Beyond “Equal Representation”: Some Thoughts on Racebending Villains of Color in White-Dominated Sci-fi and Comic Book Films

All about media criticism today.

Muslim Reverie

startrek1SPOILERS AHEAD: Don’t read further if you plan on seeing “Iron Man 3” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”

I remember when “Batman Begins” was in development, I felt uncomfortable learning that Ra’s Al-Ghul, an Arab villain from the Batman mythology, was set to be the antagonist. The idea of an iconic American superhero battling an Arab terrorist sounded like a perfect set-up to propagate America’s so-called “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pitting Batman against an Arab enemy during a time when real-life Arabs and Muslims are increasingly regarded as “threats against western civilization” didn’t seem like a coincidence to me at the time, nor does it now (I’m not going to delve into the disturbing fascist, capitalist, and pro-police state politics in “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” but there have been many excellent critiques which you can read here, here, and here).

When audiences discovered Liam…

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Hunger Games and the Limits of White Imagination | Olivia Cole

Hunger Games and the Limits of White Imagination | Olivia Cole.

Smart piece on media representations of white and non-white people.

Considering our role as authors (makers of media), Suzanne Collins’s interest in racial ambiguity of her characters (including Katniss) forces us all to think about typecasting and the racial overtones of our work, especially in narrative writing.

Afrofuturism in speculative fiction offers a lot of creative outlets for dealing with race in the contemporary (and future) world.

The School-to-Prison Pipeline – EBONY

Nice to see coverage of this in any mainstream magazine.

Interesting allusion to high-school buddy comedies from the 1990s and the slow (but steady) employment of police officers in public schools.

This all speaks to the criminalization of anti-authoritarian behavior, not to mention media depictions of non-white youth and the influence of stereotypes in institutional settings.

Thanks, Ebony.

The School-to-Prison Pipeline Is Targeting Your Child – News & Views – EBONY.

“50 Books” – Flavorwire

50 Books That Define the Past Five Years in Literature – Flavorwire.

Another interesting list from Flavorwire on literature. This one includes my writer-crush Kate Zambreno’s Heroines and Sheila Heti’s How Should A Person Be? (which I obsessively gobbled up in two days, but everyone in the universe still loves to hate), so I forgive some of their weirder inclusions.

Can we just get over Jonathan Franzen already?

Can we appreciate for a minute how many of these texts are multi-genre creative biographies?