For the past couple of years (or so), the original inspirations of Professor X and Magneto has made their internet rounds. The likenesses between Martin Luther King and Professor X tend to be hard to ignore. Even more, Magneto and Malcolm X’s hardcore approaches for the justice of their “own kind” skated into being overly obvious. People always suspected this. However, they never had hardcore proof.

That is, until the pictures started to surface and the grandfather of all comics confirmed it himself. In an interview, Stan Lee had this to say:

[I] did not think of Magneto as a bad guy. He was just trying to strike back at the people who were so bigoted and racist. He was trying to defend mutants, and because society was not treating them fairly, he decided to teach society a lesson. He was a danger of course, but I never thought of him as a villain. [1]

Now that the cat is out of the bag, we understand the true inspiration behind Marvel’s favorite mutants. Magneto is a reference to Malcolm X and Professor X is a reference to MLK. Inadvertently, Stan Lee presented the X-Men as a reference to the plight of Black people in America.

Malcolm and X 1

Malcolm X as Magneto – Under Further Inspection

Looking back at how the comic stories and situations work themselves out, the references make sense. The mutant society, like African Americans, only wanted to “live”. Like Professor X, plenty wanted to be treated as equals. However, with a Malcolm/Magneto influence, there were others that wanted their own. Plenty of the story arcs and situations play into this struggle. Like the mutants in the comic books, Black people struggle between acceptance and equally finding our own place in the world.

Malcolm X as Magneto – The Side Note

Now, I need to make reference to how we “evolved” (or devolved) over society’s course of aging through time. On January 15, 2006, The Boondocks premiered its episode “Return of the King”. This episode asked “what if MLK survived the assassination attempt on his life”? What we witnessed was a Martin Luther King that felt out of place in a society that he helped build. If he wasn’t misunderstood, his likeness was used without permission. There were a lot of things going on that he did not comprehend or agree with.

Yet, it all made sense. Martin Luther King would roll over in his grave at some of our shenanigans. Do not get it misconstrued: most of us are doing what we should/what we can. However, there are too many of us (in the public eye, no less) that are shucking and jiving. Plenty of us are either living a lie, being attention whores for social media, or playing the game to die. This only gives light to the lowest common denominator to make them look like a vast majority.

X-Men to X-Statix

It took me a minute to realize what one of the bigger problems was: nowadays, African Americans are expected to play the role of X-Statix. For those in the know, X-Statix was a mutant group that was, for the most part, a parody of a parody. You see, they were the result of what would happen if a mutant group was used as celebrities and reality show fodder. If there wasn’t fighting and bickering, then there was the over-reaching love story. Added on the fact that many (if not damn near all) of the characters met their demise, X-Statix is damn near symbolic to how Black people are viewed in society.

Malcolm X as Magneto 1

To put it in plain English, Black people are relegated as objects of entertainment. We aren’t expected to do anything worthwhile. Many want to link us to the reality shows they witness or the rap music they quote. Not realizing that most of that mess is fantasy, Black people are pigeon-holed. In short, why would people want to listen to our leaders when they expect us to sing, tap dance, act crazy, run amok, and eventually die?

This is what we, as a race, have to work against. There is the assumption that we are a monolithic people that main goal is to be entertaining and fruitless. And no, I’m not saying that we should care about the outside view. However, there needs to be an awareness of what people think so we can act accordingly. As a whole, Black people understand that we are bigger than our media presentations. However, there still needs to be an understanding that “outsiders” have a limited view of the truth.

Malcolm X as Magneto – The Side Note

As many strides as we have made, there are some causes for concern. Creating the world of mutants in comic books was no accident. It shed light on the plight of Black people. Bringing X-Statix to comics was no accident as it lampooned society and (even if not meant to) stereotypes of Black people. So, where do we go from here? Do we blaze trails that Professor X would? Or do we serve as fodder of entertainment like Orphan (a.k.a. Mister Sensitive)? Only our actions will decide.

Malcolm X as Magneto 2

‘Nuff Said and ‘Nuff Respect!!!