I was reading an article about diversity in television today. It was trying to illuminate how television networks work with the verisimilitude of diversity rather than display a true diverse cast. The article spoke of how diversity on television is now a multi-color display of post-racial America rather than a true embodiment of the racially charged world that we still live in.
Modern television, and seemingly everything else, works on a box check system for most shows. If you have a black character, check off the diversity box; if you have a gay character, check off the diversity box; if you have a Hispanic character, check off the diversity box. This loud disclaim of, “We’re diverse! Don’t you see?!”, is the sort of petty acceptance that I believe is still a cause of racism today. If every character, of every background, acts exactly alike than how is that truly acceptance?
I grew up in a diverse, but moderately wealthy, city in New York and even though everyone had more money than not people were still different. Even though Blacks and Whites and Indians and Islanders and Mets fans and Yankee fans and everyone else had seen each other for their entire lives, there was still division. People may not have been pitching slurs at one another, but they still existed inside of groups of people that they identified most with. There are different histories to every group of people, and inside of a post-racial America (which doesn’t currently exist), the histories would permeate the friendships.
My closest friend is the daughter of a Jamaican Immigrant and that comes up in our conversations quite often. She grew up differently than I did because of that. Her mother had different traditions than my white jewish parents did, and that made her slightly different than I. She calls me up, a few days a month, to tell me of the racism that she has adjusted herself to endure. She doesn’t glide through her life with a blind eye towards racism, either. She doesn’t accept it. She has learned to live without anger, in spite of the world that is telling her that racism doesn’t exist anymore. That, to me, is the biggest injustice towards equality. The most vicious injustice is the portrayal of the world without the electric racism that still exists in most people’s lives. It is real, and to deny that is venomous. To tell the victim’s of injustice that what they experience doesn’t exist makes for a world of division, not of unity.
In my comic book, the character’s issues and pertinent to who they are and where they come from. If there is something to be said for the endurance of injustice, it is that people overcome it. This is a world that is charged with so many different particles, it is scary to think that so many of us exist inside of it, but we do. People get on with their lives, and that is the message that I want to portray. Life is shit, but the heroes that we look up to should be the ones who see the shit and move past it.