Superheroes are a major part of American folklore. And that bit of American folklore has been exported to the entire world. Heroes like Batman and Superman are iconic. The image of the superpowered white man coming to save the day is ingrained in our consciousness—and is, of course, just one facet of how whiteness and white supremacy has been communalized all over the world. We should applaud efforts to alter that landscape. We should jump at the chance to show the world a broader spectrum of heroes. And we should salute Michael B. Jordan for addressing the controversy in a deliberate and thoughtful way.
And we should be ever vigilant in our efforts to ensure that we don’t continue to perpetuate the idea that “hero” can only mean “white.”