After reading “I Need a (Black) Hero: Hollywood Still Doesn’t Grasp Representation” by W. Kamau Bell in Wired’s June 2017 issue, I thought more about the question, “How many Black Superheroes do we need?”
Now, some may write me off simply by questioning.
Seriously, what’s the number of Black Superheroes we need? Is there a number that would be satisfactory?
Is there a time at which the people demanding more black roles will be appeased and say, “Wow. Thank you! This is great!” Or will there be a perpetual cry for more and more until there are only black roles?
I ask because it seems like it’s more towards the latter. Do you realize that black people comprise 12.2% of the population? And that white people comprise 63.7%? That means there are 5 times as many white people. So if we are looking for accurate representation there should be 5 times as many white people as black people.
Yet, seemingly there’s outrage wherever it’s not 50/50.
And don’t get me started on demanding Oscars for black actors. Participation Trophy much? Where’s my trophy? I played basketball once, why didn’t I get an award?!
I took it upon myself to count the number of white people to black people in ads in Wired and GQ (my current subscriptions). It was about 3 white people to every 2 black people. Instead of the 5 to 1 ratio of the actual US population.
Exercise at home: When you watch TV today, count the number of actors from each race and see what you find.
You know what I find most shocking? The complete lack of Hispanic and Asian people. The Hispanic population in the United States is over 16 percent, yet they have near zero representation. Are Hispanics demanding trophies and more superheroes be written as them?
Here’s a possible solution: if you want more characters of your race – write great stories featuring characters of your race.
Instead of just demanding other people give you the things you want, you can make it happen. It’s easier than ever.
We’re in the United States of America with modern technology. The means of production are in your pocket (or the screen you’re using now) – write your script in Google Docs. Shoot it on your smartphone (which has a crazy good camera).
Write! Scrap that, then write more! The first one will probably suck.
Want more black actors getting roles? Start training in acting instead of basketball (74% black to 18% white) and football (70% black).
And demanding more immigrant roles… Seriously? If I went to Bollywood or China and demanded they put more white people in their films so I could feel better, I’d get laughed out of the country.
When are we going to stop making everything about race or demanding things from each other and simply come together to make life better?
I think those things would go a long way to heal the nation, so we can stop pitting us against ourselves.