92 Ind. L.J. Supp. 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/spplmntinlj92 and id is 1 raw text is: 








                       A Choice of Weapons:
        The X-Men and the Metaphor for Approaches to
                             Racial Equality

                GREGORY S. PARKS* AND MATTHEW W. HUGHEY**

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution
                         inevitable. - John F. Kennedy

                                INTRODUCTION

   We are at a crossroads in American history when we as a nation must decide a
path toward racial equality. It is a crossroads that we have come to in the past,
primarily in the 1960s and 1970s (i.e., civil rights or black power, peace or violence,
etc.). It is a narrative that has been told for decades in the comic book The X-Men.
This comic book as well as its graphic novel series and collection of movies has long
served as a metaphor for what has played out with regard to race on the American
landscape. This article explores that metaphor and raises an important question:
Which approach (peace or violence) was best, particularly in light of the current
struggle for racial equality in the United States?
   As a country, we are in the midst of a storm. It is a tempest born of decades,
generations, and centuries of white supremacy. One of the current iterations and
manifestations resulted, in part, from the killing of nine black worshipers in a
Charleston, South Carolina church.' The storm is both cause and consequence of a



     * Associate Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law. The authors
thank Alena Baker, Jessica Hajjar, Kate Helin, Kevin Rothenberg, Hannah Rudder, and Sophia
Vazquez for their research assistance on this article.
    ** Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut. The title is taken from
GORDON PARKS, A CHOICE OF WEAPONS (2010).
    1. On June 17, 2015, Dylann Storm Roof attended a prayer service at Emanuel African
Methodist Episcopal Church. See Kevin Sack & Gardiner Harris, President Obama Eulogizes
Charleston Pastor as One Who Understood Grace, N.Y. Twvs (June 26, 2015),
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/thousands-gather-for-funeral-of-clementa-pinckney-
in-charleston.html?_r-0 [https://perma.cc/D892-T77S]. There, Roof shot and killed nine
African Americans, including senior pastor and state senator Clementa C. Pinckney, and
injured at least one other person. Robert Costa, Lindsey Bever, J. Freedom du Lac & Sari
Horwitz, Church Shooting Suspect Dylann Roof Captured Amid Hate Crime Investigation,
WASH.    POST   (June  18,   2015),  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/moming-
mix/wp/2015/06/17/wlite-gunman-sought-in-shooting-at -historic-charleston-african-ame-
church/ [https://perma.cc/TF49-VU73]. The killing, largely, prompted peaceful protests. See
Abby Philip & Chico Harlan, Hundreds March in Charleston, Columbia to Take Down
Confederate Flag, WASH. POST (June 20, 2015), https://www.wasingtonpost.com/news/post-
nation/wp/2015/06/20/hundreds -march-in-charle ston-columbia-to -take -down-confederate -
flag/?utm term=.bfaea3aca7fe [https://perma.cc/U259-9DUD]. At a statehouse press
conference on June 22, 2015, Governor Nikki Haley, flanked by elected officials of both
parties, called for the flag to be removed by the state legislature, saying that while the flag was
an integral part of our past, it does not represent the future of South Carolina. Amber
Phillips, The March Against the Confederate Flag Continued Thursday This Time in

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