I apologize for not posting much lately. Between work, independent projects (that I’ll post more about when they’re closer to being finished), and recent events, I’ve been rather busy. Beyond that, so much has happened that when I tried writing last week about current issues, I didn’t know where to start.
I live in Baton Rouge. Last week, a man named Alton Sterling was killed by police here, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In the same country, a man named Philando Castille bled out in his car in front of his girlfriend and four year old daughter. Sandra Bland. Trayvon Martin. The list of African-American men, women, and children killed by police gets longer and longer everyday. Yesterday (Sunday the 10th), I marched to the Capitol building in Baton Rouge with many other angry, sad concerned citizens and activists. I had to leave early, and somehow managed to miss the officers in riot gear, tear gas, and mass arrests that occurred that same night.
I understand if you don’t want to read this. Much of nerd culture is seeking solace in Pokemon Go right now. I can’t fault them; the world sucks and I’ve retreated into We Bare Bears this past week. I understand if you want to skip this article and come when I talk about the Suicide Squad movie or something. But the thing is, I talk about Deep Shit sometimes. Sometimes Deep Shit must be discussed. This is one of those times.
There’s no nice way to say this:
If you care about Storm, Black Panther, Static Shock, the new Power Girl, the new Iron Man, Miles Morales, Kaldar/Aqualad, Cyborg, Bumblebee, or Lucius Fox, but you don’t care about the growing list of dead black people, you’re part of the problem.
If you read or watch anything created by the late great Dwayne McDuffie (or anything with it’s roots in Milestone), but ignore the current racial climate, you’re part of the problem.
If you think it’s unfair for Mutants or InHumans to be persecuted in Marvel Comics, but think that activists deserve to be tased, tear gased, arrested, and beaten for staging peaceful protests, you’re part of the problem.
If you love Luke Cage’s role as a father, but ignore the fact that Baton Rouge Police took Alton Sterling away from his five children, you’re part of the problem.
Nerd Culture is escapism. There isn’t anything wrong with that. Science Fiction and Fantasy exist because human beings want to believe, even for a few minutes, that the world is bigger, greater, and full of opportunities the real world lacks. But I’ll quote Albus Dumbledore here: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” JK Rowling meant this (probably) to mean don’t forget to pursue your dreams while you’re dreaming. I’m using it in a different context: distraction is fine, but do not let it blind you. The problem with being Woke all the time is it’s exhausting. Burn outs happen. Hopelessness sets in. Whatever it is that revives you, gets you going again, is good.
But Hera, give me strength, do SOMETHING. Find your cause, whatever it is. If you want to march for BLM, DO IT. Make a million signs and give them away. Call your local elected officials. Write, read, be an ally, and don’t derail the conversation.
I was talking to a friend who couldn’t make it to this past weekend’s rallies. She felt like she wasn’t doing enough. That’s poppycock. You can’t do everything, not without going crazy. Heck, I blog about Feminism in Comics, go to marches/rallies/protests when I came, and in a year long service program and I feel like I can do more. If you can’t do something now with your cause, do it later. Just do it.
Remember when you go to vote for Trump, that Captain America and Ms. Marvel are the children of immigrants. The two newest Green Lanterns are a Hispanic woman and Lebanese Muslim. Your heroes are immigrants, black, brown, an array of different religions, genders, and sexualities.
If you accept them when they are fictional characters pre-packaged in small, digestible bites, but not when they are real, complicated, oppressed, marginalized individuals, guess what? You’re part of the problem.
-If you say “All Lives Matter”, stop.