Maybe we should let them have it. Why do so many of us expend so much energy to be included in spaces that routinely omit us, populated by people who deny (and are angered by) our existence? Do we even have to go into how the corporations that produce and distribute the things we love are usually silent when the fandamentalists go on their racist, homophobic, misogynist tirades? Oh yeah, and the death threats.
In recent days, a corporation loudly and publicly sided with hatemongers.
Shouts out to individual creators who clap back at the incel legion of trolldom. But the major comic companies, movie studios, and geek merch purveyors have to step up or lose us. Their silence is complicity. Luckily there are options.
There is an almost embarrassment of diverse content, yet many of us are still clinging to the capes and webs and wands of a handful of content creators.
Time and again they’ve shown us that they don’t want us, or we’re being patronized via half-assed diversity attempts, trotting out women and/or POC to silence the masses crying for more inclusion in comics.
And these comics routinely fail, become tax write-offs, because they weren’t launched with any supportive infrastructure with an eye towards longevity.
For the cheap seats: Diversity isn’t an object. It isn’t a thing you can (or should) try to manipulate for a little bit of coin. Diversity is an ‘is.’ It’s like climate. Either put on or take off your jacket, but don’t expect climate to change for you. Diversity, in all of its permutations, is the default — not adolescent white boys whose violence is spurred by misremembered and warped nostalgia. Yes, targeting someone via social media is a form of violence.
I’m not saying diversity and inclusion aren’t worthy goals. They are more than worthy. But how hard do we have to bang on the gates to gain entry? How loud do we have to scream to be heard — not only heard, but listened to?
In January, I’m conducting an experiment. I’m going to (try) to only support indie-nerdom. I’m going to (try) to not cop anything from the Big Two comics folks, nothing from mainstream television and movie studios, nothing from the corporate cowards who have shown they rather pander to hatred than bolster pluralism. People have lived biblically, gone a year without anything Made in China, I think I can do this.
And for those of you wondering about the alternatives, here are just a few:
Your nerdom is your choice. Dig what you dig. But I’m having a difficult time giving money, time, and energy to people and places that don’t want me to feel welcome.
[Cover image created by Kate Turner]