kingrockwell: he's a sexy (Ferdinand)
[personal profile] kingrockwell posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Brightest Day #1 is out this week, and while the jokes have already been made about the White Power rings supposedly shipped with it, the book itself displays some very troubling racial politics.

This is about four pages out of thirty.
Writers are Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi.
These scenes are, I think, penciled by Ivan Reis and Patrick Gleason (they don't really credit any of the beats individually).

The second beat picks up off the coast of Somalia, where Deadman's found himself on a boat of slavers herding abducted children. But let's take a look here.


Now isn't that nice? The slavers are all black while every one of their captives is white. What is that supposed to say?
The children are saved by the mighty-whitey team of Aquaman and Mera, as has been posted already, but a scene from the aftermath is also worth examining.


Can you guess who this guy is?


If you hadn't figured it out yet, this guy returns to the ocean to resume his criminal career as Black Manta at the end of the issue. Now, the Aquaman/Black Manta relationship is problematic on its own, but Black Manta's history only makes it moreso (especially given that he doesn't even get a real name). Bringing him back in a book called Brightest Day that already has a mark against it is just...inadvisable.

Also, note the black woman among the victims. So far, if you're black in this comic, you can only be a villain or a victim. And what if you try to be a hero?

Well, dear readers, that's where Jason Rusch comes in.
If you'll recall, in Brightest Day #0, Jason tried punching Ronnie Raymond (who's apparently a complete tool now, thanks Geoff Johns!), only to have the two of them merge into Firestorm.
I don't even have to tell you which one's the floating head.


"Someone like you"? And just what is that supposed to mean, Ronnie?


So, Jason's not only had his role stolen by the white guy who used to have it (which is already a disturbing trend throughout the DCU, especially in Johns' work, as Chris Sims at Comics Alliance has also observed), but now he's trapped in that guy's head? Classy!

Any one of these would be problematic in itself, but all three together in the same issue adds up to a tone deaf and racist mess. A kick-off like this does not bode well for where Brightest Day is going.

Ookay, technically there was one black guy who got to be the hero in BD 1.
...The guy in the Colgate ad. He aced it!

Date: 2010-05-07 10:47 pm (UTC)
thanekos: Kouhei " Principal Garren " Hayami, the Libra Zodiarts, is bugged. (Default)
From: [personal profile] thanekos
I guess if you want to see it, it's there.

Date: 2010-05-07 11:02 pm (UTC)
protogarrett: (Default)
From: [personal profile] protogarrett
Agreed.

"Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-07 11:31 pm (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
He's implying that you're intentionally looking for evidence of racism in the comic, and therefore you find it.

You seem to be implying that everyone here can see it just as plainly as you can and are intentionally ignoring it. I can't speak for everyone here, but the idea that there's racism in this issue didn't even occur to me until you pointed it out.

I'm not even sure I agree; Black Manta was established as black a long time ago, and Jason was established as the Voice in the Head in Blackest Night.
Frankly, it makes more sense for Jason to be the voice in the head, as Jason is a apparently a smart man, maybe even a scientist, and Robbie seems to be little more than a frat boy who would be totally useless as just a floating head.

Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-07 11:39 pm (UTC)
iambickilometer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] iambickilometer
I think the point is that for some people racism isn't something you need to look for -- it's something you always see. It doesn't matter if it was intentional or not. It can still be uncomfortable or hurtful.

Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-07 11:42 pm (UTC)
punishermax: (Default)
From: [personal profile] punishermax
The problem is, as people have e said, racism isn't always blatant and in your face. It isn't always Michael Richards going on a rant, it's ingrained in cultural norms and it's hard to find it for a lot of people because they were either raised to see such subtle things as normal or for other reasons.

Like I said before, why does that group of kids have to be totally white? Why does the brown skinned pirate have to be implied to want to rape one of them?

Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-08 12:23 am (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
Why does the brown skinned pirate have to be implied to want to rape one of them?

So we really get that he's evil and cheer when he shortly dies?

Agreed about the children though - I had earlier justified it by remembering they came from a cruse ship, which is stereotypically populated with rich white people, but that's not really a good justification, is it?

Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-08 09:47 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Iron Reindeer)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
I had earlier justified it by remembering they came from a cruse ship, which is stereotypically populated with rich white people,

To assume people on a cruise ship will be white is definitely a racially charged assumption. It's not a malicious assumption, and I'm sure you didn't mean to say anything racist, but that sort of unconscious reliance on stereotypes contributes to racist portrayals - of course villainous pirates will be scary black men with every evil characteristic, and of course their victims will be white and innocent.

Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-08 08:20 am (UTC)
koschei: (Default)
From: [personal profile] koschei
Maybe he's HIV positive? It's a firmly entrenched belief across chunks of Africa that having sex with a virgin can cure you of the disease; in South Africa at least this has lead to phenomenal levels of juvenile females being raped

Re: "Privilege?"

From: [personal profile] koschei - Date: 2010-05-08 12:05 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-08 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] pervymax
You're mistaken.

While it's true that some, *very small* minority of people in africa might believe this, and fewer still might act on it, the gross generalization you're engaging in here is akin to imply that, just because there are snake handlers in America, that snaking handling is a popular, or common, American activity.

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SECOND OFFFICIAL WARNING

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Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-08 12:37 am (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Plan)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
Don't treat me like I'm going out of my way to see this shit.

Then you don't treat me like I'm an ignorant asshole who willingly encourages racist stereotypes, because that's what I'm getting from you right now.

Re: "Privilege?"

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Re: "Privilege?"

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Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-08 12:59 am (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
Ignore the last post; I lost my temper a bit and thought you were being sarcastic with that last line.

No, it doesn't mean that it isn't there, but it also doesn't mean that we all know exactly how racist it is and look the other way.

I know you probably don't mean it like that, but that was the impression I got.

Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-08 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] pervymax
I'd agree: It's there, but so it's ingrained for some people, they don't think of it as abnormal.

Re: "Privilege?"

Date: 2010-05-08 09:53 pm (UTC)
zemo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zemo
See, I get what you mean there. But you should realize that making a point ("Brightest Day #1 has racist undertones.") based on facts that you and a few others, but not all can see will only make people believe that you're trying to read something into a situation that isn't there.

I mean, your whole argument rests on the fact that some people are capable of seeing what you mean, while those that benefit of racial privilege don't.

You may as well still make your point, but you and some of those that read it aren't on the same level of the discussion from the onset. You shouldn't be surprised that people may think you're griping for something to complain about.

Re: "Privilege?"

From: [personal profile] cleome45 - Date: 2010-05-09 01:39 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: "Privilege?"

From: [personal profile] zemo - Date: 2010-05-09 11:35 am (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2010-05-08 03:00 am (UTC)
dreamreaver: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dreamreaver
And because someone honestly can't see it because they're not thinking about it for whatever reason, means they're automatically pro-racism or a sociopath? You seriously have to be joking - and even after I saw this post, I never got the feeling it was intentional on anyone's part.

(and I'm Eurasian, half-and-half, so you can't really pull the "white people power" excuse on me)

Date: 2010-05-08 09:51 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Blue Emma)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
And because someone honestly can't see it because they're not thinking about it for whatever reason, means they're automatically pro-racism or a sociopath?

Not seeing racism in a portrayal is one thing. Views differ, and people can discuss the differences. Suggesting that the person who does see racism in a portrayal is going out of their way to find racism to be upset at it is offensive, and an attempt to shut down discussion.

Date: 2010-05-08 04:49 am (UTC)
arbre_rieur: (DC Nation)
From: [personal profile] arbre_rieur
I guess if you want to see it, it's there.

I guess if you want to not see it, it isn't.
Not everyone has that privilege.


Neither of these comments is helpful.

Date: 2010-05-08 06:10 am (UTC)
arbre_rieur: (DC Nation)
From: [personal profile] arbre_rieur
Fair enough, I suppose s/he did start it. Sorry, it's just that I've seen statements like those so many times that it's gotten to the point where I have a rather short fuse for them.
You brought up important issues that merit discussion. That's why people should be discussing them instead of trying to shut down the conversation, which is what accusations of agendas and privilege more often than not seem to boil down to.

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Date: 2010-05-08 08:03 pm (UTC)
kashmirkong: I dont want to go... (sad)
From: [personal profile] kashmirkong
Oh here we go...

Date: 2010-05-08 08:32 pm (UTC)
halialkers: Raven in Blue hood, glowing white eyes, right hand with palm stretched upward (Default)
From: [personal profile] halialkers
To me, I find this troubling for four reasons (I picked the number of death for LULZ):

1) POC characters and female characters get crapped on in comics all the time. Whitewashing the comics does nothing to help issues with that, particularly when at least in the DCU most superheroes are already white males to begin with.

2) This is not making a comic lighter and softer, this is the same GrimDark stuff as ever, just from a Light Is Not Good perspective.

3) Somali pirates are ransom-takers. Selling your intended ransom-deposit into slavery does not work well.

4) Notice the country that appears nowhere on this image (albeit it's from 2007 and the Beeb:

Semper Libertas!

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