The other day my Facebook friend Innocentia shared this X-Men related tweet with me;
And i thought it was great because it really brought a strong point home. So i shared it on Facebook.
My friend Craig jumped on and asked me if i thought black people would appreciate being compared to mutants. i told him since a black person had shared the picture with me in the first place that i thought it was okay.
Also, to be fair i think it’s a contrast more than a comparison. Mutants are seen as, well mutant, freaks of some kind and yet white people feel more empathy for them as fictional characters than they do for flesh and blood black people who live and move around them.
i have seen the same kind of contrast happen strongly with people and their pets. So many black people i know, both here and in Americaland where black/white is still quite a bit of an issue, people can’t fathom how certain people can care more about a stray animal than a black person [Although maybe to be fair i know a lot of animal people who would choose animals over ALL people so maybe it’s just them]. Don’t believe this? Google how much money Americans spent on toys for their pets last Christmas. NO, SERIOUSLY, DON’T! It will make you too sad.
But back to the tweet, suddenly it started being shared. And a noticeable amount of times, because each time i logged into Facebook i got another notification for three new shares of the post. Twenty, thirty shares, this thing was moving and had clearly gained resonance with a lot of people.
What fascinated me most was the names of those people sharing it: Lethu and Shoun, Thabiso and leRonn, Odwa and Palesa and Sikhulekile. Enati, Thulani, Thato and Mihlali. Are you getting the picture? i’m sure i don’t need to go on.
And literally as i’m busy typing this i get a notification to say that “Sihle has shared your post” and i click the link and sure enough, it’s mutant X-Men again.
Ayran’s comment killed me:
Maybe we should call ourselves X-Men so that our lives Matter
Just STOP HERE FOR A MOMENT and take that comment in.
[i know that most of the people reading this are the converted choir and those who aren’t have probably skimmed a few lines and are already preparing their racist retorts that will not be published [because it’s my blog and i while i love to engage with those who think differently to me i certainly am not compelled to publish racist nonsense spew at all] but there is always the hope that there is someone on the edge of getting it who stumbles in and suddenly – POW! – right between the eyes.]
This could be one of those moments for you. If you feel empathy and sadness and emotional connection with some fictitious characters on a movie screen and yet feel nothing for the majority of people living in poverty and facing racial abuse on a sometimes daily basis, then you need to stare long and hard in a mirror and make some better choices.
Vaughan shared some insight on the comic:
X-Men was based on the civil rights movement, it can be found in some of Stan Lee’s earlier interviews on the matter. That’s why the story arc of mutants is that they were born that way and not some origin story like spiderman etc
In case you missed Huey’s second comment, he follows up the main post with:
They’ll be like “the mutants have every right to be angry! Look how they’re treated. Then call black folks savages for protesting/uprising.”
Maybe this will help us to make more time to listen, especially when we maybe see something we don’t understand [burning art, “Fuck white people t-shirts and so on] and try to understand that the source of the pain and protest is.
Maybe this will help us to invest in the friendships we do have with people of colour and create spaces for them to express their pain even if it is a little uncomfortable or awkward, in the hope of learning and understanding a little more.
Maybe this will help us to get super creative in the ways of moving forwards together and stepping towards each other.
What do you think?