The "M-word"

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PrimeDirective

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So I just found out that apparently Rememder's use of the term "M-word" in Uncanny Avengers was highly offensive to some people. Since I missed the boat, what exactly was so upsetting about it? "Mutie" is a negative connotation hate-speech slang term for mutants in the Marvel Universe, and Alex Summers has been called this many times in his life. He doesn't like hearing it, so much so that he didn't even say the full word, just referred to it by its first letter. How in the heck is that offensive? Are mutants real or did I miss something something? Help me understand...

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HAWK2916

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Who knows... people can be so damn sensitive about every little thing. One of the things wrong with this country. So busy trying to coddle everyone that we lose freedom of speech

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oldnightcrawler

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#3  Edited By oldnightcrawler

So I just found out that apparently Rememder's use of the term "M-word" in Uncanny Avengers was highly offensive to some people. Since I missed the boat, what exactly was so upsetting about it? "Mutie" is a negative connotation hate-speech slang term for mutants in the Marvel Universe, and Alex Summers has been called this many times in his life. He doesn't like hearing it, so much so that he didn't even say the full word, just referred to it by its first letter. How in the heck is that offensive? Are mutants real or did I miss something something? Help me understand...

If Havok had meant he didn't like being called "Mutie", I think people would have understood, because, like you say, it's meant to have a negative connotation. What Havok actually said was that he didn't like being called a Mutant, meaning that he'd rather be seen as a human being first and foremost. I understood what he meant, but as some people pointed out, saying that he doesn't want to be called a mutant makes it sound like he thinks there's something wrong with being acknowledged as one; like he's ashamed of it, when it was actually just a poor choice of phrasing.

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SC

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#4 SC  Moderator

I am pretty confident that most of the criticism (and offense would fall under that too) was towards and because Alex was referring to the term mutant, as opposed to the word mutie. I wasn't offended but I found Alex's perspective a bit naive and simplistic in real life terms, and highly entertaining and enjoyable as far as fiction and in context to Marvel and X-Men stories.

I'll explain what I mean by naive and simplistic and that might also explain why some others were offended. When someone attempts to dismiss and criticize differences among people as divisive, when what we should be doing is prioritizing that we are all humans and that people should refer to him as Alex, it implies that differences are bad and that people lack the ability to be aware of differences, acknowledge differences and be okay, honest and transparent and sincere about differences. Does Alex expect to be able to use restrooms designated for female use only? Does Alex hope to participate in the Special Olympics because we are all humans? There are objective differences between people, like height and ethnicity and just because there are differences doesn't mean that values of quality are intrinsic to those differences or that being aware of differences is an attempt to undermine what people do share in common. Naturally some people will try and introduce the idea of superiority and inferiority and this is where people apply the ability to reason and be intelligent to actually assess such claims and assertions.

So when Alex asserts that people shouldn't call "us mutants" for many its the same as a gay person telling people not to call "us gay" or not to call "us homosexual" or a black person telling others not to call "us black" because we are all people! Hoorah! Its just a bland point as far as its true, and great that we are all humans. If he feels uncomfortable by a term that many other actual mutants are okay with, then he should speak for himself and not try to speak for all mutants. It would be like a any single person trying to speak on behalf of a gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation. It also seems to vilify a pretty neutral term. One can be both a human and a mutant. Just like one can be both a human, mutant, male, blond, X-Man, chess player, egg beater so on. If someone in that audience makes reference to Alex's hair is he going to child them for using the "B-Word?" then tell people the term blond is divisive and that we are all human? If his message is simply that people are more than the sum of labels they self identify as or are labeled and identified as by others, then he didn't really do a good job at doing that because that is actually a pretty hard point to argue against and be offended by.

I actually also really enjoyed this perspective being introduced into X-Men comics though, because this is a perspective that exists in real life and is shared by many, and so it adds another grey shade into the X-Books and Marvel overall and I like my fiction with shades of grey.

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knighthood

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#5  Edited By knighthood

@oldnightcrawler: I understand the argument against the "M" word speech, but I still think those people are being way too sensitive. The term "Mutant" is basically labeling individuals as abnormal and Havok was just pointing out that we are all human. Apply to same argument into our modern day culture. Do you think it would be appropriate to call individuals with blue eyes mutants? How about albinos? If you think about it almost everyone has genes that have evolved and "mutated" over centuries. Do we call each other mutants? No, we don't. We are accepted as human.

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Breadspread

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#6  Edited By Breadspread
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thespideyguy

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Black people relate to Mutants.

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JonSmith

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#8  Edited By JonSmith

It was less what was said so much as how. Alex HAD a good point: When you meet a person, you don't think, "OH MY GOD A HUMAN BEING!" Alex's point is that mutants should be like that: They're just another species on the same world, so if you meet a mutant on the street, you should think of them like any other person, not, "OH MY GOD A MUTANT!"

I.e., not judging mutants on their species, judging them by their actions, just like anyone else. It's a good, noble, sensible idea.

But, he screwed up in the way he actually SPOKE this idea aloud. Instead of stating it as, "Even if we're not all human, we're all people." He instead said it as, "Stop calling us mutants, we're people too." He talked about the term 'mutant' like it's a dirty word, vilifying it, effectively spitting in the face of all mutants who were proud of what they were.

There was a good idea behind the speech, but he failed in delivering on it, instead merely proceeding to hurt the image of mutants among both the humans and the mutants themselves.

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the_stegman

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#9  Edited By the_stegman  Moderator

I like Havok's speech. And Wanda's defense of it in the Rogue debate.

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Wolverine008

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I agree with Havok. Mutants playing this "Us vs Them" game will never fix things.

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Jonny_Anonymous

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@wolverine08: That's not the point. Alex implied that pepole should hide there differences instead of accepting them, it's basically white washing. It be like if I told everybody to stop "calling us Romani" implying that that was somehow wrong.

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Wolverine008

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FadeToBlackBolt

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It's all well and good for the blonde haired, blue-eyed supermodel mutants, what about guys like Beak? And screw pride in one's cultural heritage, all mutants should hide in the sand and just go by human.

Remender was trying to be intelligent and political, but he's a simpleton, and he approached the topic as an arrogant simpleton would; thinking his answer was correct and that all race problems would end if everyone just listened to him.

Unfortunately, as said, he's an idiot.

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bigtewell

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well in all new xmen they showed their reactions to this speech. kitty said while she sees his point she doesnt agree. she said shes jewish and people face difficulties bc they are jewish but it doesnt make her any less proud of who she is or her heritage bc its a major part of who she is and she deosnt want to hide it. thats how she feels about being a mutant as well

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Polarity

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It depends upon what you mean my "mutant". The word itself has been used as a pejorative at times. If someone chooses to do away with that word because of its negative connotations, is it ignoring the problem or is it empowering to the person who refuses to be called that word? Everyone is sort of imputing their own meaning on a word that can be used as an allegory for just about anything without actually taking time to put the in-world meaning into perspective. Because of this, the word "mutant" has become something of a jumbled mess and I think everyone from creator to reader is guilty of this.

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tigerkaya

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Good to see Uncanny Avengers falling apart maybe now Cap will finally decommission the team after Havok awful speech.

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oldnightcrawler

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@knighthood: yeah, I understood what Havok meant by his speech, and I agreed.

I was just pointing out why, as an analogy for, say, a racial term (like black, native, etc), I can understand why the phrasing would be problematic for people. And I think it's actually a credit to the writing that it was phrased the way it was, because it opened up a whole dialogue that can be (and already has been) revisited through the story, and even engaged by other writers, as Bendis touched on recently in AnXM.

Good to see Uncanny Avengers falling apart maybe now Cap will finally decommission the team after Havok awful speech.

haha! 'cause that's what Captain America does, gives up after the first try! hahaha..too much..

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#18  Edited By lykopis

Too many people projecting too much into what Havok was saying in his speech. I took it simply, which is to say, no need to call someone a female doctor or a male nurse. A doctor is a doctor and nurse is a nurse. That is how I took it to mean and I say this as a long time X-Men fan who loved and enjoyed the take on discrimination against mutants in the early years.

People either didn't read the book or ignoring pertinent information like how Captain America was against Rogue and Scarlet Witch standing on the podium alongside Havok due to their past affiliations with the "bad" side. Did he have to be blonde and blue-eyed? Hey, why not? Are you telling me that having a more obviously physically altered mutant would make a better and stronger statement? Maybe. Then you would have to acknowledge that a reverse discrimination is going on in terms of men, let alone blonde and blue-eyed and "white".

It's a complicated and long standing problem when we apply real life issues like sexism and racism to it and I am enjoying the conversation it's generating. The difference here which seems to be ignored is that being a mutant is so much more that looking like a see-through jello man and wings that make an incredibly beautiful man fly. Mutants are still human -- and it's that humanity which should be constantly held up to the forefront -- separation and fear causes confusion and hatred. Children are being born to "base" human beings -- these are not children of historically oppressed people, or genders who have been made to suffer.

Like I said, complicated.

Oh -- and to heck with that Scarlett Witch and Rogue debate/argument -- it was a poorly executed dialogue in which both characters came off more like puppets for the writer than sounding themselves. Also, why not throw out superhero names completely? Alex, Anna, Wanda, Steve, etc.....

The world is being portrayed as a bunch a crazies -- authorities "shoot first, ask later" doesn't come off organic but there's a lot that's not coming across very well in the X-World lately (in my opinion). I do like having the Avengers and the X-Men work together but I had hoped for something more productive than just another stage to force-feed this whole us-against-them mantra.

Or -- more concisely:

@wolverine08 said:

I agree with Havok. Mutants playing this "Us vs Them" game will never fix things.

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TDK_1997

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The speech Alex gave wasn't that good but I like the way Remender wanted to handle things.He chose the more diplomatic way and not the rude way.People seem to allow only beautiful looking mutants and the ones that are strange or deformed call freaks so that is why the speech Alex gave was good for us to see and people in comic books to comprehend things better.

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PeppeyHare

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People get offended and whine about everything these days.

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