Monday, July 28, 2008

MILESTONE: One Reason I'm So Happy

Let me make something clear: my primary reason for being happy that Milestone has returned is the pure selfish desire to enjoy those characters again.

But I have another reason.

You see, recently, a friend of mine was spending time with her god-daughter and, naturally, the child's mother (they're friends and all). The child is black and attends a predominately white school. One afternoon, she told her mom that she wanted to be white.

This caused a stir immediately with the parents. Now, when I was asked what I would do if I had a child say that to me, I said I wouldn't be so quick to jump to a negative conclusion. I've had kids tell me they wanted to be a dinosaur before, so I wouldn't panic right away and fear that the child felt inferior for not being white. But that is a legitimate concern in American society, I believe.

One of the reasons this can happen is due to the images kids see in the media. Popular entertainment is dominated by white faces in this country. I'm not saying there is some insidious motivation behind that occurrence, but it can have damaging effects.

Little girls want a doll? Dominated by Barbie.
Little girls want to be beautiful? Gotta look like Barbie or all the white ladies on all those magazine covers.
Want to be a star? Almost all the big celebrities are white.
Want to be a hero? Well, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and almost every popular hero that kids are introduced to at an early age? White.

I know there has to be more diversity these days than there was when I was a young 'un. But every time you see a white star playing what was supposed to be a black character (love that Angelina Jolie, she took a fictional black character (The Fox) AND a non-fictional black role (as the widow of Daniel Pearl)), you know that it isn't THAT much better.

And it doesn't necessarily change as someone grows up and realizes logically that no race is superior to the others. A good friend of mine never fully realized that he could be considered handsome until experiencing how his white step-mother felt about his black father. Seeing how his step-mother felt about his father was a real life-changing moment for him. Of course, now he has an ego the size of Texas, but you have to take the good with the bad when people have a break-through.

So, you know, if the return of the Milestone characters helps a few kids to dream a little bigger because they realize that you don't have to be white to do big things in life...I'm pretty fucking happy about that.

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