We welcome a wide range of opinion here at the HEF. But on more than one occasion, a poster has come here with the goal of attacking the book or me or both. In the interest of not repeating the same arguments over and over, here are some responses to common comments to move the conversation along. It's not a complete list, but it seemed like it was time to post this for the betterment of the board.
It bums me out that so many of these issues revolve around race, but I understand that race is an issue that many people don't feel comfortable talking about, or have the language or basic concepts to discuss in a sophisticated manner. Believe me, I much rather talk about all the other fun stuff that goes on in a given issue. But if race issues keep tripping people up, let's deal with them and move on.
Please look and think about these comments before you make your argument so you won't get a mudhole stomped in you:
YOUR RACE, POLITICS, RELIGION OR GENDER (or gender preference) DOESN'T MAKE YOU RIGHT. Some examples:
Being black doesn't make you an expert on being black.
Being white doesn't make you "more objective" than someone who isn't.
Being a white woman or being white gay male doesn't give you special insights into racial matters.
And the race, religion, etc of your spouse/best friend/significant other doesn't matter either.
IF YOU DON'T READ THE BOOK BUT ARE WILLING TO ARGUE ABOUT IT EITHER YOU ARE:
a) An idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about.
b) A liar who is a fan who can't admit it to himself or others.
SOMETHING IS ONLY RUSHED IF YOU'RE NOT IN A HURRY TO GET THERE.
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "RACIAL" AND "RACIST". Look them up.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "REVERSE RACISM". THERE IS ONLY RACISM. If you think black success means white failure, then look at the scene in BORAT with the frat boys, and realize the joke is on YOU.
IS (fill in the name of a black comic book writer) A RACIST?
When I first met Dwayne McDuffie and Christopher Priest they would tell me stories about how they would be called racist by fanboys whenever they wrote strong black characters. The stories were so unbelievable, well, it's not like I DIDN'T believe them, because both McDuffie and Priest are men of great integrity, but I couldn't really imagine their work inspiring idiotic comments like that.
Well, a decade later, I am experiencing it first hand. Either a) the only black people Marvel and DC are willing to hire are all racists, or b) black superheroes acting like superheroes offends some fans.
Once you figure out (see point 4) discussing race is not inherently "racist" and (see point 5) black heroes winning against white opponents is not "racist", but simply doing what other heroes do, then you'll feel a lot better about life. If you don't, seek help. Really.
IS STORM BLACK OR A MIXTURE OF ALL RACES?
Well, "race" is a social construct so ultimately it's a stupid question. But more to the point, if the "mixture" thing is a dodge to avoid saying she's black, then nah, she's black as Seal. Black as James Brown. Black as Bob Marley. In other words, black. Her momma is black, her daddy is black…ergo, she's black.
WHY DO AFRICAN CHARACTERS ACT "AFRICAN AMERICAN"?
Africa is a big place with a lot of countries in it, and a lot of people in those countries. In each of those countries there are different tribal heritages, a wide range of religious belief, many languages and extraordinary divisions between the rich and the poor. So what does acting "African" mean?
There are Africans all over the world. At what point are they not African?
Why is acting "African American" a pejorative?
I could go on and on with these. I may add more later. But one more important point.
This is my house. You're here because you read my book, and I made a forum where you can talk about it. Many people come here with a bone to pick, but if they have open hearts and minds, they find an engaging and fun community where people can agree to disagree, whether it is over politics, plotlines, sports teams or whatever.
But if you walk in, insult the host, and generally act an ass, I will treat you like I would treat you if you came into my house and behaved that way, i.e., punch you in the face and toss you into the street. I owe you nothing.