Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Where are the "colored" superheroes?

Where are the “colored” superheroes?

I recently saw the movie “The Avengers” and very much enjoyed watching it. The special effects, the sound, the plot of the story all captured my attention and I was quite amused and amazed at the action. When I finished watching the movie, though, I felt something was missing. In all the heroic characters showcased in the movie, not one superhero was colored.

Do not get me wrong. I did not dislike the characters or who played them and how they were played. In fact, the acting was good. I very much enjoyed how Scarlet Johansen kicked butt in the movie, and I am in love with Thor, so mighty, strong, and handsome. However, I could not help but to notice that the only colored person in the cast was Samuel L. Jackson. Granted that Samuel L. Jackson had a big role in the movie and in the story, he was no superhero. All the superheroes, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk (prior to his “hulk” state, after which he turns green), all of them are Caucasian. Even the assassins and the astrophysics genius were White.

The notion of having a full cast of White superheroes is thought-provoking for me for more than one reason. Fundamentally, the notion that “whiter is better” is still being sold to us in every walk of the way. I also saw the movie “Mirror Mirror” last weekend and noticed the same reality: all characters of the movie were White. It seems as if though heroism equals superiority, thus played by White characters. And not only the characters are White; they are blond or blond-ish, blue eyed, and appear to be of pure White descent. The world is always saved by the White gods and superheroes that fight against evil and bring justice and peace to us all, mere mortals.

When looking at the literature or the media, I cannot recall any “colored” superhero. There is no Black immortal being that saves the day for all of us. I don’t know of any Asian demigod that is capable of shooting fire and fight demonic creatures. I have not seen a Latino superhero with powers capable of stopping bullets and trains and fighting the elements.  Besides Halle Berry in The X-Men (she was also Catwoman in Batman), I cannot remember any mulatto or mixed mutant trying to save the earth. My point is that it always seems as if though we are sold, promoted, enforced, instilled the notion that “white is better”, in spite of the fact that “whiteness” does not represent the whole totality of the ethnic landscape of our country.

Why isn’t there a “colored” superhero? I don’t know. Maybe, instead of a White guy turning green, and therefore acquiring superhero after doing so, we can experiment with a White guy turning Black, powerful, and almighty for a change.

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