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5 Reasons the Next Batman Should Be Black

Idris Elba as Batman

Read on to find out why casting a black man as Batman makes perfect sense.

After months of speculation, it's confirmed that Ben Affleck is planning to leave Batman. He told USA Today "You don’t do it forever, so I want to find a graceful and cool way to segue out of it." Matt Reeves has reportedly already started lining up actors to play Batman in his solo movie The Batman including Jake Gyllenhaal. While Gyllenhaal is a fine actor this is a chance to do something big. Something that could redefine the entire DC movie universe and superhero movies forever: make him black.

Gun Violence is a Major Problem for Black People

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) - Death of Martha Wayne (Lauren Cohan)

One of the hallmarks of Batman has been his parent's death. While the origin has changed slightly based on the medium it follows a similar pattern. The Wayne family are walking down an alley when a robber comes out and shoots Bruce's parents to death in front of his eyes. This event drives him to stop all crime and motivates him to become the costumed vigilante Batman. Now imagine for a moment that Bruce and his parents are black. It immediately changes the narrative.

A major national problem in the United States is gun violence. It leads to tens of thousands of deaths and injuries annually. According to a Columbia University study, black Americans are more than twice as likely to die from gun violence than white ones. Some of this can be attributed to gang violence, but it's still incredibly high.

It's like if you're in the room with the cast of Black-ish and Friends and a gun battle breaks out. All six members of the Johnson family check out. But only Phoebe, Joey and Chandler get sent to the Big Coffee Shop in the sky. Maybe you don't like Phoebe but we can all agree we'd miss Pops.

Considering the prevalence of gun violence suddenly an African American Batman looks more relevant. While he wouldn't just fight black crime it highlights the importance of his crusade. Not only is he fighting to save people from gun violence. He's fighting to save everyone from gun violence regardless of their race or social status in life.

Batman has always been closely associated with inner-city crime. While Superman usually punches out asteroids Batman fights pickpockets robbing little old ladies. Batman fights for the little guy and making him a black victim of gun crime brings his crusade into sharper focus.


Orphans Are Always Sad

Batman Begins (2005) - Death of Bruce Wayne's parents - Bruce Wayne (Gus Lewis), Thomas (Linus Roache) and Martha (Sara Stewart)

One of the sad truths in the world is that children lose one or more parents. About 135,000 children are adopted in America every year. In the case of children of color the numbers change dramatically. According to a 2007 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey, 73 percent of adopted children are white and 37 percent are Hispanic. Only 23 percent of adopted children are classified as non-Hispanic black. Children adopted internationally are the least likely to be African American at 3 percent.

There's been an increase in adoptions of children of color in the world thanks to Madonna. She probably adopted half of the black kids in the world. But in the US the numbers are still bleak.

Now the story of Batman's orphan status takes on a different perspective. He's one of the thousands of children who've lost their parents and struggle to find an identity in the world. Not only that but he's basically raised by his white butler Alfred.


Little Orphan Bruce becomes a lot more tragic.

Intelligence Knows No Color

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) - Batman (Ben Affleck)
Batman is a genius. He has no equal. But it's telling that it's so easily accepted that he's an all-around genius. He's literally an expert on everything from martial arts to biology. You could have Batman telling everyone how many mosquitoes it would take to drain a human being of blood (1,200,000 by the way) and that doesn't sound odd to most people. Mainly because he's white.

But when you have a genius-level intellect in an African American man like Mr. Terrific suddenly he needs to be "taught" how to be a fighter by his Caucasian friend on the show Arrow. Because why would he know how to build a robot and how to fight? It's ridiculous to some people!

Right now black people make up less than one percent of the tech industry. According to American Community Survey data among young computer science and engineering graduates with bachelor’s or advanced degrees, only 6 percent are African American. At major tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter less than one percent are people of color. While these numbers show a lack of inclusion they also present a daunting challenge to youths of color. Why go into a job field that you feel like you'll be marginalized at?

But having a major superhero of color like Batman would send a message to youths of all races. You can succeed. Not that we need a token superhero, but if it were the cultural norm to see Batman as African American it would have a huge impact on some youths. There's a popular meme: "Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman."


He's Black in the Comics

Batwing

While some would argue that Batman shouldn't be African American because he's not black in the comics. They'd be wrong. Comic book fans know about Batwing.

He from Africa and first appeared in Batman Incorporated #5. (2011). David Zavimbi was created by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham and is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After that, another black man took over the role of Batwing, so there's a rich history there.

Instead of being "Batman of Africa" he'd be Batman. Interestingly because of his background, the Batwing of the comics is even more brutal than Batman.

It would fit perfectly into comic book continuity to have a black Batman.


Idris Elba is Idris Elba

Idris Elba

The number one reason to make Batman black would be to cast Idris Elba as Batman. The dude is a beast.

Many people only know of him from his role as Heimdall as Thor, which already triggered people since he played a Viking of African descent. But that's a shadow of the man's acting skills. if you've ever seen him in The Wire of his British police drama Luther then you know what I'm talking about. The man has the gravitas and power to play Batman. He wouldn't even need a  mask. He'd just glare at people till they look away from his face.

Plus, he'd make an awesome Bruce Wayne. He's been voted "Sexiest Man Alive" by Twitter already. Blake Shelton? I don't want to live in a world where women pass over Idris Elba to get some of Shelton's uncooked chicken.

What do you think? Should they cast a black man as Batman?

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