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fabulousanima:

LET ME TELL YOU WHY I LOVE THIS SCENE AND THIS EPISODE AND THIS SERIES AND WHY I COULD WRITE A DISSERTATION ON EVERYTHING

First off, it’s an entire episode about prejudice and discrimination without the POC being the one to have to tell it.  Rather than always taking the role of the person who has to tell us why prejudice is bad, Cyborg gets to be the friend and confidante.  He gets to be the one to relate to Starfire’s problem.

Starfire is understandably upset about Val-Yor calling her a “troq”, but doesn’t want to burden her friends, especially during the course of an important mission.  Cyborg, however, soon stumbles onto the truth.  How absolutely powerful his line “So he’s been calling you a terrible name, and you know that if you punch him out, it’ll just confirm all the bad stuff he thinks about you.”  This speaks directly to the concept that marginalized people must always be on their best behavior, must always be working tirelessly against stereotypes and discrimination, and if they falter, if they get angry or upset or even just have a bad day, they will immediately be labeled as precisely the thing they are working against.  Of course he understands exactly what she’s feeling.

(What’s left out of this gif set is that he tells her he understands because he’s part robot, which speaks so much to Cyborg and how unique and treasured his relationship with Starfire is, and how much he probably values being not seen as an “other” human, but as a human in general.  Their relationship is so ridiculously amazing, that could take an entire other post, DON’T GET ME STARTED IT WOULD BE REALLY LONG BECAUSE I LOVE THEIR FRIENDSHIP.)

And Cyborg convinces Starfire to tell Robin about what Val-Yor’s been doing because he knows how much she means to him and that he would want to know, even though Starfire doesn’t want to burden him.  (And if you go back and watch the episode, listen to the way Scott Menville delivers the single line “What” when Robin does hear about it; it just perfectly captures the quiet anger and insult that he feels and UGH I COULD DO A WHOLE POST ON THE VOICE CAST DON’T ENCOURAGE ME.)  Robin of course immediately wants to defend Starfire, but being the incredible person that she is, she reminds him that their mission is more important than her feelings.  She knows that there are other things at stake and is determined to be a strong person and try to ignore blatant discrimination against her, to work with this guy even though he doesn’t respect her, because that’s what needs to be done.  He continues to try to ignore and marginalize her until she finally just tells him to shut the fuck up and let the big girls take care of the alien invasion.  Which she does, while saving his sorry ass.

AND THEN to their immense credit, the writers bring us back to Earth where Val-Yor is trying valiantly (or pathetically, take your pick) to save face and remarks that Starfire “must be one of the good ones.”  To which Starfire promptly replies that she is no better than any other Tamaranean just because she saved his worthless hide and that he better get out of there while she deigned to let him live.  He leaves and Starfire acknowledges that some people will never like you because they are bigoted and that that’s okay because there are other people who are not and they are the ones who truly matter.  When I first saw the episode, I was afraid they were gonna give Val-Yor a pass and have it all hugs and smiles, but they actually held him accountable and acknowledged that some things are more complicated and that sometimes people cannot be changed.  But you keep moving forward anyway.

I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT TEEN TITANS, OKAY?!

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