Diversity Is Not The Problem, YOU ARE!!!!

It’s always amazing the double standards and pushback one gets when demanding better from comics and the media in general.

When cis straight white fans demand certain storylines or better characters or what have you, they’re lauded and praised as being outspoken, passionate and devoted fans. Yet when LGBTQs and fans of color simply ask for better representation (or any representation for that matter) and to have our stories explored, suddenly we’re being entitled, uppity, unreasonable, too sensitive.

Because heaven forbid as a customer and a fan I dare ask for better quality for my dollar or think I deserve to be heard as straight white fans are. Heaven forbid I ask to be treated as something other than 3/5 of a person in society.

Here’s the score. I spend just as much money on comics as straight white fans. I support movies, television shows, novels, etc. just like straight white fans. And I find it quite sickening, not to mention disturbing that in the 21st century, I’m STILL having to explain to people why diversity is not a sin and why marginalized people such as women, POCs, LGBTQs, disabled, etc. deserve to be represented in the media and not be denigrated by bigoted hacks. And if you can’t understand why equality is NOT about political correctness but about doing the right thing then fuck you too.

And for those who have a problem with seeing someone different from you in the media, then the only thing I want to know is why are you really tripping?

“But it’s about sales.”

No it’s not. It’s about a bunch of self-entitled white fanboys with an agenda. Otherwise the braintrust behind Spider-Man would’ve ceased and desisted with BND, OMIT, Big Time and every other foolish acronym, plot title, blatant racism and character assassination of a beloved iconic superhero. Sales have consistently tanked to record lows for the past few years, and the powers that be still refuse to acknowledge their failure.

If this was about sales then the Cassandra Cain run of Batgirl wouldn’t have been axed. Nevermind the fact that her sales averaged 25K which in comic book terms are solid numbers. While Aquaman and Green Arrow have been given reboot after reboot after reboot even though their series have flopped time and time again. If this were really about sales, then the Asian superheroine would’ve been given the same number of reboots that the comics featuring blond white male superheroes have been afforded. Instead she gets written off and gets replaced by an inferior and inept ditz who has proven herself to be the Bella Swan of the DC universe.

Furthermore diversity has proven that it works time and time and time again.

X-Men is hands down one of the most successful titles of all time. One of the reasons it was successful and made such a profound impact with audiences is because it’s an allegory to the Civil Rights struggle. In its prime, the success stemmed from the fact that it had such a diverse cast of superheroes. Black, white, Asian, Latino, Indian, Native American, men, women, young, old. A powerful regal black woman could lead the team of a company’s flagship title. Unlike other superhero teams, there wasn’t a hierarchy and each team member could take center stage at any time. It wasn’t the Wolverine show with his 150 sidekicks. Emma Frost wasn’t the only X-Woman by virtue of the fact that she was blonde and sleeping with Cyclops and as much as Cyke is my favorite character (along with Storm), the writers actually focused on other characters and gave them front burner storylines. In short X-Men wasn’t limited to Cyclops, Wolverine and Emma Frost the way it is now.

And the title that actually beat X-Men during the 90s? Spawn. Yes the dark tale about the anti-hero from the hot place. Granted many of postulated that Spawn’s success may be in lieu of the fact that his face was burned and he wore a mask making it comfortable for white fans to forget that he’s black, but the point still stands in any event.

Still not convinced? Look at Static Shock and its success. Or let’s look at the Batwoman run on Detective Comics which was a smash hit. Or Kevin Keller’s debut in the Archieverse set new records. Both in dire economic times when the comic book industry is suffering.

Furthermore people conveniently forget that the success comic book films, most notably Marvel are thanks to a little film called Blade. Yes the movie starring the dark skinned African American vampire hunting superhero broke box office records and paved the way for other comic book films. When Blade hit theaters, comic book movies were a joke: Tank Girl flopped, Batman & Robin killed the franchise, Barbwire, Judge Dredd, do I even need to go there? If it hadn’t been for Blade, there wouldn’t have been X-Men, Spider-Man, the Dark Knight, Captain America or the Avengers. Because you know that if the first Blade had flopped then it wouldn’t have been because of a bad script or poor marketing, it would be because of a black superhero.

Let’s look at the success of other franchises that feature POCs in leading or at the very least prominent roles: Romeo Must Die, Crouching Tiger, the Matrix series (look at the number of prominent POCs in that franchise), Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Hidden Dragon, the Spy Kids franchise, Cradle 2 The Grave, and just this summer the new Karate Kid. And yet people are still advocating the whitewashing of Avatar, 21, etc.

We’ve proven that the money is there time and time again.

But the only time American media seems to want to embrace marginalized dollars is when it’s desperate to boost revenue until it can gain a white audience.

When Fox first launched in the late 80s, it was all about diversity and appealing to the POC market. 21 Jump Street, In Living Color and in later years Martin, Living Single and New York Undercover as well as Bernie Mac which among its many accomplishments was winning a Peabody Award. And how many POC series is on Fox now? That isn’t a minstrel show?

The WB network. When it first launched it too was all about appealing to the POC market but when it found its niche with the pretty white kids with problems motif, POCs got erased away and whitewashed. UPN almost went that route one season but black folks weren’t going for it. We lost the WB, we weren’t losing both….at least not until they merged and became the CW network.

This tactic of using POCs to garner enough revenue until you’re able to appeal to a middleclass white audience is nothing new. But folks tend to forget that the Cosby Show and A Different World was must-see TV Thursday long before Friends or Seinfeld. And you know what it took to beat the Cosby Show in the ratings, the Simpsons, arguably the most successful scripted television series of all time.

On cable the Wire, Soul Food and Lincoln Heights has proven that an audience is there. Same goes for Queer As Folk. An audience that’s black and white, gay and queer alike. If you treat marginalized stories with the same respect and care that you do stories that featured straight white males, the audience will embrace it.

And yet the Brits seem to get this, at least better than Americans. And no Britain isn’t perfect and she’s got her problems but compared to the U.S., said problems don’t even rank.

I love the BBC and watch much of its programming and when I watch these shows I alternate between cheering and scratching my head. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is getting a second season, the Luther miniseries is well underway. POCs in other shows are actually given prominent and primary roles. Merlin isn’t afraid to re-imagine Guinevere as a black woman. In Being Human, Anne is actually a fleshed out character who is portrayed with RESPECT. She’s loving, vulnerable, nurturing, beautiful and fierce and powerful. It’s a role that’s usually reserved for white actresses. While the series Trinity only lasted for a season, the main affable protagonist was a good looking black man that wasn’t a token. Granted, they missed the mark with the other POC but still much better than the states. Doctor Who had Dr. Martha Jones, and yeah while there were areas of opportunity there, it’s still light years more than what we’re doing here in the states. Speaking of Doctor Who, look at its spinoffs. Torchwood is a hit series that features an LGBTQ action hero as the main lead. What do we get across the pond? Will & Grace. Don’t even get me started. The Sarah Jane Adventures is a YA series featuring a woman as the lead but the POCs actually outnumber the white cast 4-2. And the POCs have prominent stations and the show is a hit! With British media, interracial relationships are handled in a matter-of-fact manner and not treated as a sweeps stunt. LGBTQs actually exist in their stories. So then I’m left looking at American media with my arms crossed, shaking my head.

This brings us back to comics. In a time when the big two companies are losing dollars (they’re slashing comic book prices and everyone who reads comics know THAT NEVER HAPPENS), one would think that they would be embracing the opportunity to garner new fans and to generate revenue. But when it comes to bigotry and privilege, one would easily rather cut their nose (or their wallet) just to spite their face.

Fine by me. I’ll continue to support indie titles that accepts my kind. I’ll continue to seek out and support minority storytellers. Web comics are becoming more and more of the norm, so is the grassroots push for new and progressive content.

Say what you will about the internet, it’s been a great equalizer for marginalized voices. If Perry Moore’s essay Who Cares About the Death of a Gay Superhero or Gail Simone’s Women in the Refrigerators are any indication, these issues aren’t going away and many of us will continue to campaign and speak out on them.

I love comics. It’s my favorite media and my favorite genre. To me it’s modern day mythology and I’ve been in love with it my entire life. When it’s done right like say Young Avengers or Cassandra Cain, I sing its praises from the rooftops. When they fail, I call them on it and expect better.

To the powers that be in the comic book industry, you’ve failed something fierce but you got an opportunity here. You can either do something great and bring about change. Or don’t. But we see how well the current business practice has worked out for you.

In any event, don’t say you weren’t warned.

27 thoughts on “Diversity Is Not The Problem, YOU ARE!!!!

  1. This is a great post. I think you are right the whole way through, except I don’t understand why Cyclops is your favorite X-Man. I find him totally boring. But I’m pretty certain you’ve followed the series in way more depth than I, and it’s a pretty small quibble. 🙂

    • LMAO! It’s all good. I get this question all the time from casual comic fans and hardcore ones alike. I may do a follow-up post on this.

      The reaction I often get is along the lines of:

      “You like Cyclops? Really? What the hell is wrong with you man?”

      And it’s understandable because he hasn’t always been portrayed in the most positive light. Let’s be honest, he was a douche bag. And for years he got on my nerves being Xavier’s apple polisher/personal jockstrap.

      But over the years, he’s evolved and improved as a character. And before I knew he became my other favorite X-Man alongside Storm.

      I think I like Scott Summers because I can relate to him, just as I can relate to Storm.

      Being the first son and the over-achieving golden boy perfectionist, I see a lot of myself in Scott. He’s the guy that never questioned his (surrogate) father Xavier and on the cusp of manhood he woke up one day and realized he needed to forge his own path which doesn’t always gel with what your parents have in mind. I think that’s something most first children can relate to. You’re often pressured to be perfect to lead the other (siblings/teammates) and set an example but along the way you realize you have to become your own person.

      On a personal note, I’ve always been a sucker for the white-bread/vanilla/boy scouts.

      They fascinate me. I guess there’s a level of innocence and idealism there that speaks to me.

      To quote Alanis Morrissette, “And I am fascinated by the spiritual man, I’m humbled by his humble nature.”

      People gripe about Superman being boring or bland but personally I think there’s so much more dimension to him than most people give him credit. Granted he’s not always written in the most complex manner (for that matter neither is Scott) but I’m always intrigued by someone who has the powers of a god and his only weakness, moreso than kryptonite, is also his greatest power. His strong sense of self, moral ethics and doing the right thing even though said godlike powers would corrupt almost anyone else.

      Scott is still the boy scout and still the straight arrow. But now he’s got an edge to him. All the life experiences and trials (such as losing Jean) has made him evolve in unexpected manners. He’s the good boy that’s gotten a taste of being bad and he’s trying so hard to walk the fine line of handling it.

      Hell you know you’ve become a certifiable badass when you’ve got Wolverine worried and have him being the voice of reason when he’s telling you you’re getting too extreme and too hardcore.

      Cyclops has become a master strategist and has pulled some plays that would impress Batman.

      For instance, during Dark Reign, he and the X-Men clashed with Norman Osborn and his crew of Dark X-Men.

      Even though they were fighting, even though Norman beat the living hell out of Scott, Scott played him and outwitted him by inviting the media to witness the fight and thus tying Norman’s hands.

      And then during this recent vampire storyline (which shockingly was a hell of a lot better than I would’ve dared guessed), Scott pulled a fast one and outwitted everyone including the other X-Men by outwitting Xarius and Dracula. Even Emma, his telepathic girlfriend, never found out whether or not Scott was bluffing.

      I strongly think that Cyclops is going to be the best leader for X-Men and mutants (as well as Storm) because he’s the best of both worlds as far as Xavier and Magneto goes. He has Xavier’s idealism and still continues to fight for a peaceful co-existence. However with only a few hundred mutants left, he knows he don’t have time to fuck around and as such he also has Magneto’s pragmatism and isn’t above handling business by any means necessary such as forming the black ops team: X-Force.

      which I think it’s cool seeing the boy soldier come into his own.

      A brilliant strategist, still a boy scout, but now a straight arrow with an edge, he could be considered a hybrid of Superman and Batman which is something I definitely enjoy.

      And let’s be real, Scott is fine as hell. Those frequent shirtless panels. GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY!!!! The things I would do to that man. And when James Marsden (future hubby #3) was cast as Cyclops, I had a nerdgasm and an orgasm all in one. ROFLMAO!!!

      But yeah, that’s why I like him. 😉

      • Alright, if you decide to write that post you can call it ctrl-C, ctrl-V, finished!

        As an oldest child myself, I get the perfectionism angle. As a casual X-Men fan, I haven’t witnessed the evolution of his edge that you’re referring to, but yeah, it is cool to see a boy/girl soldier come into his/her own, which is I think has often been a very compelling part of Joss Whedon’s work.

      • I slowly meandered from the X-books for the past few years because of some of the writers or the tendency to promote/focus on Wolverine (something that tends to annoy me at times about the cartoons and movies too), and then the Wolvie-Cyke-Emma team, to the exclusion of other characters. Given your brief update of events I may try to meander back over.

        But another Cyclops fan–of colour?! I adore you and need to tag your ear so people know I’m not the only Cyke fan. Always got a the pause-n-look as a kid because I preferred him over Wolverine, for many of the same reasons you highlight. Next to Storm, Cyclops always came out as my second pick, both as characters and leaders. Cyclops being the one you want with you when you’re going into hell. Storm when you want to get out of it. And Wolverine is there if you want to make hell.

        I enjoy your post and the examples made me laugh in a sardonic way. I’ve used them and I’ve seen/heard others used them and the reaction is often stumbling and backpedaling–from fans, contributers and otherwise alike.

        Logic and Truth are are tough hero(in)es to defeat.


      • I’ve not read Xmen since Chuck Austen’s run which I found absolutely atrocious. I’ve actually not touched any comics since then so my comments are going to be 7 and a half years out of date.

        I never understood the appeal of Cyclops (or Superman admittedly) because he was so very much that boy scout archetype. Scott Summers just seemed effortlessly perfect, the bland boring goody-two-shoes leader of the Xmen (as opposed to Storm who was at least more interesting). He was the guy with the happy relationship, loved and admired by all, and just so very, very good. I think it’s an archetype that either clicks with you or not.

        I had a friend who thought he was fantastic though and I didn’t really see it.

        At least I never understood the appeal of Cyclops until the first Xmen movie and James Marsden won me over. He’s always clearly been an integral part of the team but seeing him there, on the big screen, he was all sorts of awesome. I was horribly disappointed in how little he was present in the second film.

        I find the whole idea of Scott Summers and Emma Frost mind-boggling.

        I liked Emma Frost in Generation X (although not the romantic undertones between her and Banshee). I thought she was an interesting, complex character, an ex-villain who’d had all her previous students murdered and who was determined to protect this new batch she had. But she was out of synch with the usual X-Men ideals and she was on something of a redemption arc. But she wasn’t nice, she wasn’t really someone I’d have liked to know. Actually I liked Generation X a lot to begin with although it really went downhill after a while. (And there you had a comic where the majority of the students weren’t white even if they did go killing off the students). Emma Frost and Cyclops though, it’s sort of brain boggling.

        I can’t imagine Cyclops with anyone but Jean Grey and especially not Emma Frost. Cyclops and Jean Grey, Lois and Clark, Peter Parker and Mary Jane (oops, damn Marvel) those were the iconic comic book couples for me.

        So I can only think of one possible reason Cyclops is with Emma Frost. Clearly she’s still a villain and she’s brainwashed him.

  2. Um, seriously? Stephanie Brown is an inferior white ditz? The Bella Swan of the DC Universe? What the hell? I love Cassandra Cain, but Stephanie Brown was also marginalized, made Robin (ROBIN. As in Batman and–) as a token gesture because editorial mandated that she be sexualized, tortured, and killed off. And she became the feminist icon of Girl-Wonder for all of this. There was a huge movement to get her a memorial case in the Batcave.

    The relaunched Batgirl with Steph has been a huge success, feminist friendly, and a very good read, which is a huge step up from anything done with Cassandra Cain since her own series ended. Yes, a lot of what DC has done over the past few years has been indefensible from a racial standpoint, but Cassandra Cain’s problems began a long time before they had any intention of making Steph into Batgirl and the character SERIOUSLY needed to be retired for a while until someone knows what to do with her, which will hopefully not be the sexist, character-destroying garbage we got from Adam Beechen.

    • Lord, these Stephanie Brown apologists.

      And seriously, all the real issues that got discussed and the only thing you’re upset about is that idiot getting called out? This smacks full on of “WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE WHITE PEEPUL?!!!!”

      “The relaunched Batgirl with Steph has been a huge success, feminist friendly, and a very good read, which is a huge step up from anything done…”

      I’m sorry but what series have you been reading? That series is about feminist friendly as the Rawhide Kid is gay friendly. EPIC FAIL!!!

      She’s written in the vain of fanboys who want to argue why girls can’t be superheroes. Real ass kicking feminist friendly comics: The Birds of Prey, Buffy Season 8, Runaways, Batwoman, Black Panther (Shuri taking over the mantle), Arana even Angelus is preferable alternative with Danielle Baptiste as the heroine and I never thought I’d be saying that about a Top Cow title.

      Steph is a fucking punchline. She’s incompetent as all get out.

      The problem I have with Brown is that she’s a wreckless ditz. Bruce was right to tell her to put away the mask and sit her ass down. She’s careless and she nearly gets people killed. Hell in the first issue of the new Batgirl comic, she damn near got the cop killed that she was arriving to rescue. She’s been in the game for years and is still making basic rookie mistakes. Not because she’s operating to the best of her ability and is simply outmatched, but because she’s a moron.

      And I’m sorry but this needs to be said. When you’ve been trained by Bruce, Babs, Tim and Cass and you’re STILL a hawt mess, you need to sit your ass down, forever.

      And let’s not forget this is the brain surgeon who launched Gotham Gang War and got my Negro Orpheus killed. Where is his fucking memorial? I don’t see anyone crying over another dead bro walking. Another brother murdered by a scheming white female.

      All of that said, I gave the Steph Batgirl series a year, mainly out of loyalty to my love of the Batgirl mantle, to find out what the fuck happened to Cass, and to give Stephanie Brown a chance. I read the first 12 issues and couldn’t get drop that title fast enough. Her incompetence is epic. There almost wasn’t a single issue that went by where she didn’t fuck up royally. The only thing she actually did right that was awesome was freezing Damian Sue with that ice grenade (that shit was hilarious). But after a year of wasting my money, it was time to drop the title for comics that were actually worth my time.

      I also actually picked up the Bruce Wayne Returns tie-in mainly because I heard Cass’s whereabouts would be mentioned. The issue actually was decent…..until the third to the last page where she glosses over the fact that SHE started the Gotham Gang War and blames Bruce. Yes, Bruce needs his ass kicked for letting that idiot 200 miles near the Batcave and entrusting her ignorant ass with such important intel while he’s making with the batdickery to brainfuck Tim.

      But her claiming to Bruce, “”It was your fault those [Gang War] plans ever existed in the first place” just proves my point about her.

      That’s like stealing a man’s firearm from his home, going on a killing spree and then claiming, “Yes I shot those people but it’s your fault the gun was in your home to begin with.”

      The bottom line is Bruce was right about one thing. Stephanie has an obsessed need to have people like her and prove herself. A lot of that stems back to ego and trying to mask her ineptitude.

      All of that said, I actually liked the idea of Stephanie being Robin and being trained under Batman. I thought it would make for great storytelling and she actually works best as a side character with someone keeping an eye on her. I actually agree with Girl Wonder and others calling out DC on the brutal torture and murder of Stephanie.

      Wanna bring her back from the dead? Fine. Want to make her a recurring character in another title? Cool. But tossing a woman of color aside for the blonde white girl is racism/misogyny in itself.

      And where I part ways with so many so-called white feminist fans is that when Cassandra Cain is brought up, mofos wanna hem and haw and act obtuse when the issue of white privilege is called out. Because too many people seem to forget that feminism ALSO applies to trans women and women of color.

      “Oh well, what happened to Cass is sad but what are you gonna do about it? But look we got Stephanie back!!!!”

      Because who the fuck cares about the Asian chick. They got their speshul white girl. And don’t get it twisted, despite all of the racism Cass endured, she’s still a superior character on her worst day than Steph is on her best. And the fact that the WOC was asked to hand the white girl the Batgirl mantle so said white girl can feel magically speshul…..ask me again why I call her the Bella Swan of the DC universe.

      “and the character SERIOUSLY needed to be retired for a while until someone knows what to do with her, which will hopefully not be the sexist, character-destroying garbage we got from Adam Beechen.”

      And that’s a copout right there. Because if someone made the argument about Steph, folks would be flipping their shit. How about putting the same effort into Cass that was put into relaunching Steph. No? Why? White privilege.

      And let’s cut the bullshit here. The only reason why Stephanie has her own title is white privilege. All of the legions of more competent more super heroines out there who deserve their ongoing series: Vixen, Renee Montoya, CASS, and the dim-witted white girl gets a title.

      Because trust, let Steph be a woman of color and pull half the same shit she’s pulled and let’s see how many people would be treating her like a glass menagerie.

      White Privilege- Only a blonde white girl could start Gotham Gangwar and get rewarded with her own series. Let Cass, Onyx or another WOC pull that shit and get a white superhero killed and see how many fans would be propping them up as a speshul snowflake.

      White Privilege- A WOC can successfully beat the odds and carry her own title for five years and manage to outsell Green Arrow and Aquaman (who get reboot after reboot) gets thrown under the bus and criticized for being too competent and too exceptional and making it too difficult for her to write. Yet everyone and their grandma is selling their left nut to write the Gawd Damn Batman.

      So if you like Stephanie, that’s your business. YMMV. But I’m making no apologies about telling that moron to go straight to hell.

      • No, seriously, you’re being a bitter fucking idiot. Steph’s portryal as certainly played up slapstick mistakes, but these screw-ups aren’t some sort of damning mistakes. They’re for laughs. I guess Stephanie is a ‘joke’ but I hardly see humor as a bad thing. The fact that she’s not as hyper-competent as Cassandra Cain or Batman has no bearing on her worth as a character. That’s some heavy-handed ableism. …And did you seriously use the term ‘epic fail’ in a discussion about sexism and racism?

        How is Stephanie an argument that girls can’t be superheroes? She’s an argument for exactly the opposite. She’s someone who despite not having win-the-genetic-lottery athletic prowess or a billion dollars via inheritance, she’s clawed her way up from poverty to become BATGIRL, go to college, and hold her own against supervillains. She, like Cassandra, is inspiring.

        The idea that Steph is somehow at fault for sexist portrayals of her is equally ridiculous. It’s like saying that Wonder Woman is a whore because of her stripperific 90s outfit. It is, in itself, a kind of sexism–holding female characters as somehow culpable for the bad decisions of (mostly male) writers. People don’t treat male characters that way. The entire Gang War plot was grossly out of character to begin with for everyone involved, but nobody (aside from Steph herself) has rightly called out Batman on having such a ridiculous plan in the actual storyline.

        “ask me again why I call her the Bella Swan of the DC universe.”

        I’m going to ask you again, because that is the most utterly ridiculous part of your entire rant. Bella Swan is completely and utterly defined by her love of Edward. She literally cannot function without him. Her clumsiness is barely a footnote compared to that overpowering helplessness. You’re being completely absurd.

        Steph may screw up the athletic stuff, but she has NEVER been defined solely by a male character even when she was dating Robin. She fights against abuse rather than accepting it ‘for her own good’, and she’s assertive and does not put up with sexism.

        Is it sexism that Cassandra Cain got booted and ‘replaced’ by Steph? Perhaps, but I don’t think that’s the case. Cassandra Cain had her character destroyed by editorial mandate and when they gave her a mini series to try and ‘fix’ her, it was critically panned and rather tepidly received by audiences. I got the first issue to support Cassandra and that comic was HORRIBLE. DC may have intentionally done this so they could justify replacing her (who knows, weirder more racist things have happened) but at no point has Bryan Q. Miller’s run indulged in this racism.

        As for the rest of your post, I was behind you 100 percent. DC’s treatment of race has been disgusting and my comic purchases have dwindled because of it. But it’s completely stupid to take out your anger with those racist policies on fictional characters who have no agency of their own, especially one who has so many positive things going for her right now.

        • Damn I type sexism instead of racism at the top of that penultimate paragraph. My meaning should be clear though.

          • Oh your meaning is very loud and clear. And you just proved my point about the bullshit that minorities put up with when we demand better.

            “No, seriously, you’re being a bitter fucking idiot.”

            See here’s the thing. You clearly haven’t read the policies here but when we speak out against bigotry, you don’t get to dismiss it or resort to name calling, specifically when privilege gets checked. Personal insults and attacks are not permitted here. Neither is derailing.

            You say slapstick mistakes, I say she’s a fucking joke. And trying to cry ableism for a character who is perfectly abled? Are you that desperate?

            Spider-Girl has no powers and goes to college and doesn’t have the skillets that Cass has and still manages to be a very competent heroine. The same goes for Onyx, Batwoman and Renee Montoya, so that weak ass argument is dead on arrival.

            Steph has continually been defined by epic fuck up after fuck up and the fact that you’re resulting to insults to argue your point reveals to me that deep down you know I’m telling the truth.

            How is she like Bella Swan? Go back and reread the post again. Before you react, reread again. Rinse lather repeat.

            Is it racism? Fuck perhaps. That’s fact, especially considering the trend of erasing POCs from the DC universe. Bottom line is Steph, a lousy character, is benefiting from white privilege. And if these are such fictional characters, you wouldn’t be resorting to insults or getting outraged that she’s being called out on her bullshit.

            She’s got nothing going for her only that a superior WOC is being tossed aside so she can feel magically speshul. And for POCs who have to put up with that shit day in day out with institutional racism, not only is that a slap in the face, but fuck anyone who dare tells us that we shouldn’t call out white privilege.

            A fact that you continue to gloss over. And I don’t know who the hell you think you are that you think you can derail a discussion on minorities because your preshus magical white heroine is getting called on the white privilege just proves the original point I made about how when POCs and LGBTQs demand better we get talked down to and told we’re being unreasonable. The fact that you’re making this post about the magical white girl is exactly what I’m talking about.

            But thanks for proving my point for me.

            You’re done now.

  3. We do have problems with the presence of minorities on British television. I think that it’s the best of the best that those in the US hear about and not the worst. We have some damned awful TV here but I don’t think it manages to make its way across the pond. I think some of the differences is also down to having a different culture here.

    Anyway I have a question I’ve always wondered. When speaking of black characters in sci-fi why is Red Dwarf never mentioned? I know there was an attempt to remake it over in the US which the UK actors dubbed ‘White Dwarf’ because of the white-washing of the cast and it died the silent death it deserved without even the pilot being shown. Did the British version of Red Dwarf not cross over to America? Or are there some problematic issues with it?

    • Yeah, I think it could be a difference of culture. We in the US are so use to certain things in our own media that we don’t always notice the faults when presented with something different than what we’re accultured to. That and being given what’s marketed as the best of the best. Yet, occasionally we will see/mention the flaw eventually.

      I don’t think many people ever mention Red Dwarf because I think many of them never heard or seen it. I remember it being shown on some cable station (SciFi, Comedy Central or BBCA–I can’t recall) something like 10-15 or more years ago but I never watched it then because I was still young and didn’t know what the heck it was about. Also, I don’t think they even really advertised or promoted it when they did show it here.

      Maybe someone else remembers better.

      Only slowly began watching it less than a year ago when it showed up as a suggestion on Netflix.


      • Thanks for explaining. I think with Red Dwarf being so big here (well I say big, it had 8 million viewers at its height which isn’t too shabby) it seems a bit weird that it didn’t make the cross-over.

        It seems pretty unfathomable to me to have a discussion about British Sci-Fi with any Brit without Red Dwarf being mentioned. Maybe less so nowadays since we’re full of the new Who and it’s been over 15 years since the good episodes of Red Dwarf first aired but growing up, Red Dwarf was the sci-fi show I watched, and the show me and all my friends would quote from.

        I’ve never once seen it mentioned on any discussion of race in sci-fi. In fact I’ve never once seen it even mentioned over here that we had this popular tv-show (so popular that it’s beaten Dr Who in popularity polls), which ran for 8 seasons, which started in 1988, and half the main cast were black. Dave Lister, the last human, the everyman, the central character of the show, the main character of the tie in novels, is black. And so is The Cat. That’s the only two cast members who were in all the seasons.

        It does have a lack of female cast-members which is pretty integral to the premise of the first seasons. It does also have the weird distinction of having the first ‘gay’ kiss on British Sci-Fi TV, in 1999. Which is problematic and hardly a bragging point since it was a dream sequence between two straight characters, played for laughs, with disgust shown afterwards, and the actors are both clearly extremely uncomfortable with it.

        But in terms of having characters of colour I’d like to think it doesn’t do too badly, especially not for one of the most popular British sci-fi shows.

    • “We do have problems with the presence of minorities on British television. I think that it’s the best of the best that those in the US hear about and not the worst. We have some damned awful TV here but I don’t think it manages to make its way across the pond. I think some of the differences is also down to having a different culture here.”

      Those are very valid points and I agree. I certainly wouldn’t dare imply there’s no fail across the pond. It just seems to me (and the next person’s mileage may vary) that when we look at the best the US has to offer and the best the Brits have to offer, the US is still lagging behind…..A LOT!

      • when we look at the best the US has to offer and the best the Brits have to offer, the US is still lagging behind…..A LOT!

        Jeez, what more do You People want?!?!?!?!


      • I’d recount the fails we have here but no one needs that. There’s more than enough fail to go around and if it doesn’t spread then so much the better. If the US keeps buying up the good programmes that we have here then maybe it’ll help keep the fail at bay.

        I think the main difference between US and UK TV (other than the huge cultural ones) is our broadcasting model. The BBC is funded by a license which every household in the UK which owns a television must pay. It’s not subject to the whims of advertisers. It’s not even reliant on getting good viewing figures.

        I also think the US has done a lot of good programmes too and the best thing about this modern day is I can watch both the best of the British and the US shows and ignore all the dross.

  4. I’m just reading up on Nightrunner. Interesting stuff in the context of this discussion. DC deserves some credit for this, yes? I don’t know much about David Hine’s track record on non-white characters, but this is what he said about making Nightrunner a French-Muslim from the rough Parisian suburbs. “Rather than use the obvious choice of The Musketeer as the new French Batman, I wanted to come up with the kind of hero I would want to see in a comic book if I were French.” It’s as if he read this post.

    The conservative blogger response is predictable, especially given that hating and fearing Muslims is a mainstream affair in America today. And this response is exactly the kind of reaction you’re talking about in your post, Neo. However, at least in this particular instance, it seems that DC is doing the right thing.

    • And that’s what so mind-boggling at times.

      The interesting thing about DC (and for that matter Marvel) is that it’s win or fail depending on the issue. In some instances, they can be so progressive and bring the win in so many ways and in others, I can’t even utter into words the epic fail.

      On some things, they bring the win and when they do, I give them their propers for it (and it’s one of the few reasons I still buy comics).

      But when they make with the fail, obviously they deserve to be called on it.

      But yeah I’m watching the Nightrunner situation very closely to see how it plays out.

  5. Props for the whole post, especially the Spawn and Blade mentions (I still get irritable when someone says Spider-Man launched the comic movie trend) and the X-Men stuff. It reminds me that the other day, talking to my SO, I realized that–for all its flaws–Star Trek: TOS is still leaps and bounds ahead of current comics in terms of racial diversity and representation.

    Certainly, Uhura and Sulu didn’t get to do as much as the main leads of the show did and that was bogus, but they were visible AND they weren’t stereotypes. Uhura was black, but she wasn’t a Sassy Black Lady and Sulu was Japanese, but he wasn’t a ninja. In fact, ALL the characters of EVERY background didn’t play to ANY of the stereotypes (well, except Chekov, but he was commentary on the space race…not exactly cool, but a product of the times); Scotty wasn’t a greedy Scotsman, etc. etc. etc.

    Plus, you know, all the ethnic diversity on all the spin-offs–most notably DS9 where a black man got to be the most awesome Captain in history and was portrayed as an amazing single father AND was the freakin’ MESSIAH, playing to about zero racial tropes–a trend that continued…er…up until Enterprise. Not quite sure what went wrong there. But boy, did it go wrong. -_-;

    Even though the show and its follow-ups had many, MANY failings, it’s still somehow WAY ahead of the curve in comparison to the comics of today when it comes to just *acknowledging* that different kinds of people *exist*, and the same holds true of classic X-Men. For Pete’s sake, Star Trek is almost FIFTY and the diverse X-Team is nearing forty and they’re both STILL ahead of comics in many ways. I’m happy that these things exist, but I’m also really sad that these highly successful, inclusive formulas have been discarded rather than improved and expanded upon because they’re ‘not profitable’ or ‘not popular’. Which, as we know, is total bullplop.

  6. But when it comes to bigotry and privilege, one would easily rather cut their nose (or their wallet) just to spite their face.

    BINGO. The white-washing and white saturation tactics aren’t making money. They’re actually losing money, but apparently they don’t care.

  7. If you’re being labelled entitled, uppity and unreasonable, it’s probably because your demands are frequently entitled, uppity and unreasonable. Or nonsensical, or intentionally contradictory. They are also political, and made in an effort to further your political goals.

    “Here’s the score. I spend just as much money on comics as straight white fans. I support movies, television shows, novels, etc. just like straight white fans.”

    Yes, as an individual. But it’s not individuals that count, it’s masses of people.

    “And I find it quite sickening, not to mention disturbing that in the 21st century, I’m STILL having to explain to people why diversity is not a sin and why marginalized people such as women, POCs, LGBTQs, disabled, etc. deserve to be represented in the media and not be denigrated by bigoted hacks.”

    The truth is that feminism and political correctness rule supreme in American entertainment, and women, gays and ethnic minorities are everywhere. Everything is becoming more and more gay and feminine, and whiteness is considered uncool at best and offensive at worst. So why, then, do feminists continue complaining about rampant intolerance and oppression as if the year was 1911? Because feminism is a broken record that does not respond at all to changing circumstances. The talking points have not changed since feminism’s inception, and never will.

    “Spawn’s success may be in lieu of the fact that his face was burned and he wore a mask making it comfortable for white fans to forget that he’s black, but the point still stands in any event.”

    If all white people hate black people, then how are Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Will Smith etc. so popular? How does this notion of white people all being KKK members fit into the claim that diversity sells? You even point out that Blade was a big success. I also like how on this site it’s always white people who are racist, as if nobody else is even capable of such behavior. Constantly accusing white people of racism is itself racist.

    “We’ve proven that the money is there time and time again.”

    No, you’ve proven that some successful works have featured characters of varying ethnicities. This does not mean there is a causal relationship between success and diversity. In fact, if you look at the highest grossing movies of all time, you’ll see that the casts aren’t too diverse. Also, where the hell is the diversity in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? It’s got nothing but Asians in it.

    Your whole post is really confused. On one hand white people are all bloodthirsty racists and bigots (as usual), but on the other hand diversity is the sure path to financial success. These are contradictory positions.

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