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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Default Can the Xmen still be a metaphor for discrimination when pretty much all theirs

    I was giving this a lot of thought. I understand how everyone says that the Xmen are metaphors for discrimination because you can lump them into any group. You are Black? The Xmen speak to you. You are gay the Xmen speak to you.

    But my question is does it take away from the metaphor or does the metaphor not hold up as well when pretty much every major Xmen character is white?

    I am not up on the last ten years or so of Xmen so Maybe this has changed. When I hear people talk about black characters in the X world it is always Bishop or Storm. Gay characters? Northstar who is not a major character and Ice Man.

    So like I ask does the metaphor still hold up today?

    If I am wrong on this please tell me who some of the other major characters are that are POC or Gay.
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  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Hizashi's Avatar
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    I don't think it ever was a 1:1 metaphor - but that was never a prerequisite for me to love the characters. If it matters, I'm Hispanic and a majority of my favorite characters are white - how much of that is due to so many characters having been introduced as white and thus having had years to be fleshed out? I'm not sure, although it makes sense that it plays a part; but the thing is that characters that are ostensibly for me don't interest me at all.
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  3. #3

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    Currently the following characters are appearing in X-Books that happen to be both POC and queer:
    Rictor (getting the biggest push at the moment), Prodigy, Daken, Kyle (Northstar's husband), Karma, Shinobi Shaw
    And my personal jury is still out on Forge considering the way he flirts with Logan.
    Last edited by Jbenito; 09-26-2020 at 04:15 PM.
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  4. #4
    Fantastic Member gonnagiveittoya's Avatar
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    I feel it hurts the racial allegory stuff present in the earlier stuff, but since it's not the only allegory the mutants can be interpreted as it doesn't hurt it overall.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member cranger's Avatar
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    I can't think of a time where the stories were ever blatantly trying to stand in for anything specific, but people can either relate to stuff or not. If not having actual representation of certain minorities has not stopped people in the past, I don't know why it will stop now.

  6. #6
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    That’s what a metaphor is. The problem with wanting literal stories is you get literal stories through this select group of richer people in California city. One of the main reasons a lot of comics now are selling so poorly is they abandoned the metaphor and are just saying white men are the problem. And the people writing this stuff normally are whites men.

    I can explain it better using South Park

    When the creators of South Park wrote a broadway play they did an episode on South Park about plays. What ended up happening is every time a guy would go to a play with his wife in the car after she would give him an old fashion or something. When Randy found out that plays were laced with subtext and subliminal messages of women giving old fashions he decided to get in on the action and write his own play. The problem is he was so direct everyone could see what he was doing and all the writers of plays came at him like “wtf are you doing?” You’re ruining the subtext by just outright screaming what you want at the argument. Eventually Randy and Carl Reiner, I believe, have a bro down and come to a level of mutual respect. I think afterwards there is a ad for Matt and Treys play on Broadway in a not so subtle nod to go see their play because you might get a old fashion on the way home.

    I think this is important with X-men. If you actually do showcase stuff literal you’re probably going to alienate a large portion of your readership, white men.

  7. #7
    Fantastic Member gonnagiveittoya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranger View Post
    I can't think of a time where the stories were ever blatantly trying to stand in for anything specific, but people can either relate to stuff or not. If not having actual representation of certain minorities has not stopped people in the past, I don't know why it will stop now.
    A lot of the earliest stuff was very clearly meant to be a racial stand-in.The MLK/Malcom X comparisons for Xavier and Magneto for instance.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member cranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonnagiveittoya View Post
    A lot of the earliest stuff was very clearly meant to be a racial stand-in.The MLK/Malcom X comparisons for Xavier and Magneto for instance.
    Some things may have been inspiration for specific characters in a conflict of ideologies, but the mutants themselves were never enslaved, oppressed, segregated or denied rights as far the comics showed. The MLK/Malcom X dynamic is not unique it was just in the minds of people at the time.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Hizashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gripstir View Post
    That’s what a metaphor is. The problem with wanting literal stories is you get literal stories through this select group of richer people in California city. One of the main reasons a lot of comics now are selling so poorly is they abandoned the metaphor and are just saying white men are the problem. And the people writing this stuff normally are whites men.

    I think this is important with X-men. If you actually do showcase stuff literal you’re probably going to alienate a large portion of your readership, white men.
    I'm sorry, but what are you trying to say?
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  10. #10
    Astonishing Member Hizashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonnagiveittoya View Post
    A lot of the earliest stuff was very clearly meant to be a racial stand-in.The MLK/Malcom X comparisons for Xavier and Magneto for instance.
    Maybe so, but bottle-necking the X-Men into this single interpretation doesn't help them.
    Does it need doing?
    Yes.
    Then it will be done.

  11. #11
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    I personally don't think the X-men have been a particularly good/effective allegory since the Claremont days. (No, I do not think the legacy virus days were really a good way of conveying the aids crisis)

  12. #12
    Fantastic Member Captain Buttocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyblob View Post
    I was giving this a lot of thought. I understand how everyone says that the Xmen are metaphors for discrimination because you can lump them into any group. You are Black? The Xmen speak to you. You are gay the Xmen speak to you.

    But my question is does it take away from the metaphor or does the metaphor not hold up as well when pretty much every major Xmen character is white?

    I am not up on the last ten years or so of Xmen so Maybe this has changed. When I hear people talk about black characters in the X world it is always Bishop or Storm. Gay characters? Northstar who is not a major character and Ice Man.

    So like I ask does the metaphor still hold up today?

    If I am wrong on this please tell me who some of the other major characters are that are POC or Gay.
    This is the kind of question that can cause a thread to descend very quickly, but I think you have to bear in mind that from the 60's to the 90's it was considered "not the done thing" to have a gay character on a team (there's a letter printed in *i think* Uncanny 297 from a reader disgusted that Xavier mentioned homosexuals in his opening speech to X-Cutioner's Song) and Marvel buried Northstar following his initial "coming out" in issue 106 of Alpha Flight. Remember Claremont wasn't allowed to explicitly state that Mystique and Destiny were lovers.

    That means it's mostly "newer" characters (the vast majority of whom, whether gay, straight, bi etc will never reach the A-list tier belonging to characters from the 60s and 70s because the X-Men just isn't the powerhouse it once was) who are more representative or cases like Iceman or Kitty having changes made to their sexual preferences which annoys all sorts of *charming* gatekeepers who have the letter from 297 framed on their wall.

  13. #13
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranger View Post
    Some things may have been inspiration for specific characters in a conflict of ideologies, but the mutants themselves were never enslaved, oppressed, segregated or denied rights as far the comics showed. The MLK/Malcom X dynamic is not unique it was just in the minds of people at the time.
    I would rebut that Genosha was a case where the mutant population was explicitly enslaved for the benefit of the human population. As for the rest, while many mutants could pass for ordinary humans and simply not use their powers in public, that wasn't an option for all mutants, many of whom also had more physical manifestations of their mutant identities. Not to mention, those who were known as mutants did face fear and alienation from society in general, as well as systemic efforts by government(-affiliated) organizations and institutions to preemptively curb the "mutant threat" via mass registration and subsequently imprisonment of mutants, which even segued later into outright genocide, as was the case all too often for such efforts in real life.
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  14. #14
    Incredible Member Kingdom X's Avatar
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    Yeah I definitely think the metaphor is increasingly losing its weight as other comics are able to tackle topics of discrimination in a more authentic way.

    I think the main solution is to mix up teams so that they're more diverse. The lineup for the new SWORD book seems to be doing a good job of this.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member cranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    I would rebut that Genosha was a case where the mutant population was explicitly enslaved for the benefit of the human population. As for the rest, while many mutants could pass for ordinary humans and simply not use their powers in public, that wasn't an option for all mutants, many of whom also had more physical manifestations of their mutant identities. Not to mention, those who were known as mutants did face fear and alienation from society in general, as well as systemic efforts by government(-affiliated) organizations and institutions to preemptively curb the "mutant threat" via mass registration and subsequently imprisonment of mutants, which even segued later into outright genocide, as was the case all too often for such efforts in real life.
    Sorry, not to dismiss this as these are examples of later inspirations, I just meant in the Stan Lee era.

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