On -isms: Go Read Brothers' Piece

By | Thursday, July 16, 2015 Leave a Comment
OK, so the comics internet went kablouie this week between Tom Brevoort's responding to a question about appropriating hip-hop imagery on their comics, and David Brothers' public response. Please read that here. I can't add anything to that.

David Brothers
For the sake of making this post longer than a single link, though, let me point out why I shouldn't add anything to that.

As you're no doubt aware, I'm a white guy. As such, I have thoughts and opinions on things that are largely influenced by the fact that I have lived with the priveleges of a white guy for the past 4+ decades. One of those privileges is that I don't get dismissed as readily as many people. Because of the color of my skin, people are going to assume that I have some measure of authority greater than someone whose a little darker. Even if the subject at hand is what it's like to be a person of color.

Go read Brothers' piece here.

That is insitutional racism. Regardless of whether you're doing intentionally or not, regardless of whether you even recognize you're doing it, the fact that you're giving more weight to my thoughts than someone else's based on the color of their skin is racism by definition. That's something we've all had so ingrained in our society that we often don't even realize that it's not "natural."

Go read Brothers' piece here.

This is something we've seen in other industries, too. In sports, there's the ongoing debate about mascots and team names that are offensive to (frequently) Native Americans. In music, Iggy Azalea (and others) have caught heat for lifting elements of hip-hop without seeming to even acknowledge their roots in Black culture. This isn't isolated to comics, and Brevoort's comments -- both his initial flippant one, and his longer follow-up -- are strikingly similar to what's been said in other industries when someone gets called out.

Go read Brothers' piece here.

Now I can echo Brothers' comments (I certainly share his sentiments) but using my voice effectively talks over or, at best, through his. Which is precisely what does NOT need to happen. Brothers' whole point is that we need to have more voices like his at the table. What white guys like me (i.e. the ones with a voice but not necessarily a seat at the publishing table) should be doing is amplifying his voice, not trying to talk on his behalf.

Go read Brothers' piece here.

It's not that I can't have an opinion or share my own thoughts, but what I express should be no means take precedence in part of the broader conversation. My job is to understand and appreciate others' perspectives and act as a conduit for those perspectives to people who are dismissive of them because they didn't come from a white man. I can say "Here's what I think of Brevoort's comments" but it's Brothers' response that really matters. It's Brothers' thoughts that should be absorbed and reflected upon. It's Brothers' personal experiences that are most relevant.

Go read Brothers' piece here.
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