Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DC Comics: The Last Racebender

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I can't believe I'm doing this again...actually, yes I can, considering we're living in an age where "political correctness" and selective outrage are as widespread as The Black Death in the middle ages. However, today, I'd like to discuss a topic that I addressed before but now I guess I have to deal with it again because apparently, according some people we live in a;

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That's a direct quote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj-wkJFnyxE

I'd like to ask first and foremost, what EXACTLY is a "geekist"? I'd be THRILLED to find out. So in light of Michael B. Jordan being cast as Johnny Storm a.k.a The Human Torch in the upcoming "Fantastic Four" movie, I wrote a blog titled "I'm A Racist" explaining EXACTLY why I was against him playing The Human Torch, I won't rehash it here, you can go and read it yourself, BUT unfortunately this article will cover some of those same points, so I suggest you read it before reading this one. So what is this article about? Well as we all know the "geniuses" over at DC Comics decided to (needlessly) reboot their universe (again) but this time instead of retconning a few things like most DC comic reboots have done...they invariably f*cked up everything...to the point where you have a RED Beastboy, an unmarried Superman, an EXTREMELY slutty Starfire, an EXTREMELY slutty Harley Quinn, Dick Grayson as a secret agent or some bullsh*t and the topic of this article...an African American Wally West and Helena Bertinelli (The Flash & Huntress, respectively). So let's dive into why this is not only stupid but PAINFULLY insulting to everyone.

I'm gonna cut to the chase, this is SHAMELESS, UNFILTERED race-baiting OF THE HIGHEST ORDER! For those of you who don't know what race-baiting is;

Race- Baiting:
  1. The act of using racially derisive language, actions, or other forms of communication in order to anger or intimidate or coerce a person or group of people.

A clear example of this would be Michael B. Jordan being cast as The Human Torch and the leading mantra being; "If you don't like Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch, you're racist.", and then having an unfortunate multitude of people who will agree and even conjure up racists reason why you wouldn't like this casting.  Or another example, "If you disagree with President Obama, it's because you're racist." Basically, if you disagree with something someone of another race does, Race-Baiters will enter into the situation and declare you to be a racist before you can even explain your opposition. However, I'm using my African American status and the "Politically Correct" notion that "Black people can't be racist" to combat this (OBVIOUS) race-baiting by DC Comics.

All too often we hear people lament about the lack of ethnically diverse superheroes, and while I too am none too keen on the level of diversity in comic books, I'm more than willing to overlook it and accept a certain reality. Reality being, WHITE MALES ARE THE PRIMARY READERS OF COMIC BOOKS! ALWAYS HAVE BEEN, ALWAYS WILL BE! African Americans are in the minority of comic book readers, and the vast majority of comic book writers, artists and so on are usually White Males! This is not news and this doesn't surprise me or shock me anymore than finding a woman behind the counter of a Victoria's Secret store. Naturally, since I'd say a good 89% (pulled that number outta my butt, but still) of comic book readers and writers are White, I'd expect them to write books primarily about White people (which again, is NOT a problem). But certain people would have us believe that it is and that it must change.

In order to correct the "problem" of having mostly White males readers, DC Comics decided to "diversify" a few heroes. Now what you need to understand is that while the average joe on the street sees diversity as a bag of Party Mix, "diversity" nowadays means "NO WHITE (heterosexual) PEOPLE!". Of course, DC Comics CAN'T just sideline all their White characters, after all the leading roster is made up of 3 of the biggest White characters ever (Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman), so DC had to come up with a new way on how to roll out their new "diverse" universe and they did it by race-bending Wally West and Helena Bertinelli.

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They turned this...

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...into this and what the hell is up with that mask? Honestly, who is she supposed to be, Hannibal Lecter?

At first glance this seems innocent enough until you actually give this some thought. The reason why I call this insulting is because for starters, everyone who grew up reading Wally West as The Flash from his time as a Teen Titan to his time on The Justice League are suddenly told that ALL OF THAT DOESN'T MATTER! Now I know what some people are saying; "He's still the same guy, changing the race doesn't change the character."...except, unfortunately it does, because now all his history as the red headed White guy is gone. People who have been reading this character for YEARS go to pick up the next issue of Flash and find out he's Black now and that they have to be okay with it, lest they be called a racist. I'm saying this in defense of the White readers out there who have a problem with Wally West being Black but don't wanna say anything about it because they're afraid of being called racist.

It's insulting because instead of creating a completely NEW character with their own arc, personality and set of issues, DC comics would rather take a character we all know and love, put them in Black Face and say "SEE! WE CARE ABOUT YOU BLACK READERS! WE MADE WALLY WEST BLACK, JUST FOR YOU! LOVE US!" and the sad reality is I'm 100% sure there are Black people applauding this as a victory. This is NOT a victory, actually it's a pretty cold hard defeat and let me explain why. For starters, considering 100% of Wally West's backstory is now COMPLETELY gone (because we can't believe that a red haired White guy just suddenly woke up one day a young Black teenager, I know this is DC Comics, but c'mon) then he might as well have been a completely NEW character, but more over than that, he's not a character standing on his own merits.

What I mean is, he's not marketed as a new character, he's marketed as Wally West. Wally West gained his fame as a red haired White guy, this Black Wally West is merely riding on the name recognition of his White predecessor. It'd be like going to a concert to see a band you like only to discover it's a different band with the same name. Now that different band may actually be good and I wanna use this time to say that the new Wally West might actually turn out to be awesome (I wouldn't know, not reading of this nonsense until Beastboy is Green again), BUT DC Comics didn't have to slap Wally West's name on him, just let him be awesome. For example, DC Comics didn't make Hal Jordan Black, they made a NEW character, John Stewart and to this day (and mostly thanks to "Justice League: Unlimited") John Stewart is one of the most hailed Green Lanterns. Keep in mind John Stewart made his debut in the 1970s, when racism wasn't entirely frowned upon. Are you telling me DC couldn't do that again? With a Black President in office? Really?

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Case in point.

Also, I neglected to address this in my previous article regarding Michael B. Jordan but let's just get this out the way;

This is a clear example of what I mean by falling for the Race-Baiting narrative. In talking about a casting choice that wasn't reflective of the comic book, the video ends up talking about interracial dating and the lack of African American characters in comic books, NONE OF WHICH ARE THE TOPIC! And considering the fact that I know quite a few White guys who'd love nothing more than to stick it to Beyonce and Rhianna, I can say that no White boy has ever had second thoughts about fapping to a pair of Black tits, not even sure why that's worth mentioning. Anyway, the Race-Baiting narrative ALWAYS insinuates that White people are racist and everything they do (in regards to Black people) is (either consciously or subconsciously) motivated by race. THIS SHOULDN'T BE A RACE ISSUE! AND YET, it is... I said I wasn't gonna rehash my argument of the previous article but my ENTIRE ISSUE (and I'm sure everyone else's) IS ABOUT ACCURACY! WHAT'S ON THE SCREEN SHOULD REFLECT WHAT'S ON THE PAGE! How am I the ONLY person who gets it?!

It's insulting because it's ONCE AGAIN inserting the topic of race where it doesn't need to be and now people who had NO interest in comic books are suddenly flapping their gums and inciting tense race relations among comic book readers. Being a young (heterosexual) African American male, I love the red-headed White guy, he was hilarious, he was personable, and he's a very apt member of both the Justice League and The Teen Titans and for DC Comics and people in general to assume that I won't like a character because he doesn't have the same skin pigmentation as me and declare that I must like a Black character SIMPLY because he's Black insults me as a human being and paints me as the very same racists they claim to fight against. Furthermore, it insults me as a writer and as a reader that these so called "industry professionals" couldn't be bothered to introduce a new character with an interesting story arc that would result in that person becoming the new Flash, NOPE, just take a character we all know and love, put him in Black face and enjoy the congratulations.

Moves like this are the reasons I stopped reading comics (keep in mind, I am reading stuff that came out prior to the reboot) GONE are the days where you could pick up a comic book and read an interesting story about some crazed lunatic with a plan to take over the world and some man (or woman) in tights and an outlandish outfit swooping in to stop them, these days it's all politics, political correctness and not wanting to offend anyone and trying to get away from the "White Male Hetero-Normative" narrative. I don't wanna see a wedding (gay or straight) in comic books, I wanna see an interesting story in comic books, I don't want ethnic characters, I want characters who matter, ethnic or not! I DON'T CARE IF A CHARACTER IS GAY! DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN BE GAY! I DON'T CARE IF A CHARACTER IS BLACK! BE USEFUL TO THE PLOT OR GET OUT!

Frankly, I'm tired of constantly being put in a position where I'm supposed to cheer and clap along with the choir and instead I find myself staring at everyone wondering what they're so happy about, and quite frankly I'm tired of hearing the same tired arguments fall from the mouths of people who have cow-towed to the race-baiting puppeteers. Do I think we need more diverse superheroes? That's the wrong question, we need more GOOD superheroes and if they just so happen to be a diverse bunch, well then that's just cherry. But we aren't gonna get there if we keep applauding every time nonsense like this and the Michael B. Jordan casting happens. We need to stop taking anything we can get it and start praising what we already have.

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