Spider-Man vs. the Racism of the Politically Correct

Logo for Affirmative Action Comics on yellow spash background

When it was revealed that Marvel and Sony were teaming up to find a new Spider-Man, there was a lot of speculation about Miles Morales possibly taking over the mantle or a non-white actor being chosen as the new Peter Parker. We’ve since learned that neither of those things are happening, and talking to Newsarama recently, Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee revealed why that’s a decision he agrees with. “I wouldn’t mind, if Peter Parker had originally been black, a Latino, an Indian or anything else, that he stay that way,” Lee said about a possible race change. “But we originally made him white. I don’t see any reason to change that.” That’s a sentiment which has been echoed by fans of all races, but there’s still a pretty vocal minority who argue otherwise.

As for some recent “controversy” about Marvel once telling Sony that Spider-Man should not be portrayed as being homosexual unless that happens in the comics, the comic book creator added: “I think the world has a place for gay superheroes, certainly. But again, I don’t see any reason to change the sexual proclivities of a character once they’ve already been established. I have no problem with creating new, homosexual superheroes.” The conversation then returned to the possibility of changing Peter Parker’s race, and Lee once again echoed the thoughts of many fans when he stated the following. “It has nothing to do with being anti-gay, or anti-black, or anti-Latino, or anything like that. Latino characters should stay Latino. The Black Panther should certainly not be Swiss. I just see no reason to change that which has already been established when it’s so easy to add new characters. I say create new characters the way you want to.”

[Source: Newsarama via comicbookmovie.com]

Here’s the reaction of award-winning cartoonist Bosch Fawstin:

We’ve gone from Action Comics to Affirmative Action Comics.

Marvel Comics just announced that Peter Parker aka Spider-Man will mentor Miles Morales aka black/hispanic Spider-Man. I guess Marvel thinks Morales needs the kind of help Parker never had. How condescending of Morales’ white creator.

If you don’t know, when the Marvel Universe relaunches in a few months, Spider-Man will be black/hispanic. Hulk will be Asian. Thor’s a women, and Wolverine will be a woman as well. Captain America is black, and who knows which other established character will go from straight to gay, etc. (As DC [Comics] did with the Alan Scott version of Green Lantern) Not to mention Marvel’s “Muslim superhero” of Pakistani descent, Ms. Marvel, a character who has never and [never will] use her powers against jihadists who are allegedly “perverting” Islam. This is not organic, it’s a hardcore agenda being pushed here by self-loathing, guilty, condescending white guys and it’s now embarrassingly transparent, and even some comic book fans are expressing annoyance with it. Now, why doesn’t Marvel create new characters who happen to be black, female, gay, etc., instead of having them all adopt pre-existing, established superhero identities? Because Marvel clearly believes they wouldn’t make it in the marketplace without the identities of these “white heroes” they’re supplanting. How “white” of Marvel.

I could not agree more.

We live in truly disturbed times. It’s not that most people are as irrational as those trying to change the racial make-up or sexual orientation of already established characters. It’s that people bow their heads and are afraid to speak up against this idiocy, for fear of being called “racist.” It’s not only with comic books; it’s everywhere.

I grew up reading and loving Marvel Comics. I honestly didn’t notice or care what the race of the characters were. I never thought about it. The qualities that made them superheroes were irrelevant to race. Integrity, courage, values, justice — these are human qualities, not “black,” “white,” “Hispanic” or “Asian” qualities.

Yet anyone who opposes the idea of changing the race, sexual orientation or anything else about a particular superhero will be accused of being a racist, homophobe, or the like.

The creator of Spider-Man and other Marvel Comics characters, Stan Lee, is absolutely right. It’s perfectly fine to create new characters. If you feel that certain races or sexual orientations have been left out, then bring those into the mix. If previous characters have all been white, then it’s an opportunity to visualize and create new characters — presumably ones who will embody the same fundamental values and superhero traits of their white ancestors.

The kind of mentality who would change the racial make-up of an already established character is just as racist as the kind of mentality who would never want to see a black, or gay, or female superhero. How so? Because this sort of mentality is no different from the actual racist, who makes race the all-important or most important factor about a human being.

While it’s certainly true that a racist would not want Spider-Man to become black when he was previously white, isn’t it just as racist to demand that Peter Parker’s race change from white to black? Racism means fixating on race as the most important characteristic, when it’s irrelevant to the stature and character of a superhero.

Martin Luther King and civil rights leaders from the 1960s were supposedly fighting for a color blind society. Instead, we have turned into a color obsessed society. And to state that plainly will only get you labeled a racist by PC bullies who contribute nothing whatsoever to cultural development, aside from neurosis and psychopathology dressed up as sophistication.

Fawstin is absolutely right. It’s implicitly insulting to blacks, gays, and others — as a group — to insinuate that nobody would ever want to read about or watch a superhero who isn’t white and straight. These PC bullies think they have us. “Oh, so you don’t want to have a gay or black superhero? You homophobe! You racist!” But they’re the ones who don’t believe that other types of superheroes could make it on the marketplace. They’re the ones insisting that we utilize the previous success of a character who happened to be white to provide the new black, Asian or gay version of the character with status he hasn’t yet earned on his own.

It is affirmative action, applied to comics.

We don’t yet have a PC “Legion of Decency” Board to require, by political edict, that comic book creators and artists submit to this mindless dogma. The PC mini-fascists who do not dominate the general population, but who do dominate academia, government and the arts, think they can accomplish this through psychological intimidation. Unfortunately, that intimidation counts on its victims ignoring and evading the very contradiction in the demand itself. PC moralists who demand that Spider-Man now be a superhero of “color” have elevated race to the most important feature of humanity. This sounds like racism to me. It also sounds like anti-intellectual, creatively vapid no-talent flakiness.

Creatively and artistically, PC is guilty of parasitism of the crudest kind. Aside from insulting the very groups they claim to be elevating or helping, they demand changing the identifying characteristics of already existing characters. In the process, they alter the identity of the previous character and do nothing to imaginatively project a new one. They insult the old and the new. It’s a lose-lose.

Of course, if you really want to understand the motives of the people pushing these comic book superhero changes, consider their promotion of a Muslim superhero who’s either indifferent to, or perhaps even supportive of, radical and militant Islam (a religious ideology whose Sharia Law would most likely behead you merely for reading a comic book, by the way).

You would think that if the PC conceptualization of a superhero involved actual heroism, the creation of a Muslim superhero would be a great opportunity to show a good Muslim avenging the evil of the jihadists, whom (we’re repeatedly told) have nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. No such thing will happen. The howls and screams from the PC types would be even louder if you projected a superhero taking on the “religion of peace,” even if the superhero were him- or herself a “reformed” Muslim.

None of this is about race or justice. It’s about the destruction of values for its own sake. In philosophy, this is called nihilism. What bothers the PC types about Marvel superheroes is not their race; it’s their values. Indeed, it’s the fact that superheroes have values at all that PC mindsets cannot tolerate. That’s what they really want to destroy.


Note: Learn more about cartoonist Bosch Fawstin’s work here. His cartoon is reproduced above with his permission.

Be sure to “friend” Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael  Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1