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By Any Means.

August 2nd, 2006 by | Tags: , , , , , ,

Okay, so I have to say something here.

A lot of people seem to think that Magneto, the X-Men’s arch-enemy, is a stand-in for Malcolm X, while Charles Xavier plays the Martin Luther King, Jr. role. Charles is the peaceful integrationist, while Magneto the reactionary firebrand, one willing to bust a cap in the collective human skullpiece. He’s been called a “reverse racist.” Is there a direction racism is supposed to go in?

Stop it. This is both disrespectful and part of the ongoing demonization of Malcolm X. It’s got to stop. Magneto is a charismatic man who talks a good game, but won’t hesitate to kill a gang of people if it suits his purposes. This is the Malcolm X figure in Marvel Comics? A killer? That isn’t what “By any means necessary” is about.

C’mon guys. Not to denigrate his accomplishments, but we’re shown pages upon pages in text books of Martin, who is a peaceable man, then a couple paragraphs on Malcolm that basically boil down to “He didn’t like white folks much.”

No. That is not the business. It’s not right, and only education can fix that. Here is Wikipedia’s article on Malcolm X. It’s a good starting point. From there, read the Autobiography. See what the man was actually about before making comparisons between him and a murderer. Look at his life after Mecca. It isn’t as simple as Malcolm X bad, Martin Luther King good. That’s a false dichotomy that is practically taught in schools nowadays. It’s untrue.

Magneto is Magneto. He is a killer, sometimes a sympathetic one, but a killer nonetheless. Malcolm X is Malcolm X. He was a troubled man, and sometimes a great man, but a man nonetheless.

Please. Stop using this comparison. Even if it’s in the comics, it’s wrong and hurtful.

On a lighter note, look for a new post tomorrow. It’ll be about X-Men: Mutant Genesis and why the Jim Lee-era of X-Men is a classic one. I’ve got a couple deadlines for paying work staring me in the face, but I love you guys so I’ll make time! You may even enjoy it. It’s got Gambit catching bullets, once again proving that he’s awesome.

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5 comments to “By Any Means.”

  1. I thought the comparison comes from the time Malcolm X tore a large Egyptian man in half using his mind in an alternate reality.


  2. I see where you are coming from, and I know I’m as guilty as anyone as using that analogy. Not to downplay what Malcom did, I guess if you look at it in the vaguest of stylistic senses, then you can parley that title onto Chuck and Eric. It’s a generalization, I guess a really bad one when you really think about it. Yes, depending on whose at the pen, Magneto is a homicidal metal flinging maniac. If you look at it from the long run of Xmen lore, then there was a time he was more a troubled, disturbed man, beaten down by the human race, and wanting to rise up and make change, not mow them all down and declare Earth MagnetoLand. I guess my mind remembers that Magnus more then the drug sniffing, tricking Charles into thinking he was cured, blowing the hell outta New York madman he is now.

    At least I think that’s how he is, I haven’t been up in the funnies for a few years now, no money and no time.


  3. […] we’re at it, Magneto isn’t Malcom X […]


  4. The comparisons I’ve seen–and the one I linked on GWOG–seemed to be comparing Magneto less to Malcolm X than to the average stupid white person’s highly inaccurate idea of Malcolm X. It’s a statement not about Malcolm X himself, but about the skewed way in which many people have internalized the contrast between the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and MLK and Malcolm X as their respective representatives.


  5. Most of the ones I’ve seen (new search here) tend to be of the direct parallel variety; “Magneto is Malcolm X-like and Xavier is Martin Luther King.” Even moreso once the movies started coming out.

    There have been a few good points posted online recently. This post here about Xavier Is Not MLK is good, for example.

    And hey, my bad if that post came off weird last night. I’m at E3 in LA and running on low sleep/no sleep!

    edit: and thanks for stopping by :)