Friday, June 09, 2006

Possibly, but does it matter? Does a single bigoted black fan have any influence over who gets hired and fired? There are plenty of bigoted white fans who stalk me all over the internet to explain my race-based deficiencies. They don't matter. The editors who feel the same way do matter.

A short and simple explanation of institutional racism by Dwayne McDuffie. I think that to improve the racial makeup of comics, first we need to do a bit of racism 101. Now, I know that some of you think you know all about racism, despite never having read about or experienced it(Yea, I'm not counting the 'reverse racism' since it appears to be crocodile tears to me) due to having pale skin. I don't think pale skin works that way and you can learn about racism by reading about it, and listening to people of color which can help in several ways:

1)If you have a problem, you can fix it. If someone notices that you 'forgot' to cover a black comics convention, instead of wasting your time with denials and excuses, you can say 'my bad' because you know that acknowledging that other people who are not like you are also important and significant will not kill you. You can move over for a bit, and understand that people who actually have experienced something that they can't turn off, and are not using as a ploy for sympathy or to save oneself from having to think about racism may know a little bit more than you about it*.

2)Wider World View- I love comics as much as anybody, but having a narrow audience makes for narrow comics. Now, I am going to use the example of a white writer who was able to depict race very well. Howard Cruse's Stuck Rubber Baby is a classic. He first does not fall into the trap of having every white racist be a cross burner(although there are those too) but instead depicted the more subtle bigoted views. Also, he doesn't just throw in a black character without any community around them, but instead creates a lively community with just as much life as the white folks. Stuck Rubber Baby was the first GN I owned, and I became an adult comics fan due to it and Love and Rockets. To be able to have a worldview in which one can allow for many different types of people to exist, you need to exist around many different types of people. Read boards about people of color and comics. Don't shy away from discussions of race in the public sphere. See intellectuals of color speak. Listen to our radio programs. Read our livejournal communities. Stop living in that white box. Just be quiet and learn.

3)Be able to work with people of color. While some may be white identified, not everyone is going to be that way. Being able to deal with people who aren't white identified means that you won't be whining about how you can't write a minority character because what if someone says you're racist or that you can't talk about black comics conventions because someone might want you to know about actual racism before you deny things. Being able to feel empathy for people of color means that instead of being worked up about minor things like someone thinking you are racist(when there are always a million excuses about why you aren't, so why even use that lame excuse), you'd be worried about larger issues and thus be able to respect the feelings of others. Not being disrespectful is a good way to not project the attitude that comics is a whites only club, and thus more people will stay near your clubhouse.

*I've never seen a white person who complains about 'racism' ever do anything about actual racism because of their experience. Bitch maybe, insult people of color maybe, but never "hey, we have a common experience, let's work together".


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