WHAT HAPPENS TO A NEW BLACK CHARACTER DEFERRED?

by | on August 24, 2016

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Originally this started as a post talking about Zendaya Coleman being cast to play Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, because for everyaction, there is an equal, and opposite reaction Black casting of a historically white character there is an equal, and opposite internet backlash. I was going to make light of the situation and talk about how Zendaya would be walking on white tears.

 

How her MJ would have Peter Parker swinging through NYC listening to Beyonce (orDestiny’s Child), and getting their house party routine down, but I knew, within a week or a few months time, we’d be right back here. With a new Black or POC actor being allowed to play the role of a white character, and I could simply switch Zendaya and MJ out for the next two and so on, and so on. Every time a Black actor gets cast, the same minuscule arguments for why the actor can’t do this role appear (never anything detrimental to the character, mind you) and then comes the inevitable solution that always gets suggested:

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“Rather than create a new and exciting character and exercise intellectual honesty, let’s just teach PoC that the best thing they can aspire to be is a white person. Makes perfect sense. And while diversity is the rallying cry of the year, I think Betty White should play Black Panther.”

Yo, why is Black Panther always the go-to in this reverse cast-ism argument? Black Manta would have been the perfect misdirect for that complaint. Whenever I see this “solution” I instantly think of the Black characters that were created by Marvel and DC Comics alike, for just this purpose, that are nowhere to be seen today. The problem with this assembly line of creating more and more new characters is that we end up with an abundant number of diverse characters with potential that become stuck in comic book limbo.“THEY LITERALLY BECOME RAISINS IN THE SUN, PRESENTED FOR THE MOMENT THEN LEFT TO DRY OUT. THERE ARE SO MANY CHARACTERS OF COLOR CREATED TO HAVE THEIR STORIES TOLD, ONCE” Comic book limbo is basically the upside down from Stranger Things, where characters hang out in obscurity, which is why seeing a Black MJ, Ben Urich, or Nick Fury matters because if you grew up as a person of color and a comic book fan, you had no idea when you were going to see your favorite character again! I brought this up with The Crew returning in Marvel and one team member, Kasper Cole, making a cameo after a thirteen-year hiatus.

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These characters aren’t just missing in action, they’re straight missing in fiction for decades. They literally become raisins in the sun, presented for the moment then left to dry out. There are so many characters of color created to have their stories told, once. I can sound off on a bunch of I grew up with (by grew up with I mean been scouring for shreds of cameos and appearances still to this day) and haven’t heard from in years… Read

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