The Racial Truth Inside Popular Fiction’s Lie

Mikhail Lyubansky

X-Men“Fiction,” said Stephen King, “is the truth inside the lie.” What he didn’t mention is that, for many American young people, it may be the only truth they get, at least about some issues. It’s no secret that popular fiction exerts a strong influence on how kids, adolescents, and the rest of us think about controversial topics. It is therefore noteworthy that recent books and films such as the X-Men (Harry Potter too) have explicitly taken on racial issues with a clear and unmistakable anti-racist stance. As a result, important issues such as blood purity, group prejudice, and even eugenics have become part of the dialogue – both online and at the kitchen table. Moreover, with several more Harry Potter and X-Men films currently in production, these themes are likely to remain in our cultural dialogue for the foreseeable future.

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