And I have some oceanfront property in Arizona for sale too. Some people cannot see beyond first appearances and boy are they buying into the stereotype. I seriously doubt that The Walking Dead writers were planning on challenging stereotypes at first but they did do it when they introduced Daryl Dixon.
At first appearance he definitely looks like your run of the mill racist redneck who drinks too much on Saturday night and comes home to knock out another of his old lady’s teeth. It’s not hard to picture him in that role. And just maybe without a zombie apocalypse occurring around him he might even embrace it, but I have a feeling that if he did it would be more from fraternal loyalty or habit than any true tendencies on his part.
Daryl Dixon is the ‘deepest’ character on the show there is much more to him that first meets the eye. And I love Daryl for another reason; like it or not, he forces you to take a look at your own prejudices. We have already drawn conclusions about him before he even sets foot on screen. Daryl was the topic of conversation around the campfire remember? And from what we hear of him we already firmly believe he’s a racist SOB and our only measuring stick for how a racist acts at this point is Merle.
Now there is a racist for you. I mean 1950′s cross-burning, card carrying KKK member in good standing racist. This is the only example we have to compare Daryl to. And Merle is not above tossing around the ‘N’ word something Daryl has not done (that we know of). Although I’m sure with big brother around he was probably using it too.
When we do see Daryl for the first time that initial impression is reinforced. He disrespects Dale and then loses it when he hears what happened to Merle. It takes a choke hold to calm him down. When the guys leave camp to go back to Atalanta and get Merle and the guns he asks T-Dog why he is going back and T-dog says Daryl wouldn’t understand. I have a feeling Daryl would have understood more than T-Dog thinks he would have.
Rick is the one willing to give Daryl the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he understood from the beginning that Daryl’s reaction is partly due to grief? Because the hardcore racist act starts slipping right away. He recognizes Glenn’s courage from the beginning even if he is not politically correct in acknowledging that respect. And when the Vatos abduct Glenn, Rick gives him the chance to walk away and he doesn’t. Just like T-Dog he walks into a situation that could have ended very badly to get Glenn back. That second trip to the Vatos little stronghold was not for tea and crumpets, they came back exactly like Guillermo said to ‘locked and loaded’. There is no denying that Daryl Dixon has a violent streak, which brings me to the woman hater part.
I was in a discussion thread on a Walking Dead Forum and the question was asked who was the best man to take care of you. The overwhelming responses of course were Daryl. Daryl is a survivor, he has fairly complete set of skills necessary to survive in a world overrun by zombies.
One person just couldn’t grasp why everyone would choose Daryl. He’s a racist who is going to turn into his brother was argument number one. Yes Daryl does have racist tendencies but the more you see of him the more you see that those tendencies maybe aren’t as deeply rooted as you first thought. After all He has risked getting killed for Glenn (Asian) and T-Dog (Black). Not exactly the actions of a die-hard racist or maybe circumstances are making him re-evaluate his beliefs.
I was surprised at argument number two which is nothing more than an ignorant stereotype. He is a walking domestic violence case waiting to happen. Yes there is this idea that a certain type of man is more prone to violence against women, and Daryl fits into that stereotype quite nicely. It’s obvious that Daryl has a blue collar background. I don’t think Daryl has ever worn a suit in his life unless it was for a funeral or a court appearance. He’s the mechanic that fixes your car, not the accountant that prepares your taxes. We all know that only blue collar types are abusers right?
What surprised me about this argument is that Daryl has never shown any violent tendencies towards the women in the group. I wouldn’t blame him for clocking Andrea, after all she shot him. But he forgave her for it realizing it was an honest mistake. He went out alone and searched for Sophia when the group found other more important things to do. And he goes out of his way to comfort Carol, the woman who lived in an abusive marriage for years. When Sophia is finally found and has been turned into a Walker, it’s Daryl who holds her while she cries for her child.
Don’t get me wrong he has his faults and I’m sure we will see them pop up from time to time, but he is not the person we thought he would turn out to be at first glance. There’s a lot more ‘substance’ to him than the others, maybe that’s why he is so popular. The more we see of him, the more we learn about him.