Posted by: Garret | April 20, 2010

The White-washing Retcon of DC!

Wow, found this dynamite article on how DC’s slew of reboots are subverting the polyracial status quo!

FYI, each of the names "not belonging" (listed above) are of non-white ethnicities

“It’s been a running gag among my friends that in comics, only white Americans ever find meteors, get splashed with chemicals or get visited by spacemen, everyone else (from Jack O’Lantern to Black Bison to the Gaucho to Apache Chief to Samurai and so on) has to have a power that relates to their race or their country — specifically, the broad stereotypes drawn from white Americans’ perception of their race or country. It’s almost inescapable, and it reinforces the idea that non-white characters are defined solely by their ethnic differences.”

This story, or at the least the story behind DC’s editorial decisions, are beginning to BLOW UP big time in the comics press. Here is the latest on the White-wash epidemic: Legacy Incest?!

EXCELLENT discourse unfolding revolving around the RACE discussion in superhero comics today!



  1. Wow!! They’re calling it “The New Apartheid”?!? Holy RetCon racism!!!

    And to this we can add THIS little fanboy revisionism to the classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow panel. Good opportunities for discussing the invisibility of “White Privilege.”

  2. Dang, the fanboys are LIT UP over accusations of racism, taking this charge as a personal attack rather than a structural and systemic critique of how race is naturalized and institutionalized within our culture (an earlier class discussion). Others, like my smarter comic buddies, insist this “Minorities in Refrigerators” list is cherry-picking data from D-list characters to support a “trend” argument. While this rebuttal may be true for comics generally, I’m not so sure its true for superhero comics specifically.

    It’d be easier to prove EXCEPTIONS to the comics superhero rule (and I’m sure there are some) because this ain’t about intent, but rather a structural and systematic problem of ‘natural’ superhero Whiteness (e.g. ideological hegemony of “White privilege“). Minorities represented in comics are as a rule 1) sidekicks or subordinates but rarely superheroes; 2) often narrative fodder for the White Savior narrative; 3) often represented as white-washed tokens or racialized stereotypes; and 4) frequently get marginalized as not-quite-superheroic brutes, sell-outs, victims, or untrustworthy and uncertain local (ghetto) heroes whose ‘dangerous’ powers derive from their ethnicity. The troubling history of Luke Cage and Black Lightning spring to mind as examples.

    I’ve left out the obvious, that comics creators and industry professionals are overwhelmingly white and male, because these problems of racial representation are less about the *person* than the cultural structures and institutional practices that “naturalize” White ideological supremacy… and THAT privilege is what makes everyone uneasy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: