John Jennings, Comics historian, tackles one of the most controversial parts of X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. It witnessed Marvel‘s Kitty Pryde using a racial slur. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson (1982), remains one of the most famous X-Men stories. It even served as the basis for the feature film X2: X-Men United. However, there’s a controversial part of the story that fans have debated over the years.
John Jennings Analyzed the N-word
Kitty Pryde involves in a fight with a boy who supports Reverend William Stryker’s crusade towards the beginning of the book. When her dance teacher Stevie Hunter says, “They’re only words, child,” Kitty retaliates and asks if Stevie would react the same way if the boy had used a racial slur.
John Jennings discussed that moment in an essay on Marvel.com, pointing at the intention of Claremont. “Claremont is out to make an evergreen story inspired by this kind of social change, but he also makes a point to show us that this kind of change isn’t easy,” he explained. “As a result, he doesn’t let the readers escape, the brutality of our society, and wasn’t afraid to show the messiness of our humanity.”
Jennings is also spontaneous to point out that Claremont’s metaphor has a blunt edge since Kitty is a white teenager. “While she uses the slur to make a point to her Black dance instructor Stevie, it is not without its problems. Kitty equates the idea of ‘Mutie’ to the ‘N-word,’ a well-meaning sentiment,” he wrote. “However, she, like most of the classic X-Men team, can easily pass for a ‘human’ and are phenotypically white. Because they aren’t perceived as different, that analogy doesn’t map well onto how racism is constructed.