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Old 12-06-2012, 05:13 PM   #486
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,755
Default Re: EVERYTHING Black Panther - Part 2

My responses are in bold. My apologies but I don't know how to that separate reply thing.

Originally Posted by DrCosmic View Post
You're kind of dancing around the anti-white issue, talking about having a black perspective, or simply excluding white people, or making Panther cool, or the fact that some black people were bad too. I'm talking about in Hudlin's Panther white people were exclusively evil and white culture was entirely bad, so much so that withholding the cure for cancer (I think you're right) was a good thing. That level of villification doesn't have any comparison in modern media, or any justification other than being anti-white.

I don't think I'm dancing around the issue. It certainly wasn't my intention. I don't think Hudlin said anywhere in any of his books that white people were exclusively evil or that white people were entirely bad. Hudlin did make pointed critiques of the Western culture at times but that doesn't mean he said that all people, or just the white people, residing within said cultures are bad. I think we as Americans think it's okay to criticize other people and cultures but we can't take the heat ourselves.

When you look at the history of Europe's relations with Africa, or the relationships between black and white peoples over the last 500 years or so there is a history of exploitation. I think Hudlin was pointing that out and it's a history we often don't want to talk about, and rarely see it getting any kind of treatment in the media from a black perspective.

Hudlin certainly didn't vilify Captain America whenever he wrote him. Especially in the Captain America-Panther miniseries. Hudlin rightly acknowledged the racism of the times but he also showed how Captain America defied that racism.

Now keep in mind, I enjoyed every single second of it (Hudlin's BP) to the nth degree. But if my white friends don't, I'm not surprised, nor would I accuse them of not liking strong black characters, especially because I know how much they love Will Smith movies and were interested in BP in the first place. The book is clearly anti-white. It's not for them, and it restates that repeatedly.

I'm not sure if Will Smith is a great example to provide here. He is in terms of being black and an action star, but he also has made his bread and butter largely off of racially neutral roles that skirt around issues of race. He's become safe for many whites. Hudlin wasn't doing that when he wrote Panther. And if some fans couldn't deal with it, that's one thing, but I don't think it was an issue of Hudlin trying to run them away. If anything maybe he was trying to engage them or expose them to uncomfortable things bubbling just underneath our society.

On Marvel's motivations, film execs know that less than 60% of the ticket buying audience is white. They're not just trying to get white people, or else they'll fail. Imagining they have some sort of controlling racial bias is just that, imagination. They're looking at how to make Wakanda work for people who don't have a, as you say, black power fantasy. That's a legitimate challenge.

I disagree that there is not a controlling racial bias in Hollywood. It does affect who gets promoted and who doesn't, even who gets placed prominently in movie posters. Sure Hollywood wants as many black, brown, red, and yellow dollars that they can get but that doesn't mean they are completely willing to open up roles behind and in front of the camera for people of color. There's always articles about the struggles of people of color in Hollywood.

In all of network TV you have just one network TV program with a black lead right now (Scandal). And you have a handful of comedies on basic cable. To my knowledge you have just one network TV show with an Asian lead right now (Nikita). I can't think of any with a Latino or Native American lead. And when you go to Hollywood, you got situations where Spike Lee just got replaced by a white director on the James Brown biopic and next to none black directors being chosen for big films. And I don't even know what the situation is for Latino or Asian directors.

Looking at actors, how many actors of color do you know that are getting plum roles or Oscar buzz? This is a regular, ongoing issue.

And with that being said, moviegoers of color have been far more accepting of movies where people who look very little like them on the screen or behind the camera far more than white moviegoers have been. So this is one way that Hollywood can get those dollars with doing the minimum to promote more people of color in that industry.

You do bring up a good point about BP not really having any Marvel flaws, but that doesn't change that that aspect of his character is a legitimate turn off to some.

One could argue that every comic book character could be a legitimate turn off to someone. Just like I would argue that some of the hate or disinterest for Panther and other heroes of color comes from racial hangups.

Regarding Marvel flaws, I do think we need to clarify what those flaws are. For one, T'Challa is on a whole other level than say a Spider-Man or Daredevil so why should we expect him to have those kind of flaws. That being said, we have seen him, under many of the modern writers, including Hudlin: be brought to death's door, have marriage problems, lose his kingdom, suffer deaths of loved ones, go off to find himself, so it hasn't been all rosy for Panther recently. One of my criticisms of Hudlin was that I wanted to see more challenges and I think he was starting to do that with his Dark Reign storyline.

Racism happens, no doubt, certainly in Hollywood. I just don't think it happens to BP as often as some claim.

I do think Marvel has done a lot to promote Panther over the last few years, and for that they should be commended. But at the same time they have also hamstrung him too, and I do think some of those issues are not unique to Panther but to other black heroes and heroes of color in comics or across media. I don't think all of that is intentional or meant in a malicious way. I do think there can be a disconnect, and it might be racial in origin, when white writers, editors, and readers come into contact with black characters.

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