Things That Matter

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 / @tyewang

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.

Twitter / @nowthisnews

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.

Twitter / @SlimJim2123

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.

Twitter / @tertiarymap

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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Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

Things That Matter

Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

joebiden / Instagram

Florida’s Latino vote is a crucial part of a winning strategy in the Sunshine State. The demographic shifts in recent years because of natural, financial, and governmental disasters has led to a big Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida. President Trump’s handling of the Hurricane Maria recovery has left Puerto Ricans upset with the administration.

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are battling for Florida’s Latino voters.

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees are making concerted efforts to shore up Latino support in Florida. There are 3.1 million eligible Latino voters in the swing state and make up a crucial voting bloc. While a large number are conservative Cubans and Cuban-Americans, there are also other Latino communities representing different parts of Latin America.

The polling tells a story of two candidates locked in a heated race for the Latino vote in Florida.

Polls, like The Washington Post-ABC News poll, show Biden taking the lead with Latino voters in Florida. According to that poll, Biden is leading Trump 52 percent to 39 percent. However, Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote in Florida 62 percent to 35 percent in 2016. Clinton’s success with the Latino community of Florida shows that the Latino vote is not the only way to clinch the electoral college votes.

On the other hand, President Trump wants everyone to pay attention to one poll. President Trump is sharing a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News that shows him leading in Florida. According to the poll, Trump leads in Florida by 4 points.

The Latino community in southern Florida is being bombarded by a disinformation campaign.

The disinformation is aimed at Florida’s Latino voters and is peddling conspiracy theories against Biden. One of the most prominent examples of this disinformation was the racist and anti-Semitic insert published in a recent edition of the Miami Herald. The insert compared BLM protesters to Nazis but argued that Nazis were nicer since they didn’t steal anything.

Both candidates are pouring money into their campaign efforts in Florida. Both are spending time and money trying to court the Latino vote in an effort to win the key state.

Critics of the president are pointing to the sudden relief package to Puerto Rico is a grab for votes.

President Trump was harshly and fairly criticized after he didn’t respond to the natural disaster in Puerto Rico. The 2017 hurricane devastated the island and left millions without power for weeks. One of the most memorable moments of that time was President Trump throwing paper towels to Puerto Ricans recovering from the disaster.

President Trump, during an election, approved $13 billion in relief funds for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican voters have not forgotten the three years it took for the president to approve relief funds to help rebuild the island after a devastating storm.

READ: The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Things That Matter

Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Ever notice how on some social platforms like Twitter or Instagram that you yourself are mysteriously unable to crop your display images on your own? That’s because Twitter prefers to let their algorithms make the decision. Over the weekend users on Twitter discovered the surprising dangers of letting algorithms crop your own images.

Education tech researcher Colin Madland drew attention to the issue while speaking out about how the video-calling program Zoom, often crops the head out of his black person coworker while on calls.

It didn’t take long for Madland and other users to discover that Twitter’s AIs use discriminatory equations to prioritize certain faces as well. In short, the social platform’s AIs prefer white faces over Black ones.

In response to the discoveries, a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged that the company was looking into the issue “Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’re looking into this and will continue to share what we learn and what actions we take,” they stated.

Of course, Madland’s discovery is nothing new. In 2019, test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that some of the strongest algorithms online were much more likely to confuse the faces of Black women than those of white women, or Black or white men. “The NIST test challenged algorithms to verify that two photos showed the same face, similar to how a border agent would check passports,” Wired points out. “At sensitivity settings where Idemia’s algorithms falsely matched different white women’s faces at a rate of one in 10,000, it falsely matched black women’s faces about once in 1,000—10 times more frequently. A one in 10,000 false match rate is often used to evaluate facial recognition systems.”

Still, it didn’t take long for users on the platform to ask what other physical preferences Twitter has.

Turns out the AIs prefer Ted Cruz with large anime breasts over a normal-looking Ted Cruz.

(To better understand this Tweet, click the link above)

The user who tested the image of Cruz, found that Twitter’s algorithm on the back end selected what part of the picture it would showcase in the preview and ultimately chose both images of Cruz with a large anime chest.

It’s nothing new that Twitter has its massive problems.

For a platform that so controls and oversees so much of what we consume and how we now operate, it’s scary to know how Twitter chooses to display people with different skin tones. The round of jokes and Twitter experiments by users has only revived concerns on how “learning” computer algorithms fuel real-world biases like racism and sexism.

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