Diversity is a big thing these days. We need more diverse student bodies, more diverse workforces, and above all, more diverse casts in movies, books, and TV shows. And I don’t consider that a bad thing. On the contrary, diversity is a good thing, because it represents our diverse population and the many wonderful people on it.

However, I take issue when writers stick in a single minority character or one female character into the main cast and say, “Diversity element added”. Because that’s not diversity. That’s just being lazy. You see, a really diverse cast doesn’t just have a couple of characters you don’t usually see in these sort of stories. A really diverse cast has fully developed characters that grow and evolve over the course of the story, and they all come from many different backgrounds.

Take the main cast of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier (I would’ve done Reborn City instead, but I have a strange feeling that more people have seen Captain America 2 than have read RC. Just a feeling, but it’s a strong one). In that movie, the four main characters have great depth, they do some growing in the movie, and we see sides to them that have not been revealed previously. Three of them also happen to be the exact opposite of the usual superhero protagonist, namely a white guy on the front lines. Black Widow is a woman and Falcon and Nick Fury are both black, but neither of those traits define them or are the main points to make them interesting.

Okay, the main points that make them interesting is their fighting abilities, cool gadgets, and the awesome things they can do, but that’s beside the point! There’s more to them than the fighting and what’s on the surface. They are all given a chance to grow in this film, and we really get a chance to know them. Natasha and Steve Rogers develop a relationship over the course of the film that swings between best friends and a sibling love for each other, while San Wilson becomes the one person who can relate to Rogers because of their shared experience. And Nick Fury, besides revealing information about himself that might have been a surprise to many fans, also had to question the organization he lead. Specifically, is it doing more harm than good? And is it worth it to keep SHIELD around?

All these characters are different from what might be or have been considered normal for superhero films, but that’s not what makes them great. What makes them great is that they have depth, they have growth, and whoever wrote the film didn’t feel that just because they were black or female that was character development enough!

So with the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film, they’ve apparently already cast Wonder Woman (who is obviously female) and Cyborg (who is black). I don’t know what sort of role they’ll have in this film (or in any sequels which will inevitably pop up), but I do hope that their characters are given as much time to develop and grow and reveal their hidden sides in the movies as the other characters. There’s a huge literature from which the writers can draw wonderful storylines from. I’d really like to see what they do.

And if they only focus on Wonder Woman’s being a woman or don’t give Cyborg enough treatment as a character, it’ll diminish my enjoyment of the film that much more.

So thanks for listening to my rant on the need for real diversity in our popular media. I’ve got a flight in a few hours, so I’ll write again when I can (though when that’ll be I have no idea). Have a lovely day, my Followers of Fear.

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