Like he did last year, David Brothers over at 4thletter! is doing a post a day on blacks in comics for Black History Month. For instance, on Tuesday he offered advice on writing black characters:
You can’t win. This is the unspoken rule of creating or writing black characters. Someone, somewhere, is going to hate what you do and how you did it. It could be something in your approach, dialogue, or technique. It could be nothing at all, you might have just pushed someone’s buttons on accident. You’re co-opting, appropriating, and destroying.
With that said, all of that’s no reason to not do it.
If you’ve got half a brain, you’re smart enough to write black people. You know that every black person is different, but that there are still similarities in all of us. If you’re really unsure, you’ll run it by a black friend or two. If you don’t have any black friends, go find some.
And today he talks about the “noble savage”:
Black Panther has Wakanda. Superman’s got Vathlo Island. Tyroc has Marzal Island. Casanova has Coldheart. They all have a few things in common. Remote or isolated countries filled with technologically advanced black people, untouched by the evils of colonialism.
If I had to put my finger on it, I guess it’s born from some kind of political correctness gone wrong. In an effort to avoid creating stereotypical black or African savages, the creators overcorrected in the opposite direction. They put the black characters on a pedestal, turning them into paragons of virtue and exemplars of everything good about humanity.
Check out the blog all month long for more.