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Saturday, November 24, 2018

When gender equality leads to racism? #comics #blackcomicschat

Hey there. Check out these two pictures one of my new artists just made of Natasha, my thunder-powered superhero:

I love what a good artist he is, but because the first thing I noticed about Natasha 1 was boobs, I asked him to shrink the boobs a little. I wanted to emphasize, I said, that she was a teenager (and besides, she's athletic, I said). I was worried that my male artist was sexualizing my female character. This is supposed to be a space where female readers can see themselves without being "other"'d.

But when I saw Natasha 2, I noticed not only the boobs had changed, but the little ripples of fat on her belly, the thickness of her thighs, the angle of her shoulders...

Which is more sexualized, Natasha 2, or Natasha 1? Did I really "save" Natasha from sexualization, or did I just make her lose a bunch of weight? Which character looks "Blacker", if that is even a thing? Does one of them fit more closely to white superhero paradigms?  

My artist for Natasha is a Black guy who told me Natasha One was "the first thing that popped into my head" as he was reading. I remember sitting in the airport when a Black mother dropped off her teenage girl requesting that the child have a chaperone for the flight, for her safety. "She's not a child," the white airport lady said. "I mean, look at her." The lady said this because said teenage girl had size double D breasts. I think she may have actually mentioned the breasts out loud, which is maybe inappropriate. When she saw the child's ID card stating her age she begrudgingly acquiesced, but it's a fact that Black children are often "un-child-ed" due to their height, strong build, or development of secondary sexual characteristics. A twelve year old boy was shot because he looked old enough to be "thuggish" with his toy gun, after all.

So our unconscious stereotypes defining children and teenagers actually have real-life implications for real-life people. 

In my zeal for gender equality, was I racist?

Some of you will jump down my throat for caring about something so small and unintentional. Okay, let's go there. know that I'm not "intending" anything here but that doesn't matter. Results matter. I'll go so far as to make the controversial statement that the cops who shot the 12-year-old weren't "intending" racism either--they had a stereotype in their heads of what makes a child, and what makes a Black man, and they acted on it in the heat of the moment. I suspect they weren't evilly plotting to rid the world of Black people. I suspect that unconscious unintentional "innocent" racism KILLS! 

See, for a believer, "I'm not racist, I have Black friends" or "you can't be racist without intent" misses the point: it's not about me, and how I feel, but how my actions affect those I care about, unintended or not. If I'm all about the love of Christ, then I should care about how someone else feels, right? I don't need to justify myself because I've already been forgiven for my sins and justified by Christ--it doesn't matter whether or not I'm "guilty" of racism by some magical societal standard, but whether or not my actions harm my Black brothers and sisters. To put it another way, I don't need to defend myself: what I need is to fix my behavior because I love my people and don't want my actions to make them sad. So if my unconscious attitudes cause pain to my precious sisters, why not change them? Why fight that?

Controversial statement! The works-based theology that plagues our society is the primary reason white people keep arguing about racism instead of stopping to listen. If it's all about me working myself to heaven or Nirvana or whatever, and racism is bad, then by golly I need to defend myself because I'm trying, I'm working, "I'm not racist in my heart!" Don't judge me, please! But if we can't become "good people" on our own; if we need someone else to save us; then once someone saves us, we don't need excuses. We don't need to defend ourselves from "white guilt" because all guilt is gone--what is left is only to change our lives to love those that Christ loves. If those that Christ loves are complaining that our perceptions are hurting them, then we'll stop to listen! Society needs that. We need results not guilt--it's not about my white or mixed or Asian journey out of racism, but about what is happening to my Black family! Love drives action, while guilt drives inaction. Guilt is very me-focused, and despite all the SJW twitter rage it's not fixing anything. The grace of the Messiah Yeshua is the only thing that can permanently eliminate institutional racism.

In this case, I'm going to go with skinny Natasha (because she's also underrepresented in the media, because skinny girls are no less "Black," and because most importantly I'm not going to be an asshole to my artist who redrew this entire picture when I only asked for a breast reduction)--but I need to pay attention to my unconscious choices.

What do you think? Was I right or wrong? Judge me. Talk about your experiences. I'll listen.


  1. I agree that the breasts are too hypersexualized in the first one. But it would be nice to see different body types represented in superhero comics.

  2. I sincerely hope you find something better to occupy your time and thoughts with than Christianity.
    I understand that religion can be very helpful, but to idolate a member of another people against their will - fer Chris' sayk, he compared non-Jews to the swine that he would not throw his pearls to! - and to go on to commerate and even celebrate the horrible death that they died is not right.
    I understand that you didn't invent this stuff, and that it is just... very often, very deeply traumatising to grow up in Christian environments as a child... but please. Look for ways to pull yourself together that are more healthful, peaceful and kind.

    As to the boobs - it's your character, you thought her up, have her boobs your way and don't worry about asking your artist for a new drawing when it doesn't hold up to what you want for that character. Think of it like having clothes made and of the artist like a tailor, it is a bit like that.

    And yes, you made a good observation that the whole "preparing yourself for Heaven/Nirvana" thing is bunk and amounts to a wild goose chase, but e.g. there also are places that share effective teachings on Nirvana.