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I’m Not Racist, But a Black Guy Cannot Play Spiderman

June 3, 2010

There’s a campaign online for actor Donald Glover to play Spiderman. Glover is black. Here’s a number of reasons why this shouldn’t happen:

A HACK COMIC SOMEWHERE HAS PROBABLY COVERED THIS POSSIBILITY ALREADY
I’m sure a Def Jam comic out there has explored this. Why allow a whole new generation of shitty comics to speculate on what it would be like if Spiderman was habitually late, ate chicken, or had high blood pressure?

UNCLE BEN
When he’s white, he’s just an honorable old man. Make him black, and he’s still an honorable old man….who happens to be a mascot for microwaveable rice. What’s next,  Aunt May becomes Jemima?

THIS OPENS THE DOOR TO OTHER HEROES SWAPPING ETHNICITIES
Hispanic Batman we might be able to handle. But are you ready for Pacific Islander Green Arrow?  How about Eskimo Wolverine?

NEW ORIGIN STORY
The real reason Spiderman designed those web shooters? Couldn’t get a cab.

DOES THIS MEAN WE COULD HAVE BLADE BE PLAYED BY A WHITE GUY?
Think about that one. A bad ass vampire that goes around slaying other vampires played by…Tim Robbins?

THE VILLAINS
Given Hollywood’s track record, this means we’re not far from a reality that includes Ice Cube as Dr. Octopus.

Dr. Ice-Cube-pus.

CRIES OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
I want my Spiderman to be able to catch crooks without Bill O’Reilly telling him how the system works in his favor.

THAT’S NOT WHAT PETER PARKER LOOKS LIKE
Here it is, the elephant in the room. I’m sure there are black actors out there who could do a great job with this role. And there’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with a black actor taking on a traditionally white part. But in my mind’s eye, Peter Parker is an awkward white teenager. That’s just how I imagine him because that’s how he’s always been portrayed. Casting a black guy, Latino, Indian, whatever – that takes you out of the movie. Fair or not, we do attach race to certain characters. Pretty sure I wouldn’t expect Sherlock Holmes to walk around in a kimono.

When Michael Clarke Duncan played Kingpin, it was cool. When I think of that character, my focus is on his body more than his skin. His stature was what got him the role, not his race. With Spiderman? This absolutely smells like stunt casting because  the actor’s skin color becomes the main point of discussion. I think that takes away from the movie and from the actor. Not really fair to either.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t live in a world of racial harmony and equality, but there are certain characters who look a certain way. Bruce Wayne. Superman. Luke Skywalker. Spiderman falls into that category. That said, there are plenty of predominantly white characters most people wouldn’t mind seeing turned into black guys. Take Indiana Jones. Or Popeye. Both of those would be cool. If you don’t think that Denzel could hunt for the holy grail, or that Ving Rhames could throw back some spinach…..well then you’re just a racist.

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