A Station Eight Fan Web Site
After watching the season premiere of YJ, I have an additional question:
In your reinterpretation of the White Martians, I was confused by their new portrayal as an oppressed underclass compared to the Green Martians, in contrast to their depiction in the comics and other media as hatemongering conquerors. And that led to a confusing racial allegory that I already didn't think worked well, but then I noticed Maâalefaâak's birth name is "M'Comm", something original to this show and not the comics, and he was imprisoned in a jail with a giant X on the building. M'Comm X? If this was an intentional reference to real life civil rights leaders, what was the thought process in turning a character who had murdered innocent teenagers the previous season into a Malcolm X analogy?
I see where you're coming from, but that's not where we were coming from.
The X on the building comes from the X on Martian Manhunter's chest. In our mind, that was the symbol of the M'huntrrs, i.e the Martian police, that J'onn J'onzz was a member of before coming to Earth. I totally see how you got there, but I promise you it literally never occurred to us to associate that X with M'comm to create any kind of Malcolm X reference or analogy.
The name M'comm was, for us, just following in the tradition of most Martian naming, i.e. you take a relatively average human name and Martian it up a bit. Hence John becomes J'onn, Megan becomes M'gann, etc. M'ree, M'aatt, J'ann and M'comm follow along those lines. So, yes, M'comm is a Martianing up of Malcolm, but I never specifically thought of associating him with Malcolm X, any more than I think of J'onn being associated with some specific Jon or John.
Way back when we were developing Season One, Brandon and I rejected the idea of there being an evil race on M'arzz. I find that notion from the comics very troubling. But we did think that the MYTH of an evil race would be useful for the ruling castes to justify their caste system. Scapegoating, in essence, creates a self-justifying belief: "Oh, so the A'ashenn are angry about the way we treat them? They don't like how we keep them in their place? Well, that's because they're hate-mongering would-be conquerors! Thank C'eridyall we DO keep them in their place!"
I've said before that I regret having used White Martians at all. We were following in the footsteps of the comics, but I do wish we had thought to use Grays instead of Whites. For one thing, the idea of Martians being either "little green men" or "Grays" feels right to me, in terms of alien-mythology. But mostly, it's because here in the real world, the word "white" is obviously associated with people of European descent (such as myself) - i.e. so-called Caucasian - and not with the actual color white, i.e. the snow white or chalk white of our A'ashenn. In essence, we were distracted by the visual look of the White Martians and didn't have the sensitivity to focus on the actual and very real connotation of the WORD "white".
That's one of the main reasons why, this season, we made a conscious choice to largely stop referring to the Martians as White, Green, Red and Yellow, in favor of A'ashenn, G'arrunn, B'lahdenn and Y'ellonn. We actively wanted to create some mental distance between the A'ashenn and Caucasians by avoiding the common word "white". We don't want the oppressed A'ashenn associated with the decidedly NOT oppressed Caucasians in any way, shape or form. It's not a perfect solution, but after consulting with our multiple sensitivity readers, it felt like the best we could do, given our failure of imagination and sensitivity way back in Season One.