The 'Spiderman' Who Got a Citizenship: Do Migrants Have to Be Superheroes to Be Treated as Humans?
'White people think Black people are magical.'
Image credits: Emmanuel Macron / Facebook
The world is enraptured by the viral video depicting a real-life Spiderman — who scaled the building with superhuman powers to rescue a dangling toddler.
The plot is captivating and the episode has a Black Mirror feel to it — as we notice the gawkers with their cameras — capturing the moment as it unfolds.
It reminds me of the scene in the original Superman movie where Lois Lane is hanging from the seat of the crashed helicopter at the top of a skyscraper — while the people below anticipate her deadly fall — until the man with the red cape swoops in and catches her — just in time.
When White men preform these acts of heroism — it’s usually on a sound stage with green screens and the security of stuntmen and stuntwomen — and that’s only after the pile of insurance papers have been signed.
And — when Black men jump into action without the necessary reinforcements — it’s viewed as a daring endeavor that needs to be hailed with shock and awe — because as we all know — White people think Black people are magical.
The young man from Mali — Mammadou Gassama — who performed the daring rescue in Paris — has since met with the charismatic French president — Emmanuel Macron — who bequeathed the illegal immigrant with a gold medal — for his “courage and devotion” — and also with the offer of French citizenship that comes with the potential gig as a firefighter.
Bare in mind that Macron is currently processing the forced evacuation of almost 24,000 migrants who are being destabilized from makeshift encampments in the same city that has rewarded Gassama permission to stay — based on his superhuman powers.
This directive from Macron is a bone of contention between him and the mayor of Paris — who wants to make sure that these displaced migrants won’t be left to a fate of uncertainty and suffering.
There’s no doubt that Macron’s gift to Gassama is part of the climate that adheres to the awesome force of social media — and how the anointment of emphatic users can persuade world leaders to showcase their humane tendencies — even as they continue to persecute the helpless and the needy.
“You have become an example because millions have seen you”
Macron said this to Gasssama — after the Mali “Spiderman” shared details of his harrowing experience in Libya — and then confessed how God granted him the superhuman strength to do the unimaginable.
The exceptional act of saving the neglected child of a French citizen has to be rewarded accordingly — and this isn’t the first time this has occurred. Back in 2015 — Lassana Bathily — also from Mali — was given French citizenship after he bravely hid endangered citizens in a freezer — during a terrorist attack at a Jewish grocery store.
While these admirable men deserve to be lauded for their courageous efforts — there’s also the disturbing trend that has taken hold of the globe — that seems to designate African migrants with the task of having to earn their dignity by embodying an alter ego.
Why do Migrants have to be superheroes in order to be treated as humans?
As Macron grants Mammadou Gassama the keys of the city — others who shared his former disposition — are locked in a national crisis that the French leader is systematically fostering without apologies. And despite his generous offer and staged photo-op — nothing can diminish the fact that the French immigrant law is rendering migrants desperately incapacitated — in a city that humiliates their very existence.
It’s thoroughly intolerable and irresponsible to adopt the messaging of how migrants have to be superhuman in order to provide the currency for their freedom and admittance.
President Trump publicly declared his wish to populate the United States with migrants from Norway as opposed to the Black and Brown brutes from “shithole” countries.
It looks like White people automatically earn the first-class passport to anywhere in the world — but people of color have to climb skyscrapers or risk their lives for citizens who want them banished from their sight — before they can be allowed the privilege of existing under humane conditions.
As the media goes into overdrive with the relentless headlines and clickbait content that centers around the “African Spiderman” — we can’t lose ourselves in the crippling narrative that once again presents the deceitfulness of how a world leader reversed the dire fate of an African migrant — after he selflessly saved a child.
Social media is many things — but it certainly isn’t the compass for what is newsworthy — when traffic numbers and trending topics mask the shitty treatment that migrants are being subjected to — all over the globe.
There are plenty of users who are using their platform to highlight the ongoing issue — but the media has to do more than spotlight the gliding moves of an unmasked superhero — and hone in on why his newly-minted celebrity status is actually nothing to be smitten about.
Where is the superhero swooping in to rescue hapless parents and their children after they’ve been thrown out of shelters or forced to face violent encounters with border patrol agents?
That’s the question mark that refuses to be de-activated.
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