A Twitter User Pointed Out That X-Men Is An Allegory For the Hate and Violence Minorities Experience In Our Society
With the wrap-up of Comic-Con 2019, we’ve still got comics and all things fandom on our minds. We’re, of course, big fans of comic giant Marvel. The company has long been the innovator in its industry and artists like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Sana Amanat, and Scott Lobdell have created art and stories that push their narratives towards real-life issues. Racism, sexism, ableism and general bigotry have been addressed in the pages of their comics. They’ve made readers stop and look at the similarities between these fictional worlds and our real one.
“The X-Men,” especially, is one title that explores these concepts. At its core, “X-Men” is about taking the outcasts of society and making them superheroes via what makes them different. Still, despite their roles as heroes, the mutants of X-Men are seen as dangerous outsiders who need to hide who they are or risk being targeted by radicalized and violent bigots. Sound familiar?
This Twitter user noticed the similarities in themes between old “X-Men” cartoons from 25 years ago and our current society.
Twitter user Tye Wang noticed these signs while watching “X-men: The Animated Series.” They read “Go Home!” and “Mutant Go Back To Where You Came From.” He pointed out that the observations from the cartoon — especially concerning race relations — reflect our current world.
Wang shared the dialogue that went along with the images:
“The assassin was Gambit, but ALL mutants get blamed. People are afraid, they want action, they want to protect, they want revenge.”
The scene goes on to discuss mutant laws being passed to “protect” non-mutants from “dangerous and criminal mutants.” It’s clearly an allegory for how society reacts to both migrants looking for sanctuary in our country and those who have immigrated here legally and have become citizens.
We’ve recently seen this racist trope used by the American president.
On July 14, 2019, Donald Trump went on a racially charged Twitter rant aimed at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow congresswomen. In the rant, the president asked of the women, “Why don’t they go back.” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Tlaib, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Omar are all women of color and are American citizens. However, since they have been vocal on many social issues that they hope to see changed, the president attacked the group — quickly latching on to a phrase that racists have long used against Black and Brown people.
During the major immigration period of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, America had open borders.
In this time, migrants came from Europe in mass quantities. The president’s own mother and father are members of this major immigration. Some of these migrants were persecuted for their mother country. Some received the same threats that today’s migrants face.
However, the focus for racist hate soon turned towards Latinx people, Black people and other brown members of society. Despite their own exodus, white Americans told Black and brown folks to go back home. Never mind that the border crossed over into native land. Never mind that Black people were brought over in chains. It was just another excuse to accuse “outsiders” for the world’s problems.
These issues are the same ones that members of the X-Men faced in their adventures.
It wasn’t just fighting Magneto and the Evil Brotherhood of Mutants. The X-Men also took on societal issues. Creator Stan Lee imagined the mutants to be a stand-in for minorities so it was natural that the heroes faced issues that marginalized groups experience.
Raised in Harlem and Cairo, weather-themed superhero, Storm, experienced the intersections of social injustice as a Black mutant woman. She faced prejudice from those who saw her as a dangerous mutant as well as those who saw her as someone who didn’t belong in America.
She also faced discrimination as a woman. The topic of wage equality came into the original ’70s and ’80s run of “The X-Men.” Forty or so years later and wage equality between the sexes and the races continues to be an issue; proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The hate that we see in today’s anti-immigrant mentality is the same that the X-men experienced back in their origins.
During the original run of “X-Men: The Animated Series,” the mutant Jubilee faced an unfortunately familiar sentiment. While trapped by anti-mutant extremists, the hero asked, “Why do you hate us? What did we ever do to you?” The response she got was that she was hated for being born a mutant, something she has no control over.
This is the same hate that racists aim at Black and brown people. They are not judged by their character or their actions, but on the fact that they were born different. Whether born in a different place or born a different race, just like the bigots in “X-Men,” racists only care about what makes us different. Some things never change.
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