Over at Salon, writer Eli Keel makes the profoundly bizarre suggestion that the Marvel Comics villain, Magneto, should be black. This wouldn't usually be a story worth caring about given how cliche the black superhero/villain thing has become, but in this case there are a lot of important implications. Apparently taking the only openly Jewish character in the X-Men universe and turning him black will somehow make the series more diverse and emphasize the Civil Rights narrative that Keel claims is at the heart of the series.
"The best fix for Magneto’s origin problem is to reboot him and Professor X into the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. Have them experience the heartbreak of the historic assassinations as young black men. This reboot would be true to the heart of the characters — X-Men began as a metaphor for segregation. In 1963, America couldn’t openly discuss race in comic form, so the conflict was encoded. “Negroes” became “mutants.” Professor X and Magneto are often interpreted as metaphors for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Having the characters openly admire the historical figures would give Professor X and Magneto the opportunity to argue about the nuances of the their mentors’ philosophies."
The not so obvious problem here is that the Civil Rights era is not in fact at the heart of the series. The heart is of a very different ethnic struggle.
Chicks On The Right are distressed by this odd suggestion and signal their disapproval in typical kosher conservative fashion :
"Okay - yeah. But there is one HUGE problem. In the comics (and the movies), Magneto is Erik Lensherr, who, as a young Jewish boy, survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust.
But Salon even has an explanation for that! Make Magneto a BLACK Jewish man! That way, he could be a survivor of the Holocaust AND participate in the American Civil Rights Movement! That hits the diversity quota on all sides! Do they honestly not realize how utterly ridiculous (and offensive) that sounds? Magneto's Jewish heritage isn't diverse enough for the social justice bullies, so they have to make him black to fill a certain level of victimization. Oh - okay.."
Looking at many of the comments on the Salon article, it's not surprising that most people didn't get it.
Hint: You're completely clueless.
The Jewishness of Magneto and some of the X-Men characters isn't just something thrown in there to add a bit of diversity. Jewish identity is central to the X-Men series because 'mutant' means 'Jew'. Let's unpack this statement.
A lot of people compare Magneto and Professor X to Malcolm X and MLK respectively. Keel wants to reverse this and say:
"Personally, I’d have Professor X be a follower of Malcolm X, while Magneto hangs with Dr. Martin Luther King. That way, Prof. X sees Malcolm X gunned down, the tragic results of a movement divided. He tries to choose peace. Magneto watches the death of his pacifist hero Dr. King, and rejects nonviolence."
While the comparison to MLK and Malcolm X makes sense it's actually irrelevant and besides the point. To replace the Jews in X-Men with blacks destroys the entire narrative of the series.
Magneto is the villain of the series that we can't help but sympathize with precisely because he's a Zionist. He's more Theodor Herzl than Malcolm X. He wants to establish a separate homeland for the 'mutants' because he sees that it's impossible to be accepted by 'humans' (White people). This is why he is the most rational villain that we can root for. At the same time, it's clear that Magneto (Jew) sees the humans (the filthy Goyim) as little more than inferior cattle. To quote Rabbi Ovadia Yosef:
“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel…Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi [Arabic, meaning lord or master] and eat,”
Magneto isn't quite the genocidal Apocalypse, but it's clear that he has no interest in preserving humans.
Xavier, by contrast, is the 'hero' that appears rightly delusional. He's a Diaspora crypto-Jew. Mark Brahmin's fantastic essay on the Jewish identity of the X-Men is informative:
"Hence, if we take Magneto as the representative of Judaism in the series, are the X-Men pro-multicultural, yet anti-Semitic? (Or at least are they “anti-Semitic” according to the hyper-sensitive contemporary usage of that term, in the way that, for example, the ADL sometimes fears that the Democratic Party is becoming “anti-Semitic” when it makes vaguely critical statements about Israel?) Does the X-Men series represent a break from the metaphor of Jews as benevolent superheroes—indeed, a break in popular culture from the depiction of openly Jewish characters as nothing but benefic? Do the virtuous X-Men, opposing Magneto, represent the “talented tenth” of a multicultural society, instead of crypto-Jews? Are the X-Men “progressives” who will, with their greater intelligence and wisdom, lead the rest of humanity in an evolution to a multicultural Utopia, where everyone will be a uniquely talented “Mutant” regardless of race and creed?
This seems to be at least the exoteric meaning of the Mutants’ multiculturalism. Though upon closer examination, there are more nuances at work here. To understand this, a good starting point would be to ask just who is Professor X, the leader of the Mutant coalition that seeks to avert Magneto’s plans for human subjugation? In the films, whether played by Patrick Stewart in his older incarnation or by James McAvoy as a younger man (both employing British accents), ethnically, he is apparently Anglo-Saxon. But this by itself is hardly definitive, as frequently characters who are not necessarily Anglo-Saxon are Anglicized in order to broaden their commercial appeal."
Xavier's relationship with his step brother, Cain Marko AKA The Juggernaut, is key. Cain Marko dominates through brute strength while Xavier overpowers him with his mind (hence the reason he wears the helmet to block Xavier's power). Marko is the symbol of WASP world domination. Yuri Slezkine would call The Juggernaut the Apollonian to the Mercurian Xavier.
The biblical symbolism of Cain's name is significant. As Brahmin points out:
"In Medieval Europe, the story of Cain and Abel was popular and, like the story of Jacob and Esau, was seen as describing the conflict between two archetypal characters—one Jewish, the other Gentile. At this time, however, it was the cursed Cain who was associated with the Wandering Jew, forced to drift for all of eternity for the transgression of killing his brother. Yet this meaning, like so much else in the Bible, derives from a process of cultural appropriation, whereby the original symbology is altered as it passes from one culture to another, from Semites to Europeans. In this case, the symbols have, in fact, been inverted so as to take on the opposite of the original meaning.2 It is likely that Cain was originally understood to be representative of the Gentile, whereas Abel, the innocent and wrongly slain Jew. In the story, Cain is not a nomad (or, at least, he does not start out that way until he is cursed); rather, he is a landed farmer. Abel, on the other hand, is the nomadic herdsman, the archetypal profession of the Jewish patriarchs and most ancient Jews. All interpretations of the story of Cain and Abel, whether Jewish or Christian, concur, however, that the one named Cain is the evil “Other” (possibly even the son of the Devil).
It seems possible, if not likely, that Stan Lee is making a distinction between Jew and Gentile with the introduction of this Biblically named character, who is not related to Xavier by blood. It is also interesting to note that a great source of the conflict between the two comes from Xavier’s ability to read Cain’s mind, leading to Cain’s anger and resentment of Xavier. Whether deliberate or not, Xavier’s “mind reading” ability seems like a comic-book metaphor for Freudian Psychoanalysis. It’s worth noting that psychoanalysis was developed by a Jew (who was, by the way, highly conflicted about his own Jewishness), and for a century it has been enveloped in a certain urban Jewish culture. Moreover, Cain resentment towards Xavier seems metaphorical of that of patient towards his analyst, who, in effect, knows him better than he knows himself.
Likewise, Xavier makes it clear that he has the power to manipulate and influence the thoughts of others.
Tellingly, in the comic series, Prof X erases the mind of Magneto, essentially erasing his Jewish identity. What are Jews without their long historical memory? Without it they are nothing.
The fact that Kitty Pryde and Iceman are only briefly mentioned as Jews is no mere side story. All of the X-Men are Jewish. The meaning of 'X' is obvious.
"The word kike was born on Ellis Island when there were Jewish migrants who were also illiterate (or could not use Latin alphabet letters). When asked to sign the entry-forms with the customary "X," the Jewish immigrants would refuse, because they associated an X with the cross of Christianity. Instead, they drew a circle as the signature on the entry-forms. The Yiddish word for "circle" is kikel (pronounced KY-kul), and for "little circle," kikeleh (pronounced KY-kul-uh). Before long the immigration inspectors were calling anyone who signed with an "O" in place of an "X" a kikel or kikeleh or kikee or, finally and succinctly, kike."
By adopting the X, the X-Men are indicating that they are crypto-Jews pretending to be Christians. They are hiding within a WASP society. Professor X's school is for the 'gifted and talented'. He wants to hide the reality of the children's mutant powers from the public.
Stanley Martin Lieber changed his name to Stan Lee in order to pass as White. Upon becoming White, he developed a comic book empire devoted to the spread of multiculturalism and miscegenation. This isn't surprising given the history of Jewish intellectuals and politicians being devoted to transforming White western countries by promoting mass immigration. As of 2015, Jews are now promoting diversity in Japan via Miss Japan in a deliberate attempt to wipe out the Japanese people. This is Professor X's vision and it's precisely why Magneto is portrayed as the bad guy for opposing it. Magneto is essentially an ethnic nationalist and has more in common with the X-Men villain Graydon Creed, the evil human 'racist' who wants to preserve humanity. It is later revealed that Creed was the son of the mutants Mystique and Sabretooth, a subtle jab at White nationalists who later discover that they have Jewish ancestry.
Some might laugh at the idea of a Jewish comic book company essentially erasing their only openly Jewish character, but that would only play into a greater subversion. By removing an overt Jew from the picture, it makes all of the mutant characters crypto-Jews. By shifting attention to black figures of the Civil Rights era, the series would effectively conceal the Jewish identity at the heart of the X-Men.
Update: A classic preview of what an All-Black X-Men would look like: