New Power Rangers, And A New Spectrum Of Diversity.
Power Rangers might be getting some mixed reviews, but you can’t fault its progressive nature. After it was revealed that the Yellow Ranger will be the first-ever LGBTQ superhero in a Hollywood movie, it also turns out that one of the new group of Rangers is on the autistic spectrum. That’s a pretty big deal, as there isn’t a whole lot of positive representation of autism in mainstream media at all.
What’s also a big deal is that my school is making a pretty big deal out of National Autism Awareness Month. Staff and students are encouraged to wear blue in solidarity and support on Thursdays, and there are at least public address announcements happening to make everyone aware that the month long event is happening. That’s more than I have ever seen at a public school, and I suppose it’s still not all that much. I’m willing to take my milestones where I can find them, True Believers, and work on making them grow over time.
Positive representation of groups that are misunderstood is a huge deal. The idea that one of the Power Rangers is a character on the spectrum gives a ton of previously unrepresented kids a character that is, in many ways, emblematic of them. Emblematic in a positive role, heck, as a super hero. I have a student in my class that is on the autism spectrum, and he was actually pretty excited that the Blue Ranger was autistic in the current film. He said with his usual frank demeanor, “People don’t realize that guys like me can maybe be superheroes too.”
I’m going to try to do some more posts this month centered around Autism Awareness Month, so we will probably see the Blue Ranger again. Initially, I was going to do this post as a team up…but I felt that maybe it was more appropriate to have the first autistic superhero go solo, in the cockpit of his Dinozord. It’s his big moment, after all.