My interracial family needs its own action figures

My interracial family needs its own action figures

The Washington Post

Nevin Martell

(Courtesy of the author)

Growing up, I can recall owning only two black action figures in a massive collection that spanned movies, television and comic book characters. There was Lando Calrissian – the smooth talking, caped czar of Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back – and Roadblock, G.I. Joe’s muscle-bound machine gunner. All of the others were white, aliens or costume clad villains of indeterminate race.

At the time, the absence of racial diversity didn’t register. I was more concerned with having an equitable mix of good guys and bad guys for the elaborate imaginary battles I orchestrated on my bedroom floor and in the backyard.

Now that I have an interracial son, my perspective has changed. I’d love for him to have toys that serve as a jumping off point for his imagination. When I played with a Luke Skywalker action figure, I wasn’t a 5-year-old boy sitting in the sandbox. I was a future hero of the Rebel Alliance, staring across the dunes at Tatooine’s twin sunset. Back then I had blonde hair. So in my mind’s eye, I looked exactly like Skywalker…

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