are also the kind of people who would immediately picture Cinder as white. So the people who do disagree with that statement also end up proving it to be true, because they picture Cinder as they are, regardless of the fact that she's described as having 'naturally tanned skin' and that she lives in China.
What are your thoughts? How do you see Cinder?
Thanks to Cait @ Paper Fury for inspiring me to write this post!