In Need of Racially Diverse Superheroes

The importance of heroes cannot be understated, they’re a part of all human cultures. However, for many minorities, finding a relatable hero is anything but easy.

Joseph Rivas, Columnist

In the United States, finding culturally and ethnically diverse heroes is no easy task. Centuries of racism and xenophobia have impacted our culture and pop culture significantly even to this day. For the longest time, the only racially diverse characters in comic books, movies, and even written history played minor or supporting roles, supporting a white protagonist or being overshadowed by the doings of a white historical figure. Growing up as a non-white child in the United States made me realize if I wanted to look up to a hero, chances are they were white and this led to a particularly confusing disconnect between myself and those significant figures. Not until I took it upon myself to find heroes of my, or other, ethnicities did I ever really see one. Despite being a significant figure, I had never heard of Cesar Chavez nor did I really learn about Martin Luther King Jr. in school.

I could blame it on growing up in an anglocentric country, but America is more diverse than it ever has been. Since that is the case, why are these antiquated problems still an issue? The good news is things are getting better in some ways; pop culture and media are really beginning to explore and embrace racially diverse protagonists that don’t sound or look like they came straight from a “insert-race-sploitation” film from the 1970s. We are seeing non-white characters that are not stereotypes or gross misrepresentations and in history we’re learning more about foreign history and about the significant non-white figures that played a role in this countries history.  

For those who grow up in the United States as a minority life is, in numerous ways, a struggle and without someone or something relatable to look up to, idolize and see as a heroic figure it’s just that much harder. While things are far from equal issues like this are getting better, slowly, but they are improving.