Somewhere, in and amongst the controversial topic of race, the stories became lost, or themselves hidden by the arguments, which is sad. Perhaps more sad is that the real stories — those about people from racial minorities dealing with everyday racism — became overshadowed.
Michelle Rodriguez weighed in on the subject of race with regards to superheroes, and in doing so contributed to an on-going discussion about race in fiction.
If you’re not familiar, then Idris Elba as a possible future James Bond, the hispanic Spider-Man, and the female Thor are prime examples of race — and also gender — becoming lost in a furore that needn’t be such.
As a disclaimer, I am not of a racial minority; being of Anglo-Saxon stock kind of greases the wheels of life for me, which I take great care to be aware of, to avoid that sense of entitlement, privilege, and of victimhood from creeping in, which is so prevalent in parts of Northern Europe.
No, we Caucasians are not under threat from a tidal wave of immigrants. If anything, we’re a danger to ourselves.
A few years ago, I would have known little of the on-going superhero-of-colour debate (I’m not much into DC or Marvel comics), but I did understand — or at least, was aware — that there weren’t many minority superheroes, and that even fewer of them were British.
So I wrote A Darkening of Fortune, a near-future sci-fi crime thriller, to address both of these issues. But more important was the need to address some of the aspects of what it means to be British and Asian — or at least as to the best of my own abilities, observations, and vicarious experiences.
Let’s imagine for a moment A Darkening or Fortune becomes a huge success and I receive an offer of a cinematic adaptation. If during those discussions the movie studio was to propose changing Yusef “Joe” Iqbal to a white Caucasian, there the discussion would come to a grinding halt. End of story.