Intersectionality, A Milestone Theme

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File this post under, Another Reason Why Dwayne McDuffie Was Better Than You.

So last week we all celebrated the life and legacy of one of the most gifted and progressive storytellers, ever to walk this earth, the late Dwayne McDuffie.

As expected, many discussed the amazing work he and his team did with making Milestone Comics a success, others mentioned his phenomenal work with fellow phenom Bruce Timm with creating over a decade of superb animated series and films.

Of course people pointed out that McDuffie paved the way for black storytellers in a way too vanillacentric medium that is the comic book industry.

While this is all true. It is not the whole story. To not tell the whole story diminishes the work and the accomplishments of this great man.

This bothers me because when it comes to PoCs who campaign for equal rights, we often get shortchanged. At most, we’re credited for “helping end racism.” We’re rarely (if ever) credited for getting intersectionality. For instance, the late Coretta Scott King is rarely credited for being an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights. Her husband Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tackled racism, and classism, and unlike most whites didn’t try to conflate that latter to negate the former.

Huey Newton, the founder of the Black Panthers, wrote a letter encouraging us all to not only embrace feminism and our LGBTQ siblings but to do some serious internal soul-searching and tackle our internalized misogyny and homophobia. Intersectionality is something Truth literally spoke on. Truth by way of Sojourner when she asked, Ain’t I A Woman? You see most PoCs aren’t fighting to reattain privilege and get a seat at the oppressor’s table like we see too often with privileged white fauxial justice blowhards. We are actually fighting for equality, not out of self interest but because it is the right thing to do.

 

Long before social justice became the hobby of spoiled entitled white kids on Tumblr, McDuffie, and for that matter Timm and the rest of the Milestone crew were in the trenches, fighting for diversity. Yes Milestone introduced the world to some amazing black superheroes but Milestone also introduced the world to some other amazing superheroes of color such as Blitzen and Iron Butterfly. Not only that but McDuffie gave the world gay and trans protagonists such as Gear and Marissa Rahms. McDuffie brilliantly flipped the superhero sidekick paradigm in allowing a young woman to inspire one of the world’s greatest superheroes. For you see there would have been no Icon, if it hadn’t been for Rocket.

This incredible, beautiful, brilliant black man did all of this because he believed that everyone deserved a hero or heroine.

And to think this gifted soul got fired from DC, who later in turn hired and embraced Orson Scott Card with open arms, it’s almost too much to stomach.

Nevertheless, many of us continue to fight on in his honor.

In any event, McDuffie’s legacy can never be denied, any of it. And for all of the work he’s done, all I can simply say is “Thank you” and “God bless.”

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Jars of mayonnaise are not characters

One of the most frustrating things about being a person of color critically engaging with film and television is being constantly force fed whiteness as the standard for all humanity.

Aside from the fact that these movies and shows tend to have weak characterization, flimsy motives, shoddy worldbuilding, and cliche plots, there’s the fact that they force me to spend my precious time and brain cells on characters who have zilch going on to make them the least bit compelling and essentially sit there and be white while the story happens around them.

I won’t even bother with examples because this shit is so ubiquitous that I’d have a hard time keeping track. But even good movies and good TV shows are not immune. Even in the best of the best out there, you can probably find that one character that just takes up space and does nothing for the story other than exist, who is important not because of anything they bring to the story, but because you have to keep being told over and over again that they’re important.

In stories like this, you can get the distinct impression that the only reason why anyone should care about these characters at all is because they’re white and they exist. If the people making this shit are going to put so little effort into giving me characters who do more than exist and be white on screen, the least they can do is not insult actors and acting by forcing live human beings to play the equivalent of a jar of mayonnaise. Just cut out the middle man and put a jar of mayonnaise where the actor would normally be. They could save themselves money and the actors some time.

And you know what? This bullshit is really fucking noticeable when the character is a white woman. Because, apparently, “girl” or “woman” or “wife” or “mother” is all the characterization she needs. So it does this weird sort of white supremacist yet patriarchal thing where a woman is only a person insofar as she’s important to a man, but at the same time, her status as prize makes her inherently more valuable to a narrative than any women of color, especially Black women,  in the same story.

Consider Katrina Crane in Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. Look, I fucking love Sleepy Hollow! But if Katia Winter went to another show, and Fox replaced her with a jar of mayonnaise, I’d be hard-pressed to notice. What the hell does she do other than be Ichabod’s motivation, say all kinds of cryptic shit, and fail at being a witch? She only exists to be something that Ichabod strives for. Yet at the same time, when it comes to people arguing against the romantic potential between Ichabod and Abbie, or Abbie Mills being the character people most identify with, Katrina’s name consistently gets invoked.

Give me a motherfucking break.

Don’t show me a jar of mayonnaise and tell me it’s a character. Don’t show me a jar of mayonnaise with a girl’s name and tell me that’s feminist, let alone womanist.

And last but not least: STOP LEAVING ALL THESE FUCKING JARS OF MAYONNAISE ALL OVER THE GODDAMN PLACE!

Character Study: Zoe Washburne

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So over on Nashville Geek Life, I’ve launched a new series called Character Study. Essentially I provide an analysis about a character in spec fic and explain what makes them unique and interesting.

With February being Black History Month, I wanted the inaugural post to focus on a character who personifies ‪#‎BlackExcellence‬. A Big Damn Heroine. A cowgirl by the name of Zoe Washburne, portrayed by the Goddess known as Gina Torres, perfection herself.

click here to continue reading….

Colton Haynes, We Are Not Here For Your Blackface

Congratulations, Colton on the CW series Arrow getting a 3rd season. Here’s hoping your character Roy gets killed off or gets recast with an actor who doesn’t engage in blackface…..TWICE.

One would think as a queer male, you would at least show some modicum of decency towards other minorities. But herein lies white privilege and this is a reminder why gay will never be the new black…or brown or red or yellow.

And to think of all those kids, black and Indian specifically. I wonder how they’re going to feel when they learn that one of their favorite actors who portrays one of their favorite superheroes is nothing more than another not-so-closeted white supremacist.

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Redefining Victory

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Congratulations to Janet Mock, whose debut title Redefining Realness just made the New York Time’s Best Seller List.

This is a huge win, and a well-earned one after this past week; Ms Mock has been the target of a vicious slander campaign after calling out Piers Morgan on his racist transmisogyny. This win is not only for Ms. Mock but also her trans family and the SGL peeps.

Monica Roberts shares her thoughts, (along with a few other “familiar” folks) on this incredible victory.

click here to continue reading.

#RedefiningRealness

#BlackFolksBeingAwesome

#BlackExcellence

ETA: HOLY CRIPES THIS IS MY 200TH POST FOR ARS MARGINAL!!!!!!!!!!! WOO HOO. HERE’S TO MANY MORE!!!!!!!

Diversity Isn’t Pandering: Notes For the Next Era in Media

My good buddy and fellow art school survivor Carrie Tupper shares her experiences working on a progressive and diverse animated series:

A definite must read:

Anthony Otero

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When I think about having a discussion about comic books, I know that I just don’t stop at the books themselves. The conversation can easily turn into a debate about animation as well. Often times comic books are the inspiration for animation. In either case, diversity is always an issue. Next up on the guest blogger list: Carrie Tupper.

“You’ve got a pretty colorful crowd here. Did you check off a list or something?”

“Where are all the white people?”

This is a pretty normal response we get when people see our pitch for Kamikaze, a TV show concept that my husband, Alan and I created. See, the majority of our characters aren’t white. In fact, our core cast only has one white person in it, who also happens to be female (but that’s another discussion entirely). Because of this lack of white people we sometimes get ‘The Rainbow…

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Macklemore’s Thievery

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Anyone who knows the history of the Grammys shouldn’t be shocked at the rampant racism and the white privilege in handing unearned awards to Macklemore. Because the only universe those two hacks are superior hip hop artists to Drake or qualify as hip hop artists, would be Bizarro World.

When rap first gained ground, the Grammys refused to air the awards ceremony, even though it outsold heavy metal and country music at the time.

These losers giving awards to underserving white con artists, par for the course.

Don’t look at me. I called out this bullshit a year ago.