Anita Flora 0

Petition against whitewashing to change the Marco model for the 'Animorphs' 2011 re-release

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K.A. Applegate's popular young-adult book series, Animorphs, is being re-released starting May 2011 with updated pop-culture references and brand new cover models. Wisecracking comic relief character Marco is described as taking after his Hispanic mother in appearance, with "a dark complexion (Visitor, p. 11)". The current model for the re-releases; however, is significantly paler and does not match the actual descriptions of the character.

Too often in the media today, when a character’s race can be fudged because they are of mixed race – like Marco – a preference is always given to someone who is whiter, and with paler skin. Particularly since Marco is specifically described as having darker skin, we cannot help but see this casting as whitewashing.Not only does Marco provide a humorous contrast to some of the darker parts of the series, but he is intelligent, confident, and the group's main strategist, and is looked up to as a role model by many. The whitewashing of his appearance sends the wrong message to the youth that make up the series' target audience. While Marco is only half Hispanic he is explicitly described as having darker skin and hair, and most first-time readers will base their personal views of the characters on their cover models, whether or not those models match their written descriptions.

We hope that Scholastic will no longer participate in the erasure of characters of color and will continue to provide memorable characters spanning a wide variety of races and ethnicities.Many long-time fans of the series will not support the re-release if this model is used. In addition, a visibly Hispanic character on the cover will help to reach out to Hispanic and Latino children. Scholastic, please do the right thing by the books and character we all love and change the model to one that more closely resembles the actual character.

The model is viewable here:

To compare, here is a picture of one of the Marco models from the original series, all of whom have matched his physical description as given by the author:


The model is viewable here.
While one of the original release models is viewable here.
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