So I've gushed before about how very much I love the cartoon Steven Universe.

It's amazing.  It's charming, funny, adorable, weirdly appeals to all sorts of age playing sensibilities of mine.  Plus, in a socially progressive and almost transgressive way, it's really, really queer.  It tackles issues related to gender, orientation, race, social dynamics, and all sorts of serious, heavy things.

Just this morning I was watching the latest episode, Back to the Barn.  As I watched it, it struck me all at once, that this brilliant, adorable episode was tackling the very thorny issue of social privilege.

If you haven't seen it yet, go ahead and click that link above.  (It's short, they only take about 11 minutes or so to watch.)

In the episode, Pearl, one of the Crystal Gems, and Peridot, a home world gem, get into a "Robolympics" competition to see who's the better builder of giant robots.  This is so they can figure out who will be the leader in a very important project to build something to save the earth.  

The reason they have to have the contest to begin with is because of a prejudice Peridot has, about Pearl.  On the gem home world there's a rigid caste system, and pearls are basically manufactured servants.  Peridot says they're "built to stand around and hold your stuff."  Pearl angrily refuses to listen to this, and so they fight.

After an amazing contest which shows how evenly matched they really are, and how each is in fact, better at certain things, the "contest" devolves into an outright brawl, which Pearl loses.

The Crystal Gems cheer on her efforts, comfort her afterward, and help her from the wreckage of her now smashed giant robot.  

Peridot is completely baffled by this.  She yells at the gems to congratulate her, how she's the natural leader, how she deserves praise and adoration, and how "she's just a common Pearl."

And that is when Steven, wonderful, silly, wise, amazing Steven explains how Pearl is amazing because she overcame privilege, and continues to do so every single day.

Listen for yourself.

Seriously, this cartoon is maybe the greatest thing on television, ever.  I'm grateful it's around.

AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude