White Guy #2
White Guy #3
|Billionaire heir philanthropist playboy civic leader wealthy person|
White Guy #4
White Gal #1
Black Guy #1
Black Guy #2
Black Guy #3
Black Guy #4
|Loud Black Lad/fashionisto|
Black Gal #1
Now, I'll admit I'm not being entirely fair. Jefferson Pierce became a teacher. Marines aren't stupid (that's what the Army's for) and Jon Stewart is an engineer. Plus, I'm omitting such characters as the brilliant technologist John Henry Irons.
Here's some balance, then:
Bonus Black Guy:
|One of the smartest people on the planet|
Bonus White Guy:
I still say that for various reasons our society, even if only subconsciously, values black people for their physical prowess and attributes, rather than their intelligence and acumen. I believe it's a vestige of American slavery, where slaves were valued for their use as laborers.
You could make a case that:
(a) most black characters were created later than most white characters, at a time when heroes were more likely to have humble origins;
(b) if you start including more characters, such as Steel, in the list above, that the disparity between the treatment of white and black characters diminishes; or
(c) as more new characters are created any such imbalance will lessen.
You could make those cases. But I'm not sure I'd buy them.
You may find my theory about the ingrained "slave labor values" ridiculous or too distasteful to accept. Okay. Then let's pause to look at the exposed thighs, abs, and cleavage of black men:
You almost never see this kind of costume treatment for white male characters (excepting Plastic Man). Of course, you DO see it for female white characters. Almost as if our society were valuing women mostly ... for their physical attributes.
I don't mean to make too big a deal out of this. But I do think it's a real thing, and something we need to pay attention to, lest it continue indefinitely.
You're welcome to dismiss or contest my theory. But at least think about it, in the process.