Diverse representations of black people in media has nothing to do with “political correctness”. It has little to do with fairness, either. This is not a zero-sum game by which black gain equals white loss. What it concerns, most significantly, is the acceptance of this proposal that Black Lives Matter. That Black People Matter. Black representations are a matter of survival. Of casting us as fully-realized human beings with thoughts, feelings, dreams, aspirations, complexity, agency — against a backdrop that explicitly shows and tells us (everyone) that the opposite is true.
Sometimes it’s tucked away, hidden just beneath the tongue, or in the sly twist of the mouth…
Anti-blackness is so pervasive that I think media creators aren’t even aware of how they present it on a regular basis. That’s me giving them the benefit of the doubt, in spite of all the evidence that suggests it’s intentional.
The obvious reason for more diversity and inclusion in comics is to allow marginalized people to better identify with the characters. For white fans, whether they are willing to accept it or not, the white default actually makes characters less interesting. A bold claim, I know, but bear with me. Superheroes, I think, are more interesting for being more human, for having trauma, hardship, and conflict. To the great extent that white folks – particularly cisgendered heterosexual men – have privilege and power, it further insulates them against the kinds of scenarios that give birth to heroes.