From my “favorite” person and DC Senior Story Editor, Ian Sattler at HeroesCon:
A serious topic came up about how characters who are minorities who happened to be legacy characters like Ryan Choi are killed off so their caucasian counterparts can return and how they feel like they are being cheated or sidelined out of their roles. Sattler took a more serious tone. “It’s so hard for me to be on the other side because it’s not our intention. There is a reason behind it all. We don’t see it that way and strive very hard to have a diverse DCU. I mean, we have green, pink, and blue characters. We have the Great Ten out there and I have counter statistics, but I won’t get into that. It’s not how we perceived it. We get the same thing about how we treat our female characters.”
Read more about the panel here.
Oh, Mr. Sattler, what am I going to do with you? I already blogged about Ian’s foot-in-the-mouth at Emerald City, re: Liam Harper’s death and diversity in DC’s writing staff.
First, green, pink, and blue characters are NOT characters of color. For example, Martin Manhunter (green) is in the majority on his planet and written the same way they’d write a white human dude. There’s no institutionalized racism for green, pink, and blue characters. There’s no history of oppression. There is no racism. It’s incredibly, jaw-droppingly offensive to say otherwise. Do NOT argue with me on this point, instead please read White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh.
Second, I want to see your counter statistics. I want to see your blog post on DC.com. I don’t believe your so-called statistics (that you can’t provide) given statistics that fans have put together. For instance, Chris Sims has a great post about The Racial Politics of Regressive Storytelling, concerning the same relaunch of legacy DC characters. (Also, I didn’t even know who the Great Ten were. That’s how many books they’re in, and I even read one of them.)
Third, let’s address, “It’s not how we perceived it.” Of course, you didn’t. Stop being defensive that everyone’s calling you or your colleagues racist. We know that DC writers (read: Geoff Johns) love Silver Age characters and that’s why they brought them back. But the heart of the problem is with your (and the rest of the staff who agrees with Sattler) perception. Our perceptions as human beings are often flawed due to our personal biases. That’s why those stats you mentioned above and the perception of others, who are not like you, are important.
Fourth, I’m sorry, but are we women being too whiny for you? (To see what Sattler says about women, see the Emerald City ComicCon post.) Just because you hired the fabulous Gail Simone, doesn’t mean everyone forgot about the stats of her Women in Refrigerators project. Finally, some stats.
Fifth, why do they still let Sattler talk in public as a representative of the company?
Dear comic book reader, before you start pledging yourself to Marvel, don’t forget they had their own race fail when Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort addressed a question about why characters of color and women weren’t leads on their teams or starring in their own books:
“Because we’re an American company whose primary distribution is centered around America, the great majority of our existing audience seems to be white American males … whenever your leads are white American males, you’ve got a better chance of reaching more people overall.”
Time to start voting with our dollars. Take a look at your pull list next time and ask yourself how diverse are the books you’re reading? Are there minority and women characters in them? How do they treat the minority and women characters inside the pages? How diverse is the creative team? And so on. Because I guarantee those in accounting and sales crunch the hard numbers.