What Were They Thinking?: How not to do Anti-Racism

Bit of a short WWTT today, I'm a bit tight on time. But anyway, racial tension is a big thing at the moment and has been basically since Europeans started to colonise Africa. Many comics have dealt with the subject in many different ways, some good, some bad. But then you have this response from Kitty Pryde in the 80's:

FYI, I had to censor out this page myself. Marvel actually decided it was alright to use the N word in a comic. Hard R and all. Hand-claps for Marvel guys. Now, they make a decent enough point by saying that even if you don't intend to be racist you still can be, and that you shouldn't hold yourself to a double standard, getting offended by racism when you are acting racist yourself, but look at what they're actually saying here. You've got a made up insult against a made up section of society (in this case "mutie" for mutants) put on the same level as a word that has very rightfully been completely removed from polite conversation because of how racist it is. X-Men is a great platform to fight against prejudice (which is why I think it's so strange that the movies are made by the same company that makes Fox News), but come on guys, really? You chose to equate actual racism with prejudice that only exists in your fictional world. And you used a Jewish character to do it as well, that's the amazing thing. You could have made the point actually mean something, because both racism and anti-Semitism were and still are disturbingly prevelant. Those are two things that are equatable. But racism against anti-mutantism? And, let's not forget, you actually published a full on racial slur in a comic. It doesn't really even matter what the context is for the story, that's the sort of stupid thing that shouldn't even get past the planning stage without a firing taking place.


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3 Responses to What Were They Thinking?: How not to do Anti-Racism

  1. Herr D says:

    The idea of it happening in the ’80’s without a firing probably took clearing it with an editor first. It WAS more permissible then, happening on prime time but rarely, and normally only by the villains.

    I do actually equate the two more than most might, because: (1.) I’ve usually been behind the times on how established insults are, and more people who knew me and aimed insults at me tried to be subtle. I will say tried because they failed miserably. (2.) As a science fiction writer, I also tend to be in the context of the speaker more than most. I get why their then is that way. (3.) My memory is bad enough for the present that I lose a lot of emotional weight of words.

  2. William Peterson says:

    Yup. So, a fictional character in a fictional story uses a very real insult against another fictional character, and you were wondering what they were thinking? Do you think that calling the Anti-Mutant Racist “My esteemed Afro-American Colleague” would have had the same emotional impact?
    In Kitty’s world, the word “Mutie” is a LOT worse than the N-word.
    Sure, the KKK might still exist, and burn crosses on your front lawn…
    Rather impolite, wouldn’t you say? {And, yes, let me say I’m rather less than fond of the
    fact that they’re still around, and being encouraged by our Snowflake-in-Chief…}
    But, Muties? They don’t just come after Muties with shotguns and pistols…
    They come after Mutants with Tanks, and Helicopters, and Giant, Purple Science Fiction
    Robots of the utterly merciless persuasion!
    {Do you have ANY idea how many Schools or Hospitals we could build for the cost of
    just ONE Sentinel?}
    So, you go tossing around the “M word” at someone who has first-hand experience with the kind
    of violence a team of Sentinels can dish out, yeah, they’re going to be a trifle upset…
    Why not go up to one of our few remaining Holocaust Survivors, and start glorifying the
    Nazi Party in their presence, and see how good THEY feel about it!

  3. Arioch says:

    That’s something that’s always bothered me in the x-men.

    Because there are mutants, suddenly, there’s no more racism?

    If the real world teach us anything, it’s that oppressions don’t disappear, they pile on. Black mutants would have it worse, that’s all.