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Race in Comics

In the readings Christopher Priest kept mentioning how “institutionalized” racism, the racism you don’t even realize you are performing. And while he gives very interesting examples of how he has been discriminated against, there seems that there maybe a possibility that he is looking too deep into the race issue. When is it okay to joke about race, and not be considered a racist? Also, he is very annoyed that the comic book industry will not recognize someone as the first black editor, first black writer, etc. And while I can see where that would something meaningful who is actually in the industry, I rather wonder at its importance as a whole. As a reader of comics, I never really look to see who the author is, much less know their race. To have a position recognizing the first black person, the first woman, the first whatever, seems rather superfluous in practically any industry. Overall, it seems like he is much too sensitive about the issue of race. I did appreciate, however, that he admitted that there were very few black people in the comic book industry and therefore few minority writers were assigned major established characters or gained higher-up positions.

In the news paper article about the emergence of black characters in comic strips, I rather liked the character Franklin in “Peanuts.” It was cool that the writer was trying to write in a positive character of a black person into his comics. It makes sense though that the character doesn’t appear all of the time. If the children are living in suburbia, which was not originally open to the minority population, it is possible that they would have very little contact. Having this introduction of Franklin at a public beach is an opening for interaction. I must admit though because the comic is in a more abstract and less realistic style, I didn’t actually realize Franklin was black until I read it in the article. I just thought he was standing in a shadow or sunburned or something.

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