The Impacts of Racism Portrayed in Comics

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“Mind your own god damn business, fuckin’ Ni**er!” (Hernandez, 142) says the character Hopey in Jaime Hernandez’s comic The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. While this sort of language for anyone in today’s society is incredibly looked down upon and should never be said to anyone in any context. Even for this essay, it is uncomfortable to type out this quote because of the history behind this word.

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However, decades ago people used this term freely and commonly without any correction. This sort of racism embeds within our society, and culture and shapes the future for better or worse. The outcome of racism is shown in comics such as Jaime Hernandez’s The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S and graphic novels such Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland where both writers express the impacts racisms had on society and culture through visual and narrative text.

Racism whether we like it or not affects everyone, some cultures a lot worse than others and ultimately shapes who we are. An example of this is segregation, where people are separated due mostly due to the color of their skin and/or their race. Segregation begins to create a culture and society that will ultimately define a certain race. An example of this is in the comic The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. This comic is set in a fake place however, the way this place is drawn, and the characters portrayed shows a lot about the authors culture. The location of the comic is usually set in a suburban area and/or a city. Within this place there is usually always Latinos, African Americans and very rarely white females or males (with the exception of Doyle). Additionally, there were times when the city or suburbs were drawn with graffiti and a bit run down. I believe the author drew this intentionally to represent how Latinos and other races lived in California back in his time. Now, not all Latinos, or African Americans lived together due to segregation, there was a few that were able to live outside of these areas. However, a majority of races are segregated into these types of suburbs and cities. This is an important representation because due to this segregation and this community culture begins to form. There’s a sense of community within these areas as well as close knit relationships between everyone.

However, problems also arise when communities begin to fight other communities and basically starting gang wars. When this happens, society then views people within this community as bad and dangerous and thus begins a cycle of people becoming segregated because others don’t want to be in a neighborhood with others that are dangerous and bad. This isn’t always the case and a majority of the time misunderstandings and accidents cause gang wars and this perception. A great example of this is within The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S there is a comic called The Death of Speedy Ortiz.

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