The My Little Pony franchise has returned with a vengeance. This show has become an internet meme and provided a most hilarious upset on the inner workings of 4Chan.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is fresh, funny, obviously cute, and at least tries to teach girls that it's okay to be pissed at your friends.
However, it was only a matter of time as the ponies branched out and encountered new and different peoples in the land of Equestria. And of course, this means short-handing brown people into "other, not pony people."
Lauren Faust, the creative mind behind the show (and of Power Puff Girl fame), had this to say regarding race in the show surrounding a character named Zecora a zebra girl who is obviously some mash up of "african":
Color has never, ever been depicted as a race indicator for the ponies. When your characters are purple, blue, orange, yellow, black, white, red, green and pink, who’s to say which is supposed to signify a white person, a black person, an Asian person? The only races in My Little Pony are Earth Pony, Pegasus and Unicorn, and they are all treated equally, ruled by a leader who embodies the traits of all three This leader is white only to signify day, and she co-rules with her sister, who is purple to signify night. Additionally, I’d just like to assure anyone who might still question the guards at the foot of the Princess’s throne that their colors were picked arbitrarily–and they are paid for their service.Source
Of note in the show it's specifically mentioned that Zecora is not a pony, nor a type of pony, but something else altogether.
Now ponies may come in all colors of the rainbow. But it's obvious that peoples not thought of as white are yet again othered in a fantasy show.
The latest episode brings forth every tired imagining about Native Americans ever expressed in children's entertainment media. These characters are buffalo, not ponies. They live in teepees, not houses like ponies. They sit at campfires, and do not have ovens or bake cupcakes like ponies. And of course the episode centers around a land dispute with neighboring cowboy ponies.
Oh Pony-dom, it only took you 21 episodes to firmly veer into ridiculous-ness.
*UPDATE*: "We worked with an official Native Consultant on this episode and did revisions according to all his notes." -Lauren Faust Source, her deviant art account
Side eye so strong my eyes will 360 in my head. It appears the Consultant went so far as to mention don't use "how" and went on a long lunch break. On the other hand I wonder if he had all that much say in an episode that was specifically dependent on "lol-NDNs-are buffalo!"