Make-believe people can only be one color?

Here we go again.  People are still debating whether a make-believe character can be a color other than their own.

Many conservatives cannot stand the idea of Santa possibly being black.  Why, the idea of such a thing!  Ronald Reagan would have never stood for it. nancy_reagan_mr_T_12 (Here, of course, is where I insert a picture of Mr. T performing as Santa at the White House in the Reagan administration.  Come on, you all knew that was coming.)

But it’s not just Santa.  I’ve seen science fiction geeks get all crazy when someone suggests that Superman could be black.  “But he’s not!” they scream.

Well why not?  Geez, he’s not even from earth.  He could be green with yellow polka dots.  Why would that distract from truth, justice, and the American way?  (OK, well, admittedly it would make it harder to pose as mild-mannered Clark Kent…)

There are indeed instances where the race or gender or sexual orientation of a fictional character is important to the story — but if it’s not, who cares? Why does it matter one bit what race Santa is?

That’s what I can’t quite figure out.

3 thoughts on “Make-believe people can only be one color?

  1. You need to keep this in context. The Santa example and the Superman example are not identical. If Superman is white in issue #374 and then he is suddenly black in issue #375, that is a legitimate problem. But, if Superman is suddenly portrayed as black in Alternate DC universe #1, the vast majority of fans won’t blink an eye (Example: Nick Fury in both the movie Avengers franchise and the Ultimate universe).


    • I agree with that; but there was a debate over Superman’s race a few years ago that I remember — maybe it was about casting for the film or something? I can’t recall the details, not being much of a comic book guy, but I do recall the debate. There certainly are some readers who care about that sort of thing.


  2. The Cardinal that became the patron saint of women on the road to prostitution was probably not black. The guy with flying reindeer and enough unexplained funds to produce toys for every child in the world, yeah, he could be any race or gender. Just use whichever crayon is nearest, it really doesn’t matter.


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