Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Fixing Luke Cage

Netflix recently released the show "Luke Cage", chronicling the adventures of the legendary Marvel super hero of the same name (aka "Power Man"). It's a good show (I'm two episodes in to the initial 13 of this first season) but apparently some people have a problem with it. A very specific group of people and one very specific problem with it, that is...
Yes, once again the cry of "NOT ENOUGH WHITE PEOPLE" has been sounded.
Per ushe.

Now, I've been reading comic books since the '70s when Luke Cage looked like this...
If you're going to wear yellow boots, you'd better be a bad ass.
...and the basic reason he exists is because he's black. More than any super power he possesses and his interactions with other characters in the Marvel Universe (he's worked with the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and the Defenders as well as frequent team-ups with his pal Iron Fist and being married to Jessica Jones), his being a black man is really his raison d'ĂȘtre. That's not something for which Marvel apologizes, nor should they. It's perfectly fine for there to be a black super hero. Of course it is. Black people read comics and there's no good reason whatsoever that there shouldn't be heroes that look like them. None.

But hold on a minute. Maybe (white) people complaining have a valid point. This isn't a comic book, this is a television show. And nobody (white people) should ever be subjected to having to watch television that doesn't represent them or their interests. How is someone (a white person) supposed to identify with characters (black people) and situations (black people doing stuff) with which they aren't immediately familiar and comfortable?
Nobody has ever had to deal with circumstances like that!
Let's all settle down, before this becomes a whole "thing", okay? I think we can resolve this by just making a couple of minor tweak-olas. You know, so everyone can sit down together and enjoy the program like the crazy, colorful, wonderful, melting-pot patchwork quilt with no more racism that we like to think we are sometimes.

  • A central plot point of the series involves a corrupt politician raising funds to open a community center named after Crispus Attucks. Let's change that to a community center named after Jack Nicklaus. Attucks was killed during the Boston Massacre and is widely considered the first casualty of the American Revolutionary War. Nicklaus has won 18 major golf championships. That's pretty much a wash.
  • In the show, Luke Cage operates out of a barber shop in Harlem, where he works doing various janitorial tasks. An easy fix is to move his base to a cute "indy" coffee shop in Brooklyn. Is anyone going to try to make the argument that Power Man would enjoy sweeping floors and doing laundry more than sipping a nice pumpkin spice latte? I think not.
  • Casting. Okay, there are lots and lots of black actors playing lots and lots of black characters. How about if we lighten (HA HA!) that up just a wee little bit?

Those aren't bullet holes; it came that way from Old Navy.

  • Not ALL of the characters have to be white. It's a super hero show so there are lots and lots of bad guys. Those could all be played by black actors and I don't think (white) people would even notice. 
  • Okay, maybe not all the bad guys. There should probably be some diversity (white people) when it comes to the high-profile villains who have lots of screen time and memorable, meaningful dialogue.

Oh, that's much better. I think (white) people will sleep much easier once these simple changes are implemented.

No comments: