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Racist CCC’s Comic Book Complaint: The Gods Must be Crazy

By Evelyn Schlatter on December 17, 2010 - 6:42 pm, Posted in White Nationalism

The white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is calling for a boycott of the upcoming movie “Thor,” based on the Marvel comic book story and directed by Kenneth Branagh. One would think that a film fantasy about a Nordic god (played by blond, blue-eyed Australian actor Chris Hemsworth) performing heroic acts would have a racist group like the CCC squealing with delight.

Idris ElbaNot so. The CCC is upset about the casting of British actor Idris Elba, who is black, as Heimdall, the all-seeing, all-hearing sentry of Asgard, one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. After all, Heimdall is supposed to be a Nordic god and, as such, he’s supposed to be white, the CCC declares.

Only in the warped worldview of a group like the CCC could the Hollywood depiction of a nonhuman fictional character derived from mythology as imagined by comic book writers be seen as a racial affront.

The decision to cast Golden Globe-nominated Elba as Heimdall was announced in late 2009, and it resulted in a flurry of discussion on comic book fan sites. Some fans have expressed reservations about the casting, but unlike the CCC, most were concerned about remaining true to the comic story line rather than taking issue with Elba’s race. Most, however, seem fine with the casting. One pointed out that the Asgardians, as represented in Marvel comics, are a diverse bunch, anyway, noting that some have died and been reborn as others, including “a black dude,” according to one fan, and that the Asgard have also accepted non-human aliens into their ranks. Another mentioned Heimdall’s nine mothers, so who’s to say what he might look like? And yet another summed it up like this: “Long as the movie doesn’t suck, I have no reason to care about the casting.”

Director Branagh reportedly contacted Elba personally in 2009, saying, “I know this isn’t a big role, but I would really love to see you play it.” Elba’s agent, Rupert Fowler, said the actor liked the script and the movie and wanted to work with Branagh. Calls and E-mails to Marvel Comics and Branagh’s agency had not been returned by the time of publication.

Comics devotees point out that the Marvel series doesn’t attempt to accurately portray Norse mythology, but that evidently offered no comfort to the CCC (assuming it understood that to begin with). “It’s not enough that Marvel attacks conservatives [sic] values,” but “now mythological Gods must be re-invented with black skin,” the group’s statement says. “Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves. … Can you imagine the outrage if the same multi-cultural makeover was applied to other races?”

But multicultural makeovers have been common when Hollywood has brought action-comic heroes to the big screen – and the CCC has been strangely quiet before now.

They had no problem when Angelina Jolie – who is white – was cast as fictional African-American assassin Fox in the 2008 movie adaptation of “Wanted.” Nor did they complain – though one wonders why not – when Samuel L. Jackson, who is black, was cast as comic-book hero Nick Fury in “Iron Man” 1 and 2. (Maybe it’s because Fury has alternated between white and black in comics.) They didn’t seem to mind when, in the 1989 movie “Batman,” black actor Billy Dee Williams portrayed Gotham City district attorney Harvey Dent, destined to become the villain Two-Face – who, in turn, was portrayed by white actors Tommy Lee Jones in “Batman Forever” in 1995, and Aaron Eckhart in 2008′s “The Dark Knight.” No word from the CCC when black actor Michael Clark Duncan portrayed crime boss Wilson Fisk in the 2003 film “Daredevil,” another comic book knock-off. And, just for the record, comic book heroine Catwoman has been portrayed on television and in cinema by Eartha Kitt (black), Julie Newmar (white), Halle Berry (black) and Michelle Pfeiffer (white), among others.

In fact, it’s odd that the CCC is more upset about comic portrayals of mythological Norse characters than, say, Denzel Washington playing Don Pedro, an Italian nobleman in Branagh’s 1993 “Much Ado About Nothing,” or, for that matter, Morgan Freeman playing God in the 2003 movie “Bruce Almighty.” Perhaps they are soothed by the fact that virtually every Western movie portrayal of Jesus – who was of Middle Eastern, not European, descent – has been done by white actors.

For his part, Elba has waved off criticism of his casting in “Thor,” telling TV Times in April, “Hang about, Thor’s mythical, right? Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers. That’s OK, but the color of my skin is wrong?”

The CCC’s boycott announcement is garnering more ridicule than support in the comic and movie fan world. One blogger pointed out that the “world’s crappiest racists are mad about the Thor movie,” and said that “everyone else in the fucking movie is white, so if Marvel is actually running a vicious anti-white people campaign, they’re doing a spectacularly shitty job of it.”

  • SueInAustralia

    Hahahaha! What a pack of idiots!
    Who cares, anyway? It’s ‘Fiction’, people!! Hmmm… Perhaps I should write the word in white, so they’ll be able to understand it.

  • Tolpuddle Martyr

    Rest of world attempting to give a damn about Council of Conservative Citizens whining…

    …what? Still nothing?

    If you really want to annoy them, tell ‘em that Freya was played by a black woman in Erik the Viking!

  • LEx

    “How would you lefties react to, for example, Dolph Lundgren playing the role of an black African god? You would be screaming in outrage right along with blacks.”
    No i would watching a comedic masterpiece you are talking about the man who played He-Man wearing less clothes then in the cartoon

  • The Prisoner

    Yesterday, my wife and I were in San Francisco, enjoying the people watching. Two white men get on the streetcar with two Asian women, A common sight in the Bay Area, except for the fact that all four were speaking German. We figured that they were born there, because they spoke the language better than my brother-in-law, who lived there for thirty years. When you can’t rely on a person’s looks, what in Odin’s name is this world coming to?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Might also point out that there is a difference between someone playing a Chinese person when they are European or say, black, and someone playing a mythical god. I’m sure Xenophanes would have agreed that Norse people would have considered their gods to look somewhat like themselves, but then again different nations envisioned their gods very differently sometimes. Egyptians imagined some with crocodile or jackal heads, Lord Krishna is blue, and so on.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Bart, please define “White Western culture”.

  • Blark Bart

    Recall the outrage over Warner Oland playing Charlie Chan. The thought of a white man portraying a Chinese detective was considered blatant racism.

    Can we have it both ways?

    The problem with CofCC is not their defense of White western culture. It is the Hal-Turner type Jew bashers who descredit the paleo-conservative movement.

  • http://splcenter.org Robert Steinback

    To Silver Adept,

    That’s hardly a nit-pick… thank you for pointing out the error in our original post and helping us set the record straight! And “Much Ado” will go on my must-rent list.

    Robert Steinback
    Deputy Editor, Hatewatch blog

  • http://silveradept.dreamwidth.org Silver Adept

    Nit-picking correction: Denzel Washington as Don Pedro is in “Much Ado About Nothing”, starring Branagh, not “Hamlet”, which does not have a Don Pedro.

    Do watch “Much Ado”, however, it’s a riot and contains several excellent insult duels between its two leads.

  • J. Edward Tremlett

    There is a black green lantern – John Stewart. He took over the post for Hal Jordan back in the 80′s, and is still a ring-slinger. When they did the cartoon, they decided to go with Stewart rather than Jordan.

    Hogun has always looked somewhat asiatic in the comics, so having someone asian play him makes a certain amount of sense.

    As for the casting of elba, I agree that this is nothing for them to get their undies in a bunch about. It just shows where their real priorities lay.

  • Wesley

    Carrie says:
    “Hypocrisy much? How would you lefties react to, for example, Dolph Lundgren playing the role of an black African god? You would be screaming in outrage right along with blacks. It would be a racist outrage. Evidence of white racism and dominance.”

    I so absolutely doubt this. For one, thanks to events from around 1500 to about 1865 we blacks in America don’t know all that much about any African Gods or Goddesses we may have worshiped once. I doubt you know them either, or how they were portrayed or even if they were Gods in the sense that you think of them (as opposed to spirits, for instance).

    For two, most of us are now Christian or Muslim and most of us don’t try to look back further than the late 1800s. (It kinda gets hard to pull up African ancestry before that because… I’m sure you know).

    For three, we don’t make much of a fuss over how white Jesus is despite how unlikely that would be given where he and his descendants were born and lived. Curiously, there was also no backlash or boycotts of the movies Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty despite Morgan Freeman portraying the Christian God.

    Anyway, this isn’t Norse Mythology, this is Marvel Mythology. This mythology has alien shapeshifters, rock monsters and gamma radiation monsters as heroes, completely made up African mythology and a good corporate executive with a body suit. Complaining about this, and you may as well complain DC Comics doesn’t accurately portray Greek Mythology in Wonder Woman.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “How would you lefties react to, for example, Dolph Lundgren playing the role of an black African god?”

    Hey, the guy needs the work.

  • CM

    “How would you lefties react to, for example, Dolph Lundgren playing the role of an black African god? You would be screaming in outrage right along with blacks.”

    Actually, I think most of us would be screaming with laughter.

  • Mitch Beales

    This sucks big time! Will I have to go see some stupid crappy comic book made into a film just so people know I don’t support the CCC (pronounced KKK) boycott? These guys clearly have too much time on their hands. I say put ‘em back to work building facilities in parks!

  • daemonesslisa

    More conservative comic book outrage:
    http://onepeoplesproject.com/i.....;Itemid=24

    And Carrie…”black African god”? That’s the best example you can come up with?

    By the way, this isn’t the first time a white character was substituted with a black person; Green Lantern was white, but in a recent animated series was drawn as black (and in that same cartoon, Hawkman was Hawk Girl). Also, some white characters in the Boondocks cartoon were voiced by black actors.

    My point: they’re all just cartoons! Get the hell over it!

  • Cass

    I think it’s fine. I mean, if he’s a good actor, why the controversy.

    @Green
    About M. Night Shymalan’s casting, if you’ve seen the cartoon version, you’ll know he messed up the “races” of all the people in that movie. For Christ’s sakes, the water tribes, supposed to be like the Inuit tribes of the Artic, not Asian or white. He also just messed up the entire thing so… no use complaining about the races of the people when he took “artistic liberties” with the entire thing.

  • http://splcenter.org Robert Steinback

    Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano is slated to play the character Hogun in the movie.

    Robert Steinback
    Deputy Editor, Hatewatch blog

  • David Wiseman

    The Norse and Teutonic mythologies have recently been a source of sacred inspiration for North American white supremacist and Aryan preservationist groups. There are racially-focused subsets of modern practitioners of Asatru, neo-Norse spirituality. This is more akin to an outrage over a black Jesus or white Buddha.

  • john

    People always look at me funny when I tell them Jesus was an African American lesbian, and Mohammed was a cross dresser from Naples. I read it on the internet.

  • Lex

    Funny that a christian group care so much about accurate portrayal of a non abrahamic pagan religion.

  • Carrie

    Hypocrisy much? How would you lefties react to, for example, Dolph Lundgren playing the role of an black African god? You would be screaming in outrage right along with blacks. It would be a racist outrage. Evidence of white racism and dominance.

  • Difluoroethane

    The statement that all the other characters besides Heimdall in the movie are white isn’t technically true; I remember reading somewhere that there is also an Asian actor somewhere in the cast. Haven’t seen the movie yet, so I don’t know for sure.

    Speaking of Asians, I’m surprised there’s no mention of the controversy surrounding M. Night Shymalan’s casting for “The Last Airbender”. That generated a great deal of controversy among some Asian bloggers, but the COfCC was strangely silent all that time. Apparently, the COfCC only cares when white characters become nonwhite, not when nonwhite (originally Asian) characters become white. Talk about hypocrisy, or a double standard, whatever you want to call it, on the COfCC’s part.

  • Frank

    I think it’s great that Idris Elba has been cast in the movie. He’s a wonderful actor.

    These are gods and goddesses we’re talking about, anyway. They’re not human so they can portray them as green with purple polkadots for all that matters, which it doesn’t. It’s a shame when your ideology is so ridiculously upright that you’re up in arms over a movie that you haven’t even seen because an actor looks different from you. Must be a very boring life.