Summertime Pull List

I’ve got a Logan essay (or two) that I’m currently working on—and that I plan to post this week—but before I finish up there, I thought it’d be nice to bridge the gap between a laudatory breakdown of Logan‘s cinematic themes and the scathing examination of Emma Frost-related nonsense that I posted last week.

Spring is in the air and, with ECCC just passed and Marvel’s Resurrexion relaunch around the corner, I’ve been thinking about my pull list. What to keep, what to drop, what to add.

My pull list has leaned heavily toward Marvel of late, but that’s changing—mainly for obvious reasons (aforementioned nonsense) but also for less-than-obvious reasons (series are ending or creative teams are being shook up and the new stuff on offer largely doesn’t speak to me).(1) Nevertheless, here’s what’ll (for suresies) be in my pull list come summertime:

Batwoman (Bennett and Epting), New Super-Man (Yang and Bogdanovic), Bitch Planet (Deconnick and De Landro), Monstress (Liu and Takeda), Paper Girls (Vaughan and Chang), America (Rivera and Quinones),  Hawkeye (Thompson and Romero), Occupy Avengers (Walker).

I’ve been happy with (or looking forward to) all of these series, which are by writers who I have come to have a healthy respect for or which fill a much needed gap in pop culture representation. I’m especially looking forward to the Bitch Planet anthology series that’s going to run during the hiatus between story arc 2 and story arc 3. (I was actually starting to feel like Bitch Planet might be ending, given all the delays, so the news that it is still very much going was a huge relief.)

Speaking of Bitch Planet… I mentioned ECCC, which is where the announcements about Bitch Planet were made, and Marvel’s Resurrexion, and that brings us to the what’ll (possibly) be in my pull list come summertime. Image Comics has several new series coming that are on my radar: Generation Gone by Ales Kot and André Araújo; The New World by Ales Kot and Tradd Moore; Parisian White by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Bill Sienkiewicz; and Redlands by Jordie Bellaire and Vanesa R. Del Ray. Kot and Deconnick are two of my favorite comics writers, so the only real question I’m facing about their new work is whether I’ll pick it up in floppies or trade paperback editions. (At present, I’m leaning toward floppies of Generation Gone and TPs of The New World and Parisian White, but the final decision will be made when the first issues hit the stands.) Redlands just sounds exactly like the kind of thing I’d be in to right now. Three witches move to small town Florida and take over law enforcement in order to get shit done and fight the kyriarchy.

Just take all of my money right now.

Generation X vol. 2, no. 1 (2017)
cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson

I’ve been much more selective when it comes to Marvel’s Resurrexion titles, and since the release of Inhumans vs X-Men no. 6, I’ve become downright inflexible in my requirements. Essentially, any X-book (or any Marvel book, really) written by a cis-straight white man is out. (Unless that writer has a pedigree that I implicitly trust.) That narrows things considerably. Of the ten X-books that will be published post-IvX, eight of them are written by white men. Seven of them are written by cis-straight white men. Pretty slim pickings.

Currently, I’m leaning toward Generation X for several reasons. First, nostalgia. At the height of my first reading phase, the original Generation X (by Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo) was my book, and I’m very curious to see what a 21st century iteration will look like. Second, I like Christina Strain a lot (have you read her webcomic The Fox Sister? OMG its so good, albeit indefinitely on hiatus…), and I want to support her. Third, I especially want to support her because, though she’s done color work for Marvel this is her first big writing gig, and she doesn’t have the clout that some of the other creative teams do. (She also doesn’t have one of the infinite Wolverine-led titles, which—for me—is a plus, but—for sales—can be a setback.)

I’ll no doubt report back as the spirit moves me.

1) I’ve been reading comic books (off and on) since I was thirteen, and for many of those years—particularly the early ones—I primarily read Marvel comics with an emphasis on all things X-Men. I broke off reading when I first lived abroad (in my early twenties) and again when I went back to school and became a PhD student, but I began digging back in around the time of Remender’s Uncanny X-Force and Fraction’s Fear Itself crossover (the Marvel event that introduced me to Bucky). My reignited interest in comics coincided with my graduate education, and my reading habits began to evolve. I stopped believing in the Marvel vs DC divide, started focusing more on content creators and less on characters, and began to care deeply about shenanigans and their cultural impact.

Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Ruins Everything: Film At 11 (An IvX Review)

I’m not gonna sugar-coat this. I hated Inhumans vs X-Men.

I hated it as much as I loved Death of X and possibly more. I hated it because of the way it wasted everything interesting that Death of X had set up in favor of perhaps the most cliched trope after “women in refrigerators.” The IvX writers didn’t fridge Emma Frost, which is some small comfort, but they did the absolute next worst thing: made her the poster child for love makes you evil.

Let’s recap a bit. At the close of Death of X, Scott Summers was dead and one of the Terrigen clouds that the Inhumans rely upon as the catalyst for their inhuman transformation had been destroyed. To the world, it looked like Scott had gone to war with the Inhumans and paid with his life. In reality, Emma Frost had been pulling the strings from behind the scenes after Scott died abruptly (and without fanfare) in the series’ first issue. Only Scott’s younger brother Alex, Emma’s Stepford Cuckoos, and a savvy Magneto knew the full truth.

With this brilliant premise established, I was looking forward to Inhumans vs X-Men with more enthusiasm than any of the post-Secret Wars X-books had managed to garner. I had missed having Emma Frost in the mix, and I was pleased with where the Death of X miniseries had left her.

In a review of the miniseries, I wrote:

I’m hopeful that this will be the start of a new era for Emma Frost. At the end of the series she was alive. Emotionally damaged and mentally exhausted, but alive. Unsinkable. And—and this bit’s important—free of Scott Summers in a way that she never would have been had he lived. Because as bad as things got, as cruelly as he sometimes rejected her, she could never break from him. And now she can. And if she does, she is going to be nothing less than fabulous.

But, of course, she didn’t break with him at all.

Perhaps in the minds of the men who wrote Emma’s story, it’s impossible to imagine a woman getting over the loss of a relationship with a man(1)—particularly when that relationship has been one of the most important and influential of their life—but I can only lament their lack of imagination. And it is a lack of imagination; one that surprised me after the promise of Death of X.

As extreme as you might argue Emma’s actions in Death of X were, they made sense in the context of her history and character. She and Scott Summers had been partners in the fight to save their species for years. She understood his role in the battle. She understood his function as a symbol for their people. And she understood that his death, were its true cause known, could be a detriment to their mission. With his dying breath, he asked her not to let their fight end in such an ignominious fashion. She acted accordingly, using her intelligence and skills as she always had—to further the agenda they both believed in.

dox 04h alt
Death of X no. 4 (2016)
Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Aaron Kuder Javier Garrón, Morry Hollowell, Jay David Ramos

Say what you will—and I suspect the X-Men will say plenty, no doubt transferring their hatred of Scott very neatly to Emma in the wake of her Death of X actions being revealed—but Emma’s actions (in Death of X) were fully rational and greatly in keeping with what the Scott Summers of the last few years would have done. This is the man, let us not forget, who got on national television and called for a mutant revolution, who told the rest of the world to back off or else. Taking out the Terrigen clouds is something he would have been on board with.

The same cannot be said of Emma’s actions in Inhumans vs X-Men, and particularly of her actions in the final issue—in which she inexplicably attempts to single-handedly exterminate the Inhumans in retribution for Scott’s death.

gx 75
Generation X vol. 1, no. 75 (2000)
Brian Wood, Ron Lim, Sandu Florea, Randy Elliott

I could perhaps accept a story in which Emma sought revenge for the death of a loved one, provided that it was well-written. She’s certainly done it before. But she’s never sought revenge in such an irrational fashion,(2) and there’s no reason why she should do so now, even accepting the notion that she has been struggling with intense grief. Emma Frost, while not the most powerful mind in the Marvel universe, is perhaps the most controlled. Her utter discipline, and that discipline’s tactical advantage in the face of stronger psychic opponents, is a core component of her character. She’s simply much too controlled to fall into abject irrationality as she does in Inhumans vs X-Men. And that control is more than evident from what she managed to achieve in Death of X.

Fooling the entire world into thinking someone who is dead is actually alive (and actually running around commanding a guerilla army of multiple moving parts) is not an easy task. And it’s not for the faint of heart or fractured of mind.

At the end of Death of X, Emma Frost was in a position to emerge as an independent force to be reckoned with. Nevertheless, instead of having her grow into that independent force, she simply goes from upset to unpleasant to unhinged, getting more and more out-of-control (and more and more out-of-character) with every step. Despite having been romantically separated from Scott since the events of Avengers vs X-Men, despite having come to a sense of perspective about their relationship and its future, when he died she somehow couldn’t live with it. And couldn’t let anyone else live with it either.

ivx 06 a
Inhumans vs X-Men no. 6 (2017)
Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule, Lenil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, David Curiel

Emma’s sense of self, which should have been free to redefine itself, was instead totally subsumed to Scott’s. Indeed, in our final glimpse of her, she has taken on the guise she will presumably present going forward: a Magnetoesque villain, whose defining characteristic is the adoption of a mask that resembles the most recent iteration of Cyclops’ uniform. In the end, Emma Frost is not even herself anymore. She is nothing more than a reflection of the last man to dominate her life.

I cannot imagine a worse fate for any woman.

1) “But wait!” I hear you say. “The same issue of IvX shows Medusa walking away from a relationship with Johnny Storm. Checkmate, motherfucker!” Yeah, she leaves Johnny for a life of duty and flirtation with Black Bolt. That is an epic level of independent womanhood right there. You totally got me on that one.
2) The most famous example of this is perhaps Emma’s killing of her sister Adrienne for orchestrating the death of one of Emma’s students, Everett Thomas—which was revealed in Generation X vol.1, no. 75 (2000). Emma’s actions cost her the trust of her other students. It was a sterling example of a questionable decision, but it was not an irrational act.

I don’t understand why so many people seem to think “you’re not in my head you don’t know what I think” is a get-out-of-(debate)jail-free card. I mean, if anything, it’s a do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 sort of card. Because, if you think about it, it’s a retort that pretty much makes your opponent’s argument for them.

That thing you said/did was upsetting for X reason, says person A.

No, it wasn’t, retorts person B. You don’t know my mind. You don’t know what I meant to say.

Exactly, person A thinks. I don’t know. Which is why I have to go off what you say and do. I have no way of ever knowing what you meant; I have only your actions. Your intentions mean nothing.

And they mean less than nothing when you expect them to be the final word on the matter.

Vampirella no. 3
Cover D by Jimmy Broxton

About a week or so ago, there was a big(ish) debate on this subject between Dynamite comics, writer Paul Cornell, artist Jimmy Broxton, and a group of disturbed fans. Broxton had created a transphobic variant cover for Vampirella #3 (pictured at left). Cornell and the editors at Dynamite had signed off on it without thinking. When the furor erupted, Cornell and Dynamite unequivocally apologized. Broxton dug in his heels and asserted that he knew what his own intentions were and anyone who thought he’d made a transphobic cover was just flat-out wrong. But, of course, his intentions—well-meaning as they may have been—mean nothing.

Life would run a lot more smoothly for everyone if we could all just admit that the author is dead. Intentions shape our everyday thoughts and deeds, it is true. Intentions determine our words, our plans, our art. Intentions guide us in the pursuit of our best selves. But some intentions pave the road to hell. And once a word is spoken, an act is performed, a work of art is let go into the aether… its meaning is no longer yours to control.

“Allegiance” and the Importance of Knowing History

Allegiance starts George Takei, Lea Salonga,
Telly Leung, and Michael K. Lee

Allegiance, the brilliant musical based on George Takei’s experience of internment during WWII, is coming back to theaters on February 19, and I can’t say enough about how important it is that as many people as possible go to see it.

I had the privilege of seeing Allegiance in December, when Fathom Events brought it to theaters for what was to become the highest-grossing one-night Broadway musical screening in Fathom Events history. The theater in my Midwest town was delightfully packed—a fact that gave me hope for the future and courage to face it. Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it, after all, and it’s incredibly encouraging to see just how many people are committed to knowing their history. Allegiance is the story of one of the United States’ darker chapters, and it—in many ways—parallels the dark chapter we find ourselves in now. It behooves us all to remember.

The play follows the Kimura family through their internment in the Heart Mountain concentration camp and explores their differing responses to the indignity of their treatment at the hands of the US government. As the story progresses, the Kimuras, and their fellow interned citizens, struggle to face the injustice of their situation with bravery and make the best of their lives in the appalling conditions of the facility. But Allegiance is not merely about the situation inside the camps; it is also—and fundamentally—about the ideological divide that existed between Japanese-Americans interned in the camps. While the Kimuras’ only son, Sammy, endeavors to enlist in the army and prove his loyalty to his country, his father Tatsuo refuses to answer yes to the required loyalty questionnaire and his sister Kei joins the in-camp resistance—falling in love with an anti-draft activist in the process.

Sammy’s stance reflects the viewpoint of many Japanese-Americans at that time: that it was their duty to prove to the US government and to their neighbors that they were real Americans. Kei’s stance, and the stance of her fiancé, Frankie Suzuki, reflects the viewpoint of a vocal minority in the camps: that it was their duty to resist maltreatment and to refuse to serve a country that had abandoned and abused them.

In an era of polarized beliefs and philosophical debates over the effectiveness of respectability vs the effectiveness of resistance, the message of Allegiance—that, while each person must protest injustice in the manner they deem best, we cannot allow our differing viewpoints to divide us—feels more timely than ever. The political divide existing between Sammy and the rest of his family ultimately tears them apart—keeping them from one another until it is almost too late to find closure and offer forgiveness. And this is a message we must keep in mind in the days to come. We face grave challenges to our national ideals and freedoms, and many of us have strong opinions about how those challenges should be met, but we must never lose sight of our shared humanity. We must never lose empathy for those of us who are at different stages of the journey.

The internment of Japanese-American citizens in WWII bears an uncanny resemblance to the current targeting of non-white citizens by the current administration, and both have their roots in the same place: ignorance and fear. Time and time again, ignorance and fear have lead American citizens to do terrible things: to burn women to death, to incarcerate Japanese-Americans, to beat, lynch, and segregate black Americans, to persecute intellectuals with counter-culture views. Time and time again, we have fallen from our ideals. But time and time again, we have risen. The outpouring of love and praise for Allegiance is a reminder that we still have the ability to rise, to remember, and to resolve: never again. These are dark days, but so many people are committed to rejecting them—to learning about the past so that we might not go down those terrible and well-trod paths again—and that gives me such faith.

Go see Allegiance on February 19. See, learn, resolve, resist.

And find a theater near you at the official Allegiance website where tickets are currently on sale.

The Problem of Captain Marvel (in “Civil War II”)

I finally made some time to catch up on the last of the Civil War II crossover, which has received mixed reviews—such reviews being mainly concerned with the problem of Captain Marvel. There’s been a lot of talk about how Carol Danvers was portrayed by Brian Michael Bendis, namely that he made her into a two-dimensional supervillian and then failed to provide a meaningful resolution for her story arc (read: consequences).(1) This is, in my view, true to a certain extent. As I noted in a previous post on this crossover, lasting effects in comic books are effectively non-existent. Consequently, the only thing that matters is whether or not the story of the moment is good.

The main Civil War II series, unfortunately, is not very good, and it is not very good mainly because of the way it shortchanges the Carol’s motivations. For the purposes of this critique I’m going to set aside the core concept of whether or not its ethical to punish people for the things they might do, and the fact that no one in the story ever ever gets to what is—in my view—the crux of the issue: the very real problem that these vision, even when correct, lack all context.(2) My problem, and—seemingly—most people’s problem centers on Carol’s depiction in the main series.

The ideological question in Civil War II is whether or not it’s right to use prediction (in this case via the glimpses of possible futures by an Inhuman named Ulysses) as evidence in the prevention, and prosecution, of crime. In the main series, Carol Danvers is provided with only the most basic of motivations: if she can stop one bad thing from happening, she doesn’t care about the cost. It’s a position that shows no nuance at all. From this perspective, Carol is a one-trick pony, inexplicably dedicated to a flawed a system and unwilling to allow dissent or debate on the subject. At the start of the series, it’s possible to chalk this behavior up to her feelings about the death of James Rhodes and her inability to accept that what happened to him was a) partially her responsibility and b) unnecessary. But as things start to go wrong, as Ulysses’ visions start to prove fallible and sometimes self-fulling, Carol still won’t change course. She doesn’t come to any realization about what she’s been doing and repent. She maintains the belief that she’s right from start to finish. More than the fact that she fails to realize the moral quandary of her choices, though, is her failure—in the main series—to sufficiently explain her actions.

We get a much fuller understanding of Carol’s position in Ruth and Christos Gage’s Captain Marvel title. We see her work through the reasoning. We see her struggle with the ethics. We see her face political pressure. We see her worry about what will happen if someone other than her takes over the operation. She’s still wrong, of course, but she’s wrong with decency and thoughtfulness.

She’s not a supervillain…

Captain Marvel vol. 9, no. 7 (2016)
Ruth Fletcher Gage, Christos Gage, Marco Failla, Matt Wilson
Figure it out, assholes, ’cause I ain’t giving any hints…

Civil War II no. 7 (2016)
Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Justin Ponsor

The same cannot be said of the main title. Carol’s actions in Civil War II read like those of a supervillain, and not even a three-dimensional one. It’s clear that, like all villains, she doesn’t think that she’s the villain, but we don’t know why she thinks that. This is a major failing on the part of the writing, although I’m not sure if it’s a failing on the part of Brian Michael Bendis(3) or if it is a failing on the part of the mini-series structure, but I suspect it’s probably a bit of both. In order to get all of the bombastic action into the series—all the fighting, all the twists, all the turns, all the perspectives, all the set-up for the new status quo—something has to give. There’s simply not enough space for all the action and all the motivations in an eight-issue mini-series, and the editors were probably thinking, “Readers can get Carol’s perspective from her title anyway, so we don’t need to worry about it here.” But the same could be said of Tony Stark (who had not one but two personal titles during this crossover), and his motivations were never unclear. We always knew exactly why he was doing what he was doing.

Carol, meanwhile, never discusses her point of view. She never explains. She just pushes forward. And she refuses to be swayed by any counter-argument. She refuses to accept any moral authority other than her own, but she won’t say why. Not in the main series, at any rate. An explanation for her tight-lipped approach is somewhat addressed in Captain Marvel, when Carol explains to Hawkeye that, while she is truly concerned about making mistakes, she cannot express her doubts to anyone lest they be used against her by either her “allies” or her “enemies.”

It’s a useful take on Carol’s position, but it’s not in the main series and it—or something like it—should have been. It would have done a world of good.

Superhero-vs-superhero stories are difficult to pull off. Outside of Captain America: Civil War, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a truly successful take on the genre. The desire is—as it should be—to create a conflict that enables the reader to feel empathy for both sides, and that’s extremely difficult to do. But by burying Captain Marvel’s motivations behind a wall of bravado and bluster, Bendis makes dual empathy virtually impossible.

1) See, for example, Evan Narcisse, “Civil War II is Ruining Captain Marvel,” io9 (August 18, 2016); Kieran Schiach, “The Character Assassination of Carol Danvers by the Writer Brian Michael Bendis,” Comics Alliance (September 23, 2016); and Rob Bricken, “How Civil War II Turned Captain Marvel Into a Supervillian,” io9 (January 26, 2017).
2) The context question is addressed in Kelly Thompson’s excellent A-Force tie-in (issues 8-10), but it never comes up in the main series, whose focus is solely on the probability of accuracy.
3) For the record, I quite like Bendis’s work, and he’s particularly good at character-building. Bendis’s talent for characterization makes the lack of characterization here all the more glaring.

Sara Reads, no. 20

An Object History Lesson: Roanoke
In 1587, a small group of colonists settled on Roanoke Island. Three years later, they had vanished—seemingly without a trace. The disappearance of the Roanoke Colony is one of US history’s most enduring mysteries. It is a tale filled with twists, turns, and peculiar clues that have enthralled the imaginations of countless historians and entertainers. Neil Gaiman reimagined the fate of the Roanoke Colony in the Marvel 1602 graphic novel, American Horror Story reimagined it in their recent sixth season, and an assortment of people and have offered a multiplicity of theories, ranging from the mundane (the colonists integrated with local native tribes out of necessity) to the frankly bizarre (the colonists were all wiped out by a zombie plague). For our purposes, however, the ultimate fate of the colonists is neither here nor there. What interests me is an anecdote from the brief period of their history that we are sure about.

The John White party was not the first group of settlers to colonize Roanoke Island, and the previous group had developed very bad relations with the Aguascogocs tribe. Not long after White’s party arrived, a man named George Howe was killed while out crabbing. The Roanoke colonists responded by attacking a Croatoan village, a tribe that had—previously—been friendly to them. They did this, seemingly, because they could not tell the difference between the Croatoan and the Aguascogocs. Allies were turned into enemies, and life got a hell of a lot harder for the Roanoke colonists than it otherwise might have been. We’ll never know, of course, but the mistaken attack on the Croatoan tribe may well have been a fatal mistake.

Last weekend, protests erupted across the United States in response to the Executive Order banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The ACLU immediately began legal proceedings to enact a stay on the order until its constitutionality could be assessed by the country’s judicial branch, and the Acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, was fired for instructing the Justice Department not to defend the order. The administration claims that the ban (which they refer to as “extreme vetting”) is a reasonable safety measure, but critics have pointed out that none of the seven countries that were (initially) banned have produced extremist terrorists. By contrast, four countries that have produced extremist terrorists (including those responsible for the September 11th attacks) were not included.

As I read the breaking news and followed the various developments in the story, I couldn’t help but think of the tale of the Roanoke colonists and their inability to tell friend from foe, of their impulsive need for vengeance and what it might have cost them. We still, apparently, lack the ability to tell friend from foe, and if we can’t get that straight we might just disappear—seemingly without a trace.

The Protest Path Leads to the Airport
Speaking of the weekend protests, I noticed something interesting about them. Because of the nature of the executive order under protest, the majority of the demonstrations took place at airports across the nation. And they, like the Women’s March, remained peaceful. There’s a temptation on the part of white liberals (particularly those in the media) to imagine the reason for this peacefulness is the (white) people involved in the protests. I’m not convinced that’s the case, however. I’d like to offer an alternate hypothesis.

In an LA Times article on the protests at LAX, reporters noted how police officers negotiated with protestors to get them to unblock the roadways leading to departure and arrival curbs, eventually conceding protestors the right to block the roads for alternating and limited periods of time. This isn’t typical behavior on the part of the police. They did not negotiate with the Occupy Wall Street protestors. They have not negotiated with Black Lives Matter protesters. (They didn’t negotiate with the president of the NAACP who staged a sit-in at the office of Senator Jeff Sessions). But they did negotiate with the Ban protestors this weekend, and I am convinced those negotiations had nothing to do with the people involved and everything to do with the location of the protest.

An airport is always busy, and there are always people who are there who have to be. (And who can prove that they have to be there—who, in fact, are required to prove that they have to be there.) For that reason, the police cannot engage in escalation tactics. There’s simply too much of a possibly of doing collateral damage with exceptionally bad PR.

So clearly more protests need to happen in airports.

In Search of Common Ground
Economist Andrés Miguel Rondón, who grew up amid the upheaval of Venezuela’s populist movement and the rise of Hugo Chávez, recently wrote an article for the Washington Post in which he encourages American progressives to learn from Venezuela’s mistakes. He notes—most particularly—the sovereign importance of not playing into polarization, of resisting the siren song of outraged ethics and righteous contempt, and of seeking common ground.

Now, as anyone who regularly reads this blog knows, I have been very angry since the election—and even angrier since the inauguration—and I haven’t been much for the concept of common ground. It’s hard to remember sometimes that the people you disagree with are people, rather than enemies. But a lot of the mess the US is in at the moment stems, in my opinion, from the inability of the average American conservative to understand that minorities agitating for rights and progressives pushing for social change are not their enemy. So the question is, putting aside the frustration and—yes—the moral high ground, how do we make that clear to them? How do we get them on our side?

Obviously, I’m not advocating for progressives to cast a blind eye on injustice. I’m not even advocating for progressives to empathize with prejudicial views and actions. What I am advocating for is a strategic change in the way we talk about the problems we face. I’m a big proponent of equity over equality, but there’s no getting around the fact that equity looks threatening to those of us in the majority, so we’re going to have to find a compromise that everyone can live with.

Final Thought: Reframing White Supremacy
One tactic for finding common ground that I’ve been thinking about is the reframing of white supremacy. White supremacy is well understood as a social structure that harms people of color. I think it needs to be better understood as a social structure that harms white people as well. Certainly, this is not a new concept (it has been discussed—far more eloquently than I will discuss it here—by more than one person), but it is, I think, a concept that lacks the mainstream currency it needs. In much the same way that patriarchy has come to be more broadly understood as toxic to men (and feminism as therefore a movement that seeks to help both men and women), white supremacy needs to be more broadly understood as toxic to white people (and anti-racism as therefore a movement that seeks to help both white people and people of color).

It’s frustrating that it isn’t enough that patriarchy and white supremacy are harmful to women and to people of color, that we have to make it readily understood how they are harmful to men and to white people as well if we want to get wide-spread traction—that we have to shift much needed focus away from issues that have lacked it to once-again discuss the problems of people who are always in the spotlight. But I believe that’s one of the things we have to do. We have to get the conversation to a place where those who disagree with us don’t begin and end the discourse with an eye roll. I wonder if we can. Or if we will. But I hope.