X-Men and Representation (Portfolio)

Latrell Greene

ENG 1121

Dr. Hall


X-Men and Representation


Marvel’s X-Men are a symbol for the struggle of people who are seen as different to achieve equality. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the X-Men weren’t created in a vacuum. They were written into existence during a time where the civil rights movement, the fight for racial equality and the end to racial segregation, was reaching its peak. The struggle of the X-Men being ‘mutants’, and putting up with those of society who hated them, and discriminated on them simply because they were different was an effective way to get readers who might not have experienced racial or cultural discrimination, to put themselves in the shoes of, and to care about those who do.

The comics gave people who had experienced that kind of discrimination a form of representation, while giving those who might not have faced it an understanding of the ever-present situation of minorities in America. Marvel Comics are also known for its social commentary in a lot of their other properties too during various time periods, but the X-Men perhaps delves the most deep into those issues, and is perhaps the most inspired by those real world issues in comparison. In the series, the topics of racism, diversity, and antisemitism are explored.

Going further than just connecting the issues between in the comics and real life, characters are even heavily paralleled to real life figures that really embody the issues being explored. The leader of the X-Men and the Leader of the opposing team of mutants, Professor X and Magneto, respectively, are representations of their real world counterparts, the Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X. Professor X has connections with Martin Luther King Jr. in that their ideologies share hope that everyone can coexist peacefully in the future despite the hostile discrimination occurring in the present, while Magneto and Malcolm X hold the more opposing ideology; they’re inclined to the notion of embracing their differences but they advocate for separating from the rest, and don’t shy away from violence as an end to their means due to the discrimination.

Some might argue that: because they incorporated these issues into a comic book during a time where these issues were serious, that they made light of these issues. But in reality, including something serious like this in a comic book or a similar piece of entertainment allows it to reach more people, and its demographic being younger, it can influence and teach the next generation to be greater. It can give those who are able to relate some representation, and lets them know that their problems do matter. On top of this, it can be a lot more impactful by getting a reader to care about the characters, and then by effect, getting them to care about their problems. It gets the reader to do something watching or reading the news might not be able to for them; it takes a magnifying glass and helps the reader understand why those problems matter.

And representation in pop culture can be a wonderful experience for people who don’t normally see people like themselves in those mediums. Looking at today and our modern pop-culture, with films like Black Panther giving people African descent representation by having a blockbuster superhero movie with a black lead and mostly black cast, and having so many show up, and having it happen with female-led ones too, with Captain Marvel, there’s something about being represented in a medium you enjoy that’s so thrilling, and having the X-Men first appear and embody the struggles of those who were discriminated on probably was probably even more thrilling and satisfying for those who struggled, and also enjoyed comics. Even taking a look at one of the most iconic superhero characters from today, Spider-Man was created to be a representation of the everyday man. In contrast to the problems of heroes like Superman and Batman, Spider-Man was mean to have struggles just as much outside of his superhero life as within. His emphasized problems with his relationships, school, having to keep a job to help his aunt pay rent and time-management all while having to be a superhero were revolutionary in that he was someone everyone could relate to, and at the same time, having him be a superhero that was a kid, and wasn’t a sidekick gave younger readers representation too, and it’s one of the reasons Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes of all time.

Dotting our i’s and crossing our x’s, the X-Men contributed a lot to the discussion of racial and cultural politics, and did a fantastic job of introducing the topic to young readers, allowing them to empathize with and understand what is so wrong with racial and cultural discrimination, and still with one stone, giving minorities  representation and letting them feel like they could be superheroes too.

This is my “low stakes” assignment.



I truly enjoyed Gilyard’s reading. liked the way he included a lot of details about his personal life. What Gilyard does in his writing that I would like to include in my own is talk about my personal life and how it shaped me into the person I am today. He uses specific details to connect with his audience about his life. Gilyard recalled the time when he was in court after being aprehended for a crime and he recalled the moment when his mother turned to him and “repressed hurt and anger twisted together in her face.” In this English class, I want to connect and show a side of myself in my writing so my audience could be engaged and want to read more and more and find out what happens next. For 7-8 pages Gilyard started off by sayin “Heroin was the first thing that I feared could make me late in life.” As a reader you want to find out more and more, so he drawed my attention with that line. That’s what I want to do in my writing. I don’t have anything negative to say about Gilyard’s writing, I truly enjoy it and I hope to read more pieces of it in the future.

Stanley Desir                                                                                                     02/08/19

Final Draft                                                                                                   ENG 1121

    Ayo Ock Lemme Get uhbaconeggandcheese

I’m at a family function sitting with my cousins and close friends. Were explaining our struggles with growing up in the boroughs. When it was my time to speak, I said: “Don’t trust nobody, be aware of your surroundings and shit could always be worse.” Those were the three main ideas I learned growing up in New York City. My oldest brother is 34 and he’s been in and out the feds since he was 18. He got two strikes. My other brother is 24 and it took him 7 years to get his diploma. I’m going to break down each main idea. We live in one of the most populated cities in the world. You meet a lot of people and you open up to them. Just don’t trust anyone. Growing up in Flatbush, you see a lot of behavior which we would describe it as “snake” or “shyste”. I watched my brother’s so-called “friends” snitch on him and claim he committed a number of crimes. It was painful to see at a young age. At the age of 7, I already had it instilled in me that trusting someone is dangerous. I’m now 18 and I really never had a lot of friends. Yeah, I know people and they know me but I try to keep my close friends to a small number. I got trust issues. Majority of my close friends are either Haitian or Jamaican. I’m Haitian and I grew up with a lot of Jamaicans and other Haitians so I feel like I can trust them and I connect more with them. You’re probably wondering if my brother’s experiences influenced me to be in the streets. It didn’t. Whatever happened to them, fueled me to be on a guided path throughout my life. I never got in trouble with the law, I respect everyone around me. Where I’m from most people would describe me as a “nerd” or a “citizen”, but in reality, I’m just tryna get through life.


Every day when I leave my building I always have my head on a swivel. Believe it or not, I was afraid that at any moment someone would walk behind me try to mug me and blow my brains out. I’ve kind of been feeling like this since middle school. I would always hear about drive-by shootings and stabbings in broad daylight so that easily triggered me. I learned to be aware of my surroundings very fast. I look at it as a positive because I’m always alert. Now to the last main idea. “Shit could always be worse.” That right there, any NYC baby could relate to me. 99 % of our parents are guardians work to make ends meet and provide for us. Whenever we see homeless people on the street or on the train, we sit back and say we’re grateful to be in the situation we are in because others would love to be in our situation in a heartbeat. Whenever my mom would fess me up about my school grades I would always be mad, but then I would think to myself some people wish their mother was alive to even be on their case about school. The way I learned in NYC impacted the way my academics went because I couldn’t end up like my friends. Growing up here there are 3 scenarios if you don’t have an education. You’re either going to end up in prison, a bum on the streets or 6 feet under. Since grade school, I always maintained an 85+ average in all my core subjects. Especially with my parents being Haitian, my mom was always on my ass about school because she wanted me to have a good future and didn’t want me to end up like my brothers. Caribbean/West Indian parents believe school is the number 1 thing in life and you need to complete and handle everything by a certain age. I was always stressed out because everyone in my family would say they’re counting on me and it takes a toll on a 13-year-old. I never was the one to be suicidal because who in the world would want to take their life, but I would always once in a while imagine what would it be like if I was to die or not even be born. Most of my friends or family would of never even in their wildest dreams think of me having those thoughts. I never want to think like that, but when I do it just makes me wonder. While I’m explaining myself to my cousins and friends, their faces are just in awe. I don’t think they ever knew what I was going through inside. I’m not the one to open up to people because like I said before, I don’t trust people. Some people would look at my story like I’m damaged or been through stuff. I don’t look at it like that. I’m truly thankful for it all because I believe New York City made me an adult way before I turned 18. A lot of kids in other cities don’t have my vision or attitude until after college or later on in life. I learned a lot of life lessons living in New York City.

Stanley Desir                                                                                                      ENG 1121

03/11/19                                                                                                               Pop Culture


                   Ain’t No PTSDs, Them Drugs Keep It At Ease


Post traumatic stress disorder. Or as we call it PTSD, is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. A very prominent figure in the rap culture had suffered Ptsd and shaped him into the person he is today. On his latest anticipated album “Championships” Meek Mill has a song named “Trauma”. From the beginning of the song to the end you can feel the soul samples and the beat.

The name of the song is more of a meaning then just the name of a song. It’s the reason why Meek Mill is a rapper today. When the video was released, Meek’s son is playing the role of youth meek. His childhood self sits next to a photo of his deceased father as he pens a letter to him. He also appears in the present, reflecting on his experiences, from tragic deaths to court and prison, in a mirror. Flashbacks of street life populated with drugs, money, gambling and police busts are seen throughout.

There are many lyrics through out the song that dictates Trauma as a serious issue in American culture especially within the black community. In the chorus we hear the lines “See my brother blood on the pavement, How you wake up in the mornin’ feelin’ evil? Uhh, trauma” Imagine being around the age of 14-15 and seeing bodies drop like flies. It does something to you. Later on at the beginning of a verse Meek says “Ain’t no PTSDs, them drugs keep it at ease”. In an interview with the breakfast club his response to this bar was that “It’s real life, sometimes,  You might gotta get prescribed some sleeping medicine to got to sleep from trauma, shit you’ve seen. And I was really speaking of like, when you go to court, you can’t go to court and be like, “You honour, I was carrying this gun ‘cause 50 people in my neighbourhood got killed when I was young and I got Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. They ain’t tryna hear that. You come from the army or something’ like that, then it makes sense. But from our community, if you come talkin’ that talk, that’s like a foreign language. I never even heard of nobody getting’ in court saying’ that. Even, having that to be a backup.” You see the issue Meek is arguing against, a young black individual can carry a firearm for their own safety because of all the trauma they’ve experienced. In the court of law it won’t be valid but for a veteran it makes perfect sense. Both a veteran and an individual whose watched people getting killed both experience the same level of trauma. Meek takes on the responsibility of using these experiences to educate his fans.

The first time I heard of the song Trauma was when it was released as a single off of Meek’s album, “Championships.” It was towards the end of my first semester of college and I was going through a stressful time with the idea of moving back to Brooklyn and transferring schools. Meek’s album gave me a good feeling. Trauma hit home because I dealt with trauma through out my life growing up in Brooklyn. In “Trauma”, I feel like Meek is explaining his views of it. I feel like he can’t escape it. The lyrics in the song that depicts that idea are “11 years going to court knowing they might keep you or drive you crazy.” Meek was placed on a 15 year probation after being convicted of aiming a firearm at a police officer.

Meek tells the story of how young kids become products of traumatizing situations when living in poor areas. serves to put the song’s lyrics of witnessing death, police abuse, drug use, and unsupervised children on display to drive the point home. It’s a reminder of the message and activism Meek Mill is trying to focus on even more in his raps. Meek has toured media outlets to advocate for criminal justice reform, focusing in particular on the unjust structural quirks of the probation system. Meanwhile, Meek’s legal team continues to fight for a retrial in his original 2008 case for allegedly brandishing a weapon at a police officer, though repeated attempts to remove the ethically controversial judge overseeing his probation have been denied. Meek even states that the judge has a lot of self hate for her own people being the same skin color as Meek and causing a lot of controversy for the rapper.  

PTSD doesn’t get as much attention it deserves. It’s a social injustice. The audience Meek tries to connect with through his song Trauma is the justice system and white America and how they need to stop demonizing the character of black men who were arrested for possession of a firearm. Some times the trauma comes from witnessing your own kin or friend get murdered in front of your eyes. So it’s ideal that you walk around strapped up. Black men have an unbelievable weight on their shoulders. The stress comes in every direction on a daily basis. The impact of walking down the street in your own neighborhood can be a traumatic experience in itself. You don’t know who to trust. You would love to trust your brother who shares the same melanin as you, but he’s bound by that same fear that has you tip toeing on eggshells just to walk to work or school.

Going forward, I feel as a country we need to shed more light on PTSD within black communities. This disorder is developed after being exposed to something that is highly stressful, scary or dangerous. This exposure doesn’t have to happen directly to the person with PTSD. For instance, seeing your friend be killed and even being in the home of domestic abuse can all trigger PTSD in a person. Marked by frequent flashbacks, hallucinations, mood changes and avoidance behavior, PTSD is a disease that gets overlooked in our community. Meek’s past experiences still affect him till today. “It can be intrusive symptoms such as thoughts and emotions that intrude into his life and causes him to re-experience trauma such as flashbacks, nightmares, and sudden feelings of terror. Another way of knowing is his attempt to avoid re-experiencing trauma, and constantly feeling threatened,” Dr. Holland-Kornegay explained. PTSD can be a host of things, but for many Black men these things will be looked at as oh the “normal” experiences we go through. Our Black men have a distrust of the medical institution in America. Black men at home self-diagnosing or coping in ways that are detrimental. Researchers in Atlanta interviewed more than 8,000 inner-city residents and found that about two-thirds said they had been violently attacked and that half knew someone who had been murdered. At least one in three of those interviewed experienced symptoms consistent with PTSD at some point in their lives According to Dr. Kerry Ressler, “The rates of PTSD we see are as high or higher than Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam veterans.” This quote is absurd. And I don’t understand how this country has a blind eye to this topic.



Stanley Desir                                                                           05/11/2019

     ENG 1121                                                                                Artist Statement


                                      ARTIST STATEMENT

   It just felt like yesterday I entered Dr. Hall’s English class. I had just transferred from Western Connecticut State University. I was nervous because everyone was new and the vibe of the class was just off. I was sitting between Hand and Leenesh and I wanted to engage in conversations with anyone because I’m very social, but I was nervous. It’s hard to get a black kid talking now a days and I felt that was my weakness. Growing up in NYC we were always taught to just close your mouth and mind your business. This class helped me express myself and be free. I felt Dr. Hall helped break the nervousness in the class just as she did in my writing. Over the course of the semester I really felt that she helped brought me out my shell. In our first blog post about gillyard’s essay I was really annoyed because I really did not want to write at all. I was always keeping thoughts to myself in my writing and she did a lot of assignments where I can express myself and be me. “Finding Stanley” is basically what I would describe it as. A lot of people are afraid to express themselves including myself. I felt with me it all started with education essay. We had to describe ourselves living in New York City and dealing with the education system and how it affected us. I talked a lot about myself on that paper with my family, friends, trust and the hardships of living in a tough neighborhood. Going through all those things I still managed to excel in school.


             Before I entered the class I really thought we were going to write pages and chapter summaries. But, Dr. Hall’s assignments were pretty simple, straight forward and provided a lot of content then you would think so. I think i’ve been able to write longer pieces than I ever could because once you’re presented with an idea/topic you just feel everything and just type away.  In the past, writing more than 2 pages was considered a lot for me. I’ve noticed ever since the class began most of the assignments were 2 pages or more. I kind of felt like it was kind of difficult to write a lot because reading and writing is not my cup of tea. Throughout t the semester I have noticed I sort of have been improving on explaining myself and expressing how I feel about certain topics. My strengths now is seeing a topic and just attacking it with my own experiences. I don’t take everything personal but whenever Dr. Hall gave us an assignment, I would always put my headphones in and just write my thoughts away. A relax mind helped me did good on those essays. I felt that relaxed and peaceful aura came from Dr. Hall. She’s very persistent with us and believes we could do anything we want as long as we put our mind to it.  The one essay which I really found myself was the Pop Culture essay. My favorite quote I used was “The stress comes in every direction on a daily basis. The impact of walking down the street in your own neighborhood can be a traumatic experience in itself. You don’t know who to trust. You would love to trust your brother who shares the same melanin as you, but he’s bound by that same fear that has you tip toeing on eggshells just to walk to work or school.” I felt what I said was like dope. I stopped typing after I wrote that and was like “wow I really came far as a writer”. That essay was my favorite peace because I was explaining my favorite rapper’s personal life while incorporating my own life in the essay. It’s truly one of the best pieces I’ve ever written. Thank You Dr. Hall for making this semester a great one. Best of luck in the future.


1st- Is the unit 3 group assignment that me and micheal worked on about rape culture. (Link)

2nd – Is the revision for the artist essay which i revised to a personal breakthrough. (Essay)

3rd- Is a gilyard homework assignment (Paragraph)


New York College Of Technology

Haider Mahmood

May 14, 2019

Dr.Carrie Hall







Coming home after one of the worst days in your life. You experienced disloyalty for the first time from someone who you did everything for. You’re in so much shock that you feel like you’re about to break but you keep your composure. You feel like you can’t trust anyone anymore so you don’t even want to talk to anyone. You do the one thing that is in your comfort zone and that is listening to music. You grab your headphones and turn on the radio, the song playing talks about the exact way you are feeling right now. you look at your phone and see your favorite artist NBA YOUNGBOY and his new song Genie. NBA Youngboy’s real name is Kentrell Gaulden but his rap name stands for NEVER BROKE AGAIN YOUNGBOY, he was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The reason why I listen to his songs a lot is because it describes certain pain that most rappers don’t show

Kentrell starts of the song by saying “Too many problems (yeah) Thinking how I’m gone solve it (yeah)” and just this one line has gotten me already hooked. While listening to this song I was at a very rough point of my life. I had multiple problems where I addicted to a drug, couldn’t really trust any of my friends, lost a lot of money into repairing car that I accidently crashed. Its situations like these you never expect yourself to be in. Everyone is there through the good times when you have the drugs they’ll take it with you and tell you it’s not bad and when you get that new car they’ll be happy to get it as long as it benefits them and they will help you spend that money as long as you spend some on them too. No one is ready to help you with your problems and therefore I was stuck in life not knowing what was the solution. Scared to end this toxic relationship with my friends just because I’ve known these guys for my whole life.

Kentrell continues the song by saying “So much pain in my body (yeah) They selling lies and I bought it (yeah)”. Which has a general meaning which meant that my friends would saying they’re my bro and they have my back through any bad point of life but whenever I was there they were never there. One of the most important lines Kentrell says that is “I been giving all my love, tell me do you feel it”. Which describes my point of view of the friendship. I would do anything to make my friends happy. If I see that they wanted something that would make them happy I would get that thing no matter what I had to do. If I see that they need financial help I would reach into my pocket with no hesitation. Situations like these happened every day and all this love I was showing meant nothing and I was never getting any love but I don’t know why I was fine with that. Part of that is because I was blind to see the fact they were using me, I guess I never really believed people like that existed.

Kentrell continues by saying “They keep begging me to change. Talked to Future the other day and he say I need to change lanes (yeah)”. I remember when I started to talk to people about what happened they told me I need to change my life. Focus more on making legal money and focusing on school more so I can have a career. I need to put all this anger into changing my life and doing something positive and that exactly what I did. I started asking god for a better life from here on because I believe that’s one of the only people who will always want the best for me. Kentrell continues by saying “Said I changed on you, but I feel that you changed on me. I say my prayers and you gon’ sow just what you reap (yeah)”. This is an important line because although I never treated people in a bad way those who treat people in a bad way will get their punishment by karma. Kentrell ends the song by saying “Don’t tell me that you love me, if you ain’t going to die for me (oh). You can stay to fuck from round me.” Which overall means if you don’t value my life then stay away from me.

In conclusion NBA Youngboy (Kentrell) is a hip hop artist who writes songs explaining his pain. His song really described my emotions from a previous situation. Nba youngboy is one of the only rappers who doesn’t rap for money, he does it for his 5 kids .



Gilyard writes in a  way that would 10/10 times make me want to continue reading. Hes not afraid to make comments of his real life to impress his own readers. For example when he says “my main pursuit was money for drugs” . Just saying that shows you a raw side of him that would you wouldn’t really expect a writer to say about himself. Also in Gilyards writing his is very clear when he speaks about a time for example he would say the year and place so people can really picture what he seen. Reading this shows me some tips on how I can really hook my reader and make my essays more interesting.

Me as a Writer

Giuseppe Biondi

Dr. Hall

English 1121

This semester has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean that I will forget what and how I progressed as a writer and a student. The class has been one of the funniest and enjoyable since high school. What I think is key for a student to get better at something is to like what you are doing. I liked this class and if I could, I’ll take it every semester again, but I can’t.

This class and Dr. Hall have taught me that no one is perfect at something. I’m not a perfect writer and I think that no one is, it’s just a matter of you, liking something. During this time, I learned my weakness and strengths, and how to exploit them. The biggest weakness that I have is that sometimes I don’t take my time doing things, like in this class writing as fast as possible just to finish the assignment; this only got my writing worse than it was before and I had to adjust my attitude of rushing my writings. In unit 1 like when I was talking about my grandpa, I forgot to introduce him well, this one of the many mistakes I did. He has an important role in my unit 1 and not describing him, is like working without knowing who your boss at work is. In unit 1 I said, “The tree reminds me of my grandfather, as if he is watching me waking up every morning, he’s what the tree remembers me of, because it was him who gave life to the tree, and my feelings for it”. This is where I started making the reader confused, because I kept talking about my grandpa and how he is an important part of my life, but I never describe him as a person always as an image of someone that only I know. I just needed to remember that, yes, I do know him, but the reader does not. Also, in unit 1 I talked a lot about Sicily and its nature and how majestic it is, but still I did not describe it enough to let the reader having a self image in their heads on how it really was. This all seemed banal to me, but I understood that when you write you must do it for yourself and the reader too, so that they can understand what you are talking about, especially if you have to post it somewhere. Now at the end of the semester my strength is that I know, because of my past errors, where to stop and really think about what I have to do to make things better. Before I said that I had many errors in unit 1, and because I knew I could make way better than I did the first time I wrote it, I revised it. From the time of the publication on openlab to when I revised it I understood that it really was bad, but sometimes you don’t see it right away and you must let the time pass between. So, one of the biggest errors I did was not to describe my grandpa and Sicily, and these two is what I really tried to focus more in the revision. In the second paragraph of the revision I described my grandpa more but not too much otherwise the character, my grandpa, wouldn’t evolve like I wanted to. And like my grandpa Sicily nature too, I tried to evolve them like a movie, so little by little.

During the semester we had fun moments and days where you had to write and that was it. I don’t know why but every time we had an assignment I always do it the day before, this is one of the many stupid things that someone does. Yes, for this time I’m calling my self stupid and not because I am, but because I’m stubborn. This is one of the many things I also adjust and completely get rid of; because it’s so bad doing things last minute and because of it I had the same problem with unit 3 where I did rush again like unit 1, and of course I did not expect a high grade. In the unit I had a lot of grammatical errors which when you have like 2 weeks to finish the assignment, it should be perfect. I’m going to be honest most of them were rush errors. One of them was like “Nowadays with advanced technologies in the world, cities are evolving to bigger and bigger cities everyday coming…” as simple as the introduction I already started making errors, and when you have a bad start you’ll also have a bad ending. Knowing that I could have done it in way that would have made it better I took the chance Dr. Hall gave me and of course I revised as well. I adjusted the introduction and know it starts like this “Nowadays with advanced technologies it is easier for construction industries to build buildings, and because of that cities are evolving to bigger and bigger cities everyday coming, but they also bring disadvantages”. First I didn’t say what technology has to do with cities getting bigger, but now in the revised unit 3 and what I said did change the introduction so that the reader can understand what technologies have to do with cities, in this case they do help construction industries because of new equipment evolved with new technologies making buildings is not as difficult as it was before, therefore cities like New York are getting bigger every day. These are all errors that I made when rushing and my point is that, only at the end of the semester I understood how to be a better writer and that is by proofreading your writings.

At the end of the semester what I see of my self is that, yes, I did become better at endling some things but like I said no one is a perfect writer and that is what makes a writer better. I think that making errors is what brings you a step further than you were before. Looking back, I see a student trying to rush things just to get rid of them, but now I see a student that understands when to give it all and trying to always do the best. At the end; I see myself a step further.