Superheroes of Color: Why Does it Matter?

Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, 28, on 2/26/12

As you probably know, the treatment of minority characters in comics is very important to me. But why? Why should superheroes of color matter in a post-racial society?

Simply put, it matters because we’re not a post-racial society.

On Feb. 26, 2012, a 17-year-old young man named Trayvon Martin was shot to death by George Zimmerman, 28. Martin’s only crime was walking home from the store with a pack of Skittles while black.

Oscar Grant III, 22, was shot to death by officer Johannes Mehserle, 28, on 1/1/09

Martin’s execution occurred after Zimmerman (who has an arrest record which includes resisting an officer with violence, battery of a law enforcement officer, and domestic violence) called Martin a “fucking coon” while trying to chase him down. Zimmerman still has not been arrested.

On Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III, 22, was shot to death by Johannes Mehserle, a white transit officer. Grant was lying face down, unarmed, and cooperating with the police at the time of his public execution.

On Feb. 21, 2005, Howard Morgan (a black off-duty police office) was shot 28 times by four white police officers and then left for dead after a routine traffic stop. 21 of the 28 shots that riddled Morgan’s body were fired into his back. Miraculously, Morgan survived and now he has been convicted of attempted murder against the men who brutalized him. He is currently facing an 80 years prison sentence.

Howard Morgan, 61, an off-duty detective who was shot 28 times by white Chicago officers on 2/21/05 examines his wounds

This ridiculous verdict was reached despite a disturbing lack of evidence. Before a forensic investigation was held, Morgan’s van was crushed and destroyed by police without notice or cause. Furthermore, Morgan was never tested for gun residue to confirm if he even fired a weapon the night in question. And finally, the State failed to produce the bullet proof vest allegedly worn by the officer who claims that Morgan shot him directly in said bullet proof vest.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1/15/29 – 4/4/68)

44 years ago today, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and look how far we haven’t come.

Don’t tell me we’re post-racial.

People of color are still viewed as second-class citizens at best and default criminals at worst. That is why it is as important as ever for us to have superheroes of color.

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