The White-Washing of Black Characters in Comic Book and Supernatural Films

Shades of Whiteness

Films and television programs that are based on, or inspired by, comic book properties and supernatural themes continue to be successful and are increasing in number. These films and programs are dominated by white characters who in turn continue to promote the myth of white superiority and dominance. While these productions feature largely white casts, there is an ever increasing number of black characters that either star in or are major characters in these films. However, these black characters are often white-washed and robbed of any semblance of a black identity or reflect various stereotypes that have been historically associated with black people. This in turn further strengthens the idea of white supremacy. The purpose of this presentation will be to describe the various ways that black characters have been stripped of their identities, reflect stereotypes and enforce the myth of white supremacy. The author will identify various stereotypes such as, the Magical Negro and uncivilized savage. This chapter will further demonstrate the means by which the black characters are stripped of their black identity (or the race of the character is completely ignored) during the course of the film(s) or television programs. This stripping or dismissal of identity allows the white characters (and audience) to be comfortable in their whiteness and not have to confront the impact or consequences of racism.