Can a comic book character be a useful role model?


The premiere of Black Panther, featuring a black comic book superhero, has some black people so excited that they are even dressing like him.

There's nothing wrong with that.  What bothers me, however, is how many black people are ready to call Black Panther a role model for the black community:

Mr. Shaw, a father of two, believes that he and other African-American cosplayers demonstrate why the comics world needs more characters like T'Challa, the Black Panther.

"It's going to be great for people of color once they start seeing that there is a black superhero who is a king and graduated with honors from four different schools," he said.  "When I don the costume, I feel like I embody the character.  I am no longer Sean, I become the king of Wakanda." (snip)

Ms. Walker ... a Los Angeles native and Black Panther enthusiast ... said that the film stood out for its positive portrayal of Wakanda, an African nation that was never colonized by European nations.

"It's the first time in America cinema narrative where you have a country full of noncolonized black people that are all science prodigies and geniuses," she explained.

The message of this "role model" is that blacks would be science prodigies and geniuses if not for colonialism.  The theme is that blacks could succeed if not for colonialism in Africa, which ended more than 70 years ago, and for racism in America.

This is the same propaganda that the American left has pushed on the black community since the end of segregation.

When most people think of role models, do they think of Superman?  Batman?  The Incredible Hulk?  No, they think of real people – politicians, scientists, and especially parents and relatives.

But for years before the Obama presidency, the most worshiped "role models" in the black community were tall men who tossed orange balls into hoops.  Not Clarence Thomas, one of the greatest jurists of our times.  Not Thomas Sowell, one of the most renowned American thinkers of a generation.  Not Ben Carson, a brilliant pioneering neurosurgeon.

The problem, which we all know but are afraid to talk about, is that male black culture, by and large, does not embrace commitment to nurture the next generation or value academic achievement.  And when I mean "by and large," I mean the majority of male black culture.  How else to explain a 77% out-of-wedlock birth rate for black mothers?  Certainly the government has played a role in this, using welfare to encourage this trend, but it is most pronounced in the black community.

If you want to talk about this, you're a racist.  Better to keep quiet and say blacks would have multiple educational degrees and spaceships if not for racism.

Will we ever see a comic strip where Black Panther fights single dads who don't take care of their children, or mentors black kids who see no value in school and are raised like feral animals in housing projects?  Probably not, and more the tragedy.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at