I was rereading JLA/Avengers #1 today and struck by the scene where the angry mob is chasing the young mutant. A number of the people chasing him were apparently the guy’s friends, teachers and neighbors.
It strikes me that the Marvel Universe doesn’t seem very “enlightened” if it can still have public pogroms, even if the victims are very scary looking. On the other hand, the Marvel U is in many ways meant to be an approximation of the real world…just with super-beings, aliens, and Galactus. (I say this a bit tounge-in-cheek…in theory, the Marvel Universe should be a VASTLY different place than our world. I can only imagine how different religion, politics, the economy and any number of things would be if we lived in a superhero world.)
I realize that our society still has plenty of discrimination, but the prevailing view you sense from our culture, based on TV programs, the media, and academics is that we’re more enlightened. Non-caucasian races are more accepted, women can climb the social ladder and not be expected to be married mothers, and even homosexuality has made social leaps and bounds in the last decade.1
Still, mutants continue to get the shaft. I realize that it’s hard to blame the Marvel universe–your neighbor might shoot lasers out of his eyes, and Magneto has killed how many people? I’m still amazed that there isn’t a more prevailing sense of tolerance. When 9/11 happened, people continually said “Muslims aren’t bad people–it’s only these people who are nuts.” Why can’t the same be said for mutants?
So my question is not directed at anyone’s personal views–I presume that everyone here wouldn’t give anyone stigma based on race, gender, or in this case, cosmic genetic disposition. My question is whether you think that, based on the prevailing culture of the Marvel Universe, you–the average person–would be suckered in by the anti-mutant bias.
1 I was rereading Action Comics #600 today, which has a scene where Lex Luthor threatens to blackmail Maggie Sawyer by making public the fact that she’s a homosexual. This part struck me as almost funny–this scene may have been believable in 1988, but by today’s standards, Maggie would probably be “out” and the threat likely wouldn’t carry as much weight.