July 15, 2019
Online joy over Lashana Lynch inheriting James Bond’s codename may be premature. White men won’t give up their hero status so easily
The new 007 is a black woman – dont make her a Bond girl
Fans have been hoping for a black actor to play James Bond at least since 2012, when Idris Elba was first rumoured as a possible successor to Daniel Craig. The franchise seems to have finally come through; this weekend it was reported that Lashana Lynch is going to be the new 007.There was much celebration on social media, which is understandable. But it may be a little premature. Casting black female actors as legacy characters is a great step towards rectifying the historical racism and sexism that has led to a disproportionate number of those characters being white men. But it’s only a step. Black women also need to be written with respect; they have to be presented as natural, worthy heroes who deserve to wear the cowl or cape or tux in question. Otherwise, the new hero just becomes another way to demonstrate that the real, worthy hero is the white guy.
There are numerous examples of this dynamic. One is the character of James Rhodes, who in various Marvel comics takes over from Tony Stark as the hero Iron Man. Rhodes is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), too, and has long been presented as a kind of successor in waiting for Robert Downey Jr’s Stark.
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