Your defense of Brave having an all white cast because PoC in Scotland is ‘unrealistic’ is bullshit.
(If anyone finds the way I discuss race in this problematic, please let me know so I can change it so it’s more appropriate to the conversation at hand)
The topic of PoC in Britain has been discussed at length here before. However, I feel like it hasn’t been discussed enough because some dumb asses still aren’t getting that Britain has basically never been segregated from parts of the world with PoC.
Now, even if it had been why does visibility of PoC in these areas become somehow less believable than a talking bear or a dragon? PoC at least exist! So why does it matter. I digress, this is a history blog so let me get onto the history.
To quote a friend (who I wouldn’t call a dumb ass, rather I will call her uninformed) said to me, “But that would be unrealistic, there were no black people in 15th century Scotland.” To which of course I replied, “Oh and the magic bears were?”
Brave doesn’t even really have a standing in a realistic time period as there’s too many things that make it hard to really stake down when it’s taking place. But since my aforementioned friend mentioned ‘15th century’, that’s where we’re going.
Did Scotland have PoC in the 15 century? YES.
Helpfully, a quick google search for some sources to back up some background knowledge I found that the British National Archives has a website with an entire section called “Black Presence”
I know, I can hear you all groaning so I’m going to quote a few of the pages from this source for you.
Even more helpfully, they have a page titled ‘Black Moors in Scotland’!
“There were no black people in Scotland until…”
Africans have been present in Europe from classical times.
In the 2nd and 3rd centuries Roman soldiers of African origin served in Britain, and some stayed after their military service ended. According to the historians Fryer, Edwards and Walvin, in the 9th century Viking fleets raided North Africa and Spain, captured Black people, and took them to Britain and Ireland. From the end of the 15th century we begin to see more evidence for the presence of Black Moors in the accounts of the reign of King James IV of Scotland, and later in Elizabethan England.
So clearly PoC have been present in Britain for… well pretty much forever. They weren’t taken there entirely willingly, and yes a lot of them were slaves but they still existed there.
I’m glad they mention King James IV though, because they do have a section on him. Apparently he had black people in his courts, not necessarily even as slaves or servants- but as invited guests. There’s also evidence to support that black women (who may have been servants) were also given expensive gowns and jewelry by the king as gifts.
There were many PoC there at that point in time, and fewer accounts of this type of thing exist afterwards. But some of this also disproves the notion that PoC could have only been slaves.
There’s another page on the National Archives website that says
People of African and Asian origin have lived in Britain for at least two millennia.
Another thing that is interesting to note is Kenneth III who was king of Scotland from 997-1005. Though there’s no conclusive evidence of his race, there is some proof that he was black.
He was sometimes known as “Kenneth the Niger” (I was uncomfortable including that, but it has one G rather than two so I hope that makes some sort of difference in the context) and also Kenneth Dubh (Dubh being a surname meaning ‘the black man’).
There were plenty of warriors from North Africa that sailed and stayed in Europe and eventually held power all over the place so it is entirely possible that he was an African. However there is some controversy to whether or not Kenneth III was of some south-European descent or North-African (though personally I believe he was African as so much evidence points to that).
If we go to Wales in history we find St. Deiniol who died in 584. There’s not a whole lot of information to be found… but I find that pictures speak a thousand words, so here’s two:
So, tell me again that there could not have possibly been black people in Scotland or Britain at that time. I dare you.