when I started this film alphabet thing it hadn’t occurred to me that I don’t know of any films (that I’ve seen and enjoyed) that start with the letter q… suggestions please?
Okay, so don’t get me wrong this message is very important and representation is good for everyone, but this particular situation is poorly done. The kid actually says “I’m okay”. This is from the pilot of Agents of Shield, a Marvel tv show and to be honest, a Marvel tv show where the kid is looking at a bunch of Marvel figurines is not the best place to try and start this discussion.
Marvel is one of the few media outlets that treats race extremely well, featuring many black, coloured, minority and ethnic characters from all over the world and not just as “token coloured character”s, but as actual people. Storm and Bishop from X-men, Luke Cage from the Avengers, Alex Wilder from the Runaways, Black Pather, Blade, Brother Voodoo, these are but a fraction of Marvels coloured population, just the characters that I happen to know and love. Marvel even racebent one of their characters, Nick Fury, in their Ultimates series. He was originally white. They then carried that over into their movies so that the most symbolic and well recognised image of Nick Fury is that of a strong, influential, successful black man. They even address the stigma of inter-race relationships and mixed race children in the family of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Marvel doesn’t point out their race, doesn’t use them for black jokes in the manner of a fat character only being featured so that people can laugh at them not being able to run up the stairs. It treats them the way they should be treated - like people, like the superheroes that many of them are, with just as much a right to that title as anyone. And it’s not just black characters - Sooraya Qadir was an X-men character during the M-day storyline. She is a muslim and wears a burqua. She is a strong character who keeps her powers and proves herself skilled enough to make the new young x-men team, formed to combat William Stryker. She isn’t a terrorist, a weirdo or a joke. She isn’t even a villain. She is a hero, because Marvel is one of the few places in the media where the colour of your skin or the technicalities of your culture don’t impact your success or failure as a superhero, or your treatment as a character.
So once again, yes, race representation is important, is vital, and not just to the people that would be represented. It’s important for children to see people of every race and to grow with an understanding that different doesn’t mean less or more. Disney didn’t create Tiana so that little black girls could finally have a favourite princess. They probably already had favourite princesses. They created her because having a story worth telling doesn’t depend on being not black. Everyone has a story. When I was little my favourite character was Mulan. I am very very Irish. I have not got a chinese bone in my body. I didn’t love and idolize her being she looked like me, or came from the same place as me or shared my heritage. I loved her because she was strong and brave, and those were traits that I longed for and valued. That’s why we need race representation. Because every culture has strength and passion and beauty and everyone should be able to see it. There are many people in the media that have yet to see that but I don’t personally think that Marvel, the origin of this particular clip, is one of them. in fact, I think they’re on the right track.