By ShadowX 47 Comments
I see this argument against me and other people who tend to want or question why there is a lack of diversity in comics. They argue you are just doing it to be diverse and it serves no purpose, etc. But yeah thats the point we want to be diverse, because the world is diverse and we want to reflect it. The main reason we want diversity is because we want a character or a narrative that we can see ourselves in and that we can aspire too. Studies have proven that when young children that are minorities whether it be gender, race or sexuality see characters that look or resemble them in someway it actually boosts confidence and self esteem. So it's important to increase the number of these characters. But you just can't increase them you have to show positive portrayals of them. And we are lacking in that, even one of marvels current prime black characters( Luke Cage) used to be almost nothing more then a horrible caricature, some argue he still is to this day. I don't really see it but not being black maybe it is a lot less noticeable to me. Another example is that Native American characters almost always tend to have some kind of mystic ability, such as warpath randomly gaining mystical powers at some point. It's ridiculous and is once again a caricature.
Diversity is important and we need to stop with this genderblind/colorblind/ additude because it's actually harmful. If you reside to a colorblind additude it allows you to ignore the systematic oppression's that minorities still face in this society. It allows you to say that we are all the "same" so it's okay. But there is still along way to go for the fight for equality, women are still paid less then men on average, black people are paid even less, we have islamophobia and homophobia and so many more inequalities that we need to face. Being colorblind is effectively ignoring those problems by saying that we are " equal" when in society we really aren't.
It's like this. Imagine society to be a circular racing track. The father you are from the center the less distance you have to run, lets say that those are the white, cisgender, straight, able bodied men, statistically and systematically it is easier for them to get through life, easier for them to get a job, easier to get better pay, easier for them to have role models that look and act like and have similar experiences to them, less likely for them to get arrested, etc. ( note: I'm saying statistically and or on average. Obviously we all have our own struggle in life and I'm not judging them or dismissing there problems). As you move on, on the race track the more distance we you have to travel and the more hardships on average these people have to deal with, so you start seeing PoC, women, members of the lgbt spectrum, etc, and a mix of them as you get farther and farther from the center. A colorblind/genderblind/ etc approach would have them all start at the same section, because to those people we are all the same and they don't see that the distance is farther for some of these people. By not thinking in a colorblind way you can see the struggle the distance and realize that to make it more equal you start people in the race slightly in front of people who have less distance, so that the race can attempt to be more equal.
This is the same reason why a lot of people( me being one of them)see it okay to change a white character into a poc in an alternate universe or have them played by a actor of color. Or changing a male character into a female character in an alt universe/movie, or why it's okay to have a straight character(or a believed to be straight character) to come out as somewhere on the lgbtq spectrum. It's because there are already so many white, male, straight characters, and fewer of these types, an yes would I liek a whole new original character? Yes I would, however I don't mind seeing these changes either, especially for the LGBTQ spectrum one because often times in society a person may not even realize or want to accept there sexuality until they are much older so its realistically possible for that to happen,
And the reason it's not okay to change a minority character or have them played by a white actor etc. Is because we have so few of them, especially ones that are positive portrayals Plus there is a history of redface/blackface/yellowface in are media that is racist and denied parts to actors of color to have them be played by a white actor instead. In fact it's still happening to this day with Tonto being played by Johhny Depp in the lone ranger, in a horrible caricature pan native racist way, even if it wasn't his intention thats what it is.
Anyway this whole blog post started because I saw the article on the new Justice League 3000, and saw that a future team is still not all that diverse from what I can tell, from what we know now it's still an all white( unless that green lantern turns out to be john Stewart or a descendant or something) mostly male team, that is mostly likely going to be straight and cisgender. And When you think about that it's kind of sad. I mean I would like to think that in a thousand years, all the fighting that we've done would have paid, off, that diversity would be embraced and loved. And that PoC and women, and lgbt people can be superheros. That maybe the struggles that I'm dealing with could be lifted, and that somebody like me in the future could be a superhero, even if it is only fiction.
Whats the point of sci fi, and fantasy if we cant even be diverse about it. If you can imagine an orphan alien that looks human landing on earth, why can't you imagine him looking like a black human? If you can imagine powerful glowing green ring choosing anybody from the face of the earth to be a hero of the cosmos, why can't you imagine it picking a woman, or an Asian person. If you can imagine a lone vigilante wearing a bat costume defending his city every night, why can't you imagine waiting at home is his husband, or better yet fighting crime along with him. And if we can imagine a man going faster then the speed of light, why can't we imagine that man be native american, or question there gender identity. Why is it that for society we can imagine worlds where dragons, and aliens, demons, and cyborgs, wizards, and warriors, and kings, but we can't imagine those aliens to have a different gender system. Or for that warrior to be gay, or that wizard to be transgender, or the king and queen to be black. Why is that so hard?
Diversity is never just for the sake of diversity. Diversity is to explore the world around us. The individual unique people to find ourselves and each other in it. To give inspiration to the black kid, or the native american kid, to show them they can be heroes to. To show the kids that are questioning there sexuality and gender that they aren't freaks, and they aren't alone. It's okay to be who you are, you can be gay and still be a superhero, a king, a warrior. It can give you one of those kids somebody to look up to. Now I have characters that I love that are white and straight males, I think Spiderman, and Nightcrawler, Captain america, the thing, aquaman, etc I think those are all great characters and i like them all for different reasons. But none of them, and I mean none of them will ever be as close to my heart as Xavin, because she gave me inspiration, and allowed em to embrace my gender identity and helped me accept myself for who I am. True other heroes have taught me valuable lessons, but nothing is more valuable in my mind then helping somebody think that they aren't a freak, and that they aren't alone.