23
Oct
10

Illegal Aliens vs. Patriotic Predators: a Preface

Octavia Butler was a lonely author in a White male dominated market.  Butler, an African-American science fiction author, began writing the genre without much support, no mentors, and no role models when she was only a young girl.  She grew to win the esteemed Hugo and Nebula awards, as well as the highly notable Macarthur Genius Grant.  To this day, there are only a handful of African-American authors in the science fiction genre; therefore, only a handful of Black lead characters within the stories.  Apparently, some do not feel the need to use Black characters in science fiction.  As Butler notes an editor saying at a convention, “He thought that it wasn’t really necessary to have Black characters in science fiction because you could make any racial statement you needed to make by way of extraterrestrials.”(“Octavia Butler on Charlie Rose- Part 1/2”)  This is a powerful statement because it brings one to note the connections between human-extraterrestrial conflict and racial conflict within the United States and between the U.S. and colonized countries.

Movies such as X-Men played an essential role in demonstrating this conflict.  The film series now known as X-Men was originally devised as a comic book titled ‘The Merry Mutants’ by author Stan Lee, and illustrator, Jack Kirby in the early 1960s(“Wikipedia”).  The sixties was a time of high racial tension in the United States, with the Civil Rights movement reaching a climactic point of sit-ins and marches nationwide.  The X-Men storyline centers on ‘mutants’ who are ostracized and hunted by humans who hate them because they are different.  The challenges that the mutants face within X-Men have a direct connection to the challenges African-Americans experienced in the United States in the 1960s.  African-Americans were facing opposition from hate-driven groups such as the Ku Klux Klan during this time when they were attempting to exercise their rights as human beings.  The extreme hate went to the point that many African-Americans were castrated, brutally beaten, set on fire, lynched, or such is the case of 13 year old Emmitt Till, all four.  This type of behavior in a civilized country makes you wonder if the aggressors and murderers did not consider African-Americans ‘mutants’ to be despised and destroyed, and if so, did they not realize that monstrous acts such as those made them appear as ‘mutant’ rather than decent human beings?  These are questions that will be further explored in my research to uncover these connections, the controversies involved, and explore the science fiction culture.  What are movies you have seen that utilized ‘alien’ characters to demonstrate real social concerns?

References:

“Octavia Butler on Charlie Rose- Part 1/2.” YouTube. Web. 22 Oct 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66pu-Miq4tk&gt;.

“X-Men.” Wikipedia. Wikipeda, 22 10 2010. Web. 22 Oct 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XMen&gt;.

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1 Response to “Illegal Aliens vs. Patriotic Predators: a Preface”


  1. October 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Some critics have wondered if the recent popularity of zombie movies and video games is a metaphor for how we feel: dead, mindlessly pursuing one thing (money, not brains), infected with something that can’t be stopped.

    In the popular Twilight series, the heroine chooses an extremely rich, white vampire over a poor, Native American wolf–just the way the world works, or a sign that minorities get the short end of the stick?


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