I felt the exchange between Weiss and Blake was worth examining, as well as taking into account previous information. The very subtle but very real issue being presented was really well handled.
We know that the Faunus were subjugated and enslaved at one point in history, and that there was an uprising where the Faunus won their “freedom” to a point. However, the Faunus still suffer from discrimination, bullying, prejudice, and unfair treatment. Enter in the group White Fang. Episode one described them as “Once Peaceful” protest group, but Weiss begins to paint a very different picture.
When they first start talking about this, Blake interjects that the White Fang group isn’t a group of psychopaths as Weiss insists—-that they are just misguided. Weiss responds with “They want to wipe humanity off the face of the planet”. Blake’s response was that they were “Very misguided.”
But still, isn’t this just a recent change? They were once peaceful…weren’t they?
Weiss goes on to say how all Faunus know how to do is lie, cheat and steal. She basically associates all Faunus with the White Fang. We all know that generalizations like that are just not true. So she is just being a bigot, right?
Insert Monkey-King. He is right, he is a great stow-away. He didn’t get caught! (love that line!) He seems to be the epitome of what Weiss was talking about—-after all, he stowed away on a ship, riding to Vale for free….but what was that thing the cops threw at him? Was that a stone???? It was sure heavy enough, by the sound of the splash it made.
If that had been a “regular” human, would they have thrown a stone at him??? Or anything, for that matter, regardless of what he did. Definitely seemed justified in throwing a simple, harmless banana peel….
Now “humans” are really looking like scum….
Okay fast-forward to where Weiss is questioning Penny about the Monkey-King, and she can NOT stop using derogatory terms to describe him. Blake finally tells her to stop doing that—-that he is still a person. Now Weiss goes on to make comparisons—-should she stop calling a Trash can a trash can, etc, indicating that she is calling him what he is.
Wow, what a horrible bigot. Again, she associates all Faunus with White Fang.
But Blake is getting a little muddled here. If you listen closely, when Weiss demands to know why Blake calls her Judgmental, Blake says it is because she automatically associated that “honest boy” with a terrorist group.
So..um..Blake just admitted that White Fang is a terrorist group. While Blake has a point that Weiss’s judgement on the boy based on his heritage rather than who he really is makes Weiss a judgmental little girl (Blake was really polite), she also admitted that White Fang is a bunch of criminals.
Blake said that wasn’t what she meant…but that is EXACTLY what she said. She knows the White Fang is going south, but she can’t seem to come to terms with it.
Now Weiss goes on to say that the Faunus of the White Fang are pure evil because they wish to end all of humanity. Blake says there is no such thing as pure evil…
Given what we have seen so far, she is right. It is starting to look like both sides are in the wrong. Kind of like those police officers throwing a stone at the Monkey-boy…completely unwarranted.
Now we get to the meat of it. Blake admits they hate humanity—-and the reason why is because of people like Cardin and Weiss (and those policemen). They are fighting hate with hate, basically. It isn’t their fault—-they were subjugated, abused, enslaved. Now they are doing all that they can to defend themselves from Humans because the humans are so evil!!!
And then….we hear Weiss. Her family seems to be at the center of this war. Yes, war—-she says. Bloodshed included. This has been going on for years—-something a bit different from the media presentation of the “once peaceful group”.
She goes on, talking about how family and friends have vanished from her life—-most likely killed—-never to be seen again, because of the White Fang. Board Members executed (by the White Fang is implied). She talks about how her company lost product and people (insert guilty look from Blake when the train is mentioned) and how her father would come home so angry and frustrated. How this all made for a “difficult” childhood. She doesn’t elaborate on what she means by difficult. We can insert any number of things. Was her father abusive? Was he over-protective of her, refusing to let her have friends or outside the compound for fear that she would become a target?
So we are getting two very interesting sides of the story. And the question now becomes—-who is being manipulated? How much of what Weiss knows is fed to her throw carefully crafted stories by her parents? What if her Family usually initiated attacks or whatnot, kept trying to re-enslaving the Faunus? Or what if the uprising was completely unwarranted and the Weiss family was targeted because of the massive supply of Dust they controlled?
At this point—Weiss has a valid reason to hate Faunus, especially the White Fang. It doesn’t make her right, to judge all Faunus based on that group—-but the reason is valid. Losing friends and family to terrorist actions, being forced into a kind of life we can not imagine. She doesn’t hate them because they are Faunus, though. She hates them because of what they did to her family—whether that is perceived or real.
And Blake’s reaction isn’t one of denial. So she might be aware of some of the things Weiss is referring to.
What we are seeing is the circle of hate. Weiss and Blake may be the key to ending this feud and really cementing a relationship between the Faunus and Humans (I hate saying that because technically, Faunus are a kind of human…but anyway…) But in order to do that, they need to overcome their own prejudices. Blake needs to be willing to admit that the White Fang is a group that needs to be stopped. Weiss needs to admit that Faunus does not equal White Fang, and that Faunus are equal in terms of humanity and due respect. As Blake says, they are People.
I wonder if there is a parallel to the Black Panthers who used similar methods of terrorism during the fight for equality. I have a feeling that this arc is going to carry over into the next season..this is far more complex than the last two arcs and involves the roots of the Society we are viewing. But at this point, we now have an outline for the two extremes.
We also have evidence that the White Fang was never a peaceful organization, or at least if they were it was long before Weiss’s Grandfather took over the company. We still do not know the reasons for the target, but most likely it is because of the Dust…we don’t know if the Schnee family provoked the group or vice versa, but we do know that both groups are more than willing to hold on to the hate and darkness in their hearts….
Which may, in turn, tie into the Grimm who are the darkness and shadow. Creatures of hate, I believe? Oooo many ways this could go….
The final thing I love is the end of this episode, though. Even though we know that Blake is looking at the Monkey-guy, and we get a shot of him and her talking, the final line cut has been positioned so that it looks as though she is talking almost directly to the viewer. I, along with other fans, have been dying to know about Blake. Who she is, what she is. Some have been more vocal. Her words are so very direct…like she is breaking the fourth wall. “So, you want to know more about me…”
I thinking it is also interesting that Ruby just doesn’t give to flicks of a tale about Blake’s heritage. She just hopes she is okay. Yang, I think, doesn’t care either but she is a bit more realistic. She knows the White Fang is dangerous, so I bet she is concerned about if Blake is really a member or not. Yang has spoken up on how she dislikes and feels a little sympathy for Faunus who are bullied.
Oh, and by the way..I really REALLY wanted to punch Weiss when she was making comparisons about trash cans and stuff. I thought for half a moment that Blake WAS going to punch her. She has great self-control.
(edit to add real quickly) I never really catch many references in the show because I am not that familiar with RT yet. But I totally DID catch the Slow-Mo guys shout-out. :) That was awesome that I could catch that on my own. Made me feel special.