View Single Post
Old 05-29-2013, 05:42 PM   #61
Professor of Power
DrCosmic's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: In the Moment
Posts: 5,603
Default Re: Race changes that wouldn't bother you

Originally Posted by Spider - Man View Post

Perhaps in your zeal to show how clever you are, you shouldn’t address one poster in a response to another. I don’t claim to know what you think. I have read what you have posted which has been about nothing but diversity in the context of race. I merely pointed out that if you truly value diversity, there is much more to it than race which your posts suggest is all you care about.
Okay. No more cleverness. You concluding that my staying on the topic of the thread suggests that's all I care about is not reasonable. Don't read into me being on topic.

So what IS the standard? And it is completely relevant. You and others seem to be of the opinion that making an all white cast less white and more black or Asian or Latino or whatever automatically makes something better. Worse, you claim that the best way to do this is to change the race of existing characters as opposed to adding new ones. You have tried to make a distinction between science and art. ‘Better’ is subjective as all art is. This is all about opinion of which each person has their own and there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ which I have been saying. The problem with those peoples’ opinions (changing white to black automatically makes things better) is when they try to pass them off as fact, as you do. The reason it is a problem is that the numbers don’t back it up. The ultimate (no pun intended) white to black change in the comic world has to be the new Ultimate Spider-Man. Black people finally got what they wanted: the greatest superhero in the world made into their own race. This was gonna be the proof they’d all been looking for to show that if all these heroes had just been created in the modern day, many more of the most popular heroes would be black or Latino or whatever and would be just as successful as their white incarnations. From what I understand the writing on the series is brilliant. So why has it not even reached the quarter mark and is already scheduled for cancellation? Why are sales so low?
I have specifically stated situations and reasons in which diversity, of any type, is counterproductive. I have not claimed that one way is better, but both are equal, you are the one who claims one is better than the other. And what Black people, exactly, wanted Spider-Man to be Black?

Funny you choose 1965 so you can exclude Panther, arguably the most popular black character. But Wolverine and the modern day X-Men came later and have had much greater success. The Punisher, likewise. Now as I said ‘success’ and ‘sustainability’ are subjective but if you compare apples to apples, it is clear that black heroes just don’t have the staying power of white ones. That isn’t a knock and it isn’t an opinion. It is a fact.
The X-Men franchise pre-dates 1965, and the Punisher has not supported hundreds of issues. So, the point stands. New characters are not on the level of *those* franchises, regardless of race. Certainly Black Panther has more staying power than, I dunno, Gravity. You are noting that the most popular white characters are more popular than the most popular black characters. That's true, you're using that observation to say that white characters tend to be more popular than black characters. This is not true. The most popular black characters are more popular than 90-99% of white characters. So there's no direct correlation between race and popularity.

What we do see is a direct correlation between time created and popularity. This not only explains the weak correlation between race and popularity, but also explains why the spottily written Luke Cage is more popular than the much better written Invincible.

Your words: On one hand, changing race is like changing the types of cars and buildings you see in the background. If you're updating a property to the modern era instead of the 60s, that includes removing the whitewash. On the other hand... adding diversity just makes things better overall in general.

It would be grammatically correct to replace ‘updating’ with ‘making improvements’ in the context of your sentence. The problem is that it then makes your whole point grammatically incorrect. You’re basically saying: ‘On one hand changing race is making an improvement but on the other hand diversity (changing race, by your definition) makes everything better. It would be the same as saying ‘On one hand it is great but on the other hand it is wonderful’. Doesn’t make a lot of sense.
I agree, that's not usually how 'on one hand' is used, but that's exactly how I meant it. It's generally good on both hands.

You never mentioned context. You made an absolute statement – a black dress is better than a white one. Again your logic is flawed. Diversity is subjective, specifically the amount of diversity. The diversity you support is to change the race of a white character to another (presumably your own). When you make another statement – diversity makes everything better – again, it is flawed in that you make it absolute. There can be innumerous changes made to a story that won’t conflict with it but in no way make it better and in fact make it worse (having the FF wear pink uniforms for instance).
I don't often mention context. I generally hope that the reader will take my statements as though it's part of a series of posts. If I say "you have telepathy," that's an absolute statement, but to take it as a belief in super powers, which is what it would be outside of the context of this conversation, instead of commentary on presumptuousness would be an incorrect reading. I expect everyone to do the same for all my statements, but you're free to interpret them as you think best.

Again, I do not make it absolute, and no, changing everything to be another color cannot be diversity if they're still all the same color.

And again, all of the diverse changes I mentioned would fit into that ‘real world’ scenario you claim you so desire yet don’t voice support for.
And again, the real world isn't completely composed of severe handicaps as your FF proposal is.

And as I said, making the FF’s unis pink would not make ANYTHING better.
What does that have to do with diversity or story? You're still equating diversity for story purposes with random changes for no reason.

And EVERYONE has to be handicapped to warrant including that demographic? Not ‘everyone’ is black. Or white. Why does this one segment of society require 100% compliance to justify inclusion?
You weren't talking about inclusion, you were talking about exclusion of others, about 100% of the main characters, so yes, a segment of society would need to be nearly everyone, unless the story is about that segment of society.

These are your words from another thread about changing race of the Human Torch: While nearly 40% of people in America are not white. Only 10-20% of superheroes are not white, and the disparity gets even larger when you consider white characters are figured much more prominently and often and respectfully than minority characters. So if I apply the principle of Representation to comics, then changing white characters to blacks supports Representation but changing black characters to white does not.

See how you use numbers? These are statistics. That makes it science, not art. When you start throwing numbers around, you are no longer talking aesthetics no matter how deluded you are that you think so. YOU are the one who brought ‘population samples’ to the discussion of race and diversity. I merely made the numbers more specific using available demographic data. So if it is a slippery slope, it began with your comments, not mine.
Wow, that was a discussion with you, and you're back to finish it!? Okay. I was responding directly to your comment about it being a double standard. I said:

Originally Posted by DrCosmic View Post
The principle many people apply to superheroes is "Representation." They feel that...
And then I went to describe in detail my perceptions of the viewpoints of others, with the expressed and repeatedly stated purpose of contradicting the idea that it is a double standard. It has little to do with what I feel is or is not acceptable.

So you now have the ability to know what ‘all the people making these films’ are thinking? Are YOU a mind reader? And again you correlate ‘updating’ with ‘changing race’ which you say is the same as ‘diversity’.
I have the ability to see what they've done, as we all do, which indicates what they "seem to think" - those were my words. Updating can include changing race which can bring diversity. There's clear demonstrated correlation.

See above about who started the ‘fallacy’ of basing racial diversity on population samples. So funny how if someone keeps you yammering long enough you wind up talking yourself into a corner. And yes, it is silly to try and make comics represent race statistically analogous to reality. You should never have attempted to claim legitimacy for it in the first place.
That also didn't happen. I did not suggest matching character populations to population samples, and the fallacy is the bridge, which I explained in detail to you. It sounds as though you may not have read all of it, if you are not aware of this and describe my counterpoints as 'yammering.'

I never warned about the danger of anything. If I did, please quote me. Your motivation for using racial diversity is clear: your favorite hero is white, you are not (your words) so you WANT to see the races of white characters changed to satisfy your own desires. There is nothing wrong with that. The problem is you’re not content with it just being about what you personally want. You have to somehow try and justify why doing so is actually ‘right’ when right or wrong don’t even apply. And again, using ‘overrepresented’ is based on numbers. If we’re not using racial diversity based on population samples, what exactly are you basing the terms ‘over-‘ and ‘under-represented’ on? I would argue that not having any member of the FF be black did not hurt sales one bit and that changing the race of one would not help sales in the long run.
"As I and many others have said repeatedly, if anyone wants diversity, create more characters."
"So let them do what they will and let the results speak for themselves."

That's a warning where I come from. If I said that I want the races changed, please quote me. I also was clear on the relation between diversity and story and sales is not a direct or instantaneous one. Over- and under- represented are based on population samples, but that's still not the same as setting a quota for population, neither does it create any of the other fallacious links that you suggested.

When I was a kid, Jimmie Walker was the coolest cat around. All my friends used to do the strut and say “Dyno-mite!” Michael Jordan is one of my heroes. But never once did I ever think “I just wish one of them was white so I could relate to them more” or “Man, if JJ was white and adopted into the family, it would sure make the story more interesting!”
That actually would have made the story more interesting, but that's not the story they wanted to tell. Also, relatability is an entirely separate discussion.

I didn’t say you were a hypocrite for not agreeing with me. I said you are a hypocrite for throwing around the term diversity in such a broad manner but then only pigeon-holing it specifically to race to suit your own desires while denying the legitimacy of other minorities’ desires to be represented based on the same argument.
I keep disproving this pigeonholing thing over and over again. Then you suggest changing everything else to something different, something that conflicts with the story, and you call that diversity, and because I do not support this change which is not diversity, you call me a hypocrite. So you're right, it's not based on simple disagreement. It's much deeper than that, but still, demonstrably false.

Physically superior is subjective. Superman is physically superior to Spider-Man in strength. A friend of mine lost both legs in Iraq, got a set of Cheetah running legs and has won many competitions against men who still had both their legs. I don’t know you but would bet a week’s pay he could beat you in a race so in that context he is physically superior to you. But you using the distinction ‘physically superior’ as a definition to deny that anyone who is physically handicapped could be physically superior is insulting. And yes, delusional.
I don't think anyone would question Superman's physical superiority. That aside, a delusion is a strong conviction held despite superior evidence to the contrary. You did not present such, and then in my last post, I noted how those with physical disabilities can be superior if they have powers (or prostheses) that make up for that handicap. So it can't be a delusion if it is let go in the face of superior evidence.

And as I said, I wasn't talking about capability, I was talking about story, the story of a handicapped person is not the story of a physically superior person, but someone overcoming their limitations to do things that they could not have done before. Now, as demonstrated by Daredevil, that idea is not mutually exclusive with that of a power fantasy. That said, some superhero stories don't really fit with the handicap subplot very well, Fantastic Four, outside of Ben, would be among them. Spider-Man, surprisingly, would.

There is no problem. It again all comes down to opinion. In mine, merely changing the race of an existing character does nothing to enhance a story. I do not think that if Stan Lee had somehow changed Johnny black in issue #27 of the FF, it would have done anything to improve to stories, the sales, anything. It might have made the small comic-reading portion of 11% of the American public happy.
So... there's no problem changing the race of a character. So black Johnny Storm is perfectly okay?

So funny you accuse me of thinking I’m telepathic while claiming to intuit what the filmmakers care about. And again, you are the one who brought up percentages of society as represented by race so yes, that would indicate that upping the number of minorities is tantamount to meeting some quota to you. As I said earlier, if you want to use terms like over- and under-represented, the numbers have to be based on something, not some esoteric fluff.
Hmmm... I guess you could take it that way, but the rest of my statements clarify why I used those percentages. And it still doesn't create the slippery slope, that you claimed was a logical consequence.

No, you take your opinion and try to express it as a moral truth, as a fact. I say that smacks of you feeling entitled, like expecting that companies SHOULD change some characters black is in fact simply the way it should be, that to do otherwise is wrong.
The only subjective thing I've suggested as truth is that diversity is a good thing. Certainly, as a principle, this is true. Biodiversity, division of labor, etc. Where have I said that not changing the race of characters is wrong? Quote me.

I’m not retracting anything. I never offered advice, only opinion. And I offered it AS opinion as opposed to you trying to do so as fact. You can take it anyway you want. I’m sure to take it other than you’ve implied would only serve to open your eyes to how biased your viewpoint is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just that you seem incapable of seeing it.
Originally Posted by Spider - Man View Post
As I and many others have said repeatedly, if anyone wants diversity, create more characters.
Anyone includes filmmakers.

WW TV Show Ideas - X-Men TV Show Ideas -
With a Ph.D in Metascience
"Sufficiently understood magic is indistinguishable from science."

Last edited by DrCosmic; 05-29-2013 at 05:53 PM.
DrCosmic is offline