Spider-Man Reboot… Should He Be Black? (FACEBOOK NOTE)

PREFACE: I thought this was an interesting wall discussion about race in which I was accused of being a bigot… thought it would be worth sharing with folks to widen the discussion. I acknowledge I used some racial humor, but that’s very different from being a true bigot or racist. Most people understand the difference.

See for yourself:
Derek joined the group Donald Glover 4 Spiderman!! · Comment · Like · Join this Group

Allegedly Dave 
why do you want the reboot to fail so badly?
Derek Raimondi 
What’s wrong with this? I think it’d make for a fresh take on the franchise. The race of Peter Parker is not essential to the character at all.

Allegedly Dave 


If you change the name Peter Parker to Tyronne Terell and have him drop out of high school, move him and his Aunt Jemima to the Bronx instead of cushy Forest Hills and have him shout quips like “yo nigga, tha’s mad brick” at the Green Goblin for tossing Rihanna off a bridge… I dunno, I think it might curtail Stan Lee’s original concept.
Earl Rufus 
Wow, I don’t even know where to begin with that, just so much wrong. So so wrong.
Derek Raimondi 
I thought this would be an good conversation since the topic is rather interesting, but since you went ahead and responded like a complete idiot, I guess I’ll have the discussion with someone else.
Allegedly Dave 
Peter and May Parker are both very white names, are they not? Forest Hills is a fairly white community compared to other parts of NYC, is it not? Blacks have an extremely high drop out rate in NYC, do they not? How is acknowledging these cultural differences and how they could impact a movie in any way idiotic?
Earl Rufus 
Because you are implying that in order for Peter Parker to become black, he has to become a stereotype. Now, I may not live in NYC so I will say you are the expert on our boroughs. The Bronx has a greater hispanic population than it does a black one. And there are literally dozens of areas that are pro-whites. I don’t see why black people couldn’t have the name Peter or May, I don’t exactly think Earl is a ghetto name, but once again I’m assured your the expert on naming black children.

But the biggest gripe here is that you think your views on the black culture are anything but limited and in this case extremely bigoted.

Allegedly Dave 
And yes Earl, some aspects of reality are wrong and unfortunate. But it’s still reality nonetheless. It’s my prediction that Hollywood would be unable to avoid giving Spider-Man a ghetto/gangsta spin, on some level, if they made Peter black. How do YOU think it would play out?
Allegedly Dave 
I’m not being bigoted, I’m approaching the movie through the lense of HOLLYWOOD. Blame the industry if you want, not the messenger. I thought you were an avid movie watcher, you should know this.
Earl Rufus 
I’m sorry, you expect me to buy the, I’m not projecting my own views, this is what Hollywood would do thing?

REALLY?

We don’t know what Hollywood would do, except they probably won’t do a black Spiderman because most people wouldn’t accept it. That much I can grant you. Not because they have to “ghetto” him up.

Allegedly Dave 
I’m not selling anything, so you don’t need to buy anything. I absolutely believe that changing Spider-Man’s race would require a change to his character even if it’s merely his dialect. It doesn’t make me a bigot or racist to want the character to remain the way he’s been for over 40 years. I think making Static Shock white would also be a stupid move, Earl.

It’s sad when we automatically equate any acknowledgement of our differences with bigotry. That in itself is playing into a stereotype.

(On a lighter note, what would happen when black Spidey discovered the black costume?)

Earl Rufus 
And just to throw this out there, Hollywood turned Harvey Dent, Kingpin, Nick Fury and Felix Leiter black without making them racial parodies.

Allegedly Dave 
Wrong again, Earl. Nick Fury was always white in the comics and still is. ULTIMATE Nick Fury, a separate Marvel Universe that I know you’re familiar with, made him black. Hollywood went with that option and it was a good choice.

Harvey Dent was more ethnic, but he was hardly black in the Batman cartoon. (Felix is too obscure to matter.) The Kingpin however was a significant Hollywood decision. And what did they do? They played gangsta rap music when they introduced his character, proving my point.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVrRTayCZMI)

Earl Rufus 
How is saying that he would need to drop out of high school, move to a blacker neighborhood and speak differently not come off as bigoted?

Allegedly Dave 
So you think that a black Spider-Man would be IDENTICAL to a white Spider-Man aside from skin color…? You have to remember that this is a business decision for Hollywood. A change in skin tone by itself wouldn’t have much of an impact. They would certainly change more than that, and Spidey’s been fucked around with enough in the comics recently that I’d hate to see Hollywood get carried away with Peter’s character.

Allegedly Dave 
Btw, I’m not complaining about the Kingpin being made black. It did work, though I would have gone with James Gandolfini. Annnnd that’s your cue to say “Of course you’d prefer Gandolfini because he’s white! You racist!”, nevermind the fact that he has the right build and played a fucking PERFECT mob boss in a little show called The Sopranos…

I’m not the bigot you want me to be, Earl.

Derek Raimondi 
Have you ever seen anything Donald Glover has been in?

Allegedly Dave 
I youtube’d the guy, yeah. He’s not talentless or anything, just not the right fit in my opinion.Situation Reversed:  What if Static Shock, an original black superhero, were changed to a white guy?

Situation Reversed: What if Static Shock, an original black superhero, were changed to a white guy?

“Black Spidey”

“Spider-Man”

My pick for Kingpin: James Gandolfini.

My pick for Kingpin: James Gandolfini.

Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin in Daredevil.

Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin in Daredevil.

Kingpin in the comics.

Kingpin in the comics.

Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe

Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe

Nick Fury in Ultimate Marvel

Nick Fury in Ultimate Marvel

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in “Iron Man”

My pick for the new Peter Parker/Spidey: Aaron Johnson. He plays a good geek, has a slight Tobey Maguire vibe to him so it would be a smooth transition, and isn't a big name in Hollywood yet. It also helps that he has experience with the comic book movie genre via Kick-Ass. I dare anyone to find someone better!

My pick for the new Peter Parker/Spidey: Aaron Johnson. He plays a good geek, has a slight Tobey Maguire vibe to him so it would be a smooth transition, and isn’t a big name in Hollywood yet. It also helps that he has experience with the comic book movie genre via Kick-Ass. I dare anyone to find someone better!

  • Laura Pinckney · Friends with Emily Anne and 9 others

    To be honest, Dave, your initial reaction to the idea of a black Spiderman appears a little uneducated. “If you change the name Peter Parker to Tyronne Terell…” is an unfortunate example of this. Plenty of black people have general last names like “Parker” or “Matthews.” You sounded bigoted in that entire paragraph.

    However, you do redeem yourself in the latter paragraphs. I do agree that Hollywood can NOT help itself to break away from stereotyping; playing “rock” music when a white character is ass-kinging and playing “rap” when a black character is successful as well. Also, Hollywood would indeed change Peter Parker’s character by simply changing his skin tone. Example: Catwoman. Horrible Hollywood stumbling over itself despite a chance at “change.”

  • David Archer Bond If some random person wrote that first paragraph, I’d agree. But those who know me know that I simply have an edgy sense of humor and that I *am* well educated. Those that haven’t picked up on those characteristics are very unobservant. 

    Context matters. Larry David says the n-word in this clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCzdEAy8WOw&feature=related) but no one would call him racist, right? Time and place, know your audience, etc etc.

    And Catwoman! Perfect example. Can’t believe I forgot that one… though the movie itself was pretty forgettable so maybe that’s why.

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