What connections do you identify between the concerns and observations of the poem and those of the essay?
In his essay “#Julian4SpiderMan” queer Afro-Dominican poet Julian Randall uses Miles Morales’ story (mostly referring to the animated film and the concept of the multiverse) to examine their Dominican, Diasporic, and Afro-Latinx identities. Randall finds constant parallelism between their life and upbringing and Miles’s.
.They both have an African American father and an Afro-Caribbean mother.
.Randall says that they were born into a (metaphorical) mask. They think of masks as a burden but at times as a superpower. They highlight a negotiation between invisibility and bold visibility via forced code-switching.
.Randall also says that, like Miles, in middle school, they felt that they were somewhere they didn’t belong.
Randall interpolates this idea to the US. “America taught us we were invisible, and the only way for the invisible to punish those who refuse to see us is to first punish ourselves.” Similar to Miles Morales’s moral reflection, Randall constantly thinks about how to overcome cycles of marginalization and violence and lead a positive life helping his community.
Miles Morales gave Randall strength and validation as an Afro-Latinx person not only because of the importance of representation in media but also because Miles embodies someone who is taught that he is dangerous and shameful however he engages in a leap of faith and becomes Spider-Man by allowing himself to float and swing all over the city embracing his powers.
How Randall experienced the Afro-Latinx dilemma of assimilation vs cultural retention, especially when in predominantly white spaces? (60)
Discuss Randall’s conflict when a history teacher made them perform as a pro-slavery advocate in a role-play class debate. What were the consequences of this class exercise? (61-62)
What tensions emerged in Latinx spaces? and How does the term Afro-Latinx help Randall affirm their existence? (64-66)