The Man of Steel, the Metropolis Marvel, the Last Son of Krypton. Known by many names, the comic book hero Superman has saved the fictional world from destruction countless times and inspired many with his super powers.
Superman still has something to teach us. So says Craig This, who has organized an Oct. 22 public discussion on assimilation, Superman and Wonder Woman as Immigrants: A Conversation.
The event will correspond with the immigration theme of this year’s common text selection, Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok.
“[Superheroes] can provide inspiration to us all, not just immigrants,” said This, data analyst for Institutional Research and chair of the Unclassified Staff Advisory Council. “Despite being different, we need to accept people for who they are, for what they are and for gifts they bring to society—and not how we can exclude them.”
Unlike most superheroes, Superman and Wonder Woman came to the United States and had to adapt to a bustling society. Each contrived an alter ego: Superman as reporter Clark Kent, and Wonder Woman as secretary Diana Prince.
“They hide their true identities because they are just like us in that they want to fit in and be accepted by everyone else,” said This. “Ever been different? Ever been excluded for what you are, how you appear or what you can do? That’s the superhero.”
Similar to immigrants, Superman and Wonder Woman have physical and ethnic characteristics different from the majority. In order to gain acceptance, they Americanize themselves by working day jobs and clad themselves in red, white and blue garbs when saving the world at night.
This anticipates attendees will walk away with a new perspective on the difficulties immigrants face through assimilation and an acceptance of comic books as serious literature.
The event will be held Monday, Oct. 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Student Union Endeavour Room. Comic book specialists from all over Dayton will lead the panel discussion.
“I think the point of the whole discussion and conversation is to see that we are all superheroes,” said This.
For more information on the event, visit Craig This’ blog at http://immigrantsuperman.wordpress.com.