My lesson is learned. Never accuse a comic of being arguably racist, unless you want people to ask unexpected, and slightly flamey, questions in the comments section. The comic in question? Kick-Ass. The controversy? Whether or not white people are less likely to break laws.Following on from a comment I made about the worrying lack of white criminals for white wannabe superhero Kick-Ass to beat up, commenter gbryant asked a somewhat inflammatory question:
I ask in all seriousness: why is it taboo (or questionable) for white kids to beat up not-white kids? I mean, if the beating is specifically for ethnic reasons then, yeah, that's bad. But real life (at least the one with which I am familiar) isn't like a Brinks Home Security commercial where all crime is perpetrated by white street toughs in stocking caps who look like they should be somewhere demanding that you "stay offa da Eagle's turf." If you're going to beat up criminals in New York, you're going to have to beat up a lot of people of all races - but mostly minorities.
Unsurprisingly, it was the last sentence that people had most trouble with:
IkeBenson: "you had me shaking my head in agreement until 'but mostly minorities'" Evlsusji: "WOW. I'm not gonna even TOUCH this one." jp182: "you obviously don't watch Law & Order do you? Even that fictional show about crime in NYC shows plenty of white criminals."
gbryant attempted to explain:
Yeah, I figured that might cause some discomfort and, for that, I apologize. I do, however, stand by the assertion that Blacks and Latinos are responsible for a disproportionate amount of street crime in NYC; therefore it is entirely reasonable to depict a street crime fighter in NYC beating up Blacks and Latinos. Now, it is an assertion based largely on anecdotal information as I seem to have the hardest time finding any data regarding the race of criminal perpetrators in NYC that would serve to either confirm or deny my gut feelings.
That didn't calm down everyone, though:
crashfrog: "It's about economics, not race. The racial disparities among criminals are a symptom of the differing class issues that send people into different kinds of crimes, not anything having to do with race on it's own. Race, after all, doesn't entirely exist." Evlsushi: "My point is that racism makes people see what they want to see about stereotypes. This is why racial profiling is such a bad bad problem in NYC (and L.A. for that matter). If police investigate blacks more than whites then of course it's going to look like white people aren't as responsible for as many crimes... Also, to address your first post, I think the problem with having a white kid beat up ONLY blacks and latinos is the fact that minorities have a history in cinema for being portrayed as thugs and criminals. Having a white kid beat up some black people echoes violence during the civil rights era for a lot of people. I'm all for equal opportunity ass kicking, but it's gotta be balanced."
That was my original problem with the comic, I think; that it seemed unbalanced for the white kid to only be going after non-white criminals. But then again, maybe it's all in my head. After all, as brucifer said,
Frankly, it's upper middle class white liberal guilt that makes it taboo. It's also a fear that if they enjoy a movie where a white kid beats up a black kid, they are racists.
So now we know.