“SANA AMANAT may help guide a diverse range of comic-book superheroes now, but when she was a child, such images weren’t as common in media. Instead, growing up as a Pakistani American in a predominantly white New Jersey suburb, she looked at art of women who were blond and white as if that were the ideal for beauty. And in that world, young Sana wanted to be white herself.
Amanat, director of content and character development at Marvel, recalled those feelings this week at the United State of Women summit at the Washington Convention Center. The gifted Muslim comics executive was on a panel focusing on diversity in the media, and she shared the stage with such other leaders as Gloria Steinem, TV’s Shonda Rhimes and “Muslim Girl” editor Amani Al-Khatahtbeh.
“When you grow up being very conscious of the fact that you are the ‘other,’ it cultivates a sense of uncertainty and shame within you that can take a long time to overcome,” Amanat tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “My desire to be ‘white,’ while covert, fed a delusion in my self-identity that I only broke away from towards the end of high school and truly in college.”
Her delusion, she says, “spun out of the anti-Muslim sentiment that arose in the ’90s, and the realization that the truth of who I was got lost in the images being spewed out by the media. My protest was embracing my background fully, immersing myself in my faith and culture and finding ways to share that with others…”