Tag Archives: happiness

For Your Consideration: The Happiness and Wellbeing of Minority Characters

This is short [and quite late] even as “For Your Consideration” posts go. While past instances have been particularly research heavy, this installment really leans into the gist of those three words. I’m here to present all of you nice people with a little something to ruminate on, and this time I don’t even have a particular stance on it myself.

Jeremy Whitley is a comic book writer that Marvel appears to be actively grooming, and who I first read due to his penning one of a handful of short stories in the Secret Wars: Secret Love one-shot [a truly excellent Danny/Misty Knight romance].

Secret Wars: Secret Love – “Misty and Danny Forever”. Written by Jeremy Whitley, illustrated by Gurihiru.

Since then he’s also written a tie-in issue of Champions, and is currently on the ongoing The Unstoppable Wasp as well as responsible for another upcoming event one-shot [this time for the summer’s Secret Empire]. Suffice to say, Whitley is swiftly making a name for himself at one of the two largest publishers in the industry.

What he was once primarily known for, and which I’m positive he’s very proud of, is Princeless. Starting back in 2012, the all-ages series has released six volumes and been nominated for two Eisner awards. What’s particularly notable is how he has in part been writing the book for his daughter, with the following interview answer explaining a lot about the title hero’s character design:

“My daughter is black and while I encourage her to look for role models of all colors, girls need to be able to see girls that are like themselves in media. They need it even more when it comes to seeing them portrayed with strength. And, unfortunately, I think that’s sort of a symptom of this exclusionary tendency in the self-professed nerd culture circles. I would love nothing more than to change that culture, but barring that, I’ll help create another one.”

With that in mind it should be of no surprise whatsoever that Whitley is very concerned about diversity and representation in media, and has made a concerted effort to include that in all of his books.

Now to get to the actual meat of this post, I began following him on tumblr not too long ago where he’s very active in engaging with his fans. It was a couple of weeks back that I came across the following exchange between Whitley and two such comic readers:

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Fame Day: Cambodian Orphans and the Calgary Flood

These are some of the kids at the Place of Rescue orphanage in Cambodia.

The reason I want to talk about these kids is because on June 20th one of my best friends was evacuated from her home in Calgary, B.C. due to extensive flooding.

There was actually a lot of cool stories I began hearing after the flood. Like the time the city asked for a few hundred volunteers to come out and help clean out flooded homes and a few thousand showed up instead.

But the coolest story I heard was actually about those kids at the orphanage in Cambodia.  About six days after my friend was evacuated kids and staff at the place of rescue pulled together and sent a total of $900 to help with flood relief in Calgary. Apparently they had each been given the equivalent of about $12 Canadian money by the Cambodian prime minister’s wife not long before the flooding here in Canada. When they heard about the damages they decided to send some of the money they had been given to help with flood repairs. The reason I find this so exciting is because here in North America we tend to think we don’t actually have any real problems.

And we are constantly told about the horrible things happening overseas and why we should send money to help stop these horrible things from happening.

I’m not saying these horrible things aren’t happening. I’m not saying there isn’t a real need, or even that we shouldn’t send money overseas. All I’m saying is that we need them just as much as they need us. When the discussion of poverty is constantly framed in a way that leads us to believe we have the power to save lives it tends to lead to a bit of a god complex.

Not to mention that it also allows us to forget that often we are part of the problem. According to Blaine Sylvester, director of the Calgary-based Canadian

Foundation Place of Rescue, the kids at the orphanage don’t feel like they are so  poverty stricken that they can’t share with their Canadian friends: “The children may live in spartan conditions and sleep 10 to a house with a house mother, but they’re safe, they’re secure and they’re loved.” While Canada and the States are ranked well below countries like Fiji, Nigeria and Ghana on the Global Happiness Index we still assume North Americans need to teach countries we perceive to be “3rd world” how they ought to live.

But while more and more North Americans begin to suffer from donor fatigue, the kids at Place of Rescue seem more than happy to teach us how to give.