Yo Mikey P. here.

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Mutants and Muslims

In 1994, my mom was remarried to a man from Alexandria, Egypt. He left for the States back when his country was sending men to support Iraq in the first Gulf War.  His engineering degree was not recognized in America so he worked as a waiter and, upon the marriage to my mom (and inheriting three kids), went to school at night to rebuild a career. 

Suffice to say, as the first born 14 year old, I wasn't about to make it easy for anyone to come into our family. But learning first hand about another culture and life outside New York probably accelerated my acceptance.  Through simple acts of being there, he was able to fill the role of father figure when I needed that foundation during terrible teenage years.  I would watch him patiently sit with my crying, stubborn sister every night teaching her math homework until she got it.  A year or two prior, she was a lot of my responsibility but it wasn't until then that I realized I wasn't enough.  There were times at kitchen tables he would answer our questions about Islam and having a Catholic foundation, everything seemed very familiar. There also wasn't really much difference between Sunday church and the one or two times we went to the mosque with him.  

Sometimes when thinking about alternate realities as one does, I would wonder if my experience with my stepdad was the reason it would later be easier to understand the difference between extremists from the religion. 

But then I remember I was raised right. I also read a lot of Chris Claremont. 

Chris Claremont's 15+ year run on Uncanny X-Men was wordy, repetitious in that jump-on-board-with-any-issue style, and I'm not even sure if it holds up anymore.   But he was a goddamn genius in telling you the story about why we can't group people into one categorized label.  What he was saying, in a nutshell, is that human beings are idiots in mass.  They would see Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants doing shithole things and quickly assume all mutants are terrible and a threat to America.  The biggest mantra of the book ingrained in me was  "people fear what they do not understand." So when I read vile internet tweet junk, my  first thought is that these authors of such venom obviously didn't grow up on X-Men. 

In a world of travel bans and executive orders, it's easy to jump on board of certain agendas out of self-preservation. I have two kids and worrying about their future will be a daily concern until they are changing my diapers. But I still don't get repeating past mistakes. A co-worker at my Bruce Wayne job told me about her encounter upon getting in a taxi with two women in hijabs. She actually praised herself that she stayed in the car and made small talk, despite the "hilarious anecdote" that she was also texting her loved ones where she was in case she blew up. This is a woman who volunteered her time for Clinton's campaign and opposed everything about her opponent. I guess not everything. 

I would hope we have evolved enough to recognize our educational limitations.  Islamophobia perhaps straddles that 'is-this-racism?' hurdle for some because of fear.  Maybe all these recent agendas bother you but you don't know any muslims so it doesn't directly affect you and you need to pick your battles. But that, however, is the same thing as walking past someone holding a Mutie protest sign in a John Byrne panel.

My wife is first generation American born from two Cubans who risked their lives fleeing a dictator.  Perhaps if Syria was communist and it was 1980, Syrians would find a more welcoming United States. Perhaps if today's political climate existed when I was growing up, I would have been without a step-father, and without a wife. 

I'm not saying immigration should be limitless, but let's stop being stupid. And if you don't know much about Islam or the immigration issues, it's understandable. There are ways to educate yourself, though.

And if you're starting to feel this is getting off the topic of comic books, realize comics today would never exit without the extensive list of immigrant silver-age and current comic book creators. Superman is the ultimate immigrant. Spider-man's universal success is often attributed to his faceless mask where fans of any race could more easily connect to him. 

All I'm saying is don't let people blame the X-Men for what the Brotherhood of Evil does. 

From my Egyptian import collection.

From my Egyptian import collection.

Project: Get Known! FALLEN

Project: Get Known! FALLEN

Project: Get Known! HYPER-SENSE