X-Men Is STILL Our Story. DEAL!!!!!

Random Fact #18: Do you know I still have to explain to people how X-Men is an allegory to the Civil Rights movement?

It amazes me how everyone from Stan Lee to Rebecca Romijn have explained in detail how X-Men was primarily based on the struggle blacks endured to attain equal rights.

Stan Lee has repeatedly explicated how Magneto was based on Malcolm X and that Charles Xavier was based on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do you know that when I point this out to white folks, they STILL argue with me even after I point them to interviews and other evidence where Stan Lee and other creators specifically state that the Civil Rights movement was the primary inspiration for X-Men?

For years I thought the Civil Rights references to X-Men was too on the nose: Raven is my slave name, the chickens are coming home to roost, Magneto stating to handle matters “by any means necessary,” Xavier’s dream of a peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans.

But apparently peeps still don’t know their history. Not only that but too often they flip their shit when the obvious is pointed out to them. They act is if  giving credit to black people = the combination of defying the laws of physics, punching a kitten and pissing on the Bible all in one fell swoop.

Don’t get it twisted. X-Men now stands as the story for all marginalized people battling institutional oppression and that is awesome. POCs are not disputing that or opposed to that. Our contention is that in American society, every time POCs, especially blacks, inspire or make some notable contribution: Alexandre Dumas, President Obama, Halle Berry, Rock & Roll, or X-Men, suddenly people are chomping at the bits to diminish or dismiss our contributions.

Why can’t something be inspired/created/or feature a black character/or feature black culture/history and still be something for everyone to appreciate?

Further proof why the minority metaphor is not enough.

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Also……another reason why I love my friends and my readers and why they are the awesomest awesome ever to awesome.

A few months ago, the lovely and I were having an excellent discussion on the Civil Rights themes that permeate throughout X-Men.

Thought provoking discussion is thought-provoking. GO READ NOW!!! No really, go read now.

http://lisaquestions.livejournal.com/3558.html?thread=404966#t404966

http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/738404.html?thread=5763684#t5763684

7 thoughts on “X-Men Is STILL Our Story. DEAL!!!!!

  1. You know, I was always aware that X-Men was an allegory for the Civil Rights movement, but I never caught the quite flamingly obvious character parallels. How dense was I?!
    Thanks for the enlightenment!

  2. While it’s a given that white denial of black contributions has everything to do with racism against black people, I wonder if there isn’t a more subtle dimension to it?

    Perhaps their knee-jerk resistance to black contributions has to do with what RVCBard said, “Why do you have to put race into everything?” When they consider who to credit for X-Men, perhaps they are thinking of the individuals involved, such as Lee, Claremont, Nicienza, and others.

    In thinking about individuals, race is not an issue, especially if the people in question are white. It is a dimension of white privilege to be able to ignore race, one that they cling to ever so tightly, because to have to look at or discuss race automatically makes them feel uncomfortable.

    Now of course race is a prominent consideration for black people and other POCs, for obvious reasons. And of course we are always glad for any recognition of black people or cultural products for the mere fact of their usual exclusion.

    So while race is often the lens through which black people must see the world, and lens through which white people insist they don’t see the world (a complete delusion, of course), there is automatically going to be tension whenever the subject comes up. Sure, maybe they really just hate black people and don’t want to give them credit for anything, but I think it may have as much or more to do with the discomfort the mere invocation of race brings them.

    • It’s easy for race not to be an issue for white folks when they’re in the position of power reaping from white privilege. Nevertheless it needs to be called out and the fact that white folks’ fee fees and comfort seems to take precedent is telling in and of itself.

      So I say fuck their discomfort. If they’re going to appropriate, then they need to give POCs our propers.

      • Oh yeah, for sure. You won’t hear me apologize for them. I’m just wondering the real reason for their resistance to giving POC their due. Is it:

        1) Pure selfishness around the works themselves (no, WE thought of this all on our own!)
        2) Pure racism (no way did BLACK (or other PoC) people come up with this, they’re too stupid)
        3) Discomfort around anything to do with race (Inspired by civil rights? Ugh, I really don’t want to think about history, I just wanna read comics!)

        So I mean, either way, it’s delusional, hateful, or childish. I’m just wondering which. Heh.

        • Personally I think it’s all of the above and you’ve summed them up beautifully. I think #2 is the primary reason but 1 and 3 are also factors.

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