Blatino Spiderman Backlash

Backlash To Black-Latino Spiderman Indicates We’re Not A Post-Racial Society

Yesterday, USA Today released a story that Marvel Comics Ultimate Spider-Man would take its web-slinging hero in a new direction. Although, Peter Parker has played the Spider-Man character since its creation decades ago – the revamping of the Marvel comic is to attract a new generation of comic book readers, in response to its static past. So, it wasn’t really that surprising that Marvel decided to kill the character off around two months ago.

Unlike the comics’ overwhelmingly Caucasian days of yore – when it came to passing on the infamous red and blue suit – Marvel decided to push the envelope. Instead of embodying the usual stereotype for superheroes, the decision was made to pass the torch to a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager named Miles Morales.

Brian Michael Bendis, the writer behind Parker’s death and Miles arrival told the newspaper that it was long overdue, even in the more ‘diverse’ Marvel universe.

“Even though there’s some amazing African-American and minority characters bouncing around in all the superhero universes, it’s still crazy lopsided,” Bendis admitted.

However, not everyone agrees with Bendis’ assessment, a quick glance through the comments of the USA Today article reveals that even if Marvel wants to be more contemporary that doesn’t give them the right to rewrite comic book history. Of course, it should be of no surprise that some white comic fans feel that iconic comic characters should be left unchallenged by today’s more political correct society – especially when it comes to a biracial teenager becoming the newest incarnation of one of their most beloved superheroes.

Over on the website Bleeding Cool, they decided to publish some of the more “enlightening” comments from the USA Today story in one of their Tuesday posts. The comments ranged from bashing the need to always be politically correct, to complaints over the comic books direction and the rage over the killing of the white Peter Parker so that Morales could replace him.

With several comic-based movies taking liberty when it comes to the race of their supportive characters (i.e. Nick Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson, Perry White being played by Laurence Fishburne), it is apparent that supporting roles are the only roles not susceptible to such a huge backlash. However, making the “minority” a main character is still seen as unacceptable.

As one commenter responded:

“Peter Parker could not be whiter. A black boy under the mask just don’t look right. This opens up a whole new story line with a whole new set of problems. Who is going to believe a black man in a mask is out for the good of man kind?”
So, a black man in a mask isn’t capable of helping out mankind? In a historical context, it wasn’t the black population using masks to strike fear and terrorize others in American society. How quickly that one caveat is forgotten.

Blatant ignorance aside, it is hard not to be offended by some of the reactions regarding Morales’ ethnicity. With the current demographics of New York being so diverse – it would make sense to have someone akin to Morales. It is about time that minority characters are given more precedence instead of being relinquished to the only role that seems deserving—the sidekick.

by Cynthia Wright

Blatino Spiderman Backlash

Birther Movement Redux: Obama as Undocumented Worker?

Procedural Guffaw Allows for Rehearing of Birther Movement Claims

The Supreme Court has confirmed that it has distributed a petition for rehearing in the case brought by attorney John Hemenway on behalf of retired Col. Gregory Hollister who challenged President Obama’s eligibility to serve as President. It will be the subject of a chamber conference on March 4.

In January the Supreme Court denied, without comment, a request for a hearing on the arguments. But the attorney at the time had submitted a motion for Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who were appointed by President Obama, to recuse themselves. The Supreme Court acknowledged the “motion for recusal” but it changed it on official docketing pages to a “request.” And it reportedly failed to respond to the motion. Hemenway’s request for a rehearing noted this alleged “procedural violation” by the Court.

In essence, the claim proposes that the court recognize that President Obama is an “undocumented” worker. The rehearing will likely go nowhere but will continue to fuel the racism that now requires even the President to occupy the space of the abject, the undocumented. Lázaro Lima

Birther Movement Redux: Obama as Undocumented Worker?

Microsoft Apologizes for Changing Black Man’s Race in Photo

Microsoft is apologizing for altering a photo on its Web site to change the race of one of the people shown in the picture.

A photo on the Seattle-based company’s U.S. Web site shows two men, one Asian and one black, and a white woman seated at a conference room table. But on the Web site of Microsoft’s Polish business unit, the black man’s head has been replaced with that of a white man. The color of his hand remains unchanged.

The photo editing sparked criticism online. Some bloggers said Poland’s ethnic homogeneity may have played a role in changing the photo.

“We are looking into the details of this situation,” Microsoft spokesperson Lou Gellos said in a statement Tuesday. “We apologize and are in the process of pulling down the image.”

Were they concentrating on producing a better product, perhaps the creative classes wouldn’t be running to Apple.

Microsoft Apologizes for Changing Black Man’s Race in Photo

L.A.’s Academia Semillas del Pueblo School Attacked by Radio Rants

Los Angeles Times, L.A. charter school sues radio station. Academia Semillas del Pueblo claims a talk-show host made slanderous remarks that led to security risks.

By Tami Abdollah and Howard Blume, Times Staff Writers
April 19, 2007

A year-long feud between a talk radio personality and an L.A. charter school is ending up in an unusual court case.

School administrators filed a lawsuit this week against KABC-AM (790) and Doug McIntyre, alleging the host of “McIntyre in the Morning” targeted the school in a slanderous, racially motivated campaign last summer that resulted in a bomb threat to the school and ongoing security risks.

Academia Semillas del Pueblo and Marcos Aguilar, the El Sereno school’s co-director, claim McIntyre “targeted the school for destruction because the children were Latino, the teachers were Latino, the principal director was Latino,” according to the suit.

About 92% of the school’s 327 students are Latino.

The school was founded in 2002 with the mission of “providing urban children of immigrant families an excellent education founded upon native and maternal languages, cultural values and global realities,” with teaching primarily in Spanish.

It became a focus of controversy last year when McIntyre accused the school of pursuing a racist, separatist and dangerously revolutionary agenda. The allegations were looked into by Los Angeles Unified School District officials. They found nothing politically worrisome, but they did have serious concerns about the school’s low test scores, which were a secondary focus for McIntyre.

The conflict between KABC and the school first made headlines last year.

Last June, a man tried to run down a KABC radio reporter who was outside the campus interviewing parents. The suspect was arrested on assault charges. School backers insist the incident had nothing to do with them.

KABC spokesman Steve Sheldon said the station would not comment on the lawsuit.

McIntyre has worked for KABC for about five years. His morning talk show, which is from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., has been on the air for roughly two years and is advertised as offering a “balanced look at the day’s hot topics with a healthy dose of humor that keeps listeners coming back for more.”

Talk radio hosts have long taken advantage of 1st Amendment free speech protections that give them broad latitude. The suit alleges, however, that McIntyre is guilty of civil rights violations for inciting others to harm the school and its students, as well as slander.

According to the court filing, McIntyre made a number of false statements, including: “His [Aguilar’s] job is to keep his school, his madrasa school, open so they can train the next generation of Aztec revolutionaries. Again, I want to make sure that we emphasize this: This school should close.”

The lawsuit also quotes McIntyre as allegedly saying: “Aztecs butchered and ate Spanish invaders. I wonder if they’re teaching that at ASDP.”

KABC would neither confirm nor deny whether McIntyre made those statements.

As a result of McIntyre’s comments, the school has had to hire security guards, adding tens of thousands of dollars to its operating costs, Aguilar said.

The lawsuit follows the firing of radio host Don Imus last week over a racist and sexist remark, which set off a large-scale debate over whether some talk-show hosts go too far.

“Shock jocks” are not new, said Marty Kaplan of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. “The more they could make your jaw drop … the more their ratings went up — it has since become a standard genre.”

L.A.’s Academia Semillas del Pueblo School Attacked by Radio Rants

Cuban Hip-Hop Slows to Crawl

(Photo CBS/AP)
Cuban hip hop music is past its peak, and is struggling to survive in a context where it lacks performance venues, receives only weak institutional support, and has to compete with more commercial music styles alien to the critical discourse that the movement has promoted since its origins. See Dalia Acosta’s IPS article here.

See Cuban Hip-Hop guru Nehanda Abiodun’s comments from an older AP piece here.

Cuban Hip-Hop Slows to Crawl

White Supremacist Group "Public Enemy No. 1" Joins the Aryan Brotherhood

In my own privileged academic setting I often have students tell me that, in their experience, discrimination and racial hatred are generally a thing of the past. My reaction usually begins with guarded relief about how lucky it is to meet a young person who hasn’t been wracked by racism. Then the sentiment often turns to anxiety about how privilege seems to protect those with the least to lose while scores of others are left to confront their experiences in isolation. When those whose experiences prove to them that race-based hatred is a fact of life and still manage to dodge enough bullets to finally arrive in privileged academic settings, the double-consciousness of the experience, the awareness of a lived reality not acknowledged (if not outright dismissed) in the academy, makes far too many retread unnecessary emotional loses.

Public Enemies

White Supremacist Group "Public Enemy No. 1" Joins the Aryan Brotherhood