Devon’s Friday Nerd Advice: Is It Racist To Not Want A Black Actor To Play The Human Torch


YES!!! Holy crap, yes. You are a racist. 

Okay, maybe I should explain: Look, I understand where you are coming from. You don’t like change. People didn’t think Daniel Craig could play James Bond because he was blonde (I think its safe to say the nay sayers were wrong on that front), and people have even protested against Bane when Hardy performed a Scottish Gypsy Romani accent instead of the traditional Caribbean accent. 

The thing is that being uncomfortable with change is exactly why racism happens. Fear of change is why equal voting rights and racial integration was such a slow process to get started and why “separate but equal” was a thing. These self-stylized Twitter patriots are just trying to protect some traditional aspects of a character, which is really not so different from the racists of yesterday trying to protect a “traditional america’. For those protesting the casting of Johnny Storm, its about keeping our characters white…. for some reason. 

And you can’t say that it is not about race, than continue to take issue with the actor’s race. The last I checked, the complaints weren’t exactly focusing on his acting ability. 


Yes, if you tweet about maintaining the blood purity of comic book characters, you might be a racist. 


And let’s not pretend this is the first time, people hated Samuel L. Jackson when he premiered his Nick Fury. I’d like to hope that people are accepting of it now, but before, nerds were having a conniption despite the fact that this was far from unprecedented as Nick Fury has been black in the Ultimate Universe (and based on Samuel L. Jackson’s appearance). 


And of course, there was the Don Glover as Peter Parker fiasco. Did nerds hate the prospect that every Spider-Man poster would only be one inopportune spacing away from reading “Dong Lover is Peter Parker”? Nope. They didn’t want him as Peter Parker because he is black. 


As paraphrased by Donald Glover himself, you are saying that as nerds, you can imagine people lifting cars over their heads, flying unaided in the cold of space, and someone shooting fire from their eyes, but you can’t imagine a nerdy black kid from Queens, New York? . Out of all the fantastic things we stretch our imagination to accepting, are we really not open to the possibility the Sue and Johnny could be from a mixed race family or were adopted? Would you have felt differently if Reed Richards was cast by a black actor instead of Johnny Storm? 

Look, I wish that comics would have been printed in a time where people would have bought into the idea of non-white superheroes because then, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and that is why the Justice League looks like a country club. Do we really want our Superheroes in a Whites Only club? 

When someone on the internet writes that Johnny Storm just isn’t a black character, all I read is a black actor can not play a comic book character because of the color of his skin. 

In summation, were we not commanded to judge someone by the content of their character and not on the content of the skin of the character? Look, I’m not saying that there is no reason what so ever to complain about changing the race of a character. If we were to change Bruce Wayne to black, Japanese , or even to a different white person like Canadian or Irish, it would get justifiable rage because the Wayne family have been involved with the city since its founding and maintained a respectable position in the Gotham elite for generations. Its sad to say, but people who consistently held power back when Gotham was being settled were usually stuffy white people, and to change that would need a lot of explanation such as how would Judge Solomon Wayne make it to the bench during the 1800’s. 

Still, that rich history and back story doesn’t seem to define Johnny Storm’s character. I am under the impression that the Human Torch’s defining characteristic is the way he sets himself on fire, not being white. 

Besides, be cool white people. You still got tons of white characters. 


Its been a pretty heavy post. Here’s this to dispel the tension.