There's been a lot of attention paid to inclusivity lately, whether it's in the mobile community thanks to features like accessibility or in the media thanks to lead up to the San Diego Comic Convention. That's great, because while it can sometimes feel that time and effort spent on inclusivity goes to help others, it really goes to help us. There's always some element of life, there's always some occasion, where, be it based on gender, ethnicity, religion, age, education, income, athleticism, area of interest, abilities, talents, or tastes, where we feel like we're excluded, we don't fit in, we can't get in. Inclusivity, in all of that, includes all of us.
If you face challenges with sight or sound, motor skills or focus, there's a lot iOS and OS X can do to help you. Likewise if you're a child just learning how to read or a grand-parent wanting to use computers for the first time just to chat with a grandchild, designing for inclusivity means helping you get started and helping you succeed. Technology alone, however, is not enough. Inclusivity requires outreach as well. That brings us back to the news.
Thor is going to be a woman. This isn't Thor Girl or Sif in a Thor suit or Storm with an Uru hammer or even Thor's daughter. This is whomsoever holds this hammer, if — she — be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.
Captain America is also going to be black. Not Isaiah Bradley, the original Captain America written in for the Young Avengers series, but Sam Wilson — you may know him as the Falcon — will be putting on the stars and stripes. It's not the first time the original Captain America, Steve Rogers, has been replaced. U.S. Agent has become cap. Bucky/Winter Solider has become cap. But it is the first time Cap's longtime partner is taking up the name. It's also not the first time a major Marvel character has been re-cast — when Peter Parker died in the Ultimate Universe, Miles Morales became the amazing Spider-Man, Sam Jackson was Nick Fury in the Ultimates even before the Avengers movies, and John Stewart replaced Hal Jordan as Green Lantern in the early '90s.
Why re-cast instead of making existing characters more prominent and popular, or making new ones? It's really hard to make popular new characters. Wolverine took off like gangbusters (Canadian, of course) but very few others have become part of popular culture. It's pretty much Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, with the Justice League following along behind, and Spider-Man with the Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four following behind.
But look what the Iron Man movies did for Tony Stark. I'd argue look what the Arrow show is doing for Oliver Queen. Now imagine if those types of pushes were given to a wider range of characters? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dark Angel, Alias, Covert Affairs and more have done for strong female leads. In a universe better than ours Scarlett Johansson just did a Black Widow film instead of Lucy. Halle Berry just did Storm instead of Extant (we'll forgive her Catwoman). Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman film was green-lit, and an A-list Black Panther made it to the screen instead of the Blade sequels.
When we can touch our technology and it not only does what we expect but helps us do what we want, it can seem magical. When we see ourselves reflected in the world around us, it can inspire us to create our own magic.
As terrible as it is that much of this is only now gaining traction, it's terrific that it seems like much of this is finally gaining traction. If you can help, please do. If you can inspire, please do. If you can, in any way great or small, make anything you're involved with more inclusive, please, please do.
Some assorted other stuff:
- Delight is in the Details: New version of Shawn Blanc's book on how to go beyond "good enough" and make things truly great.
- Congrats to my pal Dieter Bohn on his new gig.
- Speaking of Wonder Woman
- Speaking of the Avengers
- Speaking of Arrow
- Speaking of Lucy