Over at The Nib, comic colorist Ronald Wimberly has relayed a story of working with white editors in comics. The story, called Lighten Up, recounts a time the artist was working on an issue of Wolverine and the X-Men, when he received an editorial note to alter the skin tone of a mixed race character.
The request, perhaps innocuous to the editor, raised questions for Wimberly about race and skin color, and the manner in which individuals of different races interact when it comes to race. Asking an artist to ‘lighten up’ a non-white character begs several additional questions. First, why? And second, should a colorist push the issue? “I’m always sensitive about bringing up this sort of thing in work environments. The mere mention of race puts white people on edge, and that puts everybody else on edge.”
“It’s not a game of Pin the Tail on the Racist,” Wimberly writes. “It’s simply a matter of social literacy.” In the end, he didn’t change it, and no one seemed to mind.
Click the title card below to visit The Nib and read the story. You really should.