How to pronounce Xiao
Xiao Loong is Chinese, based on his name. He’s an acrobat, and remembered the lot where Haley’s Circus pitched tent, so he had to be fairly recent. Haley’s can’t have been a procurer since the beginning, and Gotham being very much a big city, they probably had to change which lot they pitched tent at least once or twice.
There’s already a Talon who started right after WWII, 1946, and another one after that. So he can’t be more recent than pre-WWII. Assuming average lifespan of a Talon doesn’t go much past thirty, and a training start at age nine or ten ish, the time line would go like this:
Xiao is picked by the Court at ten, around the mid to late twenties, serves for 20 years or so, then dies 1945-ish. Then the Post WWII Talon, Mary, who serves till the mid sixties, and after her, Alton, who last an unprecedented amount of time. When he finally goes down, the year is 1995, and Dick Grayson is eight. He’s supposed to be the next Talon, but gets adopted instead.
So Xiao, a Chinese child in America, likely would have been born into one of the Chinese enclaves, sheltered somewhat from the worst of the racism and discrimination in his early years. The USA was doing it’s very best to keep the Chinese people out of America at the time, so he probably didn’t immigrate, or if he did, it wasn’t through government channels.
Things would have been very bad for him, right around the time he ran away to the circus. According to Wikipedia:
In 1924 the law barred further entries of Chinese; those already in the United States had been ineligible for citizenship since the previous year. Also by 1924, all Asian immigrants (except people from the Philippines, which had been annexed by the United States in 1898) were utterly excluded by law, denied citizenship and naturalization, and prevented from marrying Caucasians or owning land.
He probably had faced a lot of ugly, ugly racism by the time he became a Talon candidate.
All this is important, because I’m planning on making him a big part of the next RRatO fic, and I want to make sure I know where he’s coming from.
He might’ve even enjoyed being Talon a little, at the beginning. He got to be powerful, strong. He got to fight back, after a lifetime of discrimination. But he never forgot the ones holding his leash were white men, just like the ones who made his pre-Talon life so difficult.
He never fully trusted or believed them, and that’s why, out of all the Talon’s so far, he demonstrated the most autonomy. He kept his soul hidden away, safe from the Court’s devouring hunger. And the Court, being wealthy, powerful white men in the 20’s, likely never considered that Xiao, a person of color, a chinese boy, was presenting them with a false face of compliance.