Thursday, March 01, 2007

Have we addressed the Walking Dead argument?

You know, the one about Michonne's beating and rape.

Basically, I don't think it was out of line. I think it's the expectation that a white writer would purposely abuse a black female character that's causing the anger, not the actual writer's intentions.

We simply don't have enough to go on to say that Kirkman is racist for what happened to Michonne. The Governor, however, might just be. Kirkman made The Governor completely worthless as a human being, and a completely worthless human being acting the way The Governor did is logical. He's a real villain. Making the person that did that to Michonne one of the most vile villains in comics I've seen tells me that Kirkman has his perspective straight.

Now we get into the folks that want Kirkman to take into account the history of black treatment by whites when he writes black characters. These folks aren't accusing Kirkman of being racist, only of being insensitive to their perspective. Basically, what they're asking Kirkman to do is factor in how real-world readers will view anything he does with the black characters he created. It doesn't stop there. These sae folks want Kirkman to not only factor in how they view anything that happens to the black characters, but also how those folks think OTHER folks are gonna view it.

In this month's letter column actually said this:

"If you want the honest truth Mr. Kirkman, a great deal of white readers probably whacked off to that issue."

Let's not even get into if that is true or not just yet. Let's examine the wording.

"If you want the honest truth" tells me I'm going to get a fact or at least the truth about how this reader feels about the issue. But we don't get truth. We get speculation on how THIS reader feels about OTHER readers.

Even more, it tells me that this particular reader may see me in my local comic shop picking up The Walking Dead and assume that I'm going home after I stop off at Walgreens for some cocoa butter and an off-brand dildo so I can fuck myself while watching a character get beaten and raped. Oh great, now I'M paranoid to even be seen reading it. I imagine it's a million times worse for Robert Kirkman, who actually creates it.

So okay, now we can get into whether or not "a great deal of white readers" jerk off to watching a black woman being beaten and raped.

Show of hands?

Just as I thought. Only JRennolds and Uatu.

But seriously, agree or disagree, I wanna hear this. I tell ya what, I'll put it on the blog, and we can discuss it there. I'd like Kirkman to see more than one black/white reader at a time discussing this.


DrNO said...

I was unaware that there was any controversy. I really can't see why anyone would accuse Kirkman of being racist based on that either.
I mean, there were children getting decapitated in this book. The hero had his arm cut off. The villain has his zombie daughter on a chain and decapitated heads in jars as home entertainment. Should he just have had Michonne set up in a nice guest room while everyone else was being brutalized?
That argument you quote is absolutely pathetic. Anti-Semites might get off on Schindlers List. Is Spielberg an anti-Semite then? What a worthless argument to make.

DrNO said...

Not to mention that Tyreese is the most sympathetically portrayed character in the book as well as serving as a moral compass for everyone else.

invisiblist said...

drno, check out the letters column in every issue since the Michonne Incident. Motherfuckers are MAD. Of course, these are the vocal folks. I'll just assume that only the angry black readers would bother writing in about it, which means there are way more that don't see it as racist.

JRennoldz said...

James Edward, is a dick! Fuck you, for that off-hand remark. Stupid inbred!

Just Blaze said...

until today, i had no idea there was any uproar. let's also not forget the father and son from the first issue (i believe) that helped rick out (short story on them in image comics holiday special).

Anonymous said...

No one else has been dehumanized, violently assaulted, and degraded to the level of the sole African American woman, Michonne, in the Walking Dead comic. No one. Not a single. Kirkman's effort to "make up" for the visually-sick torture of Michonne with her own torture of the governor or to "equalize" the equation or to depict her as sick and depraved as well rings hollow, false, and reeks of quick face-saving in response to reader revulsion.

Anonymous said...

"Kirkman's effort to "make up" for the visually-sick torture of Michonne with her own torture of the governor or to "equalize" the equation or to depict her as sick and depraved as well rings hollow, false, and reeks of quick face-saving in response to reader revulsion".

And this is it in nut shell. Also, I've always wondered why Michonne is drawn the way she is. She looks worse than the zombies sometimes. No other character is drawn the way she is drawn. I do think Kirkman has some issues, and the distaste of what was done to Michonne isn't just regulated to African American readers as someone incorrectly implied.

Adam said...

This makes my head hurt. Those who factor race into everything are the true racists. This character is severely traumatized and mentally unstable. Therefore, she is the perfect character to degrade and destroy a rapist pos like the gov. Her race is not even a factor in this to me. How pissed would people have been had she been Asian and wielding the katana? You must learn to be racist to avoid being racist. Look at the Jeremy Lin controversy. I had to explain to several people I know why "chink in the armor" could possibly be felt as racist. They had never heard that word used in a derogatory fashion towards Asians. By proclaiming something as racist behavior, we perpetuate it.

Anonymous said...

"Those who factor race into everything are the true racists."

One of the most dismissive and illogical statements I've ever heard. Racism is perpetuated by those in society who have the power to perpetuate it. "That" is how it is surviving. Those who are reacting to the racism (or perceived racism)is just that reactors. Reactors can't react if there is no racism to react to-- to begin with. Ignoring racism will not make it go away as you seem to imply. Kirkman can write what he wants to write, but he should have examined the elements of his depictions a bit more closely. He didn't do that, and he received criticism for it.

Anonymous said...

It was Kirkman's favorite scenes to write, the artist's favorite scenes to draw, and white reader's favorite scenes to read.

Anonymous said...

Kirkman savored writing the scenes, and white readers savored reading them as your and his way of "getting back" at Michonne and Tyrese for hurting a white woman's feelings.