Black Panther Movie - Why Must Superheroes of African Heritage Always Be "Black" - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 2018-02-09, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Black Panther Movie - Why Must Superheroes of African Heritage Always Be "Black"

For the umpteenth time in the last few weeks I've been forced to hear about "Black Panther" in the media that is racially insensitive.

Why is it that almost all African-American superheroes be called "Black"?

With the release of "Black Panther", it just brings up memories of "Black Lightning" and "Black Vulcan".

I keep seeing all these news stories on how this character gives "black" children someone to look up to - and that in inner cities the movie is sold out.

What year is this? My calendar says 2018...but it feels like 1962!

Why isn't it White Spider-Man, White Batman, Gay Green-Lantern?

There are plenty of great characters, such as Blade, that didn't need to be called "Black Blade".

And why should my skin colour determine if I will want to see "Black Panther"?

The media is way off on this one. Just call him the Panther please. And don't show stories about how "black" people are excited about this movie - I'm sure that people of all races are either interested, or disinterested in this film.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 2018-02-09, 11:03 AM
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A black panther is a real thing so there may be some legitimate basis for the name. The other names may be more racist than this one. I agree that the use of the word "black" to describe a person is often racist and needs to be avoided.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 2018-02-09, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Here's some examples of articles that just don't get it. You would never see this about "white people" or any other race:


An article by a middle aged-Asian man discussing that black children should go see this movie and raising money for them to go:

Black Panther movie fundraiser for Toronto youth gets blockbuster response - Toronto - CBC News

Another article by a older white woman about how great this film is for the "black community"

Black Panther puts black lives on screen: How an African superhero is turning a fantasy into reality - Home | The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti | CBC Radio

New York Times:

How this movie should bring hope and pride to "black Americans"...ugh!!!!

Huffington Post:

The 'Black Panther' Cast Are All Wearing Their Natural Hair In The Film

About how the casts hair was natural...

And then I've seen dozens of stories like this one about how black children are illiterate and this will help them learn to read and be proud:

Pontiac leaders tackle illiteracy through ‘Black Panther’ screening

Racism, alive and well - including in Canada. Glad my taxes are going to CBC to make me feel stupid about my race.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 2018-02-09, 11:56 AM
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I liked the Pink Panther.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 2018-02-09, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Inglewood View Post
What year is this? My calendar says 2018...but it feels like 1962!
Well, the Black Panther comic did start in 1966, so you're not far off:

There was also the Black Panther Party started at roughly the same time.

When I was in Mexico in 1968 to see the summer olympics in Mexico city, I saw the Black Power Salute during the medal ceremony (related): They have since become "heroes" including Peter Norman (the white guy).

Note that the character attempted to change its name in 1972.

Beginning in a guest appearance in Fantastic Four #119 (Feb. 1972), the Black Panther briefly tried using the name Black Leopard to avoid connotations with the Party, but renaming did not last.[3]

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 2018-03-14, 01:38 PM
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Well, when T'Challa subbed in for Daredevil a few years back he wasn't called Black Daredevil ;-). Also

Cyborg - Teen Titans originally
John Stewart aka Green Lantern (not black lantern)
Luke Cage aka Power Man
Misty Knight
War Machine

I tried not to get too many of the newer ones, these have all been around for a long time unlike re-casting Nick Fury, getting a black Spider-man (geez there's every type of Spider-man in the comics now including Spider-Gwen), etc. That is, not ones that have been recently created or recreated as we've (hopefully) become more sensitive to diversity in western culture.

I also agree that Black Panther isn't a racist or racially insensitive term, although panther is apparently a term used to describe big cats of various flavours depending on where you are - leopard, jaguar, puma... I do think Black Lightning, Black Goliath, etc were bad products of their times and I'm actually struggling to find others that have really lasted although I bet there were a ton in the 60s and 70s especially if you throw in the bad guys.

Not being either black, African, African-American or any other combination I can't say for sure how I would feel about Black Panther, Wakanda and their invented culture as portrayed in comics and/or the silver screen (geez, why did they have to call him the Silver Surfer, so insenitive ;-) ). But actually secretly being probably the most technically advanced nation in the world while strongly keeping to their (made up) traditions and culture doesn't seem like a giant slur to me.

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