Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #106 (Part 2): I AM CURIOUS BLACK

When last we read, Whitey Lois was in the 'hood trying to write an article that will win her a Pulitzer. Although cabs are eager to pick her up, the people in the ghetto don't have the same enthusiasm. Shunned by children, Lois carries on in I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

Rebuffed but undaunted, our favorite journalist continues on her quest. She's Lois Lane, intrepid girl reporter, and nothing is going to keep her from her Pulitzer. So she knocks on a tenement door. (Really, Lois? You're just going to knock on some stranger's door and get the scoop on being black? Ooookay, let's try that). The woman who answers the door slams it in Lois's face.

"Ohh...!" More shock. Dang those Pulitzers are hard to earn. (Perhaps Lois shouldn't have worn her "I've found Jehovah!" button today.)

Her day doesn't improve. She goes to a coffee shop and two men look toward her. "How can I break through this wall of suspicion? " (Personally, I think they're staring because she's sitting there staring at them, and she's not drinking her coffee. It's gonna get cold, y'know! That's pretty suspicious. Bet she ordered it black, too!)

She passes three guys playing dice in an alley and thinks, "No one will speak to me!" (She's just standing there staring at them, clutching her purse tightly, and looking superior. Why would they break their game to talk to her? What if they've already heard on the street that she orders coffee but won't drink it because it's black? Huh? Did you ever think of that, Lois!!!)

Not having any luck with kids or adults, Lois goes after a baby. She chucks it under the chin only to have the wee one wheeled away by her mother, as if Lois were the plague. Lois thinks, "That mother wheeled her baby away from me as if... as if I were the plague!' (Sure, Lois -- reference the black death. Betcha whitey gave it that name.)

"Wandering like homeless ghost..." (ghosts being traditionally depicted as white apparitions, of course. Doncha get it, Lois? You're going to have to turn black! Not yet? Okay, let's continue this rejection for another page or so). Lois sits on a park bench next to an elderly woman. The woman politely mentions the weather and Lois feels vindicated. Finally, someone is talking to her! (What Lois doesn't know is that the old lady also wants a Pulitzer. She's really a 20 yr-old who transformed herself into an elderly woman to research ageism.)

But as soon as she tells the woman that she's a reporter, the woman leaves. "The freeze is still on! The only reason that nice old lady spoke to me is because she's blind! When she heard me speak, she knew I was white!"

(That should be enough. The reader would have to be blind and not reading this story not to have gotten the point by now, right? Right? Well... maybe we need it spelled out a little clearer.)

A young, handsome black man is speaking to a crowd and, while pointing to Lois, says, "Look at her brothers and sisters! She's young and sweet and pretty. But she never forgets she's whitey!" (Actually, Lois had nearly forgotten she was whitey, but thankfully, he was there to remind her.)

(Please note that at this point, the only people who have shown rampant, outrageous racism are the blacks. They ostracize her, won't speak to her, and call her racial epithets. What is this story trying to say? That all black people are bigots? Maybe Lois should turn black, so we can get down to the truth! The now! The today!)

Mr. Black Man continues saying, "She'll let us shine her shoes and sweep her floors! And let us baby-sit for her kids! But she doesn't want to let our kids into her lily-white schools! It's okay with her if we leave these rat-infested slums! If we don't move next door to her ! That's why she's our enemy !" (Is she sad because of what he said, or because she sees her Pulitzer slipping away?)

Wow! We've got some genuine urban anger going on here, right in the same comic that used to deal primarily with doing silly things to get scoops and making up plots to trap Superman into marriage! I think the silver age is over, boys and girls. Comics are suddenly as bronze as Lois with a super-tan.

A very sad Lois thinks, "He's wrong about me... but right about so many others!" Oh man, Lois is having an epiphany. She's seen the slums and the tenements; she's seen the distrust and fear; she's seen herself in a black man's mirror and she's awakened to the now, the today and all that relevant stuff.

After several more hours of this (Lois is a tad slow getting the point) she is sitting on a park bench when Superman flies down. (He was watching over her, remember?) So, has Lois changed deep inside? Has this experience truly awakened her to the problems in the slums?

Nah, she's still worried about her story. She tells Superman that there's only one way she can get her scoop. What could it possibly be? Would I really be so cruel as to end today's revisit here? Why, yes, actually, I would. Come back Friday to find out what that "one way" to change things could possibly be (Don't peak at the cover or, um, the title of the story) in I AM CURIOUS BLACK!

No comments: