Blacks in Outer Space circa 1953

Blacks in Outer Space circa 1953

Entertaining Comics (EC) Weird Fantasy # 18, written by Al Feldstein, is a masterpiece of graphic storytelling takes the reader to a future other-world setting, in which humans have advanced beyond the solar system and out into the stars.

This planet is one they have seeded with an artificial life form, and a representative of the human race, Tarlton, arrives to inspect the society that has evolved, to see if it is ready to join the Galactic Republic. As Tarlton is shown round, Al Feldstein uses the scenario as an allegory of the segregated society prevalent in the United States at that time. There are orange and blue robots, and facilities are designated accordingly.

The blue robots are the ones that live on the other side of the tracks, and are denied the privileges accorded to the orange robots. Tarlton sees what he needs to see, and points out the flaws in the status quo that have developed in this civilization, citing these as the reason that this robot society is not yet qualified to move to a higher level of existence. The scene in the assembly plant is particularly poignant. Tarlton likens the ‘educator’ to the family, environment, and societal institutions on Earth that condition a young person to look upon themselves and their relationship with the rest of society in a particular way, is stuff we teach undergraduates and graduates in ‘Human Behavior and the Social Environment’.

EC making a bold statement against the situation that existed in society at that time due to the derailing of the intent of Emancipation Proclamation. The class prejudiced and racist structures in society that impose unequal opportunity for the poor, amongst whom minority groups, including Blacks, are over-represented, remain somewhat effective today, despite official desegregation. And while many people today, especially young people, are free of the attitudes that support this inequality, they may not be the ones with the economic power to effect deep changes to the institutional racism that is still embedded in our society.

Source:  Outer This World

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