“Before you are a race or religion, you are a human being.” –KRS One
In the 21st century, people of color are still fighting for their humanity and civil rights. In America, “the country of the free,” Black communities have to constantly challenge the idea of freedom without compromise. The Ferguson riots, Baltimore riots, and the Million Man March (Justice Or Else) movements are a representation of the people refusing to be invisible. The forces that contest their opposition for freedom and equality strengthen our culture. In spite of threats and attacks with tanks, K-9 dogs, water hoses and tear gas, the oppressed still stands for justice.
This sort of heroism displayed by the opposed, is conveyed though the iconic superheroes in American comic books. A unique characteristic about comic book superheroes is that they are able to live in the same time as their readers. This makes superheroes malleable to any era. From the start, superheroes spoke out against civil injustice and exercised their super-ability to make a difference. Superheroes in the 1960s, helped shape the reader’s identity and consciousness of reality. The imagery and context of comics push the status quo and represent rebelliousness.
Pop culture has made superheroes part of our everyday lives. Characters such as the X-Men are examples of the idea of Double Consciousness. Coined by W.E.B. Dubois, this concept is deeply rooted within the African American community and submits that Blacks are typically outcast and torn between who they are and what society wants them to be. In essence, this concept conveys anger, friction, and action. Superheroes in comic books display a full range of emotion, and just the same, it’s our right to express them as part of being human.