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Black Superhero name. Is this Ok?

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 3,062 Kiwi in IE


    My son was asked to create a villain and a superhero for homework, invent their persona and draw a picture. Said child has created a superhero who is a black guy and has named him ‘Black Mamba’. This is because of basketball player Kobe Bryant, who had the nickname ‘Black Mamba’. I have looked this up and the basketball player apparently gave himself this name, however I am also aware that it is the name of a deadly snake and have some discomfort around the whole thing because of that. I have so far said nothing about it to the child concerned. He is not racist and nor are we. We can’t abide racism. Would you speak to the child, ask him to change it? I don’t want to make a deal of it if it’s not one, but I feel unsure. I have the potential to overthink things and am unsure if that’s what I am doing. Please only sensible comments and nothing about being ‘PC’.


Comments

  • #2


    Kiwi in IE wrote: »
    My son was asked to create a villain and a superhero for homework, invent their persona and draw a picture. Said child has created a superhero who is a black guy and has named him ‘Black Mamba’. This is because of basketball player Kobe Bryant, who had the nickname ‘Black Mamba’. I have looked this up and the basketball player apparently gave himself this name, however I am also aware that it is the name of a deadly snake and have some discomfort around the whole thing because of that. I have so far said nothing about it to the child concerned. He is not racist and nor are we. We can’t abide racism. Would you speak to the child, ask him to change it? I don’t want to make a deal of it if it’s not one, but I feel unsure. I have the potential to overthink things and am unsure if that’s what I am doing. Please only sensible comments and nothing about being ‘PC’.

    What do you think is racist about it?


  • #2


    Smacruairi wrote: »
    What do you think is racist about it?

    I don’t think it’s racist. I’m just slightly uncomfortable about him drawing a black guy and naming him after a deadly snake. I know myself that it’s coming from a place of admiration and hero worship in regards to Kobe Bryant, but I’m just not sure if it will be taken up wrong at school. I’m not sure how it would seem to a person of colour. I’m just not really sure. I don’t want it to be any sort of a deal because I know exactly where it’s coming from, but I would be mortified if it were to cause anyone any distress or offence.


  • #2


    Look I'm honestly not trying to be smart but how in God's name can you think it's racist? A name that's a nickname for a snake and it's racist cause why, the characters black? If the hero was white would you worry?

    Plus what's wrong with snakes? Is Batman racist cause bats are seen as ugly and pests? What about Spiderman? You're not just overthinking here but going completely off the reservation


  • #2


    Black Mamba is a breed of snake


  • #2


    Look I'm honestly not trying to be smart but how in God's name can you think it's racist? A name that's a nickname for a snake and it's racist cause why, the characters black? If the hero was white would you worry?

    Plus what's wrong with snakes? Is Batman racist cause bats are seen as ugly and pests? What about Spiderman? You're not just overthinking here but going completely off the reservation

    I don’t think it’s racist. I am well aware I am probably overthinking. I am just aware that because I don’t think it’s racist doesn’t mean it isn’t. Wanted perspective is all.


  • #2


    Kiwi in IE wrote: »
    I don’t think it’s racist. I am well aware I am probably overthinking. I am just aware that because I don’t think it’s racist doesn’t mean it isn’t. Wanted perspective is all.

    Well I wouldn't worry an iota anyone that would find it offensive would honestly need to have some sort of mental health issues IMO


  • #2


    There’s already a superhero called black mamba so I doubt if it’s racist...

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mamba_(comics)


  • #2


    Oink wrote: »
    There’s already a superhero called black mamba so I doubt if it’s racist...

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mamba_(comics)

    Haha that one looks white.


  • #2


    OP, tell your child that "Black Mamba" is already taken and you wouldn't want the might of the Marvel legal team coming down like a tonne of bricks. So he can pick a new name and learn a little about copyright infringement at the same time.


  • #2


    Just help said child along; suggest he might consider a superhero who is black, but also not full of muscles, blind, and in a wheelchair. That’ll neuter any would be offended party.


  • #2


    Kaybaykwah wrote: »
    Just help said child along; suggest he might consider a superhero who is black, but also not full of muscles, blind, and in a wheelchair. That’ll neuter any would be offended party.

    I would also add make them transgender and gay/bisexual just to be extra sure to tick all the boxes :)


  • #2


    nudain wrote: »
    OP, tell your child that "Black Mamba" is already taken and you wouldn't want the might of the Marvel legal team coming down like a tonne of bricks. So he can pick a new name and learn a little about copyright infringement at the same time.

    I’m showing my level of interest in superheroes anyway. Had no idea there was already one.


  • #2


    Kiwi in IE wrote: »
    I’m showing my level of interest in superheroes anyway. Had no idea there was already one.

    Was also a character in Kill Bill I think.


  • #2


    The whole superhero things is fundamentally about affirming the myth of redemptive violence; that you can make the world right by breaking skulls. Superheros are intrinsically violent; they use their superpowers to leverage their violence.

    Which means there's a particular problem about black superheroes - a propensity for violence is a pejorative racial stereotype directed at black people. And yet by making a black person a superhero you are calling attention to their capacity for violence, and usually assocating them with a magnified capacity for violence. So, yeah, you want to tread carefully here. Even if you don't give them a violent name, superheroes tend to violence anyway.

    In Black Panther the superheroes are all black but what distinguishes them from other superheroes is their extreme reluctance to use their superpowers. They isolate themselves, conceal their superpowers and do not use them to benefit others - in fact they aim to intervene in other people's affairs as little as possible. You can see what's going on here - the creators are sensitive to the racial stereotype of associating Black people - particularly Black men - with violence and are trying to distance themselves from it.

    Don't know how old your son is but this is probably a level of analysis that, um, it might not be reasonable to expect from him. Also, I don't know if he's expected to come up with a story or just create a character and (presumably) assign a superpower.

    Maybe the things to focus on is not the racial overtones of the name, but the affirmation of the myth redemptive violence? Focus on the superpower to be assigned to the superhero, and encourage him to come up with one that isn't just a mechanism for breaking skulls more effectively - manybe he has superpowers of insight or intuition or communication or memory, something like that.


  • #2


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    The whole superhero things is fundamentally about affirming the myth of redemptive violence; that you can make the world right by breaking skulls. Superheros are intrinsically violent; they use their superpowers to leverage their violence.

    Which means there's a particular problem about black superheroes - a propensity for violence is a pejorative racial stereotype directed at black people. And yet by making a black person a superhero you are calling attention to their capacity for violence, and usually assocating them with a magnified capacity for violence. So, yeah, you want to tread carefully here. Even if you don't give them a violent name, superheroes tend to violence anyway.

    In Black Panther the superheroes are all black but what distinguishes them from other superheroes is their extreme reluctance to use their superpowers. They isolate themselves, conceal their superpowers and do not use them to benefit others - in fact they aim to intervene in other people's affairs as little as possible. You can see what's going on here - the creators are sensitive to the racial stereotype of associating Black people - particularly Black men - with violence and are trying to distance themselves from it.

    Don't know how old your son is but this is probably a level of analysis that, um, it might not be reasonable to expect from him. Also, I don't know if he's expected to come up with a story or just create a character and (presumably) assign a superpower.

    Maybe the things to focus on is not the racial overtones of the name, but the affirmation of the myth redemptive violence? Focus on the superpower to be assigned to the superhero, and encourage him to come up with one that isn't just a mechanism for breaking skulls more effectively - manybe he has superpowers of insight or intuition or communication or memory, something like that.

    Thank you for your serious and considered response, that was exactly what I was hoping for and your clear understanding of the issue has helped me gain clarification on exactly why I felt uncomfortable. In the end I allowed him to hand it in without any discussion, it turns out that this ‘Black Mambo’ neutralises Corona Virus as his superpower, so I let that one go without the discussion about racial stereotyping, and you are right about him being too young to be expected to analyse this issue to the depth required for clear understanding (especially when I required assistance to do so myself). He’s 12 and I will have the discussion with him in the context of my initial discomfort and why. Thank you.


  • #2


    Kiwi in IE wrote: »
    . . . it turns out that this ‘Black Mambo’ neutralises Corona Virus as his superpower.
    A superpower for our times, definitely!


  • #2


    If you bring political correctness into the naming of a superhero you destroy the concept of heroism entirely. Children need heroes more than ever in these times. Heroes need to be strong and invincible, that's their point. Watering down the heroes a child built up in their imagination with political correctness and fear is surprisingly damaging. It's like rewriting mythology to geld and disarm the heroes. Imagine Theseus being afraid to fight the minotaur for fear of being cruel to animals? Imagine Perseus being afraid to face Medusa with a mirrored shield for fear of offending her? That's the same as applying political correctness to a child's heroes.

    I think the idea of a black superhero is great and if your son wants to name him after a deadly snake so be it. All the better to fight coronavirus. When I was at primary school in 1970s Ireland the boxer Muhammad Ali (black) was a favourite hero of the boys. Heroism should be linked to charisma, deeds and how this stirs the imagination, not what is politically correct.


  • #2
    I actually do think there are racial undertones to the name Black Mamba I have to say. I'm sure the boy didn't mean it, but it's not surprising that he would pick up certain stereotypes against POC from living in a patriarchal society like Ireland.

    I would sit down and ask him why he chose this name - and tell him that associating negative stereotypes about POC is not okay, at any age.


  • #2


    I actually do think there are racial undertones to the name Black Mamba I have to say. I'm sure the boy didn't mean it, but it's not surprising that he would pick up certain stereotypes against POC from living in a patriarchal society like Ireland.

    I would sit down and ask him why he chose this name - and tell him that associating negative stereotypes about POC is not okay, at any age.

    Can you please tell us why you think Black Mamba is a negative stereotype? The first thing that came to my mind was a snake. A deadly venomous snake yes, but that is down to evolution and natural selection. It is not a bad thing unless human beings meddle where they shouldn't.

    Perhaps your son got the name "Black Mamba" from the late basketball player Kobe Bryant. He gave himself the name "Black Mamba" and he is a hero to many people.


  • #2
    Emme wrote: »
    Can you please tell us why you think Black Mamba is a negative stereotype? The first thing that came to my mind was a snake. A deadly venomous snake yes, but that is down to evolution and natural selection. It is not a bad thing unless human beings meddle where they shouldn't.

    Perhaps your son got the name "Black Mamba" from the late basketball player Kobe Bryant. He gave himself the name "Black Mamba" and he is a hero to many people.

    Black mamba is a common term used which reinforces the racist belief that black men have larger penises.


  • #2


    Yeah no one is going to bite on this one, 3/10


  • #2


    Black mamba is a common term used which reinforces the racist belief that black men have larger penises.
    A child could not be expected to know that, well hopefully not anyway. Even I didn't know that and now I understand why people would find it offensive.


  • #2


    Emme wrote: »
    A child could not be expected to know that, well hopefully not anyway. Even I didn't know that and now I understand why people would find it offensive.




    People that are offended by a child drawing a superhero because of their hypersensitive adult sensibilities need to get a grip, or spend a lot less time on twitter.

    No wonder DC is on the verge of shutting down.
    Thinking like that ends up creating industry killers like this...
    (Yes.... these are real actual characters and not, as I assumed upon seeing them, a complete piss take of DC's sad decline into ID pol irrelevence.



    new-warriors-2020.jpg


    newwarriors2020newkids-snowflake-and-safespace.jpg


  • #2


    Looking at those new Marvel creatures I am glad I came of age in the era of Spiderman, Batman, Wonderwoman and Superman. B-Negative with the mohawk hairstyle is the only one that is remotely cool.


  • #2


    Emme wrote: »
    Can you please tell us why you think Black Mamba is a negative stereotype? The first thing that came to my mind was a snake. A deadly venomous snake yes, but that is down to evolution and natural selection. It is not a bad thing unless human beings meddle where they shouldn't.

    If someone says that Emme is (like) a venomous snake, then they are not being complementary, nor is is anything to do with evolution and selection.


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