Stereotypes And Racial Issues In X-Men

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Racial issues in X-Men comics have come a long way from the 1960’s, but they still lack in representation, rely too much on stereotypes, and have too few writers and artists of color. Stan Lee said about the creation of his original X-Men comic that: I couldn't have everybody bitten by a radioactive spider or zapped with gamma rays, and it occurred to me that if I just said that they were mutants, it would make it easy. Then it occurred to me that instead of them just being heroes that everybody admired, what if I made other people fear and suspect and actually hate them because they were different? I loved that idea; it not only made them different, but it was a good metaphor for what was happening with the civil rights movement in the country…show more content…
This metaphor extends to several aspects of racism. The word ‘mutie’ was invented to be a derogatory term for mutant, similar to racial slurs. Groups such as The Friends of Humanity, the Mutant Response Division, and Reverend William Stryker’s Purifiers share the belief that mutants are a threat to human society that needs to be eliminated and have become parallels to the KKK and other white supremacy groups. This aspect of the X-Men makes the characters more relatable to any reader who has experienced racism and oppression. It can also be argued that writing in metaphor can subtly introduce ideas into the reader’s head. When readers are forced to sympathize with characters facing oppression, they may become more sympathetic to people who are facing oppression in real life. However, many believe that the time for speaking in metaphors is over. Andrew Wheeler…show more content…
He essentially wrote about the struggles of people of color without actually including any non-white characters. Representation of minorities in pop culture is important. To quote Malcolm X, “America's greatest crime against the black man was not slavery or lynching, but that he was taught to wear a mask of self-hate and self-doubt.” Younger people of color who read white-dominated comics may be led to believe that they cannot be heroes because of their skin color, leading to issues with self-doubt as mentioned. The first characters of color to become X-Men were Ororo Munroe (Storm), John Proudstar (Thunderbird), and Shiro Yoshida (Sunfire), introduced in Giant-Size X-Men #1, published in 1975. Storm was the only character to remain on the X-Men at the end of the issue. She has since become one of the most prominent and popular characters in the X-Men franchise and has led the core team several times. Today, there are over ten times as many characters of color in the various X-Men teams than there were in 1975. However, many of these characters have appeared in very few comics and even disappear into the background of comics they do appear

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