Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why the Mutant/Minority Metaphor Doesn't Work

I'm not a huge Marvel fan, but I do like the X-Men.  However, one of the things that always bugs me when I read X-Men books is that some authors seem to think that the treatment of mutants is a perfect metaphor for the unjust treatment of various minority groups.

Yeah. I know the reason that I hate minorities is because they're always blowing city blocks up with their eye beams and chalking up billions of dollars in property damage and injuring/killing civilians every time they fight each other with their super powers.

The "mutant = minority" metaphor is complete BS.

Comparing the fear and hatred that your average Joe in the Marvel Universe has for mutants to the fear and hatred that a real bigot has for a minority is downright offensive.  In real life, bigots have no real reason for their hatred and fear of others outside of stupid, superficial things like "they have more/less melanin than I have" or "their ancestors came from a different country than my ancestors." In the Marvel Universe, you would have to be insane not to be wary of mutants, if not downright terrified.

Mutants are perpetually in a state of war with each other.  Xavier's Academy was a recruiting station for a private mutant army masquerading as a school.  The "students" routinely fought a group of terrorist mutants, causing massive property damage, death and mayhem.  Not only that, but most of these battles are not explained to the general populace, so it would be easy to assume that both groups are nothing but super-powered gangs.  (And that's not getting into the many times that Xavier screwed around in people's heads in order to keep his private army a secret.)

Mutants - even the heroic ones - routinely ignore laws, and not just the anti-mutant legislation. They behave as if they are above the law, ignoring any law that isn't convenient and not bothering to explain their actions. If you're going a private war in the streets, it's going to hurt your PR if you don't bother explaining that you were attacking a terrorist, mass murderer or any of the other assorted psychopaths that the X-Men routinely deal with.
On top of all that, mutant powers manifest at puberty, which pretty much guarantees that the section of the population with the least amount of self control ends up with abilities that could result in plenty of accidental death and destruction.  You'd have to be insane not to be scared of emotionally immature, hormonely driven teenagers with no self control developing super powers.

Edit: Fixed typo.

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